Wet Food Vs. Dry Food for Cats

Wet and dry food both have benefits.
i Cat near a dish image by Kapu from Fotolia.com

You want the best for your kitty. Scratching posts, a clean litter box and a window view will please your feline friend. You also want the best food. Both wet food and dry food have their benefits, but the best choice depends on your kitty's needs.

Nutritional Needs

Cats are carnivores. Protein provides the amino acids necessary for energy and the building blocks for healthy body functions. Animal fat and plant oils provide concentrated energy -- twice the energy of protein. Fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6) keep the coat and skin healthy. They also are important for cell structure and function. Carbohydrates also provide energy for your cat, but they are not essential.

Cats need vitamin A, D, E, K, B1, B6, B12, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, and folic acid. Twelve minerals are essential, but calcium and phosphorous are crucial. Calcium and phosphorous provide strong bones and teeth. Water is also important. It regulates the body temperature, helps in digesting food, and helps remove wastes from the body.

Wet Food

Wet food or canned food has a moisture content of 75 percent, so it’s great for providing the needed water for your kitty. Wet food has a higher content of protein than dry food and fewer carbohydrates than dry food. Canned food is closer to the carnivore diet than dry food with its higher protein content. Wet food is more expensive, though, and you can't leave it out for your cat to nibble on all day.

Dry Food

Dry food contains approximately 6 to 10 percent moisture. Formulations are different depending upon the brand and type of food. It may contain meat and meat byproducts, or chicken and chicken byproducts as well as grain, fish meal, fiber sources and milk byproducts. Manufacturers use animal fat as a flavor enhancer, which they spread on the individual nuggets. Dry food is less expensive and convenient. You can leave it out for cats that like to eat throughout the day.


Both wet and dry quality foods will provide your cat with all the nutrients she needs for a long and healthy life. If you have a cat that is diabetic or obese, wet food may be a better choice because of the higher protein and lower amounts of carbohydrates. If your cat has kidney disease, she may benefit from the higher water content of wet food. When purchasing food, look for the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) approved nutritional guarantee. Foods with this label are considered complete and balanced. Look for food appropriate for your kitty's age and condition. Some companies identify food by age, hairball needs, indoor/outdoor cats, nursing and obese kitties.

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