Basic Pet Care
What to Feed Fluffy? Dry or Wet? Both?
If your cat is like most felines, he lets you know loud and clear when he's hungry. As you wait on your famished feline and prepare his meal, will you be feeding him the healthiest fare available? Pets who receive optimal nutrition have the best chance of living long and healthy lives.
Today more cat food choices than ever are available in the supermarket, at the pet store and even in your veterinarian's office. Companies and the nutritionists who work for them also have devised products to meet the specific needs of pets in terms of life stage (kitten-adult-senior), whether they need to lose or gain weight, have particular food sensitivities or urinary problems.
It's always a good idea to discuss nutrition when visiting your veterinarian. In the meantime, the biggest decision to make is whether to feed your cat wet food, dry or a combination of the two
Your Cat's Diet
Know the differences:
- Kibble is cheaper than canned
- Can be left out for a cat to nibble on all day (and even if you have to leave overnight)
- Has less protein and more carbohydrates than wet
- Performs nominally better at combatting feline dental disease
- Costs more
- Spoils if left out too long
- Needs refrigeration after it is opened
- Provides moisture cats need, especially those who don't drink much water
- Has more fat and protein and fewer carbohydrates than dry
Based on the qualities of wet and dry food, a meal that consists of a mixture of the two, in the proper amount for your cat's age and size, may be ideal.
The Experts Have a Say
"Both canned and dry foods are nutritionally complete. The single biggest difference between the two is moisture content, with canned food obviously having a much higher moisture content. Many people find dry kibble to be more convenient, and many vets feel that dry food is better for a cat's teeth." – Petfinder.com.
"The presence of one or two ingredients may make the food appear healthy, but it's the balance of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals that make a healthy cat food." – ASPCA.
"Even in natural foods, it is important not to have too much or too little of key nutrients. A balance of high‐quality natural ingredients and essential nutrients in the right proportion helps maintain lean muscle and supports healthy organ development and proper digestion." – Hill's Pet Nutrition.
- Always read the food label on the back of canned cat food. The first ingredient listed, which indicates it represents the highest percentage, should be meat. Fillers such as corn and rice offer negligible benefits.
- If you're considering changing your cat's food, slowly introduce the new kind. Combine a small amount with what you normally feed. If it agrees with your cat, gradually change over to 100% new food.
- Whether you're loyal to one brand of cat food or want to try a different one, always check a brand's website for downloadable coupons to save on the cost.