The Dry Cat Food Debate
Many cat owners leave dry food out all the time for their cats, which is called free feeding. Some supplement it with wet food, some dont. Is it the equivalent of feeding your kids a steady diet of fast food for the sake of convenience?
If your cat only eats dry food, she is likely to be getting less nutrition than a cat eating wet food. Many low-quality dry foods contain a lot of fillers. In the wild, carbohydrates are only about five percent of a cats diet what she gets from ingesting the stomach contents of her prey.
Some fillers are necessary for the extrusion process that shapes the dry food nuggets during manufacturing. But theyre also included as a cost-savings, since theyre a cheaper ingredient than meat.
Canned Food: More Palatable
Moist foods tend to have more flavor and a stronger scent, especially if there is some sauce or gravy. This makes canned foods more attractive for many picky cats. Canned food can also be warmed up to make it smell even better , which is beneficial to encourage a sick cat to eat.
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Feeding Your Cat Both Wet Food And Dry Food
If you are having a hard time deciding between wet food and dry food, it is perfectly fine to feed your cat a combination of both.
Feeding your cat both wet and dry food can be particularly useful if your cat enjoys eating dry food but requires a higher water intake.
You can incorporate both wet and dry food into your cats diet by either mixing the foods together or feeding them dry food at one meal time and wet food at another.
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What To Do If Your Cat Wont Eat
Sometimes cats can be picky about where they eat and the type of food they enjoy, and they may not eat what you’re feeding them. This can be normal behavior, and a few simple changes can help. These might include:
- Moving food dishes away from litter boxes or dirty food containers
- Moving food dishes out of busy areas
- Feeding your cat away from other animals
Timed Feeding. You might feel that you should be tough and hold out for your cat to get hungry enough to eat. However, this can be hard on your catâs body and could cause them to get sick. Instead, try setting out smaller amounts for 15 to 30 minutes at a time four to five times during the day. As your cat eats more, you can move back to one to two meals a day.
Picky eaters. If your cat is picky about eating, try rotating between two or three different foods. This will give a variety of flavors that can keep your cat from becoming a picky eater. Changing the brand occasionally might also help with variety. Make sure to choose one that meets your catâs nutrition needs.
Refusing food. If your cat suddenly stops eating, this can be a sign of illness. Itâs best to take your cat to the vet to rule out any problems.
Q: If My Cat Doesnt Eat An Entire Can In One Sitting How Long Is It Safe To Leave Out
Dr. Leslie: Since the canning process is the preservation method, opening a can starts the clock on the food spoiling. If a cat doesnt eat her portion within an hour, it should be securely covered and refrigerated up to four days, and then whatever is not consumed during that time should be discarded. Stale food may cause aversions to food, making cats not want to try it again.
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For Convenience: Dry Cat Food
Dry cat food wins hands-down in the convenience category. For storage and ease of feeding, dry cat food is the number one option. If you are looking for something mess-free and easy to take with you, have the kids help out with, or have your cat-sitter feed while youre away, cat kibble is the simplest choice. Wet vs dry cat food.
But that doesnt mean that you cant make canned cat food easy, either. Next to dry cat food, it would probably rank second for convenience, ahead of homemade and raw diets. Mostly, all you need is a can opener and to practice good cleaning habits.
Can Cats Be Taught To Like Water
Cats can be taught to appreciate water if they are introduced correctly. The truth is that cats are able to swim. If you are a cat owner who would like to teach your cat to swim, you might want to read this article.
The first thing you need to do is find a cat that is comfortable in the water. You can do this by placing your hand on the cats back, or you can place your hands on its paws. Once you have found a suitable cat, its time to get started.
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Always Consult Your Veterinarian
Your cats diet and nutrition are an important aspect of his or her general health and are part of a complete annual wellness exam. For the best advice on feeding your feline, be sure to consult your veterinarian.
- 1. Gaskell C. J. The role of fluid in the feline urological syndrome. In: Burger IH, Rivers JPW, eds. Nutrition of the Dog and Cat. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1989 353-356. “http://grande.nal.usda.gov/ibids/index.php?mode2=detail& origin=ibids_references& therow=426490
- 2. Gaskell, C. J. Feline urological syndrome: a United Kingdom perspective. Feline Medicine: Proc. Seminar Eastern States Veterinary Conference, Orlando, pp. 27-32. Veterinary Learning Systems, NJ.
- 3. Nutrient Requirements of Cats, Revised Edition, 1986, Committee on Animal Nutrition, National Research Council http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=910
- 4. Markwell PJ, Buffington CA, Chew DJ, Kendall MS, Harte JG, DiBartola SP. Clinical evaluation of commercially available urinary acidification diets in the management of idiopathic cystitis in cats. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 1999 Feb 1 214:361-5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10023397
- 5. Logan, et al., Dental Disease, in: Hand et al., eds., Small Animal Clinical Nutrition, Fourth Edition. Topeka, KS: Mark Morris Institute, 2000, p. 487 http://www.amazon.com/Small-Animal-Clinical-Nutrition-Michael/dp/0945837054
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Did You Know Cats Need To Eat Meat To Survive
Remember also that cats are confirmed meat eaters and cats will go blind, suffer other debilitating conditions, and ultimately die if fed on a vegetarian diet. Meat is the only major source of arachidonic acid, and cats lacking the ability to synthesize niacin from protein. Cats need meat to survive!
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Dry Food: An Affordable But Less
Dry food is extremely calorie-dense. It has no water in it to contribute volume to the food. Because of this, feeding just dry food means your cat will be hungrier if getting an adequate number of calories in the food because of the smaller volume given. Based on this, free choice dry food, even a low-calorie version, will not prevent weight gain.
Do Cats Prefer Wet Food
With wet foods cats tend to eat more in one sitting rather than going back and forth, and will drink less as there is higher water content in wet food than in dry food.. Serve the food at room temperature to ensure your cat can taste and smell it properly.
Warming up an opened can may take up to two hours from being taken out of the fridge, microwaving canned foods for a short time is always an option, but ensure a consistent temperature throughout and be careful of hot spots. In general, avoid serving food for your cat that is either too hot or too cold.
Don’t keep wet food opened for longer than 24 hours as it will go off and cause upset tummies.
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First What Should Cats Eat And Why What Nutrients Do Cats Need
While dogs are omnivorous and able to break down and digest both vegetable and animal protein, cats are obligate carnivores, which means that they need muscle-based meats in their diets.
Although theoretically, they might get enough protein from plant material to exist, they need the amino acid taurine in order to thrive. Taurine is found primarily in the muscle meat of animals.
Carnivores have short digestive systems because they are not required to break down the tough cellulose found in plants. Introducing cellulose into their diets invites digestive problems.
On the whole, wet cat food, with the primary ingredient being meat or fish, provides a meal thats better suited to a cats dietary needs.
But that doesnt necessarily mean that canned wet cat food is always a better choice than dry cat food. The best dry cat food is better for your cat than the worst canned food. If you feed your cat premium cat food, she is likely to thrive whether the food is in wet or dry form.
Plant Vs Animal Protein
Cats need animal protein because their bodies need the nutrients it provides. When a cat eats protein, their digestive tract breaks it down into building blocks called amino acids, which are then reassembled into the type of protein that the cat needs at that time.
A cats body can make many of the amino acids they need from other amino acids, but there are 11 essential amino acids for cats that must be supplied in a cats diet:
These essential amino acids, as well as other essential nutrients for cats, are best supplied by meat and other animal tissues, which makes sense when you think about it. Why should the body waste resources making nutrients that are abundant in the prey animals that cats evolved to eat?
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Cats Get Addicted To Flavor Enhancers In Dry Food
Cats are not grain- and carb- eaters by choice. And now we know that dry food is low in meat-based protein and full of grains and carbs.
So companies like AFB International create flavor enhancer palatants for manufacturers to spray on dry food.
These palatants entice the cat to eat the food.
And cats often get addicted to these flavor enhancers.
Pyrophosphates have been described to me as cat crack. Coat some kibble with it, and the pet food manufacturer can make up for a whole host of gustatory shortcomings.
The Chemistry of Kibble, Popular Science.
Ever have issues trying to switch your cat from dry food to wet? These addictive palatants are to blame.
Youll see flavor enhancers listed as animal digest, animal fat, liver flavor, tallow, and other non-descriptive ingredients.
Cats get addicted to dry food because of flavor enhancer palatants.
If Your Cat Throws Up After Eating Wet Food
Does your cat love wet food, but youve given up on feeding it to him because he always seems to throw it up? If your cat throws up after eating wet food, it could be for one of these reasons:
- Eating too fast: Wet food doesnt require as much time chewing as dry food, so your cat may be consuming too much, too fastalso known as the scarf and barf. Try giving him a smaller amount of food at time, more times a day, or mixing in some dry food to slow down his eating process.
- Low-quality: The wet food your cat is eating may have low-quality or inappropriate ingredients. Check the label again to make sure that an animal protein is listed first and foremost, and that ingredients such as artificial colors, artificial flavors, additives, salt, and preservatives are not listed at all.
- Its cold: Eating cold wet food may also upset your cats stomach. Make sure the wet food is at room temperature.
- Running around: Your cat may also be running around right after he eats wet food, which could lead to an upset stomach. Try to keep him in one room to avoid these zoomies, and pet or hold him to distract him for a few minutes.
- Sensitive stomach: The wet food may have high-quality ingredients, but one of the ingredients bothers your cats stomach. Try a variety of meats and styles to determine if one of these works for him.
So, do cats need wet food? Now you know why its a good idea to feed your cat both wet food and dry food!
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Drawbacks Of Wet Cat Food
While there are some great benefits to choosing wet cat food, there are also a couple of drawbacks. First is the cost of wet cat food. You will often find that feeding your cat a diet of wet food costs more than dry food. It might be difficult to sustain that diet if youre on a budget.
The second drawback is the shelf-life. When you feed your cat dry food, you can free feed food and allow them to eat throughout the day. However, once you open a can of wet food, its only good for 24 hours. In addition, you can only leave it out for a few hours after that, it needs to be moved to the fridge. Leaving it out for longer than a few hours increases the risk of contamination. This can cause gastrointestinal upset for your cat.
Mixing Wet And Dry Cat Food Vet Explains Why & How To Do It
Cat food basically comes in two forms: wet food and dry food. As a cat owner, you are probably feeding your cat with one type of food or even both, depending on your and your cats preferences.
You may also be aware of the advantages and disadvantages each food type has and may have chosen the food you feed accordingly.
Mixing wet and dry high-quality foods is a good start if you want to improve your cats diet. Dr. Iulia Mihai, DVM
Many cats prefer wet food. Rightly so, its delicious! Wet food is palatable and encourages cats to eat. On the other hand, dry food keeps your cats teeth clean and is more convenient and affordable.
Mixing wet and dry cat food is something cat parents sometimes do. There are plenty of reasons they choose to do so. In this article we will tell you everything you need to know about mixing wet and dry cat food:
- Why you should mix wet and dry cat food
- Benefits of mixing the two
- Potential disadvantages
- Guidelines for mixing wet and dry food
Lets dive in!
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Adapting Your Cats Diet Based On Specific Dietary Needs
It is possible to adapt your cats diet if you are aware of any specific dietary needs that need to be addressed. Cat food brands often advertise if their product is high in a certain nutrient, allowing you to easily spot the food that your cat needs.
It is possible to enhance your cats diet with fatty acids to aid with skin and coat condition. Additionally, including psyllium in your cats diet can assist in preventing hairball formation.
Various pet brands offer multivitamins designed specifically for cats and kittens. Feeding your cat these multivitamins is a safe way to ensure that your cat consumes all the nutrients it requires to be a healthy, happy cat.
Kittens Have Different Nutritional Needs Than Adult Cats
While kittens are already clearly different from adult catsso much extra floof! such affection! such playfulness!they also have super different nutritional needs than they will once they get older.
Kittens should ideally feed exclusively on the mother cats milk until theyre three or four weeks old, according to PetMD. Kittens can be fed a replacement milk if you dont have access to the mother cat. Around three or four weeks, you can start introducing them to wet food. By seven weeks, they should be able to eat wet food for every meals.
Adult cats are usually pretty happy with twice-daily mealtimes. Kittens, on the other hand, are used to regular, small meals. PetMD recommends feeding kittens at least twice a day. But Jennifer Larsen, DVM, PhD, nutritional consultant and assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at the University of California, Davis told WebMD that most kittens like to have way more than thatat least four meals a day.
Kittens also need more protein than adult cats doaround 30% of their daily diet should be protein, according to the ASPCA.
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Can You Force A Cat To Drink Water
You need to know your cats water and food preferences. Some cats prefer using a cat fountain while others prefer drinking water from a water dish. You should never force them. If you have a litter box, make sure it is clean and well-maintained. If you dont have one, consider buying one. It will make your life a lot easier.
Homemade Diets And Commercial Raw Meat Products
Many people have a strong negative reaction to the idea of feeding their cat raw meat but this is what a carnivore is designed to eat. Keep in mind that there are no hibachis or stoves in the wild. Also, wild cats do not always consume their prey in its entirety immediately upon killing it so the meat that they eat is not always from a fresh kill.
Cats are very different from humans with respect to their susceptibility to food poisoning. Cats have a much shorter transit time through their intestinal tract than humans do . This is a very important point because the more time bacteria spend in the intestinal tract, the more they multiply, eventually leading to intestinal upset.
That said, not all sources of raw meat are created equal. For instance, I will not feed pre-ground supermarket meat in a raw form. I buy only whole cuts of meat which can be thoroughly rinsed prior to grinding or they can be partially baked to kill the surface bacteria.
A properly handled and prepared raw or semi-cooked meat diet has much less bacteria in it than many commercial dry foods. Commercial pet foods may also contain high levels of mold toxins from grains which are never a danger in a grain-free raw meat diet.
Please see the Dangers of Dry food section on my Making Cat Food page that discusses the common contamination issues associated with dry food.
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