Pet owners want the best for their cats! As a new owner of a furry feline, pet owners may become overwhelmed with the responsibility of providing for their essential needs of food, water, shelter, and safety. We are here to help our viewers provide for their cats. Let us start by looking at what to feed your pet? In this article we will discuss dry vs wet cat food pros and cons.
Also, we review some of the better products available in Amazon and Chewy stores to help our viewers with food purchases.
Dry vs Wet Cat Food Options
Walking down the pet food isle of the supermarket, you are presented with multiple brands of wet and dry cat food, each with brightly decorated packaging marketing depicting hungry cats devouring their product! Generally, cat owners do not have the time to scrutinize each product, compare pricing and read ingredient lists to work out which cat nutrition is best for your cat, and their budget. Most people just want to ‘cut to the chase’.
Even though cats may have differences in age, lactating, health, breed, weight and whether they are an indoor cat or an outdoor cat, essentially, they will all have similar nutritional requirements.
A good cat food, whether dry or wet, should offer a diet with the correct balance of nutrition suitable for carnivorous cats.
There has always been a debate as to which is better- wet or dry food. Our team at Cat Food Advisor has studied cat nutrition and looked at many cat food products. Our view is: they are both suitable!
It is not whether the food is dry or wet that is important, but rather the quality of the recipe, particularly regarding the ingredients, that is important in determining if the product warrants a place in your home.
8 Best Wet Cat Foods (Fully Reviewed HERE)
|Canned Food||Customer Ratings Average||Good For||Price AMAZON||Price CHEWY|
|Soulistic Moist & Tender||4.3 STARS||Free of by-products & additives|
|Delectables Soft Pate||4.7 STARS||100% nutritionally complete with Vitamins|
|Dr. Elsey’s 03255 Clean Protein||3.9 STARS||Hydrated and made with clean protein|
|Dave’S Grain Free Cat Food||4.3 STARS||Protein-rich, grain &gluten-free|
|Muse Natural Canned Food||4.4 STARS||Balanced diet with tender cuts of real meat|
|HILL’S Rx DIET i/d Digestive Care||4.6 STARS||Improve digestion and stool quality|
|Purina Pro Plan UT Health||4.7 STARS||Specific for Urinary Health|
|Royal CaninUrinary SO||New||Good for cats with Urinary Tract issues|
Cat Nutrition 101
We have written many articles on our advisory site on cat nutrition. The best way to look at it is to study what cats in the wild eat. We are not referring to lions and tigers (although their general nutrition is pretty much the same!), but wild cats cousins of your pet.
Cats will chase down and eat small rodents, frogs, birds, lizards and even insects. A hungry cat will eat the entire animal, head, organs, skin, and bone. You will not find cats grazing on grass, eating grain, or munching on fruit and vegetables. Cats are obligate carnivores. That means, they get all their nutrition from meat.
The #1 Ingredient Must be Meat
When considering dry vs wet cat food pros and cons, it is important that the first ingredient is a quality meat/s. A quality meat is ‘real meat’ from poultry, beef, lamb, fish, or rabbit.
6 Best Dry Cat Foods for Outdoor Cats (Fully Reviewed HERE)
|Product||Average Customer Rating||Features||Price AMAZON||Price CHEWY|
|Friskies Dry Cat Food, Surfin’ and Turfin’ Favorites||4.8 STARS||All age cats|
|Purina Beyond Grain-Free, Natural||4.8 STARS||Adult cats|
|Purina One Tender Selects Blend||4.8 STARS||Adult cats|
|Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free, Natural||4.5 STARS||Adult cats|
High protein 36%
|Royal Canin Fit Active Dry Cat Food||4.8 STARS||Adult cats|
|Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Cat Food||4.5 STARS||Adult cats|
High protein 36%
What About Meat By-product?
Meat By-products are essentially the non-rendered, clean parts, other than meat derived from slaughtered mammals.
Much of it is organs such as kidneys, brain lungs, spleen, livers, cleaned stomachs and intestines; as well as blood, bone, undeveloped eggs and feet.
Cat food companies use meat by-products in their wet and dry cat food recipes largely because it is an inexpensive ingredient as it is the offal from animals not considered suitable for humans.
Is Meat By-product Good for Cats?
Meat by-products do provide nutrition for cats, and it is accepted by the AAFCO as suitable for use in animal food, however, we suggested that meat byproduct should not be the first ingredient on the list. It may, however, be used in conjunction with real meat.
When Should Meat By-products be Avoided?
Avoid cat foods where the meat by-products are unidentified. Unidentified by-product meals are referred to as generic by-product. The product could be anything- roadkill, dead zoo animals, diseased livestock, or euthanized pets.
Product labels will use vague and non-specific names for by-product such as: meat meal, animal by-product meal, and bone meal.
What is Meat Meal?
Meat By-Product Meal, or Meat Meal, is essentially the same as Meat By-Products, except it is the dry rendered product derived from slaughtered mammals.
Meat by-product does not include hair, horns, teeth & hoofs.
Wet and Dry food Protein
The meat needs to be high in protein. Cats need at least two grams of protein per pound of healthy body weight for optimal health. Alternatively, recipes dry weight protein percentage should be at least 26%. Kitten food needs to be higher.
Some companies will derive their proteins in their cat food products from plants. Plant proteins and meat proteins differ. Cats have evolved to digest and assimilate meat proteins.
Measure Protein as Dry Weight
Dry cat food will usually have a higher protein listed on its packaging than wet cat food. This fools many cat owners in thinking that dry cat food must be better. However, if comparing wet vs dry cat food DRY WEIGHT protein, you will likely see that the two products have similar percentages of protein, or the wet cat food may be higher.
This is because wet cat food has moisture that bulks up the food. Take out the moisture and protein levels per gram of cat food will be similar.
Grains, Vegetables and Fruits in Wet and Dry Cat Food
In the wild, there is no place for grains and other plant-based foods for cats. It would make perfect sense that commercial cat foods should not have these ingredients either.
However, unless you are feeding your cat raw meat, it will be likely that any commercial cat food you buy, whether wet or dry, will have some plant-based ingredients.
Companies will include plant-based ingredients to increase the range of nutrition for cats. Some fruits, such as goji berries help with urinary health in cats. Others provide vitamins and minerals.
Cat food companies will claim the inclusion of grains, potatoes, peas etc in their formulas is to provide a balance of carbohydrates and additional plant proteins. Once again, we will remind you that cats are carnivores, and they can derive all their nutrients from eating animals. Cats do not have a high carbohydrate requirement, unlike other pets.
10 Low Carb Cat Foods (Fully Reviewed HERE)
|Product||Customer Rating||Good for||Amazon Price||Chewy Price|
|Tiki Cat Aloha Friends Wet Food|
|4.2 STARS||Unadulterated ingredients|
No or less sugar
|Dr. Tim’S Premium Pet Food|
|4.4 STARS||Suitable for all life stages|
Good for heart and brain function
|Ketogenic Pet Foods Canned Food|
|3.9 STARS||Best low carb wet food|
No corn, wheat or soy
|Dr. Elsey’s Clean Protein Dry Cat Food|
|4.5 STARS||A meat-based, high-protein food|
Rich in omega-3 fatty acids
|Tiki Cat Born Carnivore Dry Cat Food|
|4.6 STARS||Grain-free, gluten-free|
Best for cats and kittens
|Ketogenic Pet Foods – Keto Kibbles |
|3.9 STARS||60% protein|
Animal-sourced proteins (chicken)
|Blue Buffalo Flaked Wet Cat Food|
|4.5 STARS||No wheat, corn or soya|
Real meat in flaked texture
|Ketogenic Pet Foods Dog & Cat Food|
|3.9 STARS||Best low carb wet food|
No added fillers or preservatives
|Nulo Freestyle Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food |
|4.2 STARS||Grain-free formula|
Freeze Dried Raw
|Purebites Mixers Canned Pet Food|
|4.5 STARS||Tasty, nutritious food Each |
Tray is just 30 calories
Dry vs Wet Cat Food Pros and Cons Fillers
To keep product costs down, some pet food companies will bulk up their products with grains such as wheat, barley, soy, and rice. This may bring the price down for consumers and increase profit margins, but it is not the best nutrition for cats. In fact, it can cause digestive issues that lead to illness.
Seek cat foods with minimal grains. Dry cat foods tend to include grains, wet cat foods not so much.
Both wet and dry cat foods will generally have vegetables in the form of potatoes, sweet potatoes or peas.
Cat Food Advisor recommends that you read the ingredient lists and select products low in grains, and not overloaded with starchy vegetables.
Ingredient lists always list ingredients in order of highest amount to lowest amount. Look for meat at the top of the list with vegetables lower down, and if grains are included, we feel they should be in small quantities.
9 Grain Free Cat Foods (fully reviewed HERE)
|Grain Free Food||Average Customer Rating||Features||Price AMAZON||Price CHEWY|
|Taste of the Wild||4.7 STARS||Chicken meal|
V.High protein 42%
|Blue Buffalo Wilderness Dry||4.8 STARS||Real chicken & turkey|
V.High protein 40%
Omega fatty acids
|Purina Pro Plan Natural Wet||4.5 STARS||Real chicken |
|Purina ONE Natural||4.6 STARS||Protein 31%|
#1 ingredient corn (negative)
|Wellness Core Natural Grain Free||4.6 STARS||V.High protein 45%|
65% of product is meat
Turkey & chicken
|Best Feline Friend (B.F.F.) Wet||4.2 STARS||#1 ingredient tuna & salmon|
|Blue Buffalo Freedom Dry||4.7 STARS||#1 ingredient chicken|
Rich in Omegas
|Merrick Purrfect Bistro Dry||4.7 STARS||Salmon & Chickpea|
Adult indoor cats
High fiber- hairballs
|Natural Balance L.I.D. Dry||4.6 STARS||Whitefish, peas & chicken meal|
No by-product meat
Dry vs Wet Cat Food Pros and Cons -Other Nutritional Ingredients
Premium cat food will have a range of other ingredients added to ensure cat health. It is usual for commercial foods to add vitamins, minerals, additional amino acids, probiotics, and pre-biotics.
Looking for a wide range of these additional ingredients specific for cats is important. It is easy for a company to say they have added these, however, are they specific feline essential ingredients needed for cat growth and health?
For example, cats require Taurine, an amino acid that they are unable to synthesize (unlike humans and dogs who can synthesize Taurine) but readily get from raw meat. Taurine is essential for healthy heart, eyesight, and organ function. Cooking meat reduces the Taurine, and cats do not easily get it from plants.
With this example, it would be worthwhile looking to see if this essential amino acid is plentiful in the food.
Other essential cat amino acid nutrients include: arginine, histidine, isoleucine, phenylalanine, leucine, lysine, methionine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.
Cats have a high requirement for amino acids and can get all the above from quality real meat.
Kitten Food Reviews (Fully Reviewed HERE)
|Product||Customer Rating||Good for||Price Amazon||Price Chewy|
|Royal Canin Feline Wet Kitten Food||4.7 STARS||Best for kittens under 4 months|
Chicken & pork
|Hill’s Science Diet Wet Cat Food||4.4 STARS||All natural ingredients|
For good immunity and stronger bones
|Purina Fancy Feast Wet Food||New||Digestible and 100% right nutrition|
4 meat recipes
|Blue Buffalo Kitten Dry Cat Food||4.8 STARS||Support cognitive heath and growth|
No by-product meats
|Purina Pro Plan Kitten Wet Food||4.7 STARS||Healthier and tastier balanced food|
|Hill’s Science Diet Dry Kitten Food||4.8 STARS||High-quality ingredients and pre-biotics|
Formulated by nutritionists
|NUTRO Soft Loaf Kitten Wet Food||4.4 STARS||Savory and smooth texture|
No artificial additives or grains
|Purina Fancy Feast Kitten Wet Food||New||100% Complete and balanced nutrition|
Real meat as fist ingredient
|Royal Canin-Mother and Babycat Food||4.8 STARS||Suitable for Mother & kitten|
Chicken as fist ingredient
|Wellness Complete Health Dry Kitten Food||4.7 STARS||Complete grain-free nutrition|
No artificial additives
Dry Food vs Wet Food Pros and Cons Conclusion
In conclusion, the Cat Food Advisor Team consider both dry cat food and wet cat food as being suitable for cats, so long as their recipes comply with the AAFCO regulations and have a high meat protein and balanced nutrition suitable for cats.