Uncovering the Truth for Our Feline Friend
One of the biggest questions we hear almost weekly concerning cat food is: “Should I be feeding just dry kibble, or only wet canned cat food?” To be honest, if you were to bring in a panel of friends and strangers that own cats, the decision in many cases would be split across the board. Many people with outside barn cats or multiple house cats want to find a cheap, large bag of cat food that will fill their cat’s stomachs and keep them happy. Others will choose to find a case of cans or pouches for their cats to munch on and be happy.
So with all of the questions around what our Feline Friends eat, which is the right choice? Let’s begin by looking at the positives and negatives of both and look for an all-around, natural based solution that meets the needs for cats and allows them to live to their full potential.
The Basis of a Cat’s Diet
For starters, we must begin by understanding what cats need in their diet to allow them to live a purrfect life. Unlike dogs, cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they need meat daily for their diet above everything else. Dogs have a digestive system that reacts well and can absorb vegetables, meat, and many other positive natural foods (for those smart people, dogs are Omnivores).
While cats could theoretically gain enough protein from plant-based or even grain sources, cats require the amino acid called Taurine in order to live a healthy life. Taurine is found in meat and can also be added to food to ensure enough is available for your cat.
Dry-Food Only Positives and Negatives:
With this foundation of cat nutrition, dry cat kibble is by far the easiest to feed on a daily basis. It is as simple as scoop, pour, and watch your cats devour it all. It can also be the cheapest option with some 40 pound bags of food being as cheap as $19.99. However, what exists in many large, cheap dry foods is not what cats needs to live a healthy life.
First of all, thriving cats in the wild eat far less carbohydrates that what exists in many cheap bags. A cat’s diet again is dependent upon meat. If your first few ingredient include “corn,” “corn-gluten,” “by-product,” or “soy,” that food is not meeting the meat requirements for your cat. In fact, they are often seen gaining weight, becoming lazy, and even developing diabetes. Fillers in cat food outside of meat is like us eating nothing but fast-food every. single. day. Yuck!
The bottom line: Feeding dry cat kibble can be a really good choice when feeding a nutritious, meat-based formula. This contains all of the vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, etc. that cats require. However, kibble lacks moisture for cats systems and while we all think are cats are drinking water all day, most cats do not take in enough moisture. Read on to see what the best solution is after a discussion on wet food.
Wet Food Only Positives and Negatives:
Who doesn’t like to pop open a can or pouch of food for your cat and have them come full-sprint to eat out of their bowls? One of the greatest joys in owning cats is seeing them happy, content, and fully enjoying the life they are living in their home (remember, your house is no longer yours when you have a cat. They own it now). Wet food has many positives for cat health and benefits for your feline friend. First and foremost, a good feline wet food contains a higher amount of meat. As mentioned multiple times, cat being obligatory carnivores, NEED meat. Canned food is often a great source of solid meat content in addition to a high moisture content. Believe it or not, the average cat does not drink enough water in a day. Although it may seem you are filling the water dish constantly, cats are not getting enough water leading to dehydration and the possibility of crystals in their bladder and urinary tract. Wet food provides sufficient moisture to allow your cat to stay hydrated while they enjoy a good meal.
While wet food does seem like the best choice all around at face value, there are a few negatives. First and foremost, a wet only diet becomes expensive very quickly. A very good wet food will often require multiple cans per day to feed your average size cat, racking up a higher food bill. Also, wet food only for cats, like dogs, will lead to their teeth becoming weak and the possibility of tooth decay and loss creeping into their lives. Cheaper wet foods may seem like a good option in the midst of this but they often lack a solid ingredient panel which leads to minimal meat content or even watered down formulas. So what do we do with all of this information? We want the best for our cats but their does not seem to be a clear answer.
Our Solution to the Debate:
The best all-around solution as consulted by many experts, pet nutritionists, and pet parents is a simple approach. It is a combination of both dry kibble and wet food for your cat. Dry kibble provides a complete nutrition, especially when you are feeding a good, meat based food. This will fill your cat with exactly what they need and can either be presented as free-choice feeding (for those cats who are responsible), or ration-based by weight feeding (for those “fluffier” cats out there). Now to counteract the dryness of the kibble, wet food can be presented at once or even twice a day depending on the feeding plan for your cat. Wet food becomes a piece of supplemental feeding that brings moisture, more meat, and overall health to your cat’s life. This balance of dry and wet food leads to many benefits for your cat.
Want to see the difference starting today? Stop out at Koch Farm Service to talk about cat nutrition for your feline friend. We can pair you up with a solid dry food, and wet food that is the best for your cat but also fits your budget. We would love to be able to make this year the best for you and your cat! Please call, message, or stop on in for a free nutrition consultation.