Great Cat Food Debate: Moist Food or Dry Food, Which Is It?


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Q: I recently discovered your radio show and listen each week from Spain. My husband and I are researching the best food possible for our cat. There is great debate over dry food vs. wet. What do you recommend? — A.M.V., Madrid, Spain

A: The good news is, owners increasingly care, and care passionately, about what they feed their pets. Among some cat owners, the topic of food is like religion or politics.

Here’s what I know: Cat are carnivores. It’s true that a high-protein, low-carb moist cat food can help trigger remission in some diabetic cats. Another example to seemingly support moist food is renal insufficiency (kidney disease), which is extremely common as cats age. Adding at least some moist food (likely a prescription diet, depending on the extent of disease) is beneficial because the water content is far higher in moist food than dry.

However, many cats who are fed kibble for a lifetime live in good health until a ripe old age without developing diabetes. Also, even cats fed exclusively moist food may develop diabetes or be diagnosed with kidney disease as they age.

All that being said, most cats don’t drink enough water. Some veterinarians suggest that a significant percentage of cats live day-to-day mildly dehydrated, so it seems to me that at least some moist food is beneficial. Another reason is to regularly provide meal variety to cats (meaning a daily portion of moist and a daily portion of dry food) is the strong attachment cats make to food consistency or texture. If a prescription moist food diet is suggested, cats fixed on kibble for many years may be unwilling to try something new.

The suggestion that kibble offers dental benefits is somewhat overstated. Far more important are regular dental check-ups from your veterinarian and brushing your cat’s teeth at home. Unfortunately, most cat owners don’t brush, so the Veterinary Oral health Council offers a list of products with proven dental health benefits.

Personally, we feed our cat about 70 percent moist food, and the remainder kibble. But I’m not sure there is a truly, absolute right or wrong answer.

By the way, thanks for checking out our radio broadcasts online. Entire Steve Dale Pet World radio programs are available free on here @itunes.com. Interviews are also archived at on my national radio show website. And much of what I do is posted on my Facebook fan page.

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