Mixing Wet and Dry Cat Food –
Vet Explains Why & How To Do It
March 23, 2022
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 cat’s 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 cat’s diet.
– Dr. Iulia Mihai, DVM
Many cats prefer wet food. Rightly so, it’s delicious! Wet food is palatable and encourages cats to eat. On the other hand, dry food keeps your cat’s 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
Let’s dive in!
Mixing Wet and Dry Cat Food – The Basics
There are many reasons for mixing wet and dry cat food:
- You want to encourage your cat to eat dry food
- Offering some variety to your cat’s diet
- You want to offer your kitty the advantages of both food types
- Use mixing foods as a way to transition from one type of food to another
- Your vet has recommended mixing wet and dry food for medical reasons
But should you mix wet and dry cat food, and what are the pros and cons of doing so?
Do cats need both wet and dry food?
The debate of which is better: dry or wet cat food, seems like it started forever ago! Both present advantages and disadvantages and vets will recommend feeding one or another, or both.
The diet of a wild or farm cat consists of meat and bones, so their food is soft and crunchy. They eat birds, small rodents, and lizards, which they consume whole, including what is in their stomach.
The meat is juicy and provides them with enough moisture to stay healthy. When it comes to bones, besides the nutritional value, they also help clean a cat’s teeth.
Domestic or not, cats are known for not drinking enough water. Compared with wild cats, domestic cats don’t have the opportunity to hunt and consume that juicy meat unless we choose to feed them a raw diet. Therefore, it is in our hands to provide them with enough fluids to stay healthy.
Cats that do not consume enough water are more prone to dehydration, FLUTD (feline lower urinary tract disease), or kidney problems. A diet based only on dry food can result in such problems if your cat is not so fond of drinking water.
Giving your kitty only wet food will help them get enough moisture from their food but does not promote dental health. On the other hand, feeding your cat dry food has its benefits in keeping your cat’s teeth clean, just like bones do.
Cat’s don’t necessarily need both wet and dry food, but feeding both certainly has its benefits.
In short, by mixing dry with wet food, you will ensure that your cat gets enough moisture in its diet and has cleaner teeth (compared to a diet based only on wet food). Moreover, it will keep your cat interested in its food due to the added variety in texture – soft and crunchy.
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What’s best for my cat: should I mix wet and dry cat food?
Mixing wet with dry food is perfectly safe! But keep in mind that both types of cat food have different recommendations for daily intake, and you risk overfeeding your cat and making it overweight by not following these guidelines. As long as your cat isn’t chubby or predisposed to fattening, mixing dry and wet food can be a good option.
Mixing wet and dry cat food is a good idea if:
- Your cat is eating only dry food but not drinking enough, and you want to offer it more moisture from the food
- Your cat is eating only wet food, but you want to promote its dental health by adding dry food to the diet
- Your cat is not interested in its food, and you want to offer some variety to encourage them to eat
- Your cat is suffering from urinary or kidney problems, and they need wet food in addition to dry food
- You’re trying to transition from one type of food to another
Even if your cat is on a special diet, there are food combinations to match its needs. For example, if your cat is overweight and should eat a low-calorie diet, you can combine low-calorie dry food with more filling wet food. This way, your cat will feel full more quickly and consume less food.
Always try to provide high-quality food that will meet your cat’s nutritional needs and keep it healthy. Quality wet and dry foods are formulated to give your pet all the protein, fat, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients it needs to grow and stay healthy.
Pros And Cons Of Mixing Dry And Wet Cat Food
Feeding your cat with dry or wet food has its advantages and disadvantages. But by combining them, you can offer your cat the benefits of both.
- Wet food has higher water and protein content, is more palatable and digestible, and it can fill your cat faster with fewer calories, but it has a short shelf-life and is more expensive.
- Dry food is cheaper, helps clean your cat’s teeth, stays fresh longer, and has a greater range of nutrients and vitamins, but it has a low water content, which makes cats prone to dehydration and urinary diseases.
The reasons why cat owners or vets recommend mixing wet and dry food are numerous and include:
1. Can help prevent boredom
The cat is bored with its usual food, and it doesn’t find it appealing anymore. Combining crunchiness with softness and different flavors can help prevent boredom and make feeding times interesting again.
2. Ideal for cats with dental problems
Some oral conditions can cause pain, and who likes to eat when in pain? Due to the pain, cats might stop eating, especially if their diet is based on dry food. By mixing wet with dry food, you are making the food softer and easier to chew.
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3. It promotes oral health
Compared to wet food, dry food provides a certain level of teeth cleaning as cats chew on the crunchy kibbles. The rougher and harder texture removes plaque and tartar as the cat eats.
4. Helps your cat stay hydrated
Wet food has more than 78% water content (some brands have even more). So by mixing dry food with wet food, you will help your cat stay hydrated and prevent future urinary problems.
5. Helps with weight-control
Wet food is denser and has more water. Usually, it has fewer calories than dry food, and an overweight cat may benefit from specific feeding times. However, wet food is often highly palatable, and cats may eat more than they need just because of the delicious taste.
On the other hand, you can find dry foods that are low in calories, and because they are less appetizing, your cat may not want to overeat.
Mixing both wet and dry food can help you control your cat’s weight by offering food that is filling but not too high in calories and sticking to a feeding schedule.
6. Helps cats that are having gastrointestinal problems
If your cat is on dry food and has a sensitive intestinal tract, try mixing its food with high-protein canned food. Wet food is more digestible and will help cats that are having problems digesting their food.
7. Ideal for senior cats
Senior cats are more likely to develop gastrointestinal problems or oral diseases, which can force them to switch to softer, easily digestible, and chewable foods. Mixing dry and wet cat food will make their food easier to chew and digest while still offering the benefit of keeping the teeth clean.
8. Helps you save some money
Everyone knows how expensive high-quality wet cat food can get. But, although pretty expensive, it will leave your cat feeling fuller for a longer time, meaning it will consume less food. On the other hand, dry food is less expensive, but it is more convenient to store and doesn’t go bad as easily.
Mixing wet and dry food can help you save some money by combining more affordable dry food with flavorful wet food.
As you can see, mixing dry and wet food comes with a wide variety of pros, but what are the cons?
Cons of mixing dry and wet food
1. Risk of overfeeding
You risk overfeeding your cat and making it overweight if you don’t respect the recommendations for daily intake for each type of food and calculate them together when mixing foods.
2. Mild gastrointestinal problems
Your cat can suffer from mild gastrointestinal problems such as vomiting and diarrhea when you first introduce it to a new type of cat food.
3. Wet food can spoil fast
Wet food can spoil fast, especially on a hot day. Adding wet food to dry food will prevent you from leaving the food out for long periods and require more careful monitoring.
Feeding Guidelines – Tips For Mixing Dry And Wet Cat Food
For you to have a healthy and happy cat that eats a mix of dry and wet food, you have to respect a few aspects, such as:
Mixing Wet And Dry Cat Food Ratio
The general recommendation for wet and dry food ratio is around 30% wet food per meal. This translates into two-thirds of dry kibble and one-third of wet food.
Choose high-quality foods for your cat
Feeding your cat with low-quality cat food, although cheap, can lead to nutritional deficiencies and health issues. Low-quality cat food is cheap and can make a difference in the pocket, especially if you have many cats. But in the long run, it can cause severe medical problems that will cost more than if you had provided your cat with quality food from the beginning.
High-quality cat food has:
- few to zero unhealthy ingredients (fillers),
- high-quality protein,
- no additives,
- no dyes,
- no sugar,
- not too much salt.
Always choose quality foods to have a healthy and happy cat!
Consult a vet
If you have made up your mind and you think it is a good option to mix your cat’s food, always talk to a vet before. The vet will evaluate your pet’s nutritional needs make a personalized feeding plan for your cat according to its nutritional needs.
Serving: Use separate bowls, or mix wet and dry food together?
You can mix both types of food or serve them separately.
Remember, wet food has a short shelf-life, and it will spoil in a matter of hours, especially on hot days. If you are sure your cat will eat everything you put in its bowl, or you will throw away the leftovers after it finished eating, you can mix them without a problem.
Also, if your cat is a picky eater and or you’re trying to introduce a new type of food to its diet, mixing the two foods is what you should do.
Some cats may eat two different types of food at different times of the day without a problem. However, many cats are selective eaters and will refuse to eat dry food because they know they will be fed tastier wet food soon. Mixing the foods is often the only way to get your cat to eat both.
You can start by using dry food as a topping. Sprinkle the kibbles over the wet food a few times, and slowly move on to stirring everything together until they are mixed.
Summing up – Mixing Wet And Dry Cat Food The Right Way
By mixing wet with fry food, you are offering your cat the benefits of both!
There are plenty of reasons why you should do this. Whether you want to offer your cat some variety, save money, offer a diet with more moisture, or help a cat with oral problems have clean teeth, it is often a good idea to mix wet cat food with dry cat food.
Before choosing to change your kitty’s diet, talk to your vet. They will be able to evaluate your cat’s nutritional needs and make a personalized feeding plan. Also, always provide your cat with high-quality food. In the long run, you are both going to be happy!
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Good nutrition is key to a healthy life!
Cats are wonderful creatures that need animal protein to thrive. By feeding your cat according to its nutritional needs, you will make sure it stays healthy longer!
Mixing wet and dry high-quality foods is a good start if you want to improve your cat’s diet.
Consult your vet or a feline nutritionist if you want to change your cat’s diet and always take into consideration its nutritional needs.
– Dr. Iulia Mihai, DVM
NOTE: Advice provided within this article by FeedingMyPet.com is not a substitute for veterinary advice. Please discuss your pet’s specific dietary needs (based on his breed, weight, age, and health status) with a veterinarian.