Feeding Your Adult Cat: What You Need to Know
Get expert tips for keeping your cat healthy, happy, and well fed.
Canned vs. dry cat food: Which one is better?
The experts haven't reached complete consensus. But most agree on some of
the pros and cons of dry and wet adult cat food.
Dry adult cat food:
- Is more economical
- Is convenient because you can leave it out and it doesn’t spoil as
- Is energy dense, meaning a cat can consume lots of calories quickly
- Has about 10% moisture content
- Tends to have more carbohydrates and less protein than wet food
- May be only slightly better than canned food at preventing dental
Canned adult cat food:
- Is more expensive
- Can spoil more easily and requires refrigeration after opening
- Is less energy dense than dry food
- Has up to 78% moisture content
- Tends to have more fat and protein - especially animal protein - and fewer
carbohydrates than dry food
“There are a lot of people who believe that cats only need to eat canned
food and will be unhealthy if they eat dry food,” says Larsen, noting
that most cats can do fine on either.
The bottom line? “More research is needed to determine whether wet food is
better,” Bough says.
But the high moisture content in wet food can be beneficial to cats with
urinary tract problems, diabetes, or kidney disease. It can help
compensate for cats’ low thirst drive, which may be partly due to their
evolution as desert animals. More study is needed to confirm whether feeding
wet food can help prevent some of these problems from developing in the first
Higher protein levels more often found in wet food may be of benefit to
strict carnivores like cats, who depend on consuming animals to meet their
nutritional needs and require up to three times the protein of omnivores.
“But you can have a high-protein diet that’s still deficient in essential
amino acids,” says Larsen, citing taurine as an example. “And the same is true
for fats and essential fatty acids. So you need to make sure the subparts are
When and how much food should I feed my adult cat?
Mimicking a trend of many of their owners, one in five cats in
industrialized countries today is obese.