Is wet or dry food better for cats? How many times should my cat eat a day?
Original Question: Hi I just want to ask about which food is best for my cat. Is wet canned food or dry food better? How many times should the cat eat per day? I hope you can help me answer my question. Thank you. - Laurene
Thanks for your question!
I never give rigid advice when it comes to dietary choices. I believe that our pets are individuals and they can all respond differently to dietary options. A strategy that works for one pet doesn’t mean it will work for all pets. Having said that, considering this issue, I can confidently tell you that most practitioners will recommend a combination of both wet and dry food.
There is a simple reason for this advice. The wet food contains a lot of moisture which is always a good idea for cats. They are prone to developing renal disease as they age and getting more water into them will be beneficial. The increased moisture content in wet food can also help prevent crystals from forming in the bladder but only to a mild degree. Many veterinarians believe that the dry food will help to physically scrape their teeth to prevent the build-up of plaque even though it’s not an adequate strategy for controlling dental disease.
Regarding the number of times a cat should eat throughout the day, we don’t really recommend to base consumption on that. We need to focus on the total daily intake of calories. The next time you visit your veterinarian, you can ask them to calculate how many daily calories your cat should be ingesting to maintain an ideal body weight. They can perform this calculation if they have your cat’s weight and by determining the current Body Condition Score (BCS). They will formulate a strategy for attaining or maintaining an ideal body weight. You can then look at the caloric density of the food you’re using and determine the volumes of food you should feed throughout the day. Once you’ve done this, you can feed as often as you wish as long as you stick to the total daily amount.
I’ll make an additional point about the benefit of increasing your cat’s water intake. You can consider getting a water fountain for your cat to drink from. Many of them love drinking from these because they like moving water. The occasional cat will be scared to drink from it but that is rare. I mention this simply because it is a great proactive benefit for future health.
I hope this helps!
Dr. Clayton Greenway
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