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Wet vs Dry Cat Food: What’s Best for Your Kitties?

Posted in: Cat Food - Last Updated: May 18, 2023 - Author: Rebekah Carter
Posted in Cat Food 
Last Updated: September 2, 2022  
Author:  Rebekah Carter

The debate of “wet vs dry cat food” is a common one among pet parents. One of the most important things you can do when you’re caring for your cat is to make sure you’re providing your feline friend with the best quality of food. 

While there are a lot of factors to consider, choosing between wet or dry food is one of the first things many cat lovers will need to think about. 


Notably, provided you choose the right high-quality food for your pet, both wet and dry food can be an excellent choice. 

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to choosing what you should feed your feline friend. 

However, this article should help you to understand the unique pros and cons of both wet and dry foods in a cat's diet.

Wet vs Dry Cat Food: An Introduction

The first thing to remember when choosing either wet or dry foods for your kitty is all options should include certain ingredients and benefits

For instance, it’s important to check every food you consider meets AAFCO standards. This essentially means the food has been stringently tested to ensure it’s nutritionally complete and balanced for your cat. 

Other points to consider for both wet and dry foods include:

  • Breed: The breed of cat you choose will determine what kind of foods you need to consider. Certain breeds have unique requirements when it comes to extra vitamins, minerals, and nutritional substances. Speak to your veterinarian or breeder if you’re unsure about your cat’s unique requirements, and make sure you choose food accordingly.
  • Lifestyle: Certain foods are formulated to suit different cat lifestyles. For instance, neutered and indoor cats may have different needs than un-neutered cats, or outdoor felines. Keep this in mind when comparing both wet and dry foods.
  • Life stage: Some cat foods are especially suited to cats at different stages in their lives. For instance, there are specialist foods designed just for kittens, and solutions specifically for senior and geriatric cats. Your feline friend will need different levels of nutrition based on their age. Kittens, for example, need more calories than older cats.
  • Protein: Every cat food should have high levels of animal protein. Cats are obligate carnivores that need to get the majority of their protein from animal sources. Avoid any pea protein, fillers, and grains that may not offer the nutrition your cat needs.

Dry vs Wet Food: The Differences

In theory, if you consider all of the factors above, it shouldn’t matter whether you feed your furry friend wet or dry food. However, each type of food does have its own specific benefits and drawbacks to consider.

Dry cat food, for instance, is a highly processed food that can last for extended periods of time after being opened. 

Wet food contains more moisture, and is generally less processed than dry food, but it may not last as long. Wet cat food can quickly dry out and become unappetizing for felines who prefer to graze on their meals throughout the day. 

Some of the main differences between wet and dry foods include:

  • Moisture levels: The most significant difference between wet and dry cat foods is the amount of water or moisture in the food. Dry cat food contains 10% water, and a lot of dry matter, such as vitamins, fats, and carbohydrates, while wet food can contain up to 70% water.
  • Texture: Dry food is generally crunchy in texture, and ideal for various adult cats. However, wet food comes in various textures like pate and mince which can make it easier to eat for older cats and kittens with teething issues.
  • Manufacturing: The manufacturing process for both wet and dry foods is quite different. Dry foods are often made by combining and cooking meats and vegetables at high pressure, to create pieces of kibble. Alternatively, wet foods are made with frozen and fresh meats, often blended with water, vitamins, and various fats.
  • Nutrients: The nutritional profile for wet and dry cat foods can be a little different. Dry cat food often contains more carbohydrates than canned food. However, the level of protein, fats, and other substances in each food can vary based on the product.

The Pros and Cons of Dry Food

Dry food is a popular choice for many cat owners for a range of reasons. Dry foods can be much more affordable to purchase in bulk than large amounts of wet food. 

Additionally, they’re excellent for cats who prefer to graze on food throughout the day, rather than eating meals at set times. 

One benefit often mentioned when discussing dry cat foods is that kibble can be better for your cat’s teeth. While there are some dry foods that are specially developed to help with oral health, not all dry kibble will be ideal for a cat’s teeth. 

Some smaller pieces of kibble can get stuck in your cat’s teeth, which can lead to plaque and tartar build-up. 

Let’s look at the pros and cons of dry cat food.

Pros of Dry Cat Food:

  • Longevity: It’s possible to leave dry food out for your cats all day, so they can enjoy it whenever they choose. Alternatively, wet cat foods are more likely to go bad when left uncovered for hours at a time. Be careful when free-feeding your cats, however, as kitties don’t always have the best sense of portion control.
  • Affordability:  As mentioned above, it’s usually possible to buy larger amounts of high-quality dry cat food in bulk at a discount price. This can mean you don’t spend as much on feeding your kitties every day.
  • Long shelf life: Dry cat foods and wet cat foods alike can both have a good shelf life. However, dried foods are more likely to last for months at a time than their wet counterparts. They can be an excellent choice if you want to stock up.
  • Energy-dense: Many dry foods are rich in carbohydrates, nutrients, and enzymes which make it easy for your cat to get the nutrition they need in small portions. This could be ideal if you’re worried about a cat with a low appetite.
  • Appealing to cats and cat owners: Many cats love the crunch and taste of dry cat foods. What’s more, many of these diets come in a range of flavors, so you can adapt according to your cat’s preferences. They also don’t smell nearly as unappealing for cat owners.

Cons of Dry Cat Food:

  • Moisture content:  Cats have evolved to get most of their water needs from the food they eat. However, dry cat food doesn’t provide a great deal of moisture.
  • Less protein: Many dry cat foods will generally have less protein content than the majority of wet cat foods. It’s worth checking the ingredients to learn more about the nutrient balance.
  • Over-eating:  Some cats will be tempted to overeat when there’s food sitting in their bowl for long periods of time.
  • Dental issues: Some cats with missing teeth, or kittens who are just getting used to dry food for the first time can struggle to eat kibble.

The Pros and Cons of Wet Food

Wet cat food is often an excellent pick for pet parents who want to make sure their kitty is getting as much high protein and nutrition as possible. 

Because this food is higher in water content, it’s excellent for felines struggling with cystitis, urinary crystals, UTIs, and kidney disease. 

What’s more, wet foods are generally lower in carbohydrates, so it can be useful for preventing your cat from gaining too much extra weight. In general, these foods can also contain more protein than dry foods, which is crucial for cats to stay healthy. 

Let’s examine the pros and cons of wet foods.

Pros of Wet Cat food:

  • Urinary health: The high moisture content of wet foods makes them excellent for promoting good urinary health. Most cats prefer to get the majority of their water from their food, rather than using a bowl or a fountain, this means wet cat food can help with hydration.
  • Weight management: Because wet foods are less energy dense than dry foods, they can be excellent for weight management and control. These foods have fewer carbohydrates than dry meals, and higher amounts of protein, for good feline health.
  • Appeal to a wide range of cats: Wet foods come in a range of flavors to suit different cat preferences. What’s more, their strong smell means they’re more likely to attract your kitties than dry food. This could be ideal if you’re struggling to feed a cat with a poor appetite.
  • Dental support: Wet cat foods are much easier to consume than dry alternatives for kitties who have dental issues or missing teeth. It’s even possible to get mousse or pate style cat foods which are great for simple consumption.
  • Nutrition: Wet cat foods tend to contain fewer grains and fillers, and more beneficial compounds than dry foods. However, it depends heavily on the type of food you choose, so make sure you read the ingredient on each package.

Cons of Wet Cat Food:

  • Affordability: It’s often much more expensive to stock up on high-quality wet cat food than it is to feed your cat a dry meal. You may need to pay more per week to regularly feed your cat wet food, particularly if your feline has specific requirements.
  • Perishability: Although wet cat foods can last for quite a long time when they’re still in the package, they lose their value quickly when left out. You may need to refrigerate any leftovers to ensure they don’t go bad.
  • Cleanliness: It takes more time and effort to clean up after feeding your kitty wet food compared to dry food. You may also find there’s a stronger smell lingering in your home whenever you give your cat a meal.

Combining Wet and Dry Cat Foods

As you can see, both wet and dry cat foods have their benefits and downsides to consider. The right choice for your kitty will depend on a number of factors, including their health, personal preferences, and even their breed. 

Because wet and dry foods have their own distinct benefits, many pet owners find it’s easier to feed their kitties a combination of both options.

For instance, you may choose to give your cats a serving of dry food in the morning when you’re away for work, then give them a wet food meal in the evening. This way you can monitor the consumption of the wet food, and remove any leftovers before they go bad. 


Combining wet and dry foods can ensure you can leverage the affordability and other benefits of dry foods, while still ensuring your feline friends get plenty of moisture and protein into their diet. However, it’s best to check with your vet about the right strategy for feeding. 

Keep in mind, that if you’re raising a kitten and plan to feed your cat both wet and dry foods, you’ll need to introduce both options early on. 

Cats will typically develop a preference for certain flavors and textures when they’re still young. If your cat only gets wet food when they’re small, they may avoid dry food in the future. 

It’s also important to remember that whether you’re feeding your cat wet or dry food, or a combination of both, you should always ensure they have access to plenty of fresh water. Although your cat can get a lot of moisture from wet food, it’ll still need water on occasion.

Wet vs Dry Cat Food: Summary

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to whether you should choose wet or dry food for your cat. 

The best option is to consider all of the solutions on the market carefully, and talk to your vet if your kitty has any specific health or dietary needs. 

Keep in mind, that the needs of your cat may vary as they age and encounter new potential health issues and concerns. 

If you ever need to change your cat’s food, ensure you introduce them to the new meals slowly to avoid gastrointestinal distress.

About the author

Rebekah Carter is a dedicated animal lover. Her Savannah cat, Roscoe, has a lot of attitude, while her Maine Coon, Dukino, is full of love. When not writing, she’s looking after her cats and researching ways to help them live their best possible life. Her passion for animals and natural skill for writing led her to pursue pet blogging.