Monday, 10 May 2010


There's an ongoing debate happening in our house. Wet or dry Mabel food?

I'm sure it's a subject that has been discussed a million times by cat owners the world over but I just can't seem to find a satisfactory answer.
Like most people with pets I want to do the best for Mabel but there seems to be a lot of mixed thought on this topic.
I've read lots of articles online about which is best for her and even vets seem divided.

At the moment we give her a mix of both. I know dry food is good for her teeth but I see wet food as being closer to the foodstuff she would be eating in the wild. 
I feed her wet food for breakfast and tea and she has dry food or kitty biscuits to snack on through the day. I've only ever seen her drink water from her bowl once so I worry that with dry food she might become dehydrated. As usual, I probably worry far too much.

People have told us that dry food doesn't have the sugars and additives that wet food can have but I am careful about the wet food I give her. I always check that there is a high meat content and have found one with no artificial colours or preservatives and the list of ingredients on the back states a minimum of 90% chicken or fish depending on the flavour. 
I have also been told that it's cheaper to feed a cat dry food and that dry keeps for longer and doesn't spoil as quickly once it's put down.
There seems to be positives and negatives for both which just confuses me more.

There's also one other factor that I need to take into consideration... Mabel herself.
She seems to have perfected the 'is this a joke?' look whenever something she dislikes is served up to her. I mentioned before about the large bag of dry food that the boyfriend bought her? The cat he had as a child happily grew up on the exact same brand of dry food. He lived to be a ripe old age but it was not to fussy little Mabel's liking and she only sniffed it briefly and turned away! This isn't a situation we want to (or can afford to) repeat! We've tried other dry food brands (in MUCH smaller bags) and she'll pick at them but it's really only the wet food she's interested in. She'll run to the wet food and always seems satisfied afterwards.

I am more than happy to change her diet to one that's better for her... I just need to know what a better diet is!


  1. Well, in our house we do both - wet for breakfast and dinner, dry for snacks. You do want to read the dry food because it can have a lot of fillers in it like corn, which aren't great for most cats (we get a grain free dry). The cats I had growing up ate the old school dry and wet with fillers and lived a long time, so I am not 100% convinced they are bad, but I do avoid the grains when I can. That being said, my cats will almost always snub the really healthy canned foods. We go with a mid-range for that,because it is what they will eat. One cat eats a little wet but mostly dry, and the others love the wet and dry equally. Part of it depends on the cat.

    I am sure that Mabel is drinking but you may not notice it - just be sure she always has fresh water handy. Mine like it when we add a bit of ice too - that is something to try and see if it interests her. The wet food does help get some water for them, so it isn't as bad as if she were only getting dry and not eating a lot. Plus, some cats prefer running water so you could try a fountain.

  2. Our mom just bought us a new food to try out this weekend and we LOVE it! It's a dry kibble. It's Blue Buffalo Spa Selects Indoor formula, that's made from REAL meats. But, one time a week, mom give us Temptation Appetizers. They're DELISH! Good luck and we hope Mabel decides what she likes.

  3. I don't know why this myth that dry food helps prevent tartar persists. Cats don't use their teeth the way they would need to for this to be the case, but even my vet persists in this archaic (IMO) thinking.

    Bottom line: Find what works best for Mabel and don't over-obsess like me. LOL.

    My boys get both, a wee bit of kibble because Nicki seems to need some fibre to keep his stool properly formed and Derry's just a kibble-head to begin with, but the rest is wet. Annie prefers canned only, though she gets some junkie treats every day too.

    I think if you feed good brands of both, you're okay.

    BTW, the cooking process in dry food leaches out all the nutrients and they have to be sprayed back onto the kibble, after it's cooked. Bleh.

    And yes, cats are designed to get their water from food. If they have a kibble-only diet they aren't going to get the water they need, because they would need to drink far more than they do, on average, on a daily basis, to make up for the lack of moisture in the kibble.

    That said, I know of cats who've had a premium diet and died young of health issues, and other cats who have been fed grocery store junk all their lives and lived into their 20s. I think a lot has to do with genetics, frankly.

  4. Meowm doesn't even pay attention to what the
    v-e-t humans say. She feeds us wet and dry food. Some of our dry foods we like betterthan others, but Meowm is purrty persistent and leaves it out for us till it is gone. Or if she gets tired of it sitting in our bowls she feeds it to the ferals outside. Good luck!

  5. We go to a holistic vet who is an expert on feline nutrition. Wet food is definitely the way to go, and most closely approximates the amount of water in a cat's natural prey. Cats fed a kibble diet are usually chronically dehydrated, and it can lead to urinary problems. There is an excellent book you can read: Dr. Pitcairn's New Complete Guide to Natural Health for Cats and Dogs.

    Also, cats should not have food out all day to "graze" on. Leave out the food for 30 minutes, and anything not eaten should be picked up morning and evening.

    Cats are carnivores, and should eat a meat-based diet. Here is a great site where you can read a lot about feline nutrition:

    Bon appetite!

  6. I am just back from discussing this with my daughter's vet who is young and 'with it' and he says to feed mostly good quality wet food (I feed Performatrin & Eagle Pack brands) a few times throughout the day and just a bit of crunchy for snacking. Now that said, if you don't want to leave food out that's fine you can just give a handful of dry with the soft. Go wet food. The teeth thing is an 'ol vet's tale' and Kea is right about that. Another good book to find is 'Is your Cat too Fat?' by Bronwen Meredith. Good Luck with that beautiful cat. Deb ^..^ x 6

  7. I agree with Daisy 100% however, the final judge is Mabel herself. She likes the wet, then that's what she'll eat. The rest is really moot really.
    I have a little rubber thingie that the kitties let me brush their teeth with. I believe Daisy's mom actually uses a toothbrush.
    Good luck Caroline. I know this is a tough one.

  8. Wet food is better, and grain/soya/cereal free wet food is better still. Dry foods have high carb content from those three things that enable the stuff to stick together and be made into kibble.

    Cats just don't have a high thirst drive and wet food is the best way to ensure they don't get dehydrated. Foods loaded with carbs from cereals and proteins and soya aren't that great for an animal designed to need 95% protein either. There has been some research indicating that the high levels of cereals and plant proteins in many modern cat foods are contributing to the vast numbers of cats in the western world developing IBD, chronic low grade inflamation in the gut can lead to much more serious diseases.

    I learned recently that Butcher's Classic Cat Food contains no cereal/grain/soya at all. It is low sugar (has a tiny bit of caramel in for colouring) In the UK specialist veterinary dentists in the know are recommending this for cats who have gingivitis type problems as the low carb/sugar content means less sticky food residue sticking to teeth.

    The idea behind dry food being better for teeth has been long disproved. It used to be thought that biting into kibble kept the teeth/gums clean in the same way that biting through the bones of small prey and chewing on skin/fur/feathers did. If this was true, no cat who ate dry food would ever have bad teeth - and of course plenty do.

    Plenty of vets in the UK push dry foods onto owners whilst spouting the old belief about dry food being good for the teeth. Often the food they are pushing is the food they are selling in their surgeries. The companies who make those foods are frequently the companies who come into vet schools and run the one or two day courses that vet students get in nutrition. See what I'm getting at?

    It's really really hard to find good very low carb/grain/soya free cat food in the UK.

    Butcher's Classic is available in supermarkets, in pouches and tins. It's cheaper than many brands, but smells good. Comes in many flavours too. Mabel may love it.