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While dry cat food serves as a convenient and a seemingly more affordable way to feed your feline, it may fall short in various aspects when compared with wet food such as nutrition and water content.
Lack of moisture
For starters, dry cat food tends to have less than 14% water content while wet food has over 60% of water content. Dehydration poses a risk in developing constipation if your pet does not get enough water from its cat food. This further adds to the risk of developing urinary tract problems and kidney disease if their urine is less diluted. It is important to note that cats naturally have a lower thirst drive, partly due to their evolution as desert animals which is why it is important that their cat food contains sufficient water so they don’t develop kidney diseases, urinary tract problems or even diabetes.
Higher in carbohydrates and lack of meat-based proteins
While cats do need carbohydrates in their diet, they are carnivorous by nature and thrive more on a diet that has more meaty proteins and fatty acids. Dry cat food typically contains more carbohydrates where the kibble is made from grains. Even if they do contain protein, a component will be plant-based proteins which may not be ideal for your carnivorous buddy.
Furthermore, given that dry cat food has a higher energy density than its wet counterpart, this may pose a problem for cats that are not able to self-regulate their energy intake. This likely explains why there is a prevalence in overweight cats around the world as most cats are not able to self-regulate the cat food they consume.
Kibble triggers vomiting more
As obligate carnivores, cats have developed scissor-like teeth designs to shred meat and bones. When fed dry cat food, which are usually in pellet form, their teeth are not as efficient in chewing them.
This causes most kibble to be swallowed whole. As mentioned above, given the low water content of dry cat food, this leads to the pellets absorbing any form of liquid that they come into contact with. This could be your cat’s saliva or gastric juices and in turn swell up within their stomachs. This could lead to stretching of the stomach walls and nerve fibres within your cat.
This often manifests in a vomit response when your cat’s brain sends a SOS signal saying that there is too much food in its stomach than it can handle. From a cat owner’s perspective, we will see that our cats will start to meow in an uncomfortable manner and retch.
Allergies towards dry food
Food allergies are very common. In fact, the third most common type of allergies in cats is that of food allergies. This only happens when your cat’s immune system reacts to a food item as if it were a threat to the body. This is because the main purpose of its immune system is to protect the body from bacteria, viruses and other foreign substances that can cause diseases.
One reason that dry cat foods can cause an allergic reaction is because most commercial dry cat foods are full of artificial ingredients, hormones, flavour enhancers, fillers, preservatives and dyes, making them highly processed.
Symptoms of having an allergy towards dry cat foods include having red bumps and lesions, excessive itching, patches of hair loss, chronic ear infections or biting of one’s skin among others.
Similar to how humans may react to certain allergens, cats may have allergic reactions to cat foods containing corn or rice used as fillers in dry foods, eggs added as a source of protein, presence of preservatives such as BHA or BHT which may also be carcinogenic.
If the cat food contains by-products of meat (i.e. unknown type of meats, use of other parts of an animal such as the tail, hooves or fatty tissue that have less nutritional value).
That being said, dry foods do have their own benefits such as coming at a more affordable price point and they tend not to spoil as fast as wet cat foods when left out. They also do not need to be refrigerated.
As a whole, while they do provide economic benefits, from a nutritional point of view, dry cat foods may not be the most ideal for your feline friend.
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