Kibble, Cans and Raw, Oh My!

Jeff, Taste Testing

Jeff, Taste Testing

As cat moms, we want the absolute best nutrition to help our cats thrive. Cats are obligate carnivores, also known as true carnivores which means they require high-quality meats in their diet in order to thrive. Ultimately you can get a high-quality diet in a format that fits you and your cats' lifestyles. Below we are going to break down the top four most popular feeding formats for cat food: dry kibble, wet food, raw food, and freeze-dried/dehydrated foods.

Dry Food

Kibble is still the biggest growing pet food type on the market. It’s tough to beat the convenience of dry kibble, with a shelf life of about two years unopened and about 6-8 weeks open, there isn’t much easier than scooping and serving! Kibble is also great for cats like prefer to graze because it can be left out for hours without spoilage. In order to create the extruded kibble shape, the food has to include a form of binder or starch to hold everything together; unfortunately, some brands of dry food use more starches and cereals that our little carnivores don’t need in their diets which may lead to health problems in the future. Due to its dry nature, kibble can cause dehydration in cats over time, which can also lead to urinary issues, especially in male cats.

Pros

  • Budget-friendly

  • Long shelf life

  • Dental health benefits

Cons

  • Dehydrating

  • Highly Processed

  • Not Fresh

Wet Food

Wet food for cats has come a long way since the classic canned tuna. You can purchase wet food in just about any protein flavour and texture out there to match your cats' preferences; Pate, loaf, shredded, stew, etc. The high moisture content of wet foods is great for your cats' urinary health, it’s also great for treating and preventing hairballs! Typically you would see this type of food in aluminum cans but more recently brands are releasing lines of food in more eco-friendly “Tetra Paks” it’s good to opt for those when you can. Because the majority of wet cat foods still contain filler ingredients like potato and grains, they are not very nutrient dense which means your cat has to eat quite a large volume of food per day, which can get very expensive if it is the only type of food your cat eats.

Pros

  • High Moisture Content

  • Palatable

  • Shelf Stable

Cons

  • Pricey $$$

  • High amounts of gums/starches

Raw Food

The most biologically appropriate cat food on the market. Raw feeding has gained popularity in the most recent years, making it more widely available amongst pet specialty stores. Raw fed cats often have a healthy soft, shiny coat, better oral health with little to no tartar buildup, improved kidney and liver function, and less urinary tract problems because of the high moisture content. With all the benefits of raw feeding, it is important to take into account if you have adequate space in your fridge and freezer for storing and thawing your cats food.

Pros

  • Budget Friendly

  • High Moisture Content

  • Dental Benefits

Cons

  • Freezer Space

  • More Preparation

  • Not Travel-Friendly

Freeze-Dried & Dehydrated Food

With freeze-dried and dehydrated pet foods your pet can have the benefits of raw feeding with the convenience of kibble. Both methods involve a process of removing the moisture from fresh foods. Unfortunately, this process is quite expensive leaving freeze-dried and dehydrated foods tough on the wallet. These foods also make fantastic toppers on kibble or wet food to increase the quality of the food and entice picky eaters! Have an adventure cat? This is a great, light-weight feeding option for traveling.

Pros

  • Fresh Food Benefits

  • Long Shelf Life

  • Convenient

Cons

  • Pricey $$$

  • Need Added Moisture

The Bottom Line

When choosing the right type of food for your cats, it is always important to consult with your cats’ veterinarian and talk to your local pet specialty store to find the best option nutritionally, and budget wise for your and your favorite felines lifestyle. Always make sure your cat has access to clean and fresh drinking water!

We want to know what you feed your cat! Tell us in the comments!