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15.03.2022

How often should I feed my cat wet food? Daily portions improve digestive health this way

Nutritionists are gushing about the benefits of wet cat food. It isn’t as processed as dry food and usually mimics the nutrition profile of the natural diet of hardwired carnivores like cats. So, how often should I feed my cat wet food, and is it an ideal dietary solution for house cats

Wet food is usually the best choice among store-bought products, but cat parents should pay attention to the quality of a particular item and the feeding frequency for optimal results. A poor-quality wet food or an inconsistent feeding schedule will do more harm than good to your kitty.

We’ve compiled all the necessary info for you in this hands-on guide to help you tailor the best and tastiest diet for your kitty.

Wet meaty meals taste like heaven—I can eat this every day for the rest of my nine lives! Is that okay, hooman?

Image (c) Untamed

How often should cats eat wet food? What do vets recommend?

Wet food is not a special meal or an occasional treat. Cats can and should eat wet food every day because it agrees with the feline digestive system better than dry or semi-moist food.

Wild cats hunt and eat bugs, rodents, and small birds. Their bodies are used to processing raw meat, which is high in protein and has almost zero carbs. With that in mind, most vets recommend feeding only high-quality wet food to cats because of the:

  1. Nutritional value—Quality wet food typically contains more animal protein and fewer carbs than dry food. Cats do better when they absorb essential nutrients from whole meat rather than overprocessed dairy, legumes, or animal derivatives, which are often primary protein sources in kibbles
  2. Taste—Since wet food usually contains real meat and animal fat, it is tastier to felines than dry food
  3. HygieneB.A.R.F. (Biologically Appropriate Raw Feeding) diets may be popular with some cat parents, but the storage and handling of raw food from the human supply chain can cause bacterial contamination, even with strict precaution measures. Wet food is made from cooked meat packed in sterilised cans, so the risk of infection is practically non-existent
  4. Hydration—Cats need 50 millilitres of water per kilogram of their body weight. Since wet food contains 70–80% moisture, kitties on daily wet meals don’t suffer from dehydration, consequently avoiding urinary and renal ailments like cystitis, bladder stones, chronic kidney disease, etc.

Why do cats need wet food every day when they do fine on dry food?

Dry food is convenient because it is easy to store and serve. Most cats usually don't mind a nice portion of biscuits on their plate. So, why switch to wet food?

The negative impact of dry food is not visible in the beginning. Even if the product is tagged as high-protein or complete cat food, it could cause several issues in the long run, including:

  • Malnutrition or malabsorption—Dry food is usually a highly processed mix of meat derivatives. Exposed to extreme heat, the ingredients lose their nutritional value and bioavailability. Cats on a kibble diet may develop protein, mineral, or vitamin deficiency over time, which often leads to lethargy, excessive shedding, frequent hairballs, poor dental health, etc.
  • Poor digestion—Dry food contains hard-to-digest (and cheap) vegan ingredients like grains, soybeans, vegetables, and potato or rice starch that tamper with your cat’s natural digestive strength. Frequent consumption can lead to constipation, food intolerances, bowel diseases, and stomach sensitivities
  • Obesity—Biscuits are high in carbs. Even a high-protein dry food may have 20–40% of carbohydrates as binding agents. Cats don’t need dietary carbs as they get their daily calories from protein and fat, so eating dry food regularly generates a calorie surplus, causing weight gain and diabetes
  • Kidney disease—Kitties on a dry food diet tend to develop kidney ailments as they grow older, mostly due to the prolonged lack of adequate hydration

While dry food may help cats get by, they need regular wet meals to stay healthy and thrive.

Will regular wet meals affect my pet pantry budget?

Many cat parents stick to dry food because it’s affordable, but the math is not that simple. Feeding only dry food compromises your kitty’s quality of life and consequently increases your vet bills. 

Wet food is more expensive, but the switch won't affect your budget significantly. Cats feel satiated with a small serving of meat-loaded wet food, so you’ll probably save on the amount. Gravy and jelly dishes also improve eating habits in felines, so there should be no overeating, undereating, or throwing up undigested food.

If switching to regular wet food meals is not viable for you financially, opt for a mixed meal plan of both wet and dry meals.

You should strive to include at least one wet meal every day for cats on a hybrid diet. Give them:

  • Complementary wet food served as a standalone snack or with biscuits
  • Complete wet food as breakfast, lunch, or supper

What if wet food gives my kitty a tummy ache?

If your cat rejects wet food because it makes them sick, don't revert to biscuits. Find out what triggers an upset tummy, and switch to a different product if necessary. Here are some common reasons:

  • Low-quality meat—Cats have a keen sense of smell, so stale and rubbery meat is a turn-off for them. If your cat frequently retches or acts finicky while eating, switch to a product made from fresh whole meat and organs
  • High fat content—Fat improves the taste of food, but too much can cause diarrhoea and vomiting. Eggs, oils, milk, or other dairy products can also make food tastier yet cause gastrointestinal issues
  • Too many fillers—Wet food can also contain fillers like coarse grains, fibre, and vegetables to make up for the low meat content. Such products have low digestibility and taste bad, making cats lose their appetite
  • Harsh additives—Many manufacturers add artificial flavour enhancers and chemical preservatives to improve the taste and shelf life of wet food, but these additives can irritate the feline digestive system or even trigger an allergic reaction

Sometimes, it all comes down to your kitty’s taste preferences. Some cats like thick gravy dishes, while others prefer the lighter flavour of jelly.

What should I look for in wet food?

When choosing wet food, pay attention to its protein, fat, and carb content. The table below presents the optimal ratio of these nutrients:

Nutrient

Quantity

Protein

More than 50%

Fat

Up to 20%

Carbohydrate

Less than 3%

Both outdoor and indoor cats respond best to grain-free, high-protein, low-fat wet food made from highly digestible whole meat.

A clever trick to evaluate any cat food is to scan its first ingredient. Cat food ingredients are usually listed according to their weight, and the first component often indicates the primary protein source. Avoid products with vegetable proteins, meat derivatives, and chicken or fish meals (meals are also processed byproducts) at the top of the ingredient list.

Check out the following table to get the bioavailability of common protein sources used in cat food (the percentage of protein cats can effectively absorb):

Source

Bioavailability rate

Chicken

98%

Tuna, salmon, sardines, and shrimps

92%

Pork or ham

87%

Soya

68%

Corn, sweetcorn, wheatgerm, or other vegetable proteins and meat derivatives

Below 65%

Wet food supports your kitty’s health day in and day out, so give Untamed a go!

Image (c) Untamed

Do you want to offer nutritious and yummy wet food to your kitty? Get Untamed!

If you’re looking for complete and balanced wet food that perfectly satisfies your feline's nutritional needs, try Untamed. Our meals are made with the best cuts of fresh, human-grade whole meat and organs to optimise digestion and minimise tummy troubles. We refrain from harsh processing and gently steam our food to preserve its bioavailability, making it a perfect, nutrient-dense everyday meal for your furry companion! You can choose:

  1. Complete gravy food with 63% whole meat
  2. Complementary jelly food with 60% whole meat

Untamed is the best choice for your kitty because it is:

  • High-protein and low-fat—We offer twice as much protein as the industry standard and keep our meals low-fat to ensure your cat stays lean, muscular, and active. Our dishes are free from iffy fillers like grains, sugar, vegetable proteins, and meat derivatives
  • Formulated by vets—Cat nutritionists collaborated with us on every Untamed recipe. Our food is rich in essential micronutrients like taurine and vitamin E that keep seasonal illnesses at bay
  • Hypoallergenic—We use natural ingredients only. All our products are free from common allergens, harsh preservatives, or unhealthy taste enhancers, making them suitable for allergy-prone cats or kittens with weak digestion
  • Delicious—Our preparation methods preserve the natural palatability of meat. It’ll be hard for any kitty to resist the taste and aroma of our tasty morsels

We’d love to get to know your kitty. Take our TRY NOW quiz today and tell us about their taste preferences, allergies, food sensitivities, and life stage. You can tailor-make a meal plan and get a taster pack at the best rate!

Worried about how much or how often to feed your cat? You’re in control with Untamed!

Untamed comes in conveniently-sized tins, so you can control how much or often your cat eats. Whether you’re dealing with an adult cat on a low-calorie diet or a weak senior cat who needs to gain weight, all you have to do is tweak the number of cans you use in a day.

If your cat loves variety in their meals, Untamed delivers precisely what they need. Check out our various protein-rich dishes:

  • Chocka Chicken in Gravy and Jelly
  • Chocka Chicken with Duck in Jelly
  • Chocka Chicken with Ham in Gravy
  • Tuck-in Tuna in Gravy and Jelly
  • Tuck-in Tuna with Shrimp in Gravy
  • Tuck-in Tuna with Salmon in Jelly
  • Full-on Fishy in Gravy

We believe in ethical cat food production and ensure our meat comes from cruelty-free sources. Our seafood is also sustainably fished and dolphin safe.

 

Kitties don’t fuss about food when they have the best at their pawtips—Untamed delivers unmatchable deliciousness in each can!

Image (c) Untamed

From kittenhood to old age—Untamed helps your cat stay fit and fun

Our formulas work for cats of all breeds and ages. Here’s how Untamed helps them develop and thrive:

Our satisfied clients noticed continual improvements in their cat’s health after switching to Untamed. Here’s the expected timeline:

Timeline 

The Untamed effect

One week

  • A less messy litter-tray
  • Optimised digestion and pooing habits

Two months

  • Healthy appetite
  • No lethargy
  • Better muscle tone

Four months and beyond

  • Natural weight control
  • Fewer hairballs
  • Glossy coat
  • Top-notch immune system

Untamed delivers to your doorstep

We offer free home delivery of cat food for everyone because we value your comfort and convenience. Here’s how to get your taster pack:

  1. Complete our TRY NOW quiz
  2. Make a customised meal plan
  3. Place your order

Your taster pack will be delivered to your doorstep within a day. Once your kitty approves our meals, we will replenish your Untamed supplies every month. While we make it easy for you to buy cat food online in bulk, you can still modify, postpone, skip, or cancel a delivery anytime.

We run sustainable and eco-friendly operations, so our carbon footprint is neutral, and our packaging is recyclable.

Cat food with a heart—we are Carbon Neutral Certified and use recyclable packaging.

Image (c) Untamed

How often do cats need to eat in a day?

Most cats eat about two to three full meals a day. The frequency depends on their:

  • Bodyweight—Most cats need about 40–50 calories a day per kilo of their body weight. Large breeds like Ragdolls and Maine Coons may eat more frequently or consume bigger portions
  • Activity level—If your cat is a playful trooper, they’ll eat more often. Active breeds like Bengals and Siamese may need three meals a day, and laid-back British Shorthairs and Persians will thrive on two 
  • CircumstancesPregnant and lactating queens may need more than three meals a day until their litter is weaned off

The protein content in cat food also impacts the number of servings, as this nutrient makes felines feel full and satiated. A cat on high-protein wet food should feel fine on two meals per day. 

What about kittens? How many times a day should a baby cat eat?

Kittens have higher caloric needs than adults. Once kittens are ready to be weaned off, they must eat about four to five times a day for a few months (usually six) for steady growth. When they reach their optimal weight, you can gradually reduce the number of meals.

Avoid giving dry food to kittens as its coarse texture can be harsh on their tummies and lead to sore gums. Feeding balanced portions of high-quality wet food will ensure they develop a muscular physique and healthy eating habits as they grow into adults.

How often should you feed a senior cat wet food?

If your cat has been eating low-fat wet food with plenty of meat every day as an adult, you should stick to the same feeding regime after the age of ten. In case your cat has been eating only dry food or a combined diet, gradually transition them to grain-free wet food to support healthy ageing.

Seniors need gently cooked meat served in light gravy or jelly for effortless digestion. Avoid giving them any cat food with too many fruit and vegetable fillers like carrots, bananas, strawberries, and apples. Such products are advertised as “rich in vitamins,” but cats are wired to absorb vitamins from meat, not plants. The cellulose in plants is indigestible to cats and can trigger a nasty bout of diarrhoea in older felines.

I need the same old meat to have the best adventures in my twilight years. Don't bother me with fruits and veggies, human!

Source: Alessandro Simonetto

How often do I feed my cat wet food when they’re sick?

Even though wet food is ideal for sick cats, they may not be up for their usual two or three meals per day during recovery. You should follow your sick kitty’s instincts and offer them one or two wet meals in a day, along with the following homemade dishes:

  • A nutritious broth made with bones (make sure to strain out the bones before serving)
  • A light soup made with boneless chicken

Don’t use seasoning as cats cannot handle too much salt, pepper, and spices, especially when they’re unwell. Avoid adding the following forbidden ingredients (they are poisonous to all felines):

  1. Onions, garlic, chives, and other allium vegetables
  2. Grapes and cherries
  3. Green tomatoes or potatoes
  4. Wild mushrooms

You can return to your cat's regular feeding pattern when they completely recover. Contact a vet if your cat refuses food for more than a day.