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15.12.2021

Mixing wet and dry cat food—the pawsitives and the negatives

Choosing the perfect food for your furry friend can take a lot of time and effort because you must find the highest-quality product even fussy felines will approve of. The ongoing debate and conflicting info on wet and dry cat food don’t make the choice any easier. Could you take the best of both worlds and mix wet and dry cat food? This article will tackle the topic and examine the following:

  • The pros and cons of feeding your cat wet or dry cat food
  • Potential benefits of mixing wet and dry cat food
  • Combining different types of cat food
  • Recognising quality cat food
  • Additional ways to spice up your cat’s menu

If I take a biscuit or two, they won’t notice…  
Source: Freepik

Reasons why you should (not) mix cat food

Whether mixing cat food is a good choice for your cat depends on many factors, such as:

  1. Your feline’s lifestyle (indoor or outdoor cat)
  2. Any food allergies they have
  3. Your schedule
  4. Medical conditions your cat might be struggling with

Let’s examine the pros and cons of mixing cat food.

Benefits of mixing cat food

Some specialists claim mixing cat food can help:

  • Improve your feline’s water intake—When fed dry food only, cats may suffer from dehydration due to the lack of moisture in cat biscuits, which causes constipation, urinary tract issues, cystitis, struvite crystals, and kidney problems. Mixing wet with dry food levels out the lack of moisture
  • Expand your furry friend’s menu—Some cats prefer the crunch of dry food, while others enjoy the palatability of wet products, but no one wants to eat the same meal every day. Mixing different textures and flavours ensures your cat always has something new to taste
  • Wean kittens off milk—Wet food softens cat biscuits, making them easier for kittens to chew and swallow
  • Switch your cat from one type of food to another—Your furry friend will accept new food more easily if you gradually add it to their current favourite dish for around two weeks
  • Balance your cat’s diet without overspending—Dry food is typically cheaper than wet food but nutritionally inferior. Fortunately, you can balance out its nutritional shortcomings by adding jelly or gravy products to dry biscuits
  • Feed a cat with dental problems—You can make cat kibble easier to ingest by adding wet food to soften the texture

I’ll never understand humans. They find us cute when we eat?!

Image (c) Untamed

Disadvantages of mixing cat food

In some situations, combining different products can be counter-productive. You should avoid mixing cat food if:

  • Your cat is on a prescription or therapeutic diet—Combining regular commercial products with prescription cat food without consulting your vet can affect the efficacy of the treatment. Prescription cat food is often rich in a particular ingredient (while lacking in others). If you wish to expand their menu, consult a vet to find solutions that won’t impact your cat’s food regime
  • Your budget doesn’t allow variety—You may not be able to afford to buy two types of food on a regular basis. Keep in mind that after being fed mixed meals, cats typically never switch back to one type of food
  • You don’t have the time to portion the meals—Inadequate serving amounts and caloric intake can trigger various health issues, such as weight loss or gain, digestive problems, and poor coat quality
  • You’re not sure whether your cat has food allergies—Whenever you buy new cat food, allow your kitty to have a taste and monitor their reaction. The best course of action is to add it to their regular meal. That way, you can prevent an allergic reaction

Mom forgot to go cat food shopping, AGAIN!

Source: Pixabay

How to mix wet and dry food

There are two ways to mix the products:

  1. Combined feeding—Serving wet food when you’re home and dry food when you’re away. This method prevents wet food from going bad in your cat’s bowl, while dry food allows them to have something to nibble on throughout the day
  2. Mixed meals—Mixing wet and dry products in every meal

Is it advisable to always feed a cat with the same type of food?

In theory, feeding your cat one type of food is not bad as long as the food is nutritionally complete. Unfortunately, practice shows that many products on the market are not well-balanced and can’t be used as the only food for a cat. In such cases, you can start mixing cat food or adding nutritional supplements to your cat’s diet to avoid them developing a nutrient deficiency.

What makes a complete cat meal

For a cat diet to be healthy and complete, it needs to contain more than 50% protein and up to 20% fat. Many brands don't take these recommendations seriously and sell products that don’t meet feline nutritional needs. The latest craze for vegan cat food is dangerous for cats as their digestive system isn’t designed to absorb plant protein. You should stick to products containing named meat, fish, and seafood ingredients, such as:

  • Chicken
  • Sardines
  • Duck
  • Tuna
  • Mackerel
  • Turkey
  • Prawns
  • Shrimp

Mum, this buffet breakfast looks a little… undercooked?

Image (c) Untamed

Meat is also the only source of particular amino acids cats cannot produce on their own, such as taurine. Another vital amino acid is arginine, which is present in meat and in many other foods, such as eggs, dairy products, and some grains. Keep in mind that meat is the only viable source of protein for felines because of a compatible amino acid profile.

Signs of nutrient deficiency

Regardless of the food type, you should always look out for symptoms of nutritional deficiency in your kitty, such as:

  • Bald spots
  • Gas and bloating
  • Dry skin
  • Inflamed gums (red and swollen)
  • Reduced grooming
  • Weight loss
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Poor eyesight (disorientation and bumping into objects at home)
  • Vomiting
  • Stool changes (repeating episodes of hard stool or diarrhoea)

If you notice these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your vet and discuss changing your cat’s current diet to a tailored meal plan.

When lunch is paw-licking good!

Source: Pixabay

Which is better—wet or dry cat food?

Both types of food are popular, but each has its pros and cons. Check out the table below for more details:

Food type

Pros

Cons

Wet food

●     High moisture content, which prevents dehydration

●     Appealing texture

●     Typically less processed than dry food

●     Good for gastrointestinal health

●     Typically richer in protein

●     Suitable for cats of all ages due to its softness

●     Can’t stay in the bowl too long because it spoils quickly and is more sensitive to contamination (easily solved by cleaning the food bowl after a meal)

●     Typically more expensive than dry cat food but more affordable in the long run because it’s filling and nutritionally complete

Dry food

●     Highly calorific compared to its wet counterpart

●     Good for your cat’s dental health because chewing on it helps scrape off tartar

●     Longer shelf life

●     Can be left out in the bowl for longer periods

●     Easier to store and clean up

●     Some manufacturers include a lot of fillers in their dry food

●     Loads of carbs that are harder to digest and can lead to diabetes

●     Contains significantly less moisture and more sodium than wet food, which could cause dehydration

The type of food is relevant but not as much as its nutritional value and the manufacturer’s production practices.

Choosing the right cat food—Cat food labels 101

To help you choose the best cat food for your furry friend, we’ll explain some confusing terms you can find on cat food labels:

Term

Meaning

Light

The calorific value of the food is 15% lower than most same-category products

Fresh

Ingredients used during production can only be refrigerated. All other preservation methods—such as freezing or adding preservatives—are banned

Natural

The use of additives and synthetical ingredients is forbidden. The manufacturers cannot process the product with chemicals

Organic

The tools used for food processing undergo special cleaning procedures. No genetically modified organisms and artificial flavourings can be used in the production process

Complete

This term is legally binding and guarantees that the product contains all essential nutrients in required amounts

Increased/reduced

The product contains 15% more or less of the mentioned ingredient

No added

Made without

Without added

Formulated without

The ingredient in question was not used directly or indirectly in the production process, not even as an additive or animal food

Crude protein/fat

Approximate content of the mentioned nutrient in the food (often inaccurate because nutrient extraction methods are flawed)

Dry matter basis

The presence of a particular nutrient after extracting all moisture out of it (typically shown in percentages)

Throw Untamed into the mix!

Our meals contain all the nutrients essential for cats, so Untamed is a perfect choice for a nutritionally complete cat diet. We don’t compromise on the taste, either! Finicky cats love our food because we gently steam human-grade fish, meat, and seafood to lock the natural flavours and aromas.

Why Untamed?

By choosing Untamed, you’re saying no to useless ingredients, such as:

  • Grains—An unnecessary filler and a cat allergen (in specific cases)
  • Sugar—The allowed carb intake for cats is limited to 3%, but sugar is not supposed to be included in that percentage
  • Vegetable proteins—Cat’s don’t have enzymes necessary to digest and absorb plant protein
  • Animal derivatives—Your cat deserves to munch on human-grade meat, not industry leftovers that are not fit for human consumption
  • Artificial colouring and flavouring—Nutritionally poor cat food relies on artificial flavouring to entice your cat

Untamed says yes to:

  • Vet-formulated cat food
  • Sustainably sourced ingredients
  • Two times more protein compared to the industry standard
  • Meals that don’t require defrosting or extra prep
  • A convenient delivery system
  • Ethical cat food production, packaging, and shipping

Minimising our carbon paw-print never looked so pretty!

Image (c) Untamed

What happens when you go Untamed?

Satisfied cat parents report the following changes in their furry companions’ health after switching to Untamed:

Time

Changes

One week

Better digestion, consistent bowel activity, and a tidy litter box

Two months

Increase in energy levels and playfulness

Four months

Less irritating hairballs thanks to a softer and shinier coat and seamless digestion

For life

Long-term weight control and swift immune response

Not sure whether your cat will like it? Let them be the judge of that, and order your trial pack now!

Untamed has something for every cat!

Whether you have a Bengal, Siamese, Persian, Maine Coon, or British Shorthair, we have tailor-made plans for your kittens, adults, or seniors of any breed, size, and age.

To get your personalised plan:

  1. Take our short quiz to tell us all about your kitty
  2. Choose a meal plan
  3. Place your order

What are other ways to spice up your cat’s diet?

Besides mixing different cat foods, there are other ways you can add novelty to your feline’s diet. Here's what you can give to your cat:

Some vets also recommend adding nutritional yeast—deactivated yeast that has a cheesy taste—to your cat’s meals as a taste enhancer and a natural source of vitamin B, protein, and chromium. Don’t mistake it with regular yeast that is dangerous for felines and should be avoided at all costs.

Can I mix homemade cat food with commercial products?

Making homemade cat food can be beneficial if the meals are cooked and portioned according to your vet’s instructions because homemade biscuits and gravy are typically highly calorific and could lead to significant weight gain.

The way to a cat’s heart is through their food bowl.

Image (c) Untamed

Foods you should never give to your cat

Humans are omnivores, and what’s healthy for us can be unsuitable or even dangerous for cats.

Avoid the following in your cat's diet:

  • Milk, cheese, sour cream, or any other dairy product—Most cats are intolerant to lactose (milk sugar), and many are allergic to casein (milk protein), so including these ingredients could cause diarrhoea, stomach cramps, allergic reactions, and other health problems
  • Raw eggs—Despite being an excellent source of protein, eggs are bad for cats because they can carry bacteria, such as E. Coli and Salmonella. Another problem, albeit a less common one, is when a protein found in egg whites, called avidin, prevents the absorption of biotin from food
  • Condiments—When you’re desperate to get your cat to eat, you might reach for the mayo or ketchup in your fridge, but most sauces and dressings contain too much sugar, fat, and artificial flavour enhancers that could harm your furry friend
  • Human spices—Spices are made from herbs and plants, which are useless for cats, who are obligate carnivores. Some spices are even toxic to cats, such as sodium, cloves, allspice, and pepper
  • Green tomatoes, green potatoes, eggplant, and black nightshade berries—Refrain from using these ingredients because of a toxic substance called solanine
  • Allium vegetables—Onion, garlic, chives, and shallot can damage red blood cells and cause anaemia in cats
  • Citrus fruits—Oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, and lemons contain citric acid, which can hurt cats
  • Apples, pears, and cherries—The skin, stems, seeds, and leaves of these fruits could cause cyanide poisoning
  • Grapes and raisins—Feeding grapes or raisins can cause kidney damage and failure
  • Cocoa products (such as chocolate)—Theobromine and caffeine in chocolate are toxic to cats
  • Dog food—Canine products cause a nutritional deficiency in cats due to different dietary requirements of the species
  • Coconut meat and water—The meat causes stomach upsets, while the water has high contents of potassium
  • Nuts—Macadamia are toxic while other kinds cause digestive problems

Is your cat determined not to eat? Try these tricks

Cats refuse to eat for numerous reasons. While mixing different types of cat food might help, sometimes it’s not enough to spark your furry friend’s interest in food. If that’s the case, try the following methods:

  1. Heating your cat’s meal—Cold food can lose the appetising aroma, but warming the meal helps release the food’s smell and makes it more appealing
  2. Buying smaller packs—Big packs might be a more affordable option, but it's a two-edged sword if your cat loves fresh food (and most cats do). Once you open the product, it goes stale pretty quickly, so your feline will likely refuse to eat it. Opt for smaller packs that can be eaten in one meal
  3. Letting your cat go hungry—Cats can refuse to eat because they’re not hungry at the moment. Whether that’s the case or your cat refuses to eat the particular food you’ve served, leave the food in their bowl because they'll probably eat it when they get hungry
  4. Change the food bowl—Cats can get their whiskers dirty when they bend over to reach food in a deep bowl. Whiskers play a crucial role in your cat’s sensory system, and getting them dirty causes a lot of discomfort to your furry friend. Plastic dishes can absorb aromas and smells, so your feline may react to that as well. Use stainless steel or ceramic bowls and wash them regularly