By Ashley Watson
While dogs will eat most anything, including poop, cats are picky eaters. In addition to their discriminating taste in food, they are even more sensitive about their water. Keeping your cat hydrated is perhaps the number one way to prevent a urinary tract infection. If you are a new cat owner, you should know that UTIs in cats are common, so talk to your vet about how to keep your cat healthy. This includes making sure that your cat drinks plenty of water and eats high-quality food.
Most veterinarians would agree that wet food is the optimal choice over dry food. Wet food is ideal for proper nutrition, and for preventing many common issues in cats, including obesity. The three main reasons for choosing wet food are related to hydration, getting the right amount of protein, and reducing carbohydrates.
1. Wet Food Contains High Water Content
If you have trouble keeping your cat hydrated, then you already know that cats are not prone to drinking enough water. There are many reasons behind this and many potential solutions, but one of the easiest ways to sneak water into their diet is to serve them wet food at every meal. All canned cat foods contain a high percentage of water. Lisa A. Pierson, DVM states on her website, “I would much rather see a cat eat any canned food versus any dry food – regardless of quality level of the canned food.”
Dr. Pierson also points out that some canned foods that contain a high percentage of moisture may fill the rest with ash and other fillers that are not good for the cat. She recommends getting a food that contains no more than 78% in moisture.
2. Canned Cat Food Contains More Animal Protein
Cats are predators, and much of their natural diet comes from animal protein. That’s why it’s important to make sure domestic cats get the right amount and type of protein in their diet. Some labels will claim to have as high as 98% protein, but keep in mind that some of this could be low-grade meat that is high in fat.
Also, think about what they would hunt or eat in the wild. Most vets recommend chicken or turkey based canned food, but some cats are difficult to please. Ask your vet if you want to know how much protein your cat needs, and what type. While many cats love salmon and tuna canned food, there are other considerations when feeding them fish. Canned tuna manufactured for human consumption is not recommended.
3. Wet Food is Lower in Carbohydrates
As a general rule, cats need a diet that is high in protein and moisture, and low in carbs. Wet food contains much less carbohydrates than dry food. Keep in mind that not all “grain-free” food means that it is low in carbs. Some companies will add potatoes, peas, or other veggies that are not considered grains but that are high in carbohydrates. Again, just keep in mind what a cat would eat in the wild.
Talk to Your Vet
Feeding your cat wet food as opposed to dry food is important for weight management, UTI prevention, and maintaining an overall balanced, healthy diet for your cat. As always, it’s important to talk to your vet about any diet changes or ways to keep your cat healthy. Switching to canned food is one way to ensure that they get the nutrition they need.
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