Written By : M Samy

Is it ok to give cats dry food only ?

Is it ok to give cats dry food only ?

No, cats should never be strictly fed dry food, even if it is of high quality, and despite the reasoning of veterinarians, dry food is a good solution for parents but never for cats, since the process of creating this type of food tends to destroy the nutrients and vitamins contained in the food, and adding additives to a cat’s dry food to enhance the taste and palatability will never make it an excellent choice for your cat.

Is it ok to give cats dry food only ?

Cats should be fed well-balanced wet food from the time they are weaned and dry food should be a minimal part of your cat’s diet, only as a treat between meals and only for cats that are exercising.

When you let your cat free feed dry food, the first problem is that your cat will certainly overeat and risk becoming “carbohydrate addicts” and obese because cheap dry cat food is usually higher in calories because of their very high level of carbohydrates.

The risks when a cat only eats dry food

You may ask: can cats live on dry food only? The answer is no, cats should never be fed only kibble, even the best quality kibble.

Cats fed only dry food are at risk of many health problems, including urinary tract blockages, obesity which could lead to diabetes and heart disease, chronic kidney disease, feline interstitial cystitis and urolithiasis.

Giving plenty of water to a cat that only eats dry food will not solve this problem and it is best to transition your cat from dry food to semi-dry food and finally to a wet food diet.

Why feeding your cat only dry food is unsafe for him?

Dry food can never replace the natural diet of cats, although some manufacturers boast of using premium ingredients and real meat as protein in their recipes.

Dry food is essentially made of dough, some veggies, cereals and ground meat at best.

But unfortunately, many manufacturers don’t use real meat but meat derivatives which means slaughterhouse waste and offal, while others replace the meat with eggs and I’m not talking about the quality of the meat used to make your cat’s kibble.

Dry Food contains only synthetic molecules injected into the dough, including sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride, biotin, menadione sodium bisulfite complex, manganous oxide and all the preservatives.

Personally, these words scare me and these cheap chemical compounds will never replace the vitamins, amino acids, fatty acids, minerals and the high animal-based protein ratio that wet food contains, especially the good brands prepared with good quality ingredients and healthy meat as protein intake.

Cat and kitten’s biscuits are too high in carbohydrates and cats, who are carnivores by nature, are not designed to digest these ingredients and this will eventually lead to serious health problems which will make your cat unhappy and increase your bill at the vet’s of course.

Some biscuits are made with vegetable protein and fiber which makes them very low in taurine (cats can’t produce it naturally and have to consume it regularly), this amino acid that will prevent your cat from many problems, including heart problems, low immunity, gastric problems, etc.

While canned food will improve the health of your cat’s internal organs, including the kidneys, liver and heart; preserve their muscle tone, help them avoid obesity and its drawbacks.

It is better to invest your money in feeding your cat well instead of having to spend it on endless lists of treatments.

Signs that dry food is causing problems for your cat:

A cat fed strictly with dry food is at risk of developing several diseases, I will list them below, but you will notice these symptoms, especially signs of allergies if your cat no longer tolerates dry food and this is a sign that you must absolutely change his diet to wet food:

  • Lethargy and lack of energy
  • Refusal to eat 
  • Overweight or rapid weight loss (may be caused by other problems)
  • Nausea and vomiting right after eating
  • Excessive itching and bald areas.
  • Food allergies
  • Diarrhea
  • Skin wounds and ulcerations.

Is there any medicine to get my cat to like wet food?

No, no treatment will force your cat to transition quickly from dry food to wet or canned food and you must teach your cat to like wet food by using his favorite kibble and treats as a topper and sprinkling them on his bowl after serving his wet food.

Which is better for my cat, dry food or wet food?

So, should you be giving your cat wet or dry food?

Ideally, you should give your cat grain-free canned food and only twice to 3 times a day and since cats tend to like that crunchy texture of the dry food which is one of the factors that causes them to like to eat only dry food, you should accompany your cat in the process of transitioning from dry food to wet food, to get your cat to like canned food and/or start eating wet food again.

How to transition your cat from dry to wet food?

So, how to get my cat to eat wet food again? Cats develop their eating habits when they are young and if your cat was only fed kibble after weaning, it will be difficult for him to like wet food after that.

My first advise : don’t rush it ! Start with smaller portions and gradually work your way to half,3/4 and finally to full wet food diet , this process may take 2 weeks , even more for picky cats.

Don’t worry, it’s just a matter of habit and with a little patience and love, you’ll get your cat to like wet food and finally avoid the risks associated with the dry food diet.

When a cat can no longer continue to eat dry food, especially if it must absolutely eat only wet food for health reasons, especially if it has chronic bladder infections or kidney stones for example, it will be necessary to go slowly in order to make it like wet food and the best method to make it accept to eat a healthy canned food is the following:

Transitioning cats can take a little time and a lot of patience and the best way to reduce this transition period is to find the best wet food brand and taste that your cat would like to eat.

You will then need a chopper grinder to grind your cats’ usual cat’s favorite food (just a small handful) and favorite treats into a powder.

After that, pour your cat’s wet food into the bowl and sprinkle the grinded dry food over the wet food to make a topper.

This will encourage your cat to eat his new food as he will recognize the taste and smell.

PS/ never mix two different flavors and if your cat loves chicken dry food, you will have to use chicken-based wet food.

Cats give a lot of importance to the smell of their food, so make sure that your cat’s kibble has a good smell which will make the wet food very appetizing and attractive to your cat.

At the beginning, you can remove some of the water from the canned food before sprinkling dry food on the food and you will gradually increase the amount of water (liquid) in the bowl and decrease the amount of grinded dry food that you sprinkle until your cat gets used to eating only wet food.

What can I give my cat instead of wet food ?

Do cats get bored of wet food ? yes, that’s why you have to vary the flavors and textures of your cat’s wet food before thinking of giving him anything else !

If you want an alternative to wet canned food for your cat, you’ll have to make him like the food you prepare for yourself, but without the seasonings.

You don’t have to buy wet food for your cat, you can prepare it yourself using your cat’s favorite meat that you will boil without seasoning and as a filler vegetables like carrots, peas, green beans, broccoli, asparagus, pumpkin (steamed or boiled) and even cereals like boiled rice or other wheat based foods like bread or couscous.

Why does my cat suddenly prefer dry food ?

But ,why doesn’t my cat like wet food anymore? Why is my cat not interested in his favorite wet food ? How can I get my cat to like wet food?

There could be many reasons why your cat suddenly stopped eating wet food, here are the most common ones and how to quickly solve this problem:

First of all, you need to make sure that your cat is not sick and does not have any dental problems, offer him some treats, if he eats them, you will check the following points:

  • Your cat just got bored with the same wet food, its odor, flavor or texture.
  • You may be giving your cat too many treats between meals when he is not getting enough exercise.
  • Your cat is stealing food from your dog without your knowledge!
  • The wet food you serve your cat may not be meeting his nutritional needs, it may not contain enough protein.
  • Your cat’s wet food is of poor quality and the manufacturer does not use real meat in its recipes.
  • Your cat’s canned food has lost its odor or expiration date or has lost its palatability and taste.
  • You may need to reheat the food a bit before serving it to your cat (when it is cold).
  • You may need to sprinkle a little grinded treats on the wet food to enhance the smell.
  • You can also try adding some boiled meat cut into pieces to his bowl and mix it with his canned food.

My cat stopped liking food 

If you serve wet food to your cat and he only eats solid food, he will risk dehydration, especially in the summer, so encourage your cat to finish his bowl by sprinkling some grinded treats on the water in his food to encourage him to lick it.

Do older cats stop eating wet food?

No, older cats usually prefer wet food, as it is easier to chew and digest, but senior cats may refuse to eat for other reasons, such as illness or dental problems.

As a cat gets older, it will tend to eat only a small amount of food but will return to its bowl several times a day, so consider leaving your cat’s food available.

Senior cats also have difficulty warming up their bodies and regulating their temperature, so remember to warm up their wet food a little before serving, especially in winter.

When do kittens stop eating dry food?

Kittens can live a healthy life without ever eating dry food and after 4-6 weeks, kittens can be introduced directly to wet food, of good quality of course and rich in protein (real meat). You can add a piece of chicken or mutton meat to the food that you will crumble so that your kitten can chew it easily.

Your kitten can then continue to eat well-balanced normal canned cat food after her first birthday (after 12 months).

Dry food should be given to cats and kittens just as a treat and the quality should be excellent, otherwise, you can prepare your cat’s treats yourself.

How to feed cat wet food while away?

Ideally, your cat should be fed three to four times a day , even though cats can go a long time without eating, and older cats never finish their meal and prefer to eat small portions at any time of the day.

There are a few ways to feed your cat wet food while away:

1) Ask a friend, neighbor or cousin or use the services of a pet sitter, who will come to your house at noon and feed your cat.

2) Feed your cat before leaving for work and leave another portion in a second bowl but after having frozen it so that your cat can eat it only after 2 to 3 hours which will correspond to the midday meal.

3. use an automatic wet food feeder that will serve your cat its meals during your absence.

Final Thoughts

Cats are natural predators and their diet should never be strictly dry food. If you can’t buy wet canned food for your cat, you can prepare his food yourself and keep it in the freezer.

Dry food should only be offered to your cat as a treat as this type of food often loses most of its nutritional value before it even leaves the factory and your cat will never have a healthy life if it only eats dry food.

Here is my own experience now as cat parents: my cats and I have two of them now “Pitchy and Pitchou” never eat kibble. I give them what I eat myself, I prepare their food sometimes and as a treat, I often give them fish (sardines) and chicken pieces. They are in excellent shape and this is their diet since they are weaned.

And if I make the effort to propose dry food for cats in my articles, it’s just because some parents can’t convince their cat to eat wet food and I make the effort to select the least bad brand just as an alternative.

M Samy pet blogger and author at famillypet

About Author

Hey! Salim Makhloufi (alias M. Samy) here , Welcome to my Blog I'm an animal lover, especially pets and Really concerned about their well being ; I've been around and caring for all my life and Now ; a full-time Pet blogger at your service . My motto here at Famillypet is: "Pets First" ... Read More