How Much Wet Food You Should Feed A Cat

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The choice of foods that are available for our cats is huge and can be a little overwhelming. Not only is there wet and dry food, but various textures of wet food, from stews to chunks in gravy to tinned, paté-style foods. So how much wet food should you feed your cat? The short answer is that it’s entirely up to you (and your cat!).

Complete and balanced

It’s very important that whatever food your cat is on, it should be complete and balanced. This means that it provides all the nutrients for your cat’s life stage and in the right proportions. You can feed your cat dry kibble only if you want to, as long as it is complete and balanced and you provide plenty of fresh water at all times. However, there are advantages to feeding wet food and indeed a combination of wet and dry.

Hooked on textures

Cats are very particular creatures in lots of ways. It’s what makes them so endearing! It’s the same when it comes to food. Early in life, cats can get hooked easily on certain textures of food. This means that if you just feed wet or dry from a young age, your cat may never want to eat anything else. This may not be a problem, but sometimes circumstances change and you may need your cat to eat something different. For example, if your cat is hooked on dry food but then gets a problem like a bladder stone, feeding wet food makes a huge difference because it’s the easiest way to increase your cat’s water intake. Conversely, wet food is more expensive than dry food, so if your cat is hooked on wet food and your financial situation changes, you might need to switch them to dry.

With this in mind, whenever you get a cat or kitten, try to feed a mixture of wet and dry so that your cat stays adaptable throughout their life.

The advantages of wet food

  • Water intake. As we mentioned, the biggest advantage of wet food is water intake. Cats are descended from desert-dwelling African wild cats, so they are really good at conserving water and don’t tend to drink very much. However, water intake is really important, especially with certain diseases such as the bladder issues we mentioned. If urine is very concentrated, it is much more likely to form into crystals and stones, and will be much more irritating to a damaged bladder lining, possibly leading to cystitis.

  • Palatability. Wet food tends to be viewed as a real treat by many cats, so it’s a great way to enforce your beautiful bond with your cat without indulging in too many treats.

  • Medication. Cats are notoriously difficult to medicate. Wet food can be really useful for hiding medication, especially if your cat needs to be on it long-term.

  • Variety. Wet food comes in a wide variety of textures and flavours, so it’s an easy way to keep your cat’s food interesting.

So, how much wet food should you feed your cat?

As we said, this is entirely up to you. As long as the wet and dry food you are feeding are both complete and balanced, you can vary the proportions as much as you like. Cats do well with small frequent meals, so you may find that it suits you to feed wet food twice a day yourself to give your cat a nice treat, and then have a timer feeder feed dry food throughout the day. You can feed 100% wet if you want to, 0%, or anything in between. Just remember that feeding some of each will help you if ever you need to switch to one or the other.

Reviewed by Dr. Hein Meyer, DVM, PhD, Dipl-ECVIM-CA