wet versus dry (food)

My son wants a kitten soon. He’s already said it should be orange tabby.
My question is is wet or dry cat food better?
My neighbor says dry will kep their teeth healthier, but I had cats years ago and fed them wet food (okay, moist) and they never went to the dr.
How about table food?

I started mine out on wet + dry (some wet in the am and pm, and dry to sit out during the day). they quickly got to the point that the dry was’nt “good enough”. Then, later on when they had to be on (seperate, of course) speciality dry food, it became an issue.

They’ll do whatever you get them used to. Dry is easiest for you (especially if you have to go away) and most prescription foods come in dry (so if you ever need to do that, they’ll be used to it).

canned is always good then for a treat (as is baby food meats - but frankly, my cat would always spot the pill in it if you tried that as a camoflauge)

Table scraps. Yes, cats will always expect these. Don’t know that they’re vet approved. hard to resist and then you get into food oddities:

Spike liked Honeydew melon (not cantelope or watermelon, just honeydew). He wasn’t a big fan of other table scraps.

Mouse loved: Muenster cheese (all cheeses, of course, but this was a special love), turkey, potato chips, white chocolate, and her favorite - doughnuts.

I found out about the doughnuts one day when I was having company over like 11 am on a Sunday, so had a plate full of doughnuts on the coffee table. went to the kitchen, turned and saw this long skinny grey arm reach out from under the table and, with one claw, snag a doughnut.

Whenever we bought doughnuts after that, we’d always buy 2 doughnut holes just for her (to leave us alone). I swear she recognized Dunkin Donut logo. The day after she died, we were at the grocery store and my son wanted some doughnuts. I started crying.

We always give out cats Nutrience Brand dry kitten food, even when they are adults. This is a good quality dry food that has no crap added to it, unlike a wet food that is just miscellaneous animal parts mixed with ash and jelly-like agents in many cases…
I don’t like my cats having low-quality food, just becasue it is cheaper.
Dry food also scrapes their teeth as they chew, and prevents build-up of plaque that could lead to costly dental bills later on. Just to clean a cat’s teeth is about 70 bucks CDN, so that’s nutty.

THe dry food has better ingredients, lasts longer, is less likely to cause a urinary tract infection, and smells much better.

Get your cat food from a pet shop, and get a brand that has no “meat by-products”. Ask your vet to recommend one.
Again, I use Nutrience, but that might not be available where you are…

Well I just took one of my cats to the vets last night and he always asks if I feed them dry food. It does help to keep the teeth clean and healthy. I sometimes give my cats wet food and two of three eat it. Both of those have had to have their teeth cleaned, the other hasn’t. I’d let them get used to the dry food and be done with it. The dry food is cheaper, easier, and less messy.

I’d say a combination. Yes, dry is better for a cat’s teeth, but it’s hard on their digestive track, I’ve heard.
Table scraps-no, not a good idea. Every once in a while, but try not to make a habit of it.

Somehow, I doubt this’ll stay in Great Debates for very long.

Most canned cat food (and dog food, for that matter) is all full of extra garbage like sugars and fats that are designed only to make your pet like it, not to be good for them. It’s so you can say, “I feed my cat canned food because she likes it more.”

A couple factors to consider:[ul][li]If a cat eats more of brand A than brand B, it doesn’t necessarily mean he likes it more. He may just not be getting enough nutrients from it and needs to eat more.[/li][li]Even if they did like one more than the other, they can’t read labels. That’s your job: to determine what is the healthiest food for them to eat. I like hot fudge sundaes better than greens and grains.[/li][li]Cats and dogs don’t have the same kind of monotony issues we have. It’s not unusual in the wild for a predator to live near a particular prey population and eat almost exclusively one kind of nimal. He may move elsewhere if the prey is depleted, but not from being tired of it.[/li][li]The tooth-and-gum issue is very important: the more canned food your pet eats, the more dental problems he or she will likely develop.[/li][li]The very, very best canned cat food on the market–the canned cat food with the best balance of nutrients, and the least extra junk–is essentially dry food with water added (usually around 70%). If you really want to pay extra money for the privilege of carrying home extra water–not to mention dealing with the mess and smell–by all means, do so. Or you could occasionally add a bit of water or broth to your cat’s food and give them “home made” canned food as a treat.[/li][li]The, um, final byproduct of most canned cat food–while not as stinky as the byproduct of cheap, sugar-and-additive-filled, grocery-store cat food–is much stinkier than the byproduct of a good dry cat food.[/ul][/li]FWIW, I put myself through school working at a pet shop, and I’ve had probably 25 different cats over my life, and I can count on one hand the times I fed any of them canned food: the great majority of them went from womb to tomb with nothing but dry. I haven’t really sat down with charts and comparisons, but I can tell you anecdotally that none of my cats ever had any major health problems, and none of them ever had any of the urinary problems associated with cheap food (it’s not true that dry food is hard on their digestive tract). And none of them ever refused the dry food I offered them.

Hmmm…well, as far as canned food goes, doesn’t it depend on the brand?
We did get Friskies, and our one cat, due to a degenerative gum disease and missing teeth, cannot eat dry food. But we get Iams now. The one cat eats a combination of wet/dry food, probably more dry.

Lissener, as you said you worked in a pet store-what about canned tuna?
We used to give it to my cat Fluffy, and she adored it. (ONLY every once in a while…)

Yes, it does depend on the brand. Read the labels on the pet-store brands; none of the grocery-store brands, AKAIK, will suffice as a sole source of nutrition for a healthy cat.

Hill’s (Science Diet), Iams, Nature’s Recipe, Solid Gold, etc., all make canned foods that, if you must feed your cat canned food (as when your cat has degenerative gum disease, e.g.) will provide complete nutrition. I tend to recommend Nature’s Recipe for a variety of reasons.

Canned tuna won’t hurt your cat, any more than it will hurt you. But it’s better to keep the treat volume way down for growing kittens: they need as much of their diet to be a good, balanced food as possible.

lissener, good advice.

(the kitties in my prior posting, I must point out, though, lived to be 18 years for Spike and 19 years for Mouse).

Mouse got special treatment though - she developed a thyroid condition in the last 4 or 5 years of her life. always a tiny cat, she dropped down to under 5 pounds. so we were encouraged to feed her as much of whatever she wanted. Frankly, I always suspected that she’d bribed the vet to say so…

[Moderator Hat: ON]

tracer wins the psychic prize of the night. The OP asked:

That is not a Great Debate, but a General Question. So off it goes.

David B, SDMB Great Debates Moderator

[Moderator Hat: OFF]

Most like tuna. Actually I had a cat once that didn’t like fish, would actually avoid the fish flavored pieces in the dry mixure. I digress. Feed tuna as a treat only. Tuna doesn’t have the elements a cat really needs. I think it’s the taurine that’s so important.

My routine: dry all the time and a small can split between two at night.

We feed our cat dry exclusively, but we feed her a high end cat food like science diet. These foods don’t have fillers like the majority of grocery store brands. The reason behind no fillers: What happens to the fillers? Most of it gets passed. Before we switched to science diet we were cleaning the litter box out almost twice a day. With less fillers there’s less cat poop! :smiley: