The Dry Food Debate

Feeding dry food exclusively to cats has been a topic of debate among veterinarians, pet owners, and animal nutritionists for many years. While dry cat food has its advantages, like being cost-effective depending on the brands you buy, but most of all it's for our convenience, there are several potential medical and dental drawbacks to a dry food-only diet for feline.

Water Content:

Carbohydrate Content:

Dental Issues:

Preservatives and Fillers:

Palatability and Overfeeding:

Potential for Staleness:

Potential Allergens:

While dry cat food can be part of a balanced diet when selected and fed correctly, relying solely on it might not be ideal for every cat. It's essential to consider your cat's individual needs, consult with a veterinarian, and possibly incorporate wet foods or a mix of both into their diet.

Producing dry cat food involves several stages to transform raw ingredients into the kibble that we see in bags, different companies may produce their product slightly different. It's up to you to do your own research on the individual you purchase your product from.

It's worth noting that there's variation in the quality and sourcing of ingredients, as well as in the specific manufacturing processes, among different brands and products. Always read labels and do your research if you have specific concerns or requirements for your cat's food.

Deep dive into the cooking process

Extrusion requires the application of heat, among other things, to both shape the kibble and ensure that the final product is cooked. Here's a more detailed look at the temperatures involved:

While the exact temperatures can vary based on the specific machinery, recipe, and desired product characteristics, the above ranges provide a general idea. It's also worth noting that these high temperatures, while effective at destroying pathogens, can also degrade certain heat-sensitive nutrients. That's why pet food manufacturers often add these nutrients back in after the cooking process, ensuring the final product is nutritionally balanced. Hence cooking out all natural genetic information and adding their own design. This means felines are NOT getting everything they need to move forward in life properly as genetics is very new still.

Cats are obligate carnivores, which means that they have evolved primarily to eat meat. Over millennia, their anatomy and physiology have specialized in hunting, killing, and digesting animal prey. As a result, they process vegetables and starches differently than omnivores like humans. Below are some reasons why they do this.

Digestive Tract Length:

Enzyme Production:

Lack of Specific Fermentation Processes:

Specific Nutritional Requirements:

Dietary Fiber and Digestion:

Gut Flora:

Evolutionary Behavior:

That said, some cats might ingest small amounts of plants, either due to curiosity or because they find them palatable. A modest inclusion of certain vegetables in a cat's diet, especially if they're cooked or finely processed, might be tolerated and even beneficial in some commercial cat foods. However, it's crucial to understand which plants are safe for cats and which ones might be toxic. Always consult with a veterinarian nutritionist when considering dietary changes or additions, your normal vet cannot assist in this field of study with 100% truth and certainty even if they themselves believe all they read and hear, please search for a certified veterinarian nutritionist in your state, a normal vet should not have an opinion on food as they do not study the same line of work, this is not an insult, this is simply informing you that there are specialists in the field.

Gut Flora

The gut flora, or microbiota, is the community of microorganisms (including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa) that inhabit the digestive tracts of all animals, including cats. These microorganisms play an essential role in digestion, metabolism, immune function, and overall health. The feline gut flora is particularly interesting because cats are obligate carnivores.

Research on the feline gut microbiota is still ongoing, and we continue to uncover more about its complexities and its role in health and disease. It's essential to understand that while cats have some similarities in their gut flora with other animals, their unique evolutionary dietary background makes their microbiota distinctly different from many others.

Wet Food vs. Dry Food:

Moisture Content:

Wet food contains around 70-80% water, similar to the moisture content in a wild cat's natural diet. Cats have a low thirst drive and get most of their hydration from their food. The higher moisture content in wet food can help prevent urinary tract issues and promote kidney health.

Protein Content

Wet cat foods often have a higher protein content than dry foods, which can be beneficial since cats are obligate carnivores and rely heavily on protein.

Carbohydrate Levels:

Dry cat foods typically contain higher levels of carbohydrates due to the need for starch in the extrusion process that forms the kibble. While cats can metabolize carbohydrates, they don't have a dietary requirement for them, and do not digest them the same way, and in most cases will not digest them at all resulting in smelly, wet poo.

Dental Health Misconceptions:

A common argument for dry food is that it helps clean a cat's teeth. However, most kibble does not provide significant dental cleaning. Wet food doesn't promote dental health either, but the argument for kibble's dental benefits is often overstated and very misrepresented.

Fewer Fillers and Additives:

Wet cat food generally contains fewer artificial preservatives (because it's stored in cans) and fewer fillers than dry food, however it's always important to read the ingredients on the back of all bags and cans before deciding to purchase and feed them to our biscuit.

Raw Food vs. Wet Food:

However, it's vital to understand the challenges and risks associated with raw diets:

Whether you're considering wet, dry, or raw food, the key is to ensure the chosen diet meets all of your cat's nutritional needs. It's crucial to consult with a veterinarian or a pet nutritionist before making significant changes to your cat's diet. They can provide guidance tailored to your cat's specific health and needs.

"I have added links below to help direct you to a few Facebook groups that offer different recipes for you to follow." Please go directly to their files, do not pass go, do not collect your $200 UNTIL YOU READ THE FILES, I cannot express how stuck up this group has become over the years. They do not like having to repeat and argue with other random people online in regards to opinions. So please do respect the rules and search for your question asked by another before posting. This group is for those with Irritable Bowel Disorder. However it is a wonderful group just for educational purposes. They do not always discuss RAW as a whole, however this I feel is just an overall important group to be apart of as they do offer educational information and you can see the "dry food pattern" yourself with this group. Another wonderful raw feeding only group. This group is not as cranky as the first one I linked, however multiple sources of information are a great benefit for you to see what is happening to our companions.