Your Cat is a Carnivore; Don't Feed Him Dry Food

When we got Cheshire a few weeks ago, we were required to purchase a bag of the same food that he was eating at the pet store.  This was to make sure that he continued to eat during the stressful and scary transition to a new environment without his feline siblings that he’d grown up with to that point.

But for the first 2 days, he didn’t eat (though he had no problem drinking water).  And I didn’t want to give him wet food, because I thought once he had that, he’d definitely never want to eat the dry food.  But Kim was worried and just wanted him to eat something, so we eventually gave him some wet food, which he fangoriously devoured in about 3 seconds and promptly threw up again.  And I think he might have thrown up one more time, but after that, he was fine.

Meanwhile I started doing some research into the wet food vs. dry food issue.  I had never really thought about it before, but I’d always heard that cats need dry food, one of the reasons being that it’s good for keeping their teeth clean.  But in my research I read that that’s hogwash, because cats don’t even chew their food up; they just crunch it one time and swallow the pieces, so there is very little friction with the teeth which would be required for the "keep the teeth clean" theory.  And furthermore, dry food is something like 40% carbohydrates, so it eventually just turns to sugar on their teeth, which means it’s actually worse for their teeth.

This brings me to the second and bigger issue: cats shouldn’t be eating dry food period.  Cats are carnivores; their bodies are designed to eat and digest meat, and they never naturally eat vegetables or grains.  When I think about this now, it’s entirely obvious, and the only reason I can figure for why it never occurred to me before is that I never had a kitten before and thus never had to worry about what to feed it.

In the wild, big cats eat big animals (deer, zebras, etc) and small cats eat small animals like mice.  From what I’ve read, this natural diet gives them something like 5% carbs, and wet cat food is similarly proportioned, plus wet cat food being mostly meat has all the stuff that a carnivore needs.  Contrast that to dry food, which is around 40% carbs, and is mostly grains and vegetables, which a cat would never naturally eat.

As cats get older and many of them have diet-related diseases, often the first thing the vet does is switch them to a lower-carb (i.e. wet food) diet.  From what I’ve read, vets are coming around to the realization that cats should have been eating that kind of diet all along.

Of course, you need to take a grain of salt with the things you read online, but I’ve found quite a few different sites recommending an all-wet-food diet.  And today I had to take Cheshire to the vet for shots, and she actually said the same thing.  That, coupled with the fact that it’s common sense to feed a carnivore meat, makes it pretty clear to me that it’s the right way to go.

(And we were pretty terrified to discover that the food we’ve been feeding Cheshire is one of the dozens of brands that are part of a massive pet-food recall, but fortunately it looks like none of our cans/pouches are in the recalled batches, and Cheshire seems perfectly healthy in any case.  I asked the vet today and she pointed out that Friskies and Fancy Feast are two of the (few) brands not part of the recall, so we’re going to stock up on them for now.)

Posted by Anthony on 2 replies


01. Mar 22, 2007 at 02:31pm by Tasha:

The only thing is... wet food gives cats really, really stinky horrible breath. Dry food gives their breath a ’cat food’ smell, wet food gives their breath a &%#*&@# smell. And it only gets worse over time...

02. Mar 22, 2007 at 02:34pm by Anthony:

Just do what we do: drop a sprig of mint in the ol’ food dish.  Freshens ’em up right quick.

Reply to this message here:

Your name
Website (optional)

HomeCreate PostArchivesLoginCMS by Encodable ]