The Importance of Wet Food

Hey Kitty Friends!  Lets talk about wet food for a moment.

Over the years I have had to answer a lot of questions about wet food.  I thought I would cover some of the most frequent questions I have been asked, to help you navigate the pet food isles with confidence!

Does my cat need wet food?

A normal, healthy cat will benefit greatly from having some wet food in its diet.  Cats don’t have a very high “thirst drive”, probably owing to their ancestors spending time in hot deserts etc.  This means that by the time they feel thirsty enough to go and have a drink, they are already more dehydrated than they realise.  This wont adversely affect them day to day, however just like in humans the more hydrated you are the better things like kidney function, urinary health, skin and hair etc.

Now because cats don’t easily feel thirsty this is where wet food comes in.  If you think about lions diets – they don’t wait for the gazelle to dry up before they eat it – they eat and drink it!

Cats who have never had access to wet food sometimes do not recognize it as something they are allowed to eat.  So when they need a tooth extracted at the vets and are only allowed to eat wet food afterwards – this can cause issues.

 

Am I allowed to give my cat raw meat?

Raw and cooked red meat is fine so long as it is fresh and from a trusted source ie raw commercial pet food, or a piece of “human grade” beef from the supermarket!

Raw fish however – not so fine.  Raw fish can contain bacteria that can cause major stomach upsets.  A cat eating raw fish can also lead to a serious vitamin deficiency that can cause neurological issues.

 

Can I Give My Cat Bones?

Never give your cat cooked bones.  Cooked bones can splinter and cause major damage to the inside of your cat.  Raw bones every so often as a treat are fine – too often and your cat can become constipated!

 

Just meat – or is offal ok too?

Heart, liver and tripe are commonly fed to cats.  As with raw meat, make sure they are fresh and from a quality source.  Offal is  high in protein and relatively cost effective.   A diet high in liver can cause Vitamin A toxicity which is quite serious, whereas very small amounts of liver are ok – so be aware of how much Vitamin A your cat is eating.

 

What sort of commercial pet wet food is best?

I’ve had some interesting conversations with compete strangers while in the cat food isle.  There are so many options, flavours, textures – gravy or no gravy.. What on earth do I choose?!  Some of the most popular brands of cat wet food in New Zealand would be Fancy Feast, Dine, Purina, Whiskers, Jimbo’s, Chef – among others.  As with most things in life, the price goes up as the quality of the product goes up.  So foods like Purina’s single wet food pouches will be higher quality than a Whiskers pouch.  Most brands have large ranges of flavours and textures (chunky, pate and broth for example).  Each cat will have its own fussy favourites, so experiment with flavours and textures to see what your cats favourites are!

One of the most frequent things I hear is “my cat just licks the gravy off its food and leaves the meat”.  Sometimes mashing the chunks of meat into the gravy will help them polish more of it off but Im pretty relaxed about this.  If the goal of wet food is to just get moisture into a cat, then licking all the gravy off is still achieving that goal!  If the weather is quite hot I will buy more gravy options for my cats than usual as its such a good source of moisture.

 

I Have A Very Fussy Cat, What Do I Do With All The Rejects?

It can be frustrating trying to work out your cats favourite foods.  Sometimes keeping a record of your cats reactions to different flavours and textures can help you but in the end you will still end up with extra uneaten food to dispose of.  Check your retailers refund policy to see if you can return the food for a refund. 

Alternatively if you have any un-opened cans or pouches of wet food that your cat has decided to start hating, you can always donate the unwanted food to your local shelter.  Some shelters will even accept opened bags of food (so long as they are not stale).  The shelters and charities will be very appreciative and your cats fussiness will be helping its cousins out in their time of need.