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Is Dry Food Bad For Cats? Pros and Cons of Wet And Dry Cat Food

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With more than 50 hours of research and review by our vet Dr. Iulia Mihai, with a Master’s degree in Pets’ Pathology and PhD in Pets’ Cancer, you will have the best information on the questions every cat lover has “Is dry food bad for cats?”.

Like every cat owner, you might be wondering what type of food to feed your kitty. There is a lot of information on the internet that confuses cat lovers and few articles just talk about the risks of dry cat food and don’t discuss both pros and cons of wet and dry cat food. 

Let’s look at the ingredients, moisture content, and manufacturing process of our cat food. Also, let’s explore both the pros and cons of dry and wet cat food. In conclusion, we recommend taking a balanced approach of feeding both wet and dry food for cats to reap the benefits of both types of food.


  • Dry Food: 

Dry food is made of 25 to 50% carbohydrates and starch, along with animal protein, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. The carbohydrates content is much higher than that found in wet cat food (1). Also, sometimes they use vegetable protein like vegetables in place of animal protein. Probiotics are also found in certain dry food varieties. 

  • Wet Food:

Wet food has lower carbohydrates and contains animal or fish byproducts along with other ingredients such as vitamins, minerals, vegetables, thickening agents, flavours, and water.


  • Dry Food:

Moisture content is less than 20% in dry food. This might result in dehydration in cats if not properly balanced with water. Also, the risk of bacterial growth in dry food due to air exposure is very low, but it can get mouldy if exposed to moisture.

  • Wet Food:

Moisture content in wet food is in the range of 70 to 80%. Cats get adequate water intake when they feed on wet food. Wet food can’t be exposed to the outside atmosphere for more than a few minutes due to the risk of bacterial growth.

Manufacturing Process

  • Dry Food:

Dry food preparation involves heating the dough under pressure. Meat, supplements, fat, vitamins, minerals along with the grains and water are mixed and crushed to create a dough that is heated under pressure multiple times and then baked in shapes that are known as kibble. In the end, fat based flavours are sprayed on it to make the food more palatable for cats.

  • Wet Food:

In wet food, frozen fish or animal meat and byproducts such as liver, kidney, or lungs are chopped and mixed with other ingredients such as vitamins, minerals, vegetables, and cereals along with the thickening agents, flavours, and water. This mixture is filled in cans, pouches, or trays. These trays or cans are sealed and heated to destroy pathogens. The resulting food is then sold to pet shops.


  • Dry Food:
  1. More convenient for cat lovers to handle.
  2. It can be bought in larger bags.
  3. It is cheaper compared to wet cat food.
  4. Due to low moisture content, there is a low risk of bacterial growth when exposed to the outside atmosphere – you don’t need a refrigerator to store it.
  5. You can easily count kibbles and measure them in order to track the quantity that you feed your cat.
  6. Unlike wet cat food, you can use it in automatic feeders.
  7. Dry food has positive benefits on your cat’s oral health.
  • Wet Food:
  1. Due to the high water content wet food has, your kitty will get adequate hydration and will help it to avoid kidney disease (2), lower urinary tract disease, or diabetes (3).
  2. It is highly likely that your cat might find it palatable when compared to dry food.
  3. Your kitty will find it easier to chew – it is good especially for cats that have oral problems.
  4. It comes in a great variety of flavours and you can buy it in small cans or pouches and see which one your kitty likes.
  5. Since water is present in adequate amounts and carbohydrates are low, it is usually considered a more complete and balanced food.


  • Dry Food:
  1. Dry food is known to have low moisture content; therefore, you must be cautious and ensure that your cat gets more water intake.
  2. Since dry food contains a lot of carbs, food must be measured and provided so that your cat doesn’t overeat dry food and end up getting obese.
  3. Since kibbles are harder, senior cats might find it a bit difficult to chew them.
  • Wet Food:
  1. Storage is critical when it comes to wet food. When kept in open conditions for more than a few minutes, bacteria will start to grow on wet cat food. Therefore, as soon as the required wet food is taken, the remaining must be stored quickly in the refrigerator.
  2. Once wet food is opened, shelf life is maximum 24 hours for most of them.
  3. Wet foods are a bit expensive when compared to dry food.
  4. If the wet food was exposed for long hours and was consumed by your cat, it might cause gastrointestinal upset and other problems.

So, Is Dry Food Bad For Cats?

By now, you might know the answer to this question. Every type of cat food, either wet or dry, has its benefits and risks associated with it. Also, cats don’t prefer to eat just one type of meal. They like to have different meals like the way we humans do. Offering balanced food by mixing wet and dry cat food or by feeding wet food one time and dry food the other time are the best options to keep the cat joyful and healthy. 

Consult your veterinarian to choose the amount of food you need to give your cat per day to keep it healthy and fit.

If you are interested to know more about cats, please read the links about what can cat eat and how to keep ants out of cat food.

Dr. Iulia Mihai

Dr. Iulia Mihai

Dr. Iulia Mihai grew up with cats since she was little – basically all her life! Because she love and appreciate animals so much, especially cats, she became a vet!
She graduated the University of Agronomical Sciences and Veterinary Medicine in 2012 in Romania and, since college she started to volunteer in various veterinary clinics. She first volunteered at the faculty’s clinic in her 3rd year of study and continued to pursue her career in small animal pathology and laboratory.
She currently has two cats, five rats, and two African clawed frogs!
She says that having pets comes with great responsibilities, but the satisfaction is commensurate!

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