Choosing Cat Food: Is Canned, Semi-Moist or Dry Food Best for Your Cat?

There are basically three different food types made for cats. Each one has its own merit but factors such as price, nutritional value, overall feline health and your lifestyle should be considered when choosing food for your cat. Of course, if your cat has special dietary needs, it’s wise to follow the advice of your veterinarian.

Nutritional Information Label on Cat Food

When selecting cat food, be sure to read the nutritional information label on the product. Pet food manufacturers are required by law to disclose a “guaranteed analysis” on the package. Within these guidelines, the label must list the percentage of fat, water, protein, carbohydrates, fiber and trace minerals. Although this information is in compliance with regulations, it does not state the actual content within the product. It only states the minimum amount of crude protein and fat but the maximum amount of fiber and water.

Cats are carnivorous and need animal protein and animal fat in their diet. Carbohydrates are required for energy. Fiber is essential for digestion. Water is important in the prevention of Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease. The basic nutritional requirements in the preparation of cat food were established by the Feline Nutrition Expert (FNE) subcommittee of the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). All pet food manufacturers must meet these standards.

The following is a description of the three types of cat food available in the marketplace:

Canned Cat Food

Because of being palatable, canned food seems to satisfy most finicky eaters. It has high moisture content of 75%; therefore it meets the need for water in your cat’s diet. It is the most digestible of the three food types. Canned food can be pricey but the wide range in prices is usually in accordance with the quality of the meat. Food containing a higher proportion of organ meat usually costs more. The shelf life of canned cat food is long but once it’s opened, it becomes very short. It is best to only feed your cat a portion that he/she will eat in one session.

Semi Moist Cat Food

Positioned In between the spectrum of canned and dry food, the semi moist food has a moisture content of approximately 35%. Additional water will need to be supplied to your cat. It is sold in sealed packages and resembles dry food pellets. It is not as widely available as dry or canned food. Once opened, it can remain in your cat’s dish for free-choice feeding but over time, it will dehydrate. Once the food is dried out, nutritional value is lost and cats usually won’t eat it because the appealing aroma is gone. Price-wise, it falls in between canned and dry food.

Dry Cat Food

With the least amount of moisture content at 8%, cats will need an ample supply of water. It is considered to be one of the least palatable foods in its bare form but manufacturers add a coating of animal fat or other flavouring to give it a desirable taste. It is the least expensive of the three cat food types. Dry food is good for keeping your cat’s teeth free of tarter. It can be used for free-choice feeding because it doesn’t spoil. If not stored in an airtight container, it will lose nutritional value and the flavour coating.

It is essential to read the labels and compare the nutritional value of cat food. There are variances within each group. Even with identical contents, some brands are higher priced. Strive to buy high quality for the best price