Do Cats Need Wet Food

icon May 22, 2024

Feeding your cat is one of the most crucial aspects of pet ownership, and it can often be a topic of debate among cat owners and veterinarians alike. One of the primary discussions revolves around whether cats need wet food, how much wet food to feed them, and whether it's better than dry food. This article aims to explore these questions in depth, providing you with a comprehensive understanding of your cat's dietary needs.

The Basics of Cat Nutrition

Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning their diet must consist primarily of meat to meet their nutritional needs. Their bodies are adapted to a diet that is high in protein and moisture and low in carbohydrates. In the wild, cats get most of their moisture from their prey, which typically contains about 70-75% water. Domestic cats, however, often rely on commercial cat food, which can vary significantly in moisture content.

Do Cats Need Wet Food?

Yes, wet food provides essential hydration and supports urinary health, aligning closely with a cat's natural diet. While not mandatory, incorporating wet food is beneficial for overall health, especially for hydration and preventing urinary issues.

How Much Wet Food to Feed A Cat?

Feed an adult cat about 3 ounces of wet food per 5-7.5 pounds of body weight daily, divided into two meals. Adjust based on age, weight, activity level, and health. Always check the specific brand’s feeding guidelines.

Health Benefits of Wet Food

1. Hydration

   Since wet food contains a high percentage of water, it helps keep cats hydrated. Proper hydration is essential for kidney function and preventing urinary tract issues, which are common in cats. Dehydration can lead to the formation of urinary crystals and stones, making wet food a preventive measure against these problems.

2. Weight Management

   Wet food is less calorie-dense than dry food, making it easier to manage your cat’s weight. The high moisture content also helps your cat feel full, reducing the likelihood of overeating. This can be particularly beneficial for indoor cats or cats prone to obesity.

Related: Maintaining A Healthy Cat Weight

3. Dental Health

   While dry food is often touted for its dental benefits, recent studies suggest that it may not be as effective in preventing dental disease as once thought. Some wet foods are specially formulated to support dental health. Additionally, wet food can be easier for older cats or cats with dental issues to eat.

Practical Considerations

1. Feeding Schedule and Portions

   The amount of wet food to feed your cat depends on several factors, including their age, weight, activity level, and overall health. On average, an adult cat requires about 20 calories per pound of body weight per day. Wet food labels typically provide guidelines based on the cat’s weight. For example, a 10-pound cat might need roughly one can of wet food (3 ounces) per day, split into two meals.

2. Cost and Convenience

   Wet food tends to be more expensive and less convenient than dry food. It has a shorter shelf life once opened and needs to be stored properly to prevent spoilage. However, many cat owners find the health benefits outweigh these drawbacks.

3. Mixing Wet and Dry Food

   Many cat owners choose to feed a combination of wet and dry food. This approach can provide the benefits of both types of food, ensuring that the cat receives adequate moisture while also enjoying the convenience and dental benefits of dry food. If you choose this method, ensure you are not overfeeding by properly calculating the total daily caloric intake from both types of food.

Wet Food vs. Dry Food: The Nutritional Debate

1. Moisture Content

   Wet food typically contains between 70-80% water, closely mimicking the natural moisture content found in a cat’s prey. This is particularly beneficial for cats as it helps maintain hydration, which is crucial for kidney and urinary tract health. In contrast, dry food contains around 10-12% moisture. Cats have a low thirst drive, so they often do not drink enough water to compensate for the low moisture content in dry food, which can lead to chronic dehydration over time.

2. Protein and Fat Content

   Wet cat food generally contains higher levels of protein and fat compared to dry food. High-quality wet foods often list a specific source of animal protein as the first ingredient, providing essential amino acids like taurine that cats cannot produce themselves. Dry foods, while convenient, can contain more fillers and carbohydrates which are not as beneficial for a cat’s diet.

3. Carbohydrate Content

   Cats have no dietary requirement for carbohydrates. However, many dry foods contain a higher percentage of carbohydrates, which can contribute to obesity and related health issues like diabetes. Wet foods, being meat-based, typically contain fewer carbohydrates, aligning more closely with a cat’s natural dietary needs.

Also Read: Homemade Cat Food

FAQs About Wet Food

1. Is it okay to not feed your cat wet food?

While it's possible to feed a cat exclusively dry food, it’s essential to ensure they drink plenty of water. However, given the natural moisture content of their prey, many experts believe that incorporating wet food into their diet is closer to what cats would consume in the wild.

2. Should cats have wet food every day?

Feeding wet food every day can be beneficial, especially for hydration and urinary health. Even if you choose not to feed it exclusively, offering wet food daily can help balance your cat’s moisture intake.

3. Can cats live on dry food only?

Yes, cats can live on dry food only, but it requires careful management to prevent dehydration and associated health issues. Always provide plenty of fresh water and consider supplementing with wet food periodically.


In conclusion, wet food offers significant health benefits for cats, primarily due to its high moisture content, which supports hydration and urinary health. While it's possible to feed cats dry food only, incorporating wet food into their diet is generally recommended by veterinarians to ensure they receive adequate hydration and a more balanced nutrient intake. Each cat is unique, so it’s essential to consider their specific needs and consult with a veterinarian to determine the best diet for your feline friend.

Leave A Comment
All comments are moderated before being published.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Join The Puainta

Become one of pet parents and get professional tips, immediate product info, updated promotions and discounts, and more surprises from us!