How much dry food a day should I feed healthy cats of any weight?

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No matter what your cat weighs, she should never be given a diet entirely made up of dried kibble. It’s often best to mix canned and dry and, depending on her health, you may need to use some additional supplementation.

There are some advantages to dried kibble. For one, the crunch is good for the animal’s dental health. In the wild, cats ate animal bones, and the crunchy dry food helps domestic cats keep their teeth clean and healthy, preventing foul breath. It’s also easier to store, lasts longer and is less expensive.

On the negative side, dried food is often high in carbohydrate. Cats are strict meat-eaters and they absolutely must have the essential amino acid, taurine, for health. Taurine is only found in meat and seafood. In fact, cats lack the enzyme that would help them digest carbohydrates—so it’s inefficient for them. That means there is always the concern about proper nutritional absorption and, like humans, excessive carbohydrates can lead to weight gain.

Canned cat food has a high water content, which keeps cats hydrated, and dehydration is a serious medical concern, especially for cats who aren’t big water-drinkers to begin with. Wet food also contains fewer fillers compared with dry food, which often contains ingredients that don’t nutritionally benefit cats such as wheat. Although wet food often causes foul breath, it also meets a cat’s nutritional needs better. According to many pet experts, wet food is most similar to what the cat ate in the wild, having a similar nutritional profile of a mouse.

To sum it up: Dry cat food is beneficial because it is low cost, less messy, and can be left in the bowl. Wet cat food is beneficial because it has higher amounts of protein and water, and is also easier to store due to the small size of individual cans/packages.

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