Why is dry food bad for cats? A gateway to future health problems

So, why is dry food bad for cats exactly? I say it over and over in this site. It’s bio-inapropriate and will eventually lead your cat to have future health problems. Right before I switched Shadow over to wet food, he had a terrible Urinary Tract Infection. I never wanted him to go through that again. So I did some research and found that dry food contributes significantly to UTIs in cats. Basically, I was the cause of his pain. I felt really guilty but, how was I to know?

I want to go over exactly why dry food is the worst choice of food you can give your cat. I’d rather you give your cat the crappiest canned food versus dry food! It’s that bad. I’ll be frank, if this doesn’t change your mind, maybe owning a cat isn’t for you.

A dry food diet is a water depleted diet

Sure, you may justify the fact that you have water next to your cat’s dry food but it just simply isn’t enough. You may think that your cat isn’t showing any symptoms or signs of disease, but cats are known to be masters of hiding pain.

Increased dietary moisture is better for urinary tract health in cats

“The research demonstrated that a diet high in moisture boosts a cat’s total daily water intake to a level that cannot be achieved by simply providing drinking water alongside dry food. The higher daily water intake resulted in increased urine volume and dilution.”

Basically, feeding wet food is preventative nutrition, sort of like how humans like taking vitamin C to improve their immune system. It’s just what cats are designed to eat. It may seem like a silly comparison, but do you see a tiger in the wild eating kibbles or going out of their way to find dry food? House cats and tigers share a 95.6% of DNA.

It’s not that silly if you think about it.

Cats already experience a low “thirst drive”

Cats (including ALL cats, like tigers and lions) are designed to get water with their prey. Think about this: cats get about 7% water from dry food. Then, they drink water from their bowl, or completely ignore their water bowl. Remember in the wild, water may not always be readily available. That is why they are designed to get water with their food. Now, fresh prey has around 70% water from their meat, and canned food has up to 80% as discussed on other pages.

Those are some reeeallly different numbers.

When you feed your cat wet food, they are getting double the water and that means an increased flow of bladder usage. So it essentially “flushes” their bladder system.

Notice how this all comes into full circle on why cats were designed to eat meat- protein rich diets.

A matter of life and death

Cats that stick to a dry food diet are more prone to FLUTDs because they aren’t taking in enough water to refresh their bladders.

FLUTD (Feline lower urinary tract disease) is just the general term for disorders in this category.
This involves bladder inflammation (Feline idiopathic cystitis) urinating outside of their litter box, blood in their urine, multiple attempts to urinate, painful urination, and the worst thing that can happen, complete blockage in the urethra, which can lead to fatal bladder eruption.

Bladder eruption is a slow and painful death and I honestly cannot imagine a more miserable death. I’m not trying to scare anyone but this is a SERIOUS reality and it happens to cats all the time. It is a serious medical emergency and if your cat cannot pee and is experiencing a block, you MUST take them to the vet immediately or they will inevitably die. I’m not even being dramatic at this point.

Not to mention, the treatment and surgery is extremely expensive. I’m talking up to $3000 here or more.

If you were wondering, the possibility of getting FLUTD is very slim when on a wet diet, but it technically still is possible.

Dry food can lead to diabetes and obesity in cats

The recommended diet for cats with diabetes is wet food. Do we need to go any further here?

Shadow when he was overweight

It is common knowledge that a diet of high carbohydrates can lead to diabetes in humans- a similar reaction can happen in cats. Obviously, not all canned foods are low in carbs, but that is where the owner’s research is needed. The disease is much more complex than just carbs equals diabetes, but it’s a good starting point. There is overwhelming evidence that they contribute to higher blood sugar levels, and that’s just not something we want at all and should avoid anyways.

Commit it to memory: Cats are obligate carnivores and thrive on high protein, a moderate amount of fat, and 2 to 3 percent in carbohydrates. They lack the enzymes needed to break down carbohydrates. The percentage of carbs in dry foods can be anywhere from 30 to 60%.

When the carbohydrate levels in a cat is too much, that will be stored as fat, which will lead to obesity. This will promote type 2 diabetes in cats.

Also note: By simply controlling calorie intake and calories burnt, and by feeding a strictly lower carb diet you CAN decrease your cat’s weight. It worked for Shadow years ago after I started him on a low carb, high protein wet diet.

Catinfo.org has very nice guidelines on helping your cat lose weight, and diabetes in cats

Just don’t give them dry food

Just don’t do it. I don’t want to be blunt but just admit to your mistakes if you’ve been feeding your cat dry food. I dealt with it for the sake of my cat and you have to look past your stubbornness because this is a living, breathing animal under your care. It’s like deliberately feeding your newborn baby soda instead of breast milk.

Shadow hasn’t had any problems related to his bladder ever since I started him on wet food, and he has lost weight from years ago. What more can I ask for?

Any thoughts or stories related to your cat in your journey to depleting dry food from their diet? Other questions about dry food versus wet? Need some moral support? Talk to me and leave a comment! I want to hear what you think.