But I'm a dog person... May 4, 2011 10:27 AM   Subscribe

I thought I had favorited the comment, but I guess not, and all of my searches have proven to be fruitless. I am looking for the comment that goes relatively in depth on why one should feed their cat wet food vesus dry. I believe there may have been some connection to some sort of medical condition if cat ate dry food long term, but can't be sure.

I think the comment was written by a vet, in response to an Askme. May have been six months ago, or a year, I can't remember many details, except that it was a very informative comment.
Help me help my friends help their cats!
posted by newpotato to MetaFilter-Related at 10:27 AM (20 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

posted by makonan at 10:27 AM on May 4, 2011

I found it while your original question got deleted. Is it this one?
posted by like_neon at 10:27 AM on May 4, 2011

Goddamn, you two... 4 minutes late :(
posted by spec80 at 10:32 AM on May 4, 2011

Yes and yes! I wish I would have remembered the comment about the ideal cat food =mouse, would have made searching easier.
Thank you both.
posted by newpotato at 10:33 AM on May 4, 2011

Cats eat dry food like this scronch krannnch kronch and wet food like this shlarfshnarmnomshnom
posted by Metroid Baby at 12:01 PM on May 4, 2011 [13 favorites]

My alarmingly fat cat lost a ton of weight (gradually) when I put her on the wet food diet. Now she chases her tail constantly... I think she doesn't realize it is part of her because she was never able to see it before.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 12:49 PM on May 4, 2011 [5 favorites]

Ooo, that is a helpful comment. I should keep that in mind and adjust Nikki's diet accordingly.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 12:53 PM on May 4, 2011

Lard Tubbington is allowed to eat cheese because he's on Atkins.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:11 PM on May 4, 2011 [8 favorites]

I thought cats that ate dry food lived longer. I get so confused. This is not new.
posted by cjorgensen at 2:23 PM on May 4, 2011

As near as I can figure the history of this debate goes like this:
-in olden days, there was the idea that dry food would help prevent dental problems.

-now the evidence on that suggests it's not true, and you should be brushing your cat's teeth anyway which is much more effective.

-there is a very influential website by a vet, Lisa Pierson, who explains at length the "best food should mimic a mouse" theory and says you should never feed dry food because it contains mostly plant materials (rather than meat) and no water (cats normally get most of their water through eating, and a lack of water can cause various problems). Her site is very highly ranked in Google and is the first thing that comes up if you're looking for "best cat foods" or that kind of thing.

-there are a couple of recent books by vets which claim that the health claims for wet over dry, and for super-premium food (or homemade) over mid-grade food, are not well founded. I have a friend who is a vet who is on this side of things, and what she says is: for a cat who's prone to develop urinary track problems (esp young male cats) wet food can be a good idea because adequate hydration helps prevent those problems. For other cats it doesn't matter much until you get into managing specific problems like hairballs or allergies or the like.

-the pros of making your own food are that you can know what goes into it. The con is that it's very important to get the right balance of nutrients, because if you get it wrong the cat can die or be irreversibly injured. To get the right balance, you'll usually use a special vitamin mix, which has some of the same problems of the commercial cat food (you can't be sure what has gone into it).

-there is very scant information about the real composition of commercial cat foods, and the recipes change often. I have found it all but impossible to get current empirical information on this.
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:59 PM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

"best food should mimic a mouse"

Scruff reckons that the best food should mimic a mouse, except for the tail, the nose, and some sort of sac-like organ, which should be left on the bathroom floor to brighten the humans' mornings.
posted by pompomtom at 4:04 PM on May 4, 2011 [4 favorites]

FWIW I tried Catkins (or rather, I tried it on my cats). They gained weight, although their coats looked AMAZING. Like thick-pile plush velvet.
posted by ErikaB at 4:25 PM on May 4, 2011

I am a big believer in the Catkins Diet, to the point that I actually made my cats homemade food out of chicken necks and thighs and eggs and whatnot. (Yes I am a crazy cat lady, what's your point?)

They were slim and shiny -- until they started going outside, and promptly discovered the bottomless kibble bowl on the neighbor's front porch. Within a month, they've transformed from skinny little ferret-shaped cats to majestic broad-beamed cats. The evidence is conclusive, from my point of view.

Now if I could just get the neighbor to close the 24/7 cat snackbar...
posted by ottereroticist at 4:59 PM on May 4, 2011

Yeah, our cats lost weight when we started feeding them wet food. And the chasing. Much chasing occurs.
posted by empyrean at 6:54 PM on May 4, 2011

Dammit - I'm finally switching my fatass El Diablo over to an all wet diet after a lifetime of dry, and the only canned he'll eat is the Trader Joe's Tuna for Cats. I was all psyched til I re-read that thread - I'm NOT supposed to be feeding him canned fish cat food? COME ON!
posted by tristeza at 7:04 PM on May 4, 2011

I think the idea is, don't feed him ONLY the fish, don't have that be a pillar of his diet, but it's ok as a treat sometimes.
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:53 PM on May 4, 2011

My kitten (about whom I posted an Ask question a few days ago) is now refusing any food unless it is fish flavoured. Silly cat. But thanks to a suggestion from someone in my thread, I am pouring a little water from canned tuna over the non-fish cat food and stirring it in, and she will eat a small amount that way. Also heating it up seems to help a bit. Mainly I think she is easily distracted (frequently by her own tail) and forgets to eat.

Still haven't really solved the problem of her not eating food that has been sitting in her bowl for more than half an hour vs the fact I am at work all day, though.
posted by lollusc at 8:28 PM on May 4, 2011

To me the problem is just overeating. If you put out a big-ass bowl of dry food for your indoor-only cat that doesn't get much exercise, it's gonna get fat..
posted by cj_ at 11:49 PM on May 4, 2011

FWIW I worked at a fancy store that sold fancy pet foods and we always recommended raw or wet food for cats. Because the little critters don't usually do a great deal of drinking on their own it's way too easy for them to become chronically dehydrated. Wet food helps with that very, very much.
posted by Neofelis at 2:53 AM on May 5, 2011

Many cats have kidney problems that manifest as crystalline urea, which in turn causes chronic urinary tract infections. Cats like these need more water in their diet, and the best way to get it to them is with wet, preservative-free canned food. When I told my vet I was mixing in even more water with it he told me that was great.

The drawback of wet food is dental problems. Gum disease and tooth decay. Cats are also very prone to oral cancers. I didn't understand the importance of feline dental hygiene until it was too late and this is how she died.

Upshot: if you're going to feed your cat wet food, brush her teeth. They make fish-flavored toothpaste for them. Very, very important.
posted by clarknova at 8:21 PM on May 5, 2011

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