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Wet vs Dry Cat Food for Maine Coons

Regarding wet vs dry cat food for Maine Coons, Nelson in Nashville asks: "Is wet food always preferable to kibble? There's a vet on YT who insists "the worst canned food is still better than the best kibble."

He reasons that the process of superheating products to create kibble depletes its nutrients. Is this true?

brown tabby maine coon standing on kitchen counterTintin

Also, our MC is 15 months. Fussy eater. We still have him on kitten food but he doesn't want the "pricey" ones.

His favorite is actually Iams. I feel guilty because it's a "cheap" food, but otherwise he won't eat and gets aggressive when hungry.

I also sprinkle some freeze dried chicken on top. I've probably given him too many "treats" (puree, cat sushi); my wife says that spoiled him to his normal food. Any thoughts?"

Hi Nelson, This is a great question. The wet vs dry cat food debate has been going on for as long as there have been options.

Most cat owners end up doing what you are doing, which is feeding their furry friend whatever they will eat! After all, felines are notoriously picky eaters.

With that said, lets take a look at the options and their nutritional content. A cat's diet is the "key ingredient" to a long and happy life!

Dry pet food is made by combining wet and dry ingredients into a dough. The dough is then put into a machine called an extruder.
The extruder cooks the dough under pressure, then the dough is pressed by a die plate as it exits the extruder under pressure.

It comes out in ribbons which are sliced to make shapes. The kibble is then air dried in an oven to remove as much moisture as possible, and baked.

The final step is the application of a kibble coating. This kibble coating is a mix of flavors to enhance taste, and preservatives to extend shelf life.

So just because a Maine Coon loves a particular dry kibble doesn't necessarily mean he or she instinctively is drawn to a food that's wholesome or nutritious. It more likely means that the manufacturer has developed a recipe for a delicious coating.

Dry food diet related health problems:

Obesity and weight gain: Due to it's low moisture content, dry food is calorie dense. So a belly full of dry food means more calories than a belly full or wet food.

Urinary tract infections and kidney disease: Kitties on a dry diets often don't consume enough water. Being properly hydrated is essential for warding off urinary tract problems and for proper kidney function.

Diabetes: Dry kibble has an unnaturally high carbohydrate content. The carbs, when digested, break down into sugars in the body.

This excess of sugar is a leading cause of diabetes in cats. It's important to note that some canned (wet) cat foods can also have a carb content that is too high. It's recommended to aim for a 6% or lower carb content for folks who do feed dry kibble.

As for the claim that dry food cooks the nutrients out, that certainly is based in fact.

All food, whether it's pet food or human food experiences a change in composition when cooked.

Many studies have shown, and it's generally accepted as fact that the cooking and processing of dry pet food depletes it's vitamin, mineral and nutrient content. These are added back into the food via supplements.

For these reasons, many cat parents opt for canned cat food or even a raw diet like Stella & Chewey's raw blend. Raw food is a newer alternative and considered the best option by many.

When I was a kid, we always had cats and I was raised to think that canned wet food (or puree) was a treat, akin to dessert - and that dry kibble was their "real food." That is certainly not the case! With it's high moisture content and fewer calories, this type of food is a solid choice.

dish of kibble

Every family is different, and pet parents make the best decision that they can. There are Maine Coon families who successfully feed raw diets, canned/wet, and dry kibble - all with healthy and happy Coonies.

As long as your vet approves and your Maine Coon is healthy, rest assured you're on the right track. Also, don't be afraid to offer new foods, especially raw and wet foods, on a regular basis!

I'm looking forward to hearing what our community has to say in the comments. What does your Maine Coon thrive on? ⬇️

Wet vs Dry Cat Food Comments:

Wet for my two boys!!
by: Amy

I have 2 male Maine Coons. One of them is prone to urinary blockages. I have had to have him unblocked 3 times.

They wanted him on special food but that wasn't an option. He has terrible allergies. I had him tested and he can only have turkey and duck.

Let's just say it isn't easy finding food without any chicken or fish. I found Merrick Limited Ingredient Turkey canned food. He loves it and we have been block free for about a year now.

My vet said neutered male cats are more prone to blockages. She said wet food is best! They do love dry kibble and I give that every once in a while as a treat.

by: Norma

I have a beautiful giant 30 lb Maine Coon who was addicted to kibble. He suffered from a urinary blockage that almost killed him, and our vet put him on Urinary SO dry cat food.

For years he struggled with bouts of constipation and diarrhea until another major issue landed him in OSU Veterinary Hospital where he was fed only canned food for 5 days.

Since we brought him home 9 months ago, we have only given him canned food. He’s quite a large boy and he usually eats btw 3-4 cans a day.

It’s expensive but his digestive and bladder issues have disappeared. Since he’s on meds for his other issue we do also give him a probiotic.

I strongly recommend a canned food diet starting right from kittenhood as it would have saved him from a lot of pain and stress and saved us some major vet bills

Kibble Should Be Banned
by: Feline Parent

Why is kibble legal to be sold by manufacturer's knowing the damage it can cause animals up to and including death? I have been a cat owner my entire life.

Unaware of the dangers of kibble. Until we experienced it with our Addison. Yes, she's female. Don't be fooled thinking urinary issues can only happen to males (my sister lost 2 males due to blockages). We did not know our female was suffering until we found/noticed she was bleeding!

Thousands of $ in vet hospital bills later, and now for life on urinary tract food, we now have all 4 cats (1 female & 3 males) on canned food.

Hard to feed 1 cat urinary food & not the others so 1 of their 3 feedings of all canned include urinary canned food too (prevention).

Since we have followed this regimen, none including the males (which are more prone to urinary problems) have had any issues and are happy healthy cats.

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