Michael asked in PetsCats · 10 years ago

Is dry cat food dangerous for cats?

I have heard that cats are unable to consume adequate amounts of water to prevent dehydration due to consumption of dry cat food..even if there is plenty of water available. The person that told me this said that cats rely completely on wet/raw food as their source of water..apparently its how their bodies are designed to function.

I feed my cats tinned food in the evening but when leaving for work in the morning I fill a bowl of dry food for them to nibble on until I return. Im worried now as I may be harming them! This person said that dry cat food causes kidney problems!

If anyone has any info on this it would be greatly appreciated :)

15 Answers

Relevance
  • E-Fox
    Lv 6
    10 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Yes it's true and I'm glad that you're thinking about this. I lost my cat due to being on dry food only so I know what I'm talking about. Anyone who says dry food is fine or even healthy has obviously not done their research.

    I wouldn‘t really recommend feeding any dry food. Cats are designed to get their water from food. That's the way nature designed them, they have low thirst drive. When fed dry, they won't drink enough to compensate for the lack of moisture. They will only consume about 50% of the water they should be having. This can lead to kidney disease, UTI, crystals, blockage, renal failure and more.

    Free feeding also contributes to obesity. And the fact that dry food is over-processed means, that most of it’s little nutrition has been already destroyed, leaving almost no nutrients for your cat. It needs to eat more to meet it’s needs, and in the process consumes more calories from the fillers.

    Btw wetting the dry food will not help. There’s bacteria on the kibble and the water would just allow it to grow.

    The only way to give the cat it's natural hydration is to feed it wet food only.

    But some wet foods are not of a very high quality, either. That goes for most commercial foods. Just like the dry, they are often made with cheap fillers such as corn, wheat, soy, rice etc. These are not a part of cat's natural diet (it’s an obligate carnivore – it eats meat) and they are not designed to digest it. Grain is carbohydrate which the cats can't process and it turns into blood sugar and fat, causing diabetes and obesity. In the wild, where cats only hunt for meat, diabetes and obesity are unheard of. It's us who cause these by feeding a species inappropriate food.

    We usually read labels on our food, but rarely on the food for our cats. Learn to read the label and understand the ingredients. The healthiest food to feed apart from raw feeding is grain-free wet food with no by-product. Some good brands are Wellness CORE, EVO, Merrick, Nature's Variety, Blue Buffalo Wilderness and more. These will give your cat the proper hydration and nutrition it's designed to get and it will be strong and healthy.

    If you switch it's diet, do it gradually, by mixing the current food with the new one over couple of weeks until there's only the new. This will prevent diarrhea and upset stomach.

    You will probably get a lot of different answers, so google feline nutrition or look at the links below, and do the research for yourself. I personally wasn't able to find one reliable source (besides the pet food industry) that would say grain is beneficial for cats or that dry is beneficial for them.

    More on cat nutrition below,

    Good luck!

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    I would say that it was something with that specific cat food and your specific cat. Or maybe just an odd coincidence. Is your cat young or old? I know that some foods have higher protein amounts than others and this can cause problems if the cat already had a minor problem, possibly so minor that nothing was noticed before. I have had 8 cats (Jewel is our 9th) in my lifetime (one died at the age of 18 with kidney failure, one got out one summer, and the others were given to friends and family at different times when we had to move from one place to another). ALL were fed primarily on dry food with no problems. The 18 year old didn't start having problems until she was 18. Then she had kidney problems and refused to eat the lower protein food, but it wasn't because of dry cat food in general. She was just a picky eater and would only eat the food that at that time was not right for her.

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • 10 years ago

    I do tend to agree with what you heard. but the fact that you are feeding some tinned food already helps (especially if it is grain free and from a specific meat source as opposed to some mystery meat) and there are some things you can do while feeding some of each that make things healthier.

    Choosing a dry with less grains or no grains is better than one that has a lot of corn wheat etc. -- (at least that helps for one of the problems, the one about too much carbohydrate btw did you know there is no minimum carbohydrate amount established for cats? they don't need a bunch of carbs. In their natural diet it would be just the stomach contents of prey or some grasses they nibble on occasionally. like about 3% of their calories. The pet food companies know that but the great majority of dry food is 20-50% calories from carbohydrates! (it's cheap. and grain is used to form the kibble pieces) ).

    As for the hydration, it IS natural for cats to get their moisture with their food and it is true they normally do not have a strong thirst drive. You can also do other things to try to get your cat to drink more -- put several water dishes around the house in diferent places. Some cats for some reason will drink more from different locations -- like some seem to like the water dish up high! And some prefer certain shapes of bowls. some prefer the running water, in which case a pet fountain is helpful.

    I think since you have no way to check the credentials of anyone answering here, the best thing I can do is to give you some links.

    Great site from a vet, Dr Lisa Pierson who explains a lot about feline nutrition, hydration, the relation to various illnesses etc. http://www.catinfo.org

    and if you want one from Journal of the American Veterinary Association here is a reprint of a very good article by Dr Debra Zoran, DVM, PhD, DACVIM, "The Carnivore Connection to Nutrition in Cats" http://www.felinediabetes.com/zorans_article.pdf

    here's a flyer from a vet clinic with some highlights from Zoran's article http://www.crvetcenter.com/images/Newsletters/crvc...

    a bunch of feline nutrition links. http://www.felineoutreach.org/Education/AllLinks.h...

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • J C
    Lv 7
    10 years ago

    New studies now link an all-dry diet to such feline disorders as obesity, constipation, diabetes, urinary tract disorders, and kidney disease. Nature did in fact create cats to eat an all-meat diet, not carbohydrate laden dry kibble. Dry food was created for our convenience and not for the health of our cats. Cats don't have a high thirst drive since yes, the were designed to get most of their moisture from their raw prey diet. Canned food best simulates the diet nature intended them to eat. Dry food does keep them in a state of dehydration, which isn't healthy for their bladder or kidneys.

    Why not feed them some tinned food before you leave for work in the morning, then leave out less dry? Continue to feed them their tinned food in the evening as you're doing now. They'll be healthier for it.

    Source(s): many years of cat rescue (and feeding a mostly-canned premium diet)
    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • 10 years ago

    your cats should be okay as you're giving them a mixture, even if it was true, because you're still giving them wet food they get water from that too. When I had a cat, I never heard anything like that and even the vet said giving the cat a mixture of wet and dry food with a constant supply of water is fine

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • 10 years ago

    A persistent myth, mostly put out by people with an investment in canned food. Cats do very well on dry food (one of mine lived 18 1/2 years on dry food). A male cat with problems with crystals blocking urine flow, however, will need a low-ash food (available dry).

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • 10 years ago

    HMM... I have been feeding dry 24/7 for over 14 years and have not lost a cat due to not drinking water. I do feed a small amount of wet in the morning but always have a fresh bowl (big bowl) of water out for them and a huge coffee mug full of water on the counter. I would take your cats in for a check up and ask this question to the vet he will give you the right information. You will get all kinds of answers here and the most reliable is the one your vet gives you.

    R P CAT

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    It can cause problems in male cats if the ash content in the food is too high (causes blockages in their urinary tract), but otherwise it's perfectly fine. All cats I've ever had live on dry food. Just don't cheap out on the brand.

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    That's wacko. Dry food is PERFECTLY PERFECT for cats to eat. And cats do not rely on wet food for water...that person is an idiot. Cats need to drink water out of a bowl like all other cats. Dry food does not harm them in any way ever at all.

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • 10 years ago

    i have a 6 year old male cat....the only things i have ever heard was:

    ~not to feed older male cats foods that contain fish

    ~not to feed a kitten kitten food after they are neutered/spayed as it makes the kitten gain too much weight

    my cat has asthma and goes to the vet twice a year...they alsways ask what kind of food and what brands of food i am feeding him....never once have they said not to feed my cat dry food

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.