Canned Cat Food and Your Cat

cats eating canned cat food from a plate

As much as cats like a regular routine, they also like a little variety in their life. A lot of people feed their cat only dry food. While a cat can survive on only dry cat food, it is best to supplement their diet with canned cat food on a daily basis as well.

One reason to give your cat canned cat food is because most cats really like it. This gives them something to look forward to, especially if you give your cat the canned food at the same time everyday (cats really do like a set routine). Another reason for feeding your cat canned food is that there are some health benefits for your cat.

Health Benefits of Feeding Your Cat Canned Cat Food

One health benefit of feeding your cat canned cat food is that it contains a lot of water. Typically cats don't drink much water. Cats are also very prone to kidney disease as they age. Perhaps if they ingest more water throughout their lifetime they will be less likely to develop kidney disease. I don't know that anyone has ever tested this theory, but a little more water in your cat's diet certainly can't hurt. (For more tips on getting your cat to drink more water see the article Does Your Cat Drink From The Water Faucet?).

Another benefit of feeding your cat canned food is that it contains less calories than dry cat food. This is mostly due to the high water content of canned cat food. Obesity in cats has become very common in domestic cats, with 35% of cats considered obese. Feeding an obese cat more canned food than dry will help to fill your cat up and help to keep his or her weight down.

Also, dry cat food contains a higher portion of carbohydrates and grains than canned food does. Most of a cat's food should be protein from meat sources and you should limit the amount of carbohydrates your cat ingests.

Canned cat food is also good for cats who have dental problems and can't eat dry food well. Years ago I adopted a small kitten from the Humane Society. They said she was 3 months old, but when I took her to the vet I found out that she was actually much younger than that. She was too young to eat dry food, but she was able to eat the canned food (and she loved it too!). Older cats with dental problems may also have difficulty eating dry food. Also, contrary to popular belief, eating dry food doesn't clean your cat's teeth.

What Kind Of Canned Cat Food is Best?

As with other kinds of cat food, the premium brands (e.g., Hills, NutroPro) of cat food are probably the best for your cat's health. However, I have found that while my cats will eat the premium dry foods, they don't seem to care for the premium canned cat foods. Every cat is different and you may have a different experience. However, I also wouldn't feed my cats the cheapest brands either because they don't always use the best ingredients. Also, if the canned food makes up a large portion of your cat's diet you should make sure than the label states that the food is complete and balanced nutrition for your cat.

Friskies canned food is my cats favorite. All of my cats seem to like the gravy portion of the food best. In fact, I wish some cat food company would come up with a little can of cat gravy that I could buy for them (if you are a cat food company executive and are reading this please keep this in mind).

I've also found that the sliced canned cat foods often make my cats throw up. Except for Hills, this is true for all of the brands of the sliced cat foods I have tried. I have spoken to several people that have said they have had a similar experience with the sliced canned food.

Any name brand canned cat food is probably good for your cat. However, I do want to mention that I wouldn't feed your cat a lot of fish-based cat foods. There is some evidence that this may not be good for your cat. Cats did not evolve eating fish. Instead, they evolved eating birds and small mammals. We often associate cats with fish, but this is because fish is usually cheaper than other types of meat and it was placed into cat foods for this reason.

A little fish-based food won't hurt your cat, but keep in mind that fish often contains high levels of mercury and other toxins. Also, there is some evidence that feeding your cat a lot of fish-based cat foods may lead to hyperthyroidism.

The last thing I want to mention is that I have often noticed that people will open up a can of cat food and set it down for their cat with the cat food still in the can. If you are one of these people, keep in mind that it is hard for your cat to get the food out of the can. In addition, the edges of the can are kind of sharp for your cat to have to stick his or her face down into. Because of this, you should always put your cat's canned food onto a clean plate or bowl. This will make it much easier for your cat to eat the food.