Since dry food isn't good for cats, can I just add water?

clary7

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I've fed my cats dry food for a while already, but recently I was doing research and learned that ideally cat's shouldn't be eating carbs, and dry food is bad for them especially because they need lots of liquids to stay healthy. So I started feeding them 50/50 dry food mixed with canned food. I have five cats and I can't afford to be feeding them 100% canned food (in the future once I start making more money I can switch them over but at the moment I can't). So I'm just wondering, can I just mix water into their food when I feed them? I started doing that a few days ago and also started adding lunch to their feeding schedule (instead of just breakfast and dinner) so that they still get the same amount of calories in, since i noticed the water fills them up fast but leaves them hungry sooner.

So I just want to confirm here that adding water to all their meals is okay to do.

Or, as a possible option, is 75-100% cheap canned food like friskies better than 50/50 dry and wet (still cheap food) with water mixed in? I might be able to do 100% canned food but only if its a cheap option, unfortunately. But I might be able to supplement with quail eggs, since I own quail, as well as omega 3 oils since I use that to supplement my dogs diet.
 
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Holistic Cat Mama

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You read correct information. Dry cat food ISNT GOOD FOR THEM. Adding water helps them get more moisture that they need but adding water to it doesn't make it good for them as any Holistic Veterinarian will tell you! Even the cheapest wet food is still better than the most expensive dry kibble!! I get it that's hard feeding several cats wet food. It's also more time consuming because you have to feed each cat their own bowls plus wash each bowl in between meals. I have 10 cats. But I refuse to feed it to them. Friskies is the worst and I cringe feeding it to them because it contains mystery meat albeit meat by-products. But it's .89c a 5oz can and each cat gets half a can for breakfast and half a can for dinner. That's all they need. They get a snack (not dry kibble snack) at bedtime to hold them over. Some of the top ingredients to avoid in dry kibble or treats is corn, maize, wheat, gluten of any kind, powdered cellulose, potato flour. Those ingredients cause all kinds of issues especially as they get older! Darwin's Raw Cat food offers 10 lbs of premade raw meals for $14.99 just for trying them out! There are 16 oz in a lb and an adult 10lb cat would need approximately 1.5 to 2.5 ounces of raw food per meal so it would last a little while or save for delicious nutritious snacks/treats! Cats fed raw diets are hungry less often, their poo and urine have much less of an odor and it's the best species appropriate diet! It's carbs that make them hungrier more often! The following blog was written by a renowned Holistic Veterinarian and has a plethora of vital information on feline nutrition! I implore all cat owners to read it!
catinfo.org
 
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clary7

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Okay I see. So feeding them just friskies is still better than any dry food? I've been sticking to the pate, since I also heard that the gravy flavors can give them diabetes.

One day I want to switch them all to a raw diet, but I really can't afford to spend a lot on the cats food right now because i have a two year old xl dog that developed a bunch of health problems so now I spend a few hundred dollars a month on his food alone. If the dog didnt need a special diet, I'd be able to spend more on the cats but it's just not possible right now. But yes, a raw diet is definitely the plan for all my dogs and cats in the future once the money starts rolling in better haha
 

rubysmama

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There's lots of varying opinions on the best food to feed cats, and TCS has a couple articles on the topic that might be helpful:

How To Choose The Right Food For Your Cat | TheCatSite
Choosing The Right Food For Your Cat - Part 2 | TheCatSite

As for adding water to dry food, bacteria can spread quickly in moistened dry food, so if water is added to kibble, don't leave it out for very long.

Here's a couple links with more info:
Are You Adding Water To Dry Cat Food?
Adding Water To Dry Cat Food

Adding some water to canned food is ok, though, and I do that myself with my Ruby's food.

As for ensuring your cats get enough water, here's another TCS article:
Tips To Increase Your Cat’s Water Intake – TheCatSite Articles
 
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Holistic Cat Mama

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Okay I see. So feeding them just friskies is still better than any dry food? I've been sticking to the pate, since I also heard that the gravy flavors can give them diabetes.

One day I want to switch them all to a raw diet, but I really can't afford to spend a lot on the cats food right now because i have a two year old xl dog that developed a bunch of health problems so now I spend a few hundred dollars a month on his food alone. If the dog didnt need a special diet, I'd be able to spend more on the cats but it's just not possible right now. But yes, a raw diet is definitely the plan for all my dogs and cats in the future once the money starts rolling in better haha
Yes Friskies is better than any dry! Read that blog when you get a chance! Pretty fantastic information that could save your kitties lives and you from incurring Veterinarian bills!
 

Holistic Cat Mama

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There's lots of varying opinions on the best food to feed cats, and TCS has a couple articles on the topic that might be helpful:

How To Choose The Right Food For Your Cat | TheCatSite
Choosing The Right Food For Your Cat - Part 2 | TheCatSite

As for adding water to dry food, bacteria can spread quickly in moistened dry food, so if water is added to kibble, don't leave it out for very long.

Here's a couple links with more info:
Are You Adding Water To Dry Cat Food?
Adding Water To Dry Cat Food

Adding some water to canned food is ok, though, and I do that myself with my Ruby's food.

As for ensuring your cats get enough water, here's another TCS article:
Tips To Increase Your Cat’s Water Intake – TheCatSite Articles
That is FALSE information! Dry kibble does nothing for their teeth! If crunchy food removed plaque from teeth that would be like saying we could get away with not brushing our teeth by eating crunchy cereal or potato chips or even carrot sticks but we know that's redicules. Besides that, cats don't actually chew their food. Their sharp pointed teeth are for ripping and tearing flesh. They bite dry kibble to make the pieces smaller so it's easier to swallow! And there is nothing nutritious I'm dry kibble that cats NEED that's not in wet or raw diets! I've not met a single Holistic Veterinarian that will agree with you! Holistic Veterinarian's went on to college after their peers graduated. Much longer in depth training and I'll listen to them! Please read the info at catinfo.org! Also I'd be happy to post scientific studies done that are showing how bad for cats health dry kibble can be!
 

Alldara

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C clary7

Yes dry food isn't good for them, but the reality is that many people cannot afford a fully wet diet.

The closest you can get, that is affordable to you, to a fully wet diet is best. If that's 70% wet on a lower costing brand (I would skip Friskies as high in salt and can aggravate underlying conditions. Purina or Fancy Feast or something would be better).

I say that you can afford long term, because more importantly, cats need yearly bloodwork to catch underlying conditions before they become major issues. So I would be hard pressed to say to someone to move to 100% wet and have their cat(s) forego that care.

Adding water to the dry food will help keep them hydrated which is always an excellent thing if they will eat it like that.


****
Cats are the only pet that we have extended the life of. We are still learning about them, but have done excellently already. Commercial food has been part of that process and most major brands are making moves now that we know more about what ingredients cause harm long term.
Each cat is an individual still. So there's debate on some ingredients. Just like how some people do excellently on Vegetarian diets and some on Keto. Genetics plays a roll and there might not be 1 diet that's best for all cats. (Do not feed cats vegetarian diets. Using people as example).

Goal: cats are well hydrated, soft fur, good energyand poops that are soft but generally in a log.
 
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clary7

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Got it. With friskies though, the box says 'purina friskies'. And when I looked up fancy feast, it also has the purina label on it. What exactly does that mean?
 

Holistic Cat Mama

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C clary7

Yes dry food isn't good for them, but the reality is that many people cannot afford a fully wet diet.

The closest you can get, that is affordable to you, to a fully wet diet is best. If that's 70% wet on a lower costing brand (I would skip Friskies as high in salt and can aggravate underlying conditions. Purina or Fancy Feast or something would be better).

I say that you can afford long term, because more importantly, cats need yearly bloodwork to catch underlying conditions before they become major issues. So I would be hard pressed to say to someone to move to 100% wet and have their cat(s) forego that care.

Adding water to the dry food will help keep them hydrated which is always an excellent thing if they will eat it like that.


****
Cats are the only pet that we have extended the life of. We are still learning about them, but have done excellently already. Commercial food has been part of that process and most major brands are making moves now that we know more about what ingredients cause harm long term.
Each cat is an individual still. So there's debate on some ingredients. Just like how some people do excellently on Vegetarian diets and some on Keto. Genetics plays a roll and there might not be 1 diet that's best for all cats. (Do not feed cats vegetarian diets. Using people as example).

Goal: cats are well hydrated, soft fur, good energyand poops that are soft but generally in a log.
Friskies IS Purina!
 

Holistic Cat Mama

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Okay I see. So feeding them just friskies is still better than any dry food? I've been sticking to the pate, since I also heard that the gravy flavors can give them diabetes.

One day I want to switch them all to a raw diet, but I really can't afford to spend a lot on the cats food right now because i have a two year old xl dog that developed a bunch of health problems so now I spend a few hundred dollars a month on his food alone. If the dog didnt need a special diet, I'd be able to spend more on the cats but it's just not possible right now. But yes, a raw diet is definitely the plan for all my dogs and cats in the future once the money starts rolling in better haha
I forgot to answer one of your questions, yes feed only Pate. The other are high calories and higher in carbs. Mix hot tap water with pate until it's like a thick soup or stew. The average size cat gets 1/2 5oz can for breakfast and half the can for dinner. I always feed a bedtime snack of freeze dried chicken or rabbit.
 

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Got it. With friskies though, the box says 'purina friskies'. And when I looked up fancy feast, it also has the purina label on it. What exactly does that mean?

Purina is the parent company that makes a bunch of different brands of pet food and pet products that includes Fancy Feast and Friskies and ProPlan and Tidy Cats litter.

Food is a hot topic here on TCS and most other pet forums. Many people feel strongly against feeding any amount dry food for various reasons. Those who have to feed some dry food should not feel guilty or shamed into feeling like a bad pet parent. If you can feed more canned food than dry in a multi-cat household, that's perfectly fine. An inexpensive brand of canned food is fine if that's all you can afford. Shop around for deals and look for the larger sized cans sold in cases to get the most of your money. Pate food is the best since it's basically a chunk of food. Gravy / sauce based foods are mostly water with little actual food.
 

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C clary7 yes Friskas is also manufactured by Purina. LTS3 LTS3 explained it very well above.

The reason why I say it's high sodium is because that's what my vet said. He said because it's higher than other formulas it can aggregate underlying conditions. A secondary vet agreed with that statement.

It sells well, so yes I'm sure many cats are fine on it long term. However, I do warn about that as it was on veterinary advice. I've had issues with other foods but I don't tend to advise against them as those issues were cat-specific and likely not relevant to anyone else's cats.
 

iPappy

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I just placed an order for cat food (cats only, no dogs) that should last me about 2-3 months and the total was over $500. Now, it will stretch longer because I switched my cats to a hybrid diet, kibble/canned in the morning, raw at night. In a perfect world, I could afford it but at this time I just can't. So much of the stuff I can get for super cheap isn't something my cats do well on (usually pork, beef heart, and beef green tripe. Either they don't eat it, or they throw it up.) And having had so much cancer in my pets in the last year despite feeding raw most of their lives...it's making me feel a little defeated on micromanaging their diet when I see pets at work that eat grocery store food and live into their late teens with NO health issues.
Yeah, dry food isn't ideal for cats in general (and I agree that it does NOTHING for their teeth), sometimes it's all people can afford (especially now days.) If they're struggling to keep their house payment paid and keep food on the table for their kids....at least their cat is being fed and isn't dumped in a shelter or on the side of the road.
I've known people who have many cats and will bulk out canned food (as a mixer for dry) with cooked meat/broth that they got on sale. The cats are fed and happy. Dr. Pitcairn has some recipes on a budget that aren't even what I would consider when it comes to feeding my cats, but the recipes seem to be tried and true and well received. Just do the best you can.
 

daftcat75

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Watering down dry food doesn’t wash away the carbs.

Cheap wet food will always be better than any dry food (unless there is an underlying condition that requires specific kind of food.)

Feed Friskies, Fancy Feast, or Sheba. Whatever your cat will eat and you can afford. The cheap brand also tend to have simpler recipes. Avoid starches, gluten, fruits and vegetables (pumpkin is okay) as much as you can. Cats aren’t meant to eat carbs. Too many carbs can create gut bacteria imbalances that show up as IBD or lymphoma later in life. Some cats are affected sooner than others. Many never have an issue. But for those that do develop IBD, diet is a strong component in the disease process.

Try to avoid fish flavors as much as you can too. Fish can be pro-inflammatory and also addicting. Cats will often hold out for fish if that’s an option available to them. For this reason, I recommend saving fish for hiding medicine or getting a sick cat to eat. Exceptional times require exceptional measures. But if they always get fish, then you lose that nuclear option.

That said. The amount of fish in Fancy Feast non-fish flavor pates like their chicken pate is probably not an issue until or unless your cat has a fish sensitivity. Fancy Feast chicken pate with fish as the fourth or fifth ingredient is going to be much better than a tuna or salmon flavor with fish in the first or second spot on the label.
 

BoaztheAdventureCat

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I've fed my cats dry food for a while already, but recently I was doing research and learned that ideally cat's shouldn't be eating carbs, and dry food is bad for them especially because they need lots of liquids to stay healthy. So I started feeding them 50/50 dry food mixed with canned food. I have five cats and I can't afford to be feeding them 100% canned food (in the future once I start making more money I can switch them over but at the moment I can't). So I'm just wondering, can I just mix water into their food when I feed them? I started doing that a few days ago and also started adding lunch to their feeding schedule (instead of just breakfast and dinner) so that they still get the same amount of calories in, since i noticed the water fills them up fast but leaves them hungry sooner.

So I just want to confirm here that adding water to all their meals is okay to do.

Or, as a possible option, is 75-100% cheap canned food like friskies better than 50/50 dry and wet (still cheap food) with water mixed in? I might be able to do 100% canned food but only if its a cheap option, unfortunately. But I might be able to supplement with quail eggs, since I own quail, as well as omega 3 oils since I use that to supplement my dogs diet.
I admire your determination to do right by your animals as best as you can afford to do so. I'm sure adding water to the kibble is better than not adding water, but the problem is not just the lack of moisture. I'm hesitant to believe that cheap canned food is much better than kibble because the problems with kibble and feed-grade pet food in general are very similar.

Kibble begins to turn rancid as soon as the bag is opened.

Any pet food that's feed-grade rather than human-grade will contain parts of diseased and euthanized animals (including euthanized cats and dogs), fillers, preservatives, and artificial vitamins and minerals, all of which have little to no benefit to cats and dogs.

If you can afford Nature's Logic, Tiki Cat, or food from Raw Dog Food Co. (which has raw meals for cats, too), I highly recommend these three brands.
 
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clary7

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Thanks so much for all this info everyone! This has been super helpful and educating and I'm definitely going to try looking at better options or at least feed the least amount of dry food as possible from now on. I find it very interesting that some animals do perfectly fine on cheap/unhealthy food, while others don't. I know people who feed their pets cheap kibble and their pets lived suuuper long lives, but on the other hand, I've also experienced the opposite. I used to to have two pet birds and fed them mostly a pellet diet, because that's what everyone recommends online as the 'healthiest' option, but both birds died before their 6th birthdays from organ failure caused by their diet (because for some reason nobody seems to think dry food with tons of fillers and salt is bad for birds...). It seems like some animals are just healthier than others and can handle a bad diet just fine, but I think it's better not to take that risk if possible. Since my cats are all still young right now, I'm not too worried about health issues just yet, but I definitely would rather not wait too long before changing them to a healthier diet.
 

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That is FALSE information! Dry kibble does nothing for their teeth! If crunchy food removed plaque from teeth that would be like saying we could get away with not brushing our teeth by eating crunchy cereal or potato chips or even carrot sticks but we know that's redicules. Besides that, cats don't actually chew their food. Their sharp pointed teeth are for ripping and tearing flesh. They bite dry kibble to make the pieces smaller so it's easier to swallow! And there is nothing nutritious I'm dry kibble that cats NEED that's not in wet or raw diets! I've not met a single Holistic Veterinarian that will agree with you! Holistic Veterinarian's went on to college after their peers graduated. Much longer in depth training and I'll listen to them! Please read the info at catinfo.org! Also I'd be happy to post scientific studies done that are showing how bad for cats health dry kibble can be!
If you read what rubysmama rubysmama wrote, she linked to the articles to show there could be a bacteria issue.

I need to emphasize this from LTS3 LTS3 as well:

Food is a hot topic here on TCS and most other pet forums. Many people feel strongly against feeding any amount dry food for various reasons. Those who have to feed some dry food should not feel guilty or shamed into feeling like a bad pet parent. If you can feed more canned food than dry in a multi-cat household, that's perfectly fine. An inexpensive brand of canned food is fine if that's all you can afford.
 

Alldara

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Yes part of the problem is that most pets are very under-studied.

So you see so many opinions here, but really there's no studies on cat food and longevity or health except one by Purina for their Pro Plan diet (available on their site -- unless there's a new study that came out someone can link. I've been in school so less time for research.)

There's debates about grains and additives. And we know that say too much grains (or potatoes, peas, etc) cause issues for MANY cats. But is that because they have underlying genetics? We don't know.
We know dry can cause liver, kidney and bladder issues but whether it's again due to underlying genetics or something we don't know. We do know that wet food or a wet diet can prevent some of this for most cats, or prevent reoccurrence in some cases. But there's also tons of cats who have these problems who are on fully wet diets.

My childhood cat lived to 25 on dry Our Compliments Cat food. I know of many other stories like this. It's frustrating because I have always fed my cats higher quality foods (until recently) and they both got sick on them. We are just now learning that the "higher quality" foods in dogs are causing severe issues.

So for now, I've decided to stick with the brands that have been around a long time. Feed a couple different proteins that they can enjoy, and not fuss anymore. It allows me to afford the yearly bloodwork including Magnus's expensive heart bloodwork as needed (we successfully helped him grow it of a heart murmur but it can come back as he ages so he has taurine suppliments).

The bloodwork and checkup keeps me ahead of health issues and we've been able to be responsive rather than reactive.

Like the above poster, I'm done fussing just to be in the same situation as everyone else is.
 
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