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Can I Mix Wet and Dry Cat Food? Vet-Reviewed Benefits & Considerations

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on February 14, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

dry and wet food_Yuriy Golub_Shutterstock

Can I Mix Wet and Dry Cat Food? Vet-Reviewed Benefits & Considerations


Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo


Dr. Paola Cuevas

MVZ (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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There has long been a debate over whether to feed cats wet food or dry food. On the one hand, wet food is wet and slippery, smells bad, has a short shelf life, and needs picking up after an hour or so. On the other hand, dry food is less appealing and does not offer the same level of hydration as wet food pouches and tins do. What if you could feed your cat a combination of wet and dry food? Would this offer greater nutritional value, and if it’s considered safe to do so, are there any benefits to your cat and you?

It is considered perfectly safe to mix wet and dry cat food, but it is important to remember that both forms of food have a recommended daily intake, and you will need to adapt these according to the amounts that you serve. Since it’s usually assumed that you are only offering that one food, you could feed your cat half the amount of recommended wet food and half the amount of recommended dry food.

Not only is it okay to feed a combination of wet and dry food to your cat, but it could also have many benefits.

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The 7 Benefits of Mixing Wet & Dry Cat Food

1. Customized Meal Plan

Dry food and wet food both have their benefits. Wet food usually contains more meat protein, is more appealing to your cat, and can fill your cat with fewer calories. Dry food keeps longer in the cupboard and the bowl and costs less than wet food.

Combining the two forms of food means that you can combine the benefits of both. You can customize a meal plan to the specific dietary needs of your cat. Do you have an overweight kitty that loves to eat? Combine filling wet food with low-calorie dry food. Whatever your cat’s specific requirements, there are food combinations to match.

2. Improved Texture

Some cats can be finicky eaters. They will turn their nose up at anything that doesn’t quite match their requirements, which can change on a nearly daily basis. Give a picky eater the same food every meal of every day, and they will soon tire of it.

Combining wet food and dry food over the day may keep your cat’s attention for longer and ensure that they do not get fed up with the food selection that you’re providing.

Grey domestic cat being given food
Image Credit: Valeri Vatel, Shutterstock

3. Fewer Calories

Some studies show that wet food, although richer, will fill a cat up sooner than dry food. This means that you can feed them fewer calories while ensuring that they are full and getting the nutrients that they require.

Of course, if calories are a real concern, you should ensure that you choose wet and dry foods that are both relatively low in calories.

4. Hydrateion for Your Cat

Cats are not particularly good about drinking water. Some will ignore the water bowl. Others tend to wade around in it and not really drink anything. Others will only drink from the dripping bathroom tap or dirty puddles.

The easiest way to ensure that a cat is getting all the water they need is by feeding them wet cat food. It can be made up of anywhere between 70% and 85% moisture, while most dry foods contain considerably less than this, around 10–15%.

cat eating food in the bowl
Image Credit: Okssi, Shutterstock

5. Keeping Costs Down

Wet food usually costs noticeably more than dry food. Although you should ensure that you are still buying good-quality foods, it is possible to buy both wet and dry foods and feed your cat while on a tight budget. Consider offering a pouch of wet food a day, and give the remaining daily quota in dry food. Your cat will get their nutritional requirements and feel full, while you can save a little cash compared to three wet meals a day.

cat wet and dry food_Nils Jacobi_Shutterstock
Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

6. Grazing Opportunity

Wet food needs to be picked up within between 1 and 4 hours, depending on the ingredients and the manufacturer’s recommendations. If you leave it out longer than this, it can spoil and go bad. Dry food, however, can be left out all day.

Combining the two means that you can serve wet food when you’re around to pick up the remnants and serve dry food when you’re at work or otherwise aren’t around to pick up the bowl after a couple of hours.

While some cats will eat every morsel in one go, others like to take their time and eat at their own pace. You can meet your cat’s requirements, whichever their preferred timetable.

7. Reinforcement Opportunity

Your cat will most likely have a favorite kind of food, so by offering them variability, you can always ensure that you have something to entice them to return home, get their meds, or do whatever might require “special encouragement.”

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Conclusion: Can I Mix Wet and Dry Cat Food?

Wet and dry food have their benefits and pitfalls, but you can combine the two. In fact, doing so enables you to provide a balanced and exciting, varied diet. It can also help you keep costs down because you can offer both grazing food and mealtime wet food.

Featured Image Credit: Yuriy Golub, Shutterstock

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