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How to Make Dry Cat Foods Soft: 5 Methods That Work

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on April 10, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

cat eating beef

How to Make Dry Cat Foods Soft: 5 Methods That Work

Some owners prefer to feed their cats dry food, whether as a solitary source of food or in addition to wet food meals. Many cats live a long and healthy life eating kibble as long as they are given access to water to ensure that they remain fully hydrated. However, some cats don’t do well on dry food. Some won’t eat it because it’s too hard, while others, usually those who have been fed wet food in the past, will refuse to eat it.

In these cases, or if your cat suffers from painful teeth or dental hygiene issues, there are some steps you can take to soften dry food and make it easier for your cat to feast on.

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Why Feed Dry Food?

Several benefits are afforded by feeding your cat dry food rather than wet:

  • Free Feeding – Free feeding, or grazing, means that you can leave food out for your cat all day. Wet food should be lifted after some time. The exact time varies according to manufacturer recommendations, with some stating that it should be picked up after 1 hour and others stating that it should be safe to leave out for 4 hours. In any case, dry food can be left out all day so that your cat can eat as much as they like when they want it.
  • Longer Shelf Life – Once wet food is open, it must be fed that day. You can store an open packet in the fridge for a little longer, but dry food usually comes in a resealable bag and can be stored and used over several weeks. If left unopened, the food will usually stay perfectly fresh for several months, and you can buy in bulk for greater convenience and improved savings.
  • Cheaper – Wet food carries a premium price tag, even if the food isn’t great quality. Even the best quality dry food kibble normally costs a fraction of the price.
  • Less Smell – Dry food isn’t as smelly as wet food. Wet food has a strong odor, and once your cat digests it, their poop will smell worse than it does after a dry meal.
  • Less Mess – There’s less mess before and after eating dry food. If your cat is a messy eater and flicks bits of food out of their bowl, it’s much easier to pick up dry kibble than bits of meat. The feces of cats fed dry food are usually firmer and more solid, but you will need to allow time for transitioning to a new diet before your cat’s stomach settles down fully.
cat waiting to eat, licking lips
Image by: Africa Studio Shutterstock

How to Make Dry Cat Foods Soft

Despite the benefits of dry food, some cats cannot stomach it, and others dislike the texture. Some find it too painful to crunch down on dry kibble. Whatever the reason, you can try the following methods to make dry food softer and increase the likelihood of your cat eating it all.

1. Add Water

The simplest method of moistening dry food is to add water. Try a ratio of 1 cup of kibble to about a ¼ cup of water. Use warm water because it will soak into the kibble more easily. You can add it to the kibble, leave it for 10 minutes, and then serve it to your cat.

Remember that over the day, the moisture will dry up, and the moist kibble will turn to cement, so be prepared to lift your cat’s food bowl after an hour or two.

2. Add Cat Gravy

Gravy for humans has too much and may contain additional unwanted ingredients like onion or garlic, but you can buy packets of so-called cat gravy. It is unsalted and is the same gravy added to some wet food recipes.

You can buy pouches of the gravy and add one to your cat’s food, but you need to check the portion size and remember that it will count toward your cat’s daily food, calorie, and protein intake, so you should feed less kibble.

cat gravy
Image by: Elizabett, Shutterstock

3. Mix With Wet Food

Another alternative is to feed the kibble with wet food. Again, adjust the amount accordingly to ensure that you don’t overfeed. The simplest way to adjust the portion is to give half the recommended amount of wet food and half the recommended amount of kibble.

4. Try Cat Milk

Most cats are lactose intolerant, and your cat will regret drinking milk. Even lactose-free milk is high in fat. Feline milk is a special formula that is safe and makes a tasty treat for your cats.

You can add a little to your cat’s kibble, but remember that it should be included in your cat’s daily food intake. Thus, you will have to reduce the amount of food you feed daily due to serving cat milk.

bowl of almond milk
Image by: Pixabay

5. Try Meat Toppers

Meat toppers are usually small pouches of food used to pep up boring kibble. They are sprinkled on top of the dry food, and some are quite moist, which makes the meal more palatable. A topper will improve the smell and the appeal to your cat while also improving the taste.

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Ensuring good nutrition for your cat is essential. This not only means providing the right amounts of protein, carbs, and fat daily, but it means ensuring that you feed something your cat will enjoy and that benefits them in other ways.

Dry kibble is convenient, cheaper than wet food, and it usually isn’t as messy before and after eating, but not all cats enjoy it, and some might find it impossible to eat the hard kibble. Above are five methods to help soften cat kibble and make mealtimes better for both of you.

Remember to properly monitor the amount of food your cat is eating, which includes moistening ingredients like gravy or milk, and also bear in mind that moistening food in this way means that you might not be able to leave it out for day-long grazing like you used to.

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Featured Image: liudmila_selyaninova, Shutterstock,

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