Cheap wet food vs. high-quality kibble, long-term? - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-04-2015, 05:15 AM Thread Starter
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Cheap wet food vs. high-quality kibble, long-term?

Now, I know that in almost all cases, wet food > kibble. But there's a very specific question that has been sitting in the back of my mind for awhile now:

Say you had to choose between feeding the poorest quality wet food *or* the highest quality dry food, and you had to do so in the long-term. (as in, this would be your cat's only source of food for at least a few years, if not the rest of their life)

Would feeding wet food still be the healthier alternative? Or, in this case, would dry food be better because the brand in question wouldn't be riddled with bad/potentially dangerous ingredients?

(normally I'd say that wet > dry, but in this case, I feel like HQ kibble would be safer and healthier. I'm curious if others think the same)

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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-04-2015, 05:51 AM
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Yes. Crappy wet > fancy high-quality dry, any day of the week.

Kibble is just so very detrimental in the long run for cats, especially for their teeth, gums, and kidneys.

You've probably looked over the sticky on this topic, linked in this forum, but just in case:

I personally would feed my cat Fancy Feast Classic (actually grain-free, and cheap) over Orijen kibble (or equivalent fancy-schmantsy kibble).

Even if a kibble has "meat" in it, it's still mostly carbohydrates, and cats need very little carbs in their diet.

The only reason I might choose a high-quality kibble over cheap canned (if I had to) would be if my cat had grain/food allergies and I couldn't find canned food without said ingredient.

Honestly, though, in my experience, high-quality kibble is EXPENSIVE. Maybe not as much as a good grain-free canned food (on a per-meal basis cost) but I think "good" kibble is still pretty pricey.

As a quick and dirty example on -

A case of 24 cans of Fancy Feast Classic (beef & poultry flavors) is $12.72, which equates out to 53 cents a can. Granted, the Fancy Feast site recommends 2-3 cans per day for a cat of 8 lbs, so total daily meal cost is around $1-$1.50.

A 15-lb bag of Orijen Regional Red Grain-Free Dry Cat Food is $73.99. Orijen's website recommends 1/2 cup/day for a cat of 8 lbs, so this comes to a cost of $2.46 per 1/2 cup, which means a daily meal cost of $2.46.

It's around $1 difference, which seems fairly small in light of the issues that kibble causes in cats. But I know over the lifetime of a cat, even $1/day can add up.

I think if you are truly in a non-hypothetical situation where you are on a strictly limited budget, you'd be better served searching around on online retailers for coupons/deals and try to get the best wet food you can, as cheaply as you can.

The bottom line is, in my personal opinion, I'd rather feed my cat the trashiest Friskies canned over the fanciest Orijen kibble. I destroyed my childhood cat's health with kibble because I had no idea. She's on a raw diet now, but the damage is irreversible. If I ever get another cat, it's never gonna crunch a single kibble during its lifetime with me XD

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-04-2015, 06:03 AM
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Dr. Lisa Pierson, a notable cat nutritionist will tell you that cheap wet food beats high quailty dry all the time.

BTW, there is no way my 8 pound Coco eats 2-3 cans of Fancy Feast a day. One maybe.

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-04-2015, 06:48 PM Thread Starter
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Oh, no no, it was just a hypothetical.

We have a lot of pet owners around here who occasionally find strays (lots of tourists who sometimes dump pets here..) and since I own cats, neighbors sometimes ask for advice about food and stuff.

I always recommend feeding wet food, but they tend to be cheap so I've always wondered if I was still right for recommending them wet food, even though all they're willing to buy is the poor quality stuff.

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-04-2015, 06:55 PM
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IMO fancy feast is NOT that cheap of a food. Buying Dave's in a 12oz can will cost less than FF and be better for kitty.

I do think that mid quality canned is better than hq dry.

As for amount, it depends on the cat. MowMow eats 11 oz of canned food per day... so almost an entire large can.

Book and Neelix eat 6 oz and 5 oz respectively. They are much more economical to keep around.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-04-2015, 07:19 PM
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Phew! For a second when Marcia said Coco only eats a can of FF a day, I thought oh boy Aggie's a glutton. I feel better now hehe she eats about the same as Book and Neelix, though she could probably eat more if I let her!

Anyways, back to the topic... I always wondered about this too, as I feed quite a few strays/ferals. The 'cheap' wet food we can get here all have fish. So I am always stuck in a conundrum. FF is too expensive for me to feed to all of them... So I feed a mix of wet and dry.

Would you still feed cheap/mid wet (over high quality dry) if it contained fish?

Last edited by marie73; 11-04-2015 at 07:35 PM.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-04-2015, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by MowMow View Post
IMO fancy feast is NOT that cheap of a food. Buying Dave's in a 12oz can will cost less than FF and be better for kitty.
I agree however my cats won't touch the stuff regardless of protein source. I have tried it so many times and it ends up going to the ferals- some of which regret it too (but I have some wild dry food addicts). I feed my own cats high quality wet 75% of the time and mix it up with FF classic chicken (one of the few foods my IBS cat won't have issues with).

One thing I think people skip doing (at least the pet owners who don't frequent this forum) is reading can labels. A lot of the higher quality and more expensive wet foods are more calorie and nutrition dense so you don't have to feed as many ounces per pound of cat than you do with lower quality wets. This can lessen the cost when you add up how much of the junk food it takes to get the same feeding requirements met with a more expensive food.

I do think some cheap wet is absolute junk. When I brought in my stray I mentioned his chronic diarrhea to the vet and without hesitation he asked if I was feeding friskies or 9Lives (he wasn't he had been on weruva and wild calling for months as an outdoor stray). That right there convinced me to avoid those junky foods whenever possible. Unfortunately I am currently feeding friskies along with fancy feast to the current ferals as the catword has spread about the free lunches at my place has increased and I can't afford to feed the nicer foods in the quantity I'm putting out.

I do feel that any wet is better than dry since cats are reluctant to drink enough- they drink and can even seem to drink a lot when they are on a diet of dry- but it is still not comparable to the moisture they get in their natural diet but honestly with two cats out of three having bowel and tummy issues I'd have to go with a quality dry over cheap junk wet food because they just wouldn't be able to tolerate the junky foods with all the additives. My third cat would probably be OK with junk wet though but he is the prince of the household and so he enjoys his fancy schmancy foods.
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