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Bacteria isn't mold so they have nothing to do with each other. The fats and flavorings that are used to coat the outside of kibble to make it palatable also attract and act as a petri dish for bacteria.

Not talking extremes here. IMO, as opposed to a lot of other people, there's nothing wrong with a little kibble in the diet. My cats get 1/8 cup per day...but it's for the convenience and the fact that they like it, not because I think it does anything for their teeth. As I've told you before...the only kibbles that will do anything for the teeth are prescription diets and even those aren't very effective. Standard kibble doesn't do a thing....it doesn't have the right density and none of good quality foods use the coatings.

The amount of protein and fat in canned food needs to be compared to kibble on a dry matter basis. Yes, there is less protein and fat in canned on a volume basis, but there's not as much of a difference as you would think if you just compare label to label. And while water is perceived to have no monetary value, it has a whole lot of health value when you understand that most 100% kibble fed cats will only drink about half the water they really need (they need to consume 1.25 cups of water for every cup of kibble eaten). BTW...when you go to the grocery store, do you shun the nice chicken breast at the meat counter because it's like 70% water?

There's also something to be said for significantly lower carb levels in canned food.
 

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*sigh*
OK, I tried feeding canned food only. WAY too expensive for three less-than-a-year-old cats, for us. I was feeding each cat around 7-8oz of Wellness canned food a day (sometimes Purina Pro Plan kitten formula, which has much better ingredients than the adult formula and is much cheaper!), and the cats were STILL hungry. They were going NUTS trying to eat our food and generally acting crazy, meowing their heads off and crying. We finally gave in and brought back the Wellness Core dry food. My husband was ready to call it quits, anyway, because we simply can't spend $25-30 a week on cat food. That's as much as OUR grocery bill!

We've gone back to a mix. :-/
 

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Why would wet food introduce more bacteria than dry?
Of course, I am just a layman and no expert on this issue, but my understanding of this school of thought is:

Because wet food has way more moisture in it, which leads to a cesspool of bacteria, whereas the far lower moisture content of dry food should have an accordingly far lower amount of bacteria.

Are you guys saying you've never heard of that school of thought before?

And also that that school of thought has no merit?
 

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There is plenty of moisture in the atmosphere to support the growth of bacteria and mold on dry cat food, but it isn't usually going to be a problem. All the microbes in a can of cat food are killed in the canning process and nothing is left to suddenly spring to life when the can is opened. It's essentially sterile. Cat's mouths already have tons of bacteria in them so does yours. It's almost all harmless. All of the above is irrelevant.

Humans get sick when they eat spoiled food because our digestive pathway is relatively slow, so the bacteria have enough time to grow and multiply and produce enough toxic waste to make us sick. Sometimes very very sick. Cats and other obligate carnivores, on the other hand, have very fast pass through, so bacteria never have the time to produce enough toxic waste to make them sick. That's why they can and do eat rotting carrion. How great is that?

Bacteria and mold should have no bearing whatsoever in making decisions about whether or not to feed dry or wet or raw cat food, or any combination of those.
 

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(1) Kittens and cats require EXACTLY the same thing. In the wild, kittens once weaned and adults eat the same thing -- raw meat. The best thing to feed a kitten (other than raw meat) is high-quality grain-free canned food (Evo 95% meat, Wellness Core, etc).

(2) You CANNOT compare dry food to canned food nutrient/protein/ ANYTHING-wise without converting both to a dry matter analysis! Canned food contains 70% or so water, so of course it will appear to contain "less" protein. In fact, it almost always contains MORE. Here is how you do that:

DRY MATTER ANALYSIS CONVERSION:

(1) Look at the label of, first, the DRY food. Get the moisture content. Say that is listed as 10% -- that means it has 90% dry matter. Next, get the protein level -- say it's 30%.

Dry food: 30 (% protein) divided by 90 (% dry matter) = .33 or 33% protein on a dry matter basis.

(2) Now look at the CANNED food and DO THE SAME THING. There will be MUCH more water--using EVO 95% meat chicken and turkey ( http://www.evopet.com/products/default. ... ga&id=1662 ), which has 78% moisure (and therefore 22% dry matter) this comes out to:

Canned food: 9 (% protein) divided by 22 (% dry matter) = 41% protein.

See? :) The canned food actually has 41% protein, compared to the dry food which has 33%. You are going to feed much LESS of the dry food (if for some reason you choose to feed it) b/c w/out water, it is concentrated. You feed more of the canned food.
Hi HoofMaiden, thank you for this very good step-by-step explanation of how to compare food!!

Do you know if there is a net protein % that the food should be above? I am currently comparing around 20 different varieties of cat food for my kitten, and I am noticing that most are above 45% net protein when compared dry-to-dry in the way you described. However, a few fall below this mark (including, notably, EVO "95%" canned food, which clocks in at 41% net protein. I thought this was strange, since the EVO "95%" food is a popular recommendation). So, I was wondering if anyone had a recommended net protein percentage that they would stay above - 40%, 45%, 50%?

I will post my spreadsheet in a bit. Do you think I should include anything on it besides wet/dry, brand, name, flavor, crude protein %, dry matter %, net protein %, and first few ingredients? For example, is the % of fiber or fat especially important? Kcals/kg? Let me know if so, and why, and I'll include it on the spreadsheet! :)
 

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Wow I am so glad I found this thread! I never knew that wet food was better for cats and believed that dry food helps cats teeth D:. I will be switching Shadow over to wet food. I will finish off his IAMS bag first.

I will try to find Wellness or Innova.

What is the opinion on science diet?
 

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Wow I am so glad I found this thread! I never knew that wet food was better for cats and believed that dry food helps cats teeth D:. I will be switching Shadow over to wet food. I will finish off his IAMS bag first.

I will try to find Wellness or Innova.

What is the opinion on science diet?
IMO, Science Diet is expensive junk. You can get a lot of better foods for the same price.

Food Products has a list of grain free wet foods. Some of them do contain rice, such as the Friskies, but it is low down on the ingrediant list. All the foods on the list are not created equal, it includes types with by-products which is not a good source of meat. However, those are the more economical choices for most people as well so they are listed.
 

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We just adopted a cat from the ASPCA. Their new cat materials recommend solely wet food for cats. In the past they'd recommended dry or a combination. They say wet food is lower in carbs and higher in water and protein and this is a healthier and more natural diet for cats. They say dry food, even high end dry, is really "kitty junk food" and too much can lead to problems. They even refer to Feeding Your Cat: Know the Basics of Feline Nutrition :: healthy cat diet, making cat food, litter box, cat food, cat nutrition, cat urinary tract health

Progress!
 

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Well I made it through all 17 pages of this thread, and I still don't know what brand of wet food to buy my babies, lol. I'm going to look into Nature's Variety frozen raw or canned, Avo Derm, Evo 95% meat, and Wellness Core.

The different posts on bacteria and mold were quite interesting. One of the subjects I teach (I teach at a culinary school, but I strictly teach the classroom, not kitchen, subjects) is ServSafe or the study of food safety. Every place in the US that sells food must have a ServSafe certified person on the premises. I have one step above that, a certification to teach ServSafe. I'm reasonably knowledgeable about keeping food safe for human consumption -- cat consumption is out of my range of knowledge; however, I wanted to comment on a few things I read.

Bacteria, Viruses, Parasites, and Fungi are all different pathogens, or disease-causing organisms. One of the posters who said mold is not a bacteria is dead-on correct.

Yes, it's true that in order to thrive, a pathogen typically likes a water content of .85 or higher on a scale of 0.0 to 1.0, with water having a rating of 1.0. That's why you are more LIKELY to get a foodborn illness from a moist food like chicken salad than a drier food like a cracker.

That having been said, BOTH dry food and wet food can become contaminated by bacteria. Keeping food safe is highly dependent on how it's handled, not just the physical water content of it. Dry food can become contaminated; moist food can become contaminated.

Again, these are based on human consumption -- I can't speak for a feline digestive system; however, it would seem to me that the rationale behind dry vs. wet should have much more to do with how your baby thrives/grows/lives on the product than whether or not someone thinks that wet food grows more bacteria or dry food grows more bacteria. Both, if mishandled anywhere from the manufacturer to my house can be contaminated. Some bacteria are aerobic -- they thrive in the air. Some are anaerobic -- they thrive when cut off from oxygen (botulism for example). Parasites are a whole other subject.

Someone said about not leaving wet food out for more than 30 minutes. I'm curious as to what the proven time is that you can allow cat food to sit in the temperature danger zone (41 - 135, with 70-125 being the worst of the danger zone). For human consumption, you generally have up to about 4 hours before the bacteria could multiply to a number that will make you sick. Is there something published on what that time frame is for cats? A half hour seems to be overly-precautious, but again, I know how to keep human food safe, not feline food, so I'm not saying that the poster who suggested 30 minutes is wrong.

Anyway, just my 2 cents on the subject....still don't know what to buy though!
 

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Well I made it through all 17 pages of this thread, and I still don't know what brand of wet food to buy my babies, lol. I'm going to look into Nature's Variety frozen raw or canned, Avo Derm, Evo 95% meat, and Wellness Core.

The different posts on bacteria and mold were quite interesting. One of the subjects I teach (I teach at a culinary school, but I strictly teach the classroom, not kitchen, subjects) is ServSafe or the study of food safety. Every place in the US that sells food must have a ServSafe certified person on the premises. I have one step above that, a certification to teach ServSafe. I'm reasonably knowledgeable about keeping food safe for human consumption -- cat consumption is out of my range of knowledge; however, I wanted to comment on a few things I read.

Bacteria, Viruses, Parasites, and Fungi are all different pathogens, or disease-causing organisms. One of the posters who said mold is not a bacteria is dead-on correct.

Yes, it's true that in order to thrive, a pathogen typically likes a water content of .85 or higher on a scale of 0.0 to 1.0, with water having a rating of 1.0. That's why you are more LIKELY to get a foodborn illness from a moist food like chicken salad than a drier food like a cracker.

That having been said, BOTH dry food and wet food can become contaminated by bacteria. Keeping food safe is highly dependent on how it's handled, not just the physical water content of it. Dry food can become contaminated; moist food can become contaminated.

Again, these are based on human consumption -- I can't speak for a feline digestive system; however, it would seem to me that the rationale behind dry vs. wet should have much more to do with how your baby thrives/grows/lives on the product than whether or not someone thinks that wet food grows more bacteria or dry food grows more bacteria. Both, if mishandled anywhere from the manufacturer to my house can be contaminated. Some bacteria are aerobic -- they thrive in the air. Some are anaerobic -- they thrive when cut off from oxygen (botulism for example). Parasites are a whole other subject.

Someone said about not leaving wet food out for more than 30 minutes. I'm curious as to what the proven time is that you can allow cat food to sit in the temperature danger zone (41 - 135, with 70-125 being the worst of the danger zone). For human consumption, you generally have up to about 4 hours before the bacteria could multiply to a number that will make you sick. Is there something published on what that time frame is for cats? A half hour seems to be overly-precautious, but again, I know how to keep human food safe, not feline food, so I'm not saying that the poster who suggested 30 minutes is wrong.

Anyway, just my 2 cents on the subject....still don't know what to buy though!
This is informative, thank you! I have no formal education in any of these things but have become so interested in nutrition and the food industry that I spend a lot of time reading about it. I always enjoy learning more.

I agree with what Minka said as well. You're going to get a lot of different opinions on which canned food is best, and that's because there are just a lot of really good options! Don't feel like you have to settle on one. My cats get 3-5 different brands on any given week. Rotation feeding has a lot of benefits, such as the cats not getting bored, avoiding nutritional problems that can be caused be always feeding the same food, and having multiple options in case of a recall or if the store just runs out of one food.
 

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Hi everyone! I'm really surprised about this canned food thing, never knew about its bennefits. Our vet has always recommeded dry food and we've never given canned food to our cats as part of a steady diet, thinking it wasn't as good. However, this really seems to make sense...

I was wondering, is there any place where I could find scientific papers or scientific articles about the bennefits of canned food?

My dad is very caring of our cat, and he's the one that buys her food. He's VERY stubborn, and he won't believe anything that isn't written on a scientific paper (he's a doctor, so that might explain it). I tried telling him about the wet diet thing, and he told me we'll be asking the vet next time we see him. The thing is, Lenore's next appointment with the vet is still a few months away. And anyways, last time I checked, our vet wasn't too keen on wet diet for cats.

Hope anybody could help me! I tried searching on Google Scholar, but couldn't find anything (not for free, at least :s).
 

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Wet food and UTIs

I like to give my babies wet grain-free food – I find it keeps away UTIs in my older cat. As long as the ingredients are top quality (I feed natural balance Platefulls) then wet food can be very beneficial.
 

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We just adopted a cat from the ASPCA. Their new cat materials recommend solely wet food for cats. In the past they'd recommended dry or a combination. They say wet food is lower in carbs and higher in water and protein and this is a healthier and more natural diet for cats. They say dry food, even high end dry, is really "kitty junk food" and too much can lead to problems. They even refer to Feeding Your Cat: Know the Basics of Feline Nutrition :: healthy cat diet, making cat food, litter box, cat food, cat nutrition, cat urinary tract health

Progress!
That's so awesome! :)
 

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Hi everyone! I'm really surprised about this canned food thing, never knew about its bennefits. Our vet has always recommeded dry food and we've never given canned food to our cats as part of a steady diet, thinking it wasn't as good. However, this really seems to make sense...

I was wondering, is there any place where I could find scientific papers or scientific articles about the bennefits of canned food?

My dad is very caring of our cat, and he's the one that buys her food. He's VERY stubborn, and he won't believe anything that isn't written on a scientific paper (he's a doctor, so that might explain it). I tried telling him about the wet diet thing, and he told me we'll be asking the vet next time we see him. The thing is, Lenore's next appointment with the vet is still a few months away. And anyways, last time I checked, our vet wasn't too keen on wet diet for cats.

Hope anybody could help me! I tried searching on Google Scholar, but couldn't find anything (not for free, at least :s).
this site seems more lay-person friendly than scholarly, but lisa pierson dvm wrote it. if you wanted something more scientific, you could probably write and ask her. she seems very willing to get information out there:

www.catinfo.org
 

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I was wondering, is there any place where I could find scientific papers or scientific articles about the bennefits of canned food?
Dr. Pierson's site is an excellent resource :)

This seems to be the study that the whole 'cats fed a dry diet don't take in as much water' thing comes from:

http://www.hillspet.com/media/_refac...actDisease.pdf

Disclaimer: yes, it was conducted at Hill's. There is unfortunately little funding and few resources or support available for systematic research into pet diets outside of pet food manufacturers :(

But anyone can test this on their own cats at home! *If they're already used to a varied diet and eating both wet and dry food, and aren't prone to UTIs.* Please use your best judgment!

Feed only dry food for a week, then only wet for a week, another week of dry and another week of wet (to avoid order effects). Keep careful track each day of how much they're drinking (use a weigh scale for the water bowl, in a home kitchen it'll be more accurate than trying to measure volume directly) and add that to the moisture content of the diet. If you use clumping cat litter you can try to estimate urinary output (total weight or volume of urine clumps); although you'd likely miss subtle differences, major changes should be detectable.

Hm... I actually keep meaning to try this with ours, as I'd like to compare water intake on a mixed vs. wet vs. dry diet. Anyone (with healthy cats NOT prone to UTIs) want to join me? ;)
 

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I just read through every page of this thread and I am so glad it is here. I caught a glimpse of something the other day saying a wet food diet is better than a dry food diet for cats so I have been meaning to read more up on it.

There is actually a similar discussion I read once about ferrets, raw vs. dry food, because I have a ferret and have had them longer than cats. If you think cats are picky about food, you've never met a ferret

Anyway, we recently adopted two cats and the shelter gave the cats a small amount of dry food to eat through out the day and then they got a morning meal of wet and an evening meal of wet. They did mix food brands together and fed the cats that didn't have any dietary restrictions, the mix, both dry and wet. They gave us two cans of Fancy Feast and bag of dry food with the cats, which I just fed the last of to them this morning so this evening I have to go buy food, which is why I came on here to do some research.

So this evening I will be buying mostly good canned food and a small bag of dry. One of our cats loves wet food, but eats both. The other hasn't been very interested in the wet, though I have seen him eat some so it may be that he just didn't like what I gave him. I am all about giving them a variety of brands and flavors also, as with ferrets (sorry I keep referencing them, but I have both and they have similar needs) it is recommended to keep them from being so picky and also so that if for any reason a food is no longer available or they end up with a health issue restricting their diet, the transition to the special diet is much easier.

I can say from having a lot of family who had had or still have cats, that were all primarily dry food fed, more of them have ended up with urinary issues (male and female) than have not.

My cats see the vet next week for the first time (we adopted them on 8/5) so I'm sure I will be asked what they are being fed. I am interested to see the response. There are vets in my area that do not sell any pet food, except for maybe prescription diets, and are a little less likely to be brand specific and make recommendations based more on actual nutrition than $$, I'm hoping this vet is one. It's literally 2 minutes from my house and I need a new vet for the ferret since we moved, also.

Thanks for all the great info and making this a sticky!
 

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Hey.. just a couple of questions (they might sound stupid :( )

How come wet foods don't seem to contain as much protein as dry? Like some dry is about 30% but some wets are as little as 10%?

If I were to feed dry and wet.. how much do you reduce the dry by and how much wet do you give? My cat is over weight and the vet says he does go to wee enough. He only goes once, maybe twice a day! I'm thinking wet could help him?

I'm in the UK and now I'm so unsure of what wet (and dry for that matter) foods are actually good?! Applaws wet is meant to be great but even that has some rice in it!
 

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Dr. Pierson's site is an excellent resource :)

This seems to be the study that the whole 'cats fed a dry diet don't take in as much water' thing comes from:

http://www.hillspet.com/media/_refac...actDisease.pdf

Disclaimer: yes, it was conducted at Hill's. There is unfortunately little funding and few resources or support available for systematic research into pet diets outside of pet food manufacturers :(

But anyone can test this on their own cats at home! *If they're already used to a varied diet and eating both wet and dry food, and aren't prone to UTIs.* Please use your best judgment!

Feed only dry food for a week, then only wet for a week, another week of dry and another week of wet (to avoid order effects). Keep careful track each day of how much they're drinking (use a weigh scale for the water bowl, in a home kitchen it'll be more accurate than trying to measure volume directly) and add that to the moisture content of the diet. If you use clumping cat litter you can try to estimate urinary output (total weight or volume of urine clumps); although you'd likely miss subtle differences, major changes should be detectable.

Hm... I actually keep meaning to try this with ours, as I'd like to compare water intake on a mixed vs. wet vs. dry diet. Anyone (with healthy cats NOT prone to UTIs) want to join me? ;)
This isn't actually necessary. The moment you switch from dry to wet it becomes very apparent where their water intake is coming from and why. When I fed all dry, I refilled their water several times a day. When I switched to wet they almost never drink from their water bowl. I was alarmed at this at first but my specialist assured me this was because they were getting their necessary water intake from their food. I still always leave out fresh water everyday and empty it out and refill it several times a day just in case they decide to get thirsty.
 

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This isn't actually necessary. The moment you switch from dry to wet it becomes very apparent where their water intake is coming from and why.
Oh yes, the difference in water intake when feeding all wet vs. all dry is very clear! :) But I was talking at the end there about comparing a mixed diet to all wet. Recently, mine have been getting all wet for a couple days, while other days they get some kibble as well as wet. So I looked for a difference in water intake between "dry + wet" days and "wet only" days, and actually it's not at all obvious in my kitties.

For my two, a measurable difference in drinking only happens when I compare feeding a "very high" moisture content food ('in gravy' or 'in jelly' or made into a slurry, moisture >~82%) without kibble to feeding 1/2 kibble + 1/2 a 'drier' canned food (canned food moisture <~78%).

Most notably, I'm seeing no measurable difference in water intake between days where they're fed raw only and days when they're fed kibble + a 'soupy' wet food (moisture >80%, either packaged as such or because I've added water to it). Now of course this is from a sample size of 2, so YMMV ;)

Note too that I don't feed any one diet (all raw, all canned, mixed canned + kibble) for long periods of time with no breaks, about 5 days in a row max. More differences might become apparent feeding after any one diet over a longer period.
 
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