People are often surprised by this, thinking that dry foods would be a better option because of their convenience and the fact that they don't go bad or dry out. Unfortunately, while dry foods are very handy for people, they are very bad for cats. There are several reasons for this.
Cats are obligate carnivores. This means that cats must eat meat. They cannot properly digest plant matter, and dry cat food, or kibble, is primarily plant matter. Flour is what makes those tasty little biscuits hold together. That flour might be made of grain, such as corn, wheat, oats or rice; or it might be made from potatoes, peas, lentils, or other starchy food. Whatever the source, those carbohydrates are NOT good for your cat. Pet food companies will try to tell you otherwise. They are lying to you.
Cats are meant to get their water from their food. Cats evolved as desert animals. This means that they have very low thirst drive, and must get the majority of their water from their foods. Cats fed a dry food diet are often chronically dehydrated, and develop urinary crystals or stones much more frequently than cats fed a canned food diet. Stones and crystals can be life threatening for male cats, and are horribly painful for any cat.
Not all canned foods are created equal. To be honest, ANY canned food is better for your cat than even the best dry food. That said, some canned foods are better than others, and cost is not the determining factor.
Cats need both muscle and organ meats to keep them in optimal condition. Canned foods that contain both sources will be healthier than foods that contain only muscle meats. Flavours such as "turkey and giblets" are a better option than foods with only a single protein source, because they contain both muscle and organ meats. Poultry flavours also tend to be better tolerated than other flavours.
Fish is not a natural food for cats. Cats love fish, and we want to give our pets what they love, but fish is not a natural food for cats, and may cause vomiting. High levels of mercury and phosphorus can also cause long term problems if fish flavours are fed too often. Fish flavours are fine as an occasional meal, but should not be fed too often. If your cat vomits after a meal of fish flavoured food, you should probably consider eliminating it from the diet.
We have put together a list of canned foods in our Amazon Store. If you order something from that list, the cats may earn a small commission.
For more information on how the foods you feed your cats affect their health, please visit catinfo.org