Is It OK if My Cat Only Eats Dry Food? Pros And Cons of Kibble

With so many cat food options in your local supermarket, it can be overwhelming when deciding which one to pick up. How do you know which product is best for your cat? It seems straightforward to pick up a random packet and serve it to your cat. Still, every cat owner is rightfully concerned for their cat’s health, and food is one of the most significant contributors to health. 

Is It OK if My Cat Only Eats Dry Food? You can definitely feed your pet only kibble. There is nothing wrong with it as long as you have a healthy adult cat with no dental issues and as long as it is high-quality kibble. Lower-quality cat food uses carbohydrates as fillers, which is not ideal for your feline.

Continue reading to learn more about – You can divide cat food into wet and dry cat food. But which one is best? Is grabbing a big bag of kibble enough for your feline? Or should you mix it up?

Can Cats Live on Dry Food Only

Can Cats Live on Dry Food Only? 

The good news is a healthy adult cat can thrive on dry food only. In fact, many cat owners prefer to feed only dry kibble due to its longer shelf life and fewer chances of going bad if your cat leaves leftovers in their bowl. Is it, by the way, named “cat food” for a reason, as it meets all your pet’s nutritional and caloric requirements?

If you decide to keep your pet on a kibble diet, there are a few things you should be aware of. Firstly, make sure they drink water. Kibble only has around 7-12% moisture content, and cats are not good at hydrating themselves. If you have a cat that does not drink water, you need to incorporate canned food into its diet to maintain its hydration levels.

Secondly, make sure to purchase high-quality dry food. Fillers made of carbohydrates are found in lower-quality dry food. These are more difficult for your cat’s gut to break down. In particularly sensitive felines, this can cause vomiting and diarrhoea.

While shopping for kibble:

  • Look for low carbohydrates.
  • High fibre.
  • Natural animal protein.
  • Contains Vitamins and minerals.
  • And Fatty acids to boost the immune system.

Intresting Reading: A Guide To How To Soften Dry Cat Food?

What Are the Risks of a Dry Food Diet?

Although dry cat food is not inherently dangerous, there are a few things you should consider:

What Are the Risks of a Dry Food Diet

1. Risks of Dehydration

Dry cat food does not contain enough water content to hydrate your feline, and as cats are poor drinkers, this may pose a problem. If your cat is dehydrated, it will get lethargic, weak, and will refuse to eat. You can add canned food to their diet or purchase a water fountain specifically for cats. The flowing water is more appealing to your feline. St flowing water is safer than stagnant water in the wild, so the water fountain will get your cat into slurping water again.

2. Hish Risk of Obesity

Kibble is not the culprit here. The problem is “free-feeding”. Because kibble is dry food that can be left out without worrying about the fact that it may spoil, pet owners who work may leave out a lot of cat food for the entire day. Hence, their cat has a constant supply of food. Unfortunately, your furry friend will overeat, leading to obesity.

Obesity in cats can lead to diabetes, heart problems, arthritis, and even tumours, so free feeding is never recommended in healthy adult cats. Instead, you can get an automatic feeder. A lot of feeders cater to dry kibble. You can set the time and amount on it and go about your day worry-free.

3. Urinary Tract Diseases

This goes hand-in-hand with dehydration. The less water content your cat has, the more bacteria in the urinary tract get to thrive. Your cat might make painful sounds while peeing, go to pee plenty of times and pass very little urine, or over-clean their genitals in an attempt to ease the discomfort.

Also, dry kibble contains minerals like calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus (known as “ash” on cat food packaging). Without water, these minerals can condense into your pet’s urinary system, causing urolithiasis or kidney stones, which are very painful. If your cat gets urine infections often, it’s recommended to switch to canned food or go for dry kibble with low “ash” content.

What are the Situations in Which Dry Food Shouldn’t be Fed to a Cat?

Even though dry cat food is widely marketed as the go-to cat diet (and it can be for healthy adult cats), there are some circumstances where dry cat food is not recommended for your pet:

What are the Situations in Which Dry Food Shouldn't be Fed to a Cat

1. Dry Food should not be given to Kittens

Kittens are initially on their mother’s milk and start weaning at the age of four weeks. From week four to week six, they need soft foods to start off with, as they are in the first stage of teething and have deciduous teeth. These teeth are not strong enough to properly chew and break down dry kibble, so there is a choking hazard when it comes to giving kittens kibble. You can give your pet kitten kibble at six weeks, but that two after pouring a tablespoon or two of water over it, so it softens and is easier to chew.

2. Cats with Recurring Urinary Issues

As discussed, dry kibble contains “ash”, which can mineralize in the urinary tract causing kidney stones. If your cat has a history of UTIs, it is best to switch to canned food and take a trip to the vet. 

3. Cats with Gastrointestinal problems

Some felines cannot tolerate dry kibble and develop symptoms like vomiting and diarrhoea. It is recommended to get higher quality kibble as they do not contain carbohydrate “fillers”. If that does not solve the problem, you should opt for wet canned food as it is easier to digest because its consistency is close to their natural prey in the wild.

4. Cats with Teeth Problems

Cats with periodontitis, odontitis, or tooth resorption will have a harder time chewing on hard, dry kibble. The inflammation going on in their mouths makes eating kibble a painful experience. This may prevent them from eating altogether.

If you notice your cat has suddenly stopped eating dry kibble but eats wet canned food or treats, pawing at its mouth or drooling and swelling of the gums, it is a good idea to schedule a visit to the vet.

Frequently Asked Questions

Veterinarians recommend that cats exclusively eat canned food due to its high moisture content and dry kibble-containing carbohydrates. Cats are obligate carnivores, so they need a diet rich in protein. Canned food meets this requirement better than kibble.

Of course! Dry cat food is specifically designed for cats, so an adult cat can only live a long and healthy life on kibble. You just need to make sure your cat stays hydrated.

Yes, kittens of this age can thrive on a kibble-only diet.

The Bottom Line on Is It OK if My Cat Only Eats Dry Food

Kibble or dry cat food is a popular diet choice for many cat owners. Felines seem to enjoy it and can live a healthy life solely on dry cat food. However, it is best to switch to canned food if you have a kitten from 4-6 weeks of age or a cat with urinary, dental, or hydration problems.

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  3. Why Is My Cat Always Hungry But Skinny?
  4. Do Kittens Need Wet Food?
  5. Why is There Ash in Cat Food?
  6. Pros and Cons of Grain Free Diet for Cat
  7. How Long Does Canned Cat Food Last?
  8. Sugar Water For Kittens: Recipe Guide
  9. Do Cat Treats Expire? Are Expired Cat Treats Safe
  10. Can I Leave Wet Cat Food Out Overnight?
  11. What To Do With Leftover Cat Food? 
LearnAboutCat Author Isabella

Who Is Isabella?

My name is Isabella, and I am a dedicated and knowledgeable cat enthusiast. With years of experience caring for cats and a deep love for felines, I made a mission to help other cat lovers navigate the challenges of cat ownership.

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