Every cat food at the pet store makes the claim that it is the absolute best for your cat. How do you choose? Take a peek at the nutrition label and making note of the moisture content. Cats have very unique nutritional needs including the need for high-quality animal protein, moderate fat content, and high levels of moisture. Choosing a moisture rich food could make a world of difference for your cat.
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Cats Don’t Drink Enough Water
Most people are familiar with the idea that humans need to drink more water. The Mayo Clinic suggests 2.2 liters of water per day for women and 3 liters of water per day for men but says the eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day adage works fine. If we allow ourselves to become dehydrated, then our bodies can’t function the way that they are supposed to.
The same idea is true with cats only with one small catch – cats get most of their water from food. Since cats originated as desert animals, they have a much lower thirst drive than humans or other non-desert animals. How would an animal survive in an environment where collected water is sparsely available? Rather than drinking the water their bodies need directly, cats in the wild hunt moisture rich prey like mice (about 75% moisture) and consume the water while eating.
How would an animal survive in an environment where collected water is sparsely available? Rather than drinking the water their bodies need directly, cats in the wild hunt moisture rich prey like mice (about 75% moisture) and consume the water while eating.
According to Dr. Karen Becker, DVM, cats eating a diet of dry food drink more water, but still only consume about half of the water that cats on a wet food diet do. Cats on dry food (typically only 5-10% moisture) are likely not getting their “8 glasses of water per day.” The way to get those kitties hydrated is to feed them a food with more moisture in it. Wet and raw cat foods often have moisture levels of 70% or more.
The Urinary Tact: A Moisture Rich Diet Makes a Difference
The urinary tract system is a series of organs, including the kidneys and bladder, whose purpose is the removal of waste products from the body. As the organs sift all of the waste (dead cells, harmful bacteria, viruses, etc) out of the bloodstream, the water making it into the system flushes the waste through the organs and out of the body. If the body isn’t taking in enough water – and consistently – this system doesn’t work very well.
For your cat, not taking in enough moisture could mean that all of those waste products are just building up in the kidneys and bladder. Urinary tract infections become more common because bacteria is allowed to build up. Cats have crystals that build up in their urinary tract system too if they can’t be broken down and flushed away. Painful and dangerous blockages can occur in the urinary tract system because of those crystals. If your cat already has urinary tract problems, talk to your veterinarian, adding moisture to you cat’s diet may help to resolve those problems.
Making a good cat food choice.
Buying a moisture rich cat food doesn’t mean you have to purchase the most expensive cat food on the shelf. Any wet food will have more moisture than any dry food. If your cat is a dry food kind of cat, you may have to wean him/her onto the wet food even if it is the same brand and flavor. The process of weaning may take a while, but it will be worth it in the end.
How much moisture is in your cat’s food?