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Mix Wet and Dry Cat Food? 6 Things To Know When Combining Cat Food

We tend to feed our cats with either dry or wet food almost their whole lives. This is where combining different types of cat food comes in to add variety to your cats diet. 

mixing wet and dry cat food

When done right, mixing wet and dry cat food in a natural way can boost hydration, dental health, and nutrition for optimal feline health.

Today, you’ll learn expert tips on mixing ratios, transitioning foods, and creating the purrfect wet-dry combo to bring out your cat’s inner hunter.

We’ll show you how to mix wet and dry cat food in a natural way that matches your cat’s true dietary needs for a balanced diet.

Related Article: Check out our buyers guide – Best Wet Cat Food For Indoor Cats.

Key Takeaways

  • Wet food provides more moisture and hydration, while dry food offers convenience and some dental benefits. Both have pros and cons.
  • Aim for a 50/50 ratio when mixing wet and dry food. Adjust amounts based on your cat’s needs.
  • Add 1/4 cup wet food to 1/4 cup dry food as a typical single meal portion to mix together.
  • When mixing food types, keep the brands, flavors, and ratios consistent to avoid upsetting your cat’s stomach. Slowly transition mix proportions.

Mix Wet and Dry Cat Food; Is It Ok?

Yes, you can safely mix wet and dry cat food together in the same bowl. Choose each food based on quality and what your cat will eat. Remember to check the daily intake amount for each type of cat food individually before combining them so that you do not overfeed your cat.

Is Mixing Cat Food Bad?

While combining wet and dry cat food together is not a problem, what about mixing your cat’s food with other things?

There are some basic things that it’s certainly ok to mix in your kitties’ food and then there are  things that you should stay away from, so be careful with the culinary experiments such as mixing with human foods that may not be beneficial to your cat.

Also, instead of mixing the cat food, try heating it up. Your cat may find it quite palatable – just don’t get it hot enough to burn them.

Mixing wet and dry cat food can also help if your cat is throwing up their food.

Key differences between wet and dry food for cats

Both wet and dry cat food have advantages and disadvantages – give and take so to speak. This table gives you a quick breakdown of advantages an disadvantages of wet vs dry cat food

Wet Cat FoodDry Cat Food
Moisture ContentHigh moisture content – provides cats with needed hydrationLower moisture content – does not support hydration as well
Protein ContentTypically higher in protein per calorieLower protein levels per calorie on average
PalatabilityMore palatable with intense flavors and aromasLess palatable to some cats due to lack of moisture
CarbohydratesLower carbohydrate levels, closer to natural dietHigher in carbs like grains, less appropriate for obligate carnivores
Dental HealthGel-like texture helps scrape away plaque and tartarHard crunchy texture helps clean teeth, but depends on kibble shape
Ease of EatingSofter texture easier to pick up and swallowHarder chunks may be difficult for some cats to chew and swallow
SatietyMoisture provides more volume and weight for greater feelings of fullnessCalorie-dense formula may lead some cats to overeat
FillersLess non-nutritive bulk like grain fillersMay contain more bulk like grain fillers
Urinary Tract HealthMoisture dilutes urine and lowers mineral contentRisk of concentrated urine and crystal formation
ConvenienceRequires more frequent meal prep and storage considerationsCan be left out for free-feeding, better for auto feeders
AffordabilityTypically more expensive per ounceLower cost option in most cases
Shelf LifeLeftovers only last a few days refrigeratedUnopened bag can last for weeks or months

How to mix Wet and Dry Cat Food- Food Ratio Balance

Many cat owners like to mix wet and dry cat food. But if your new to the concept (that’s why your here right?) and want to give it a whirl here’s a few tips to get you started:

  • General ratio – Aim for around 50% wet food and 50% dry food in your cat’s diet. This provides a good balance of the benefits of each. You can make adjustments from there. 
  • Meal ratios – When mixing for an individual meal, use around 1/4 cup of dry kibble mixed with 1/4 cup of canned wet food. Adjust amounts based on your cat’s size, age, and activity level.
  • Mixing method – First, place the dry kibble portion in your cat’s bowl. Then take the canned wet food and spoon it on top of the kibble. Lightly mix or fold together until evenly distributed.
  • Feeding schedule – Most cats are fed 3-4 times per day (depending on weight). You can mix wet and dry for just one or two of those meals. Many cats prefer wet food for dinner time.
  • Proportions – For overweight cats, tip ratio toward wet food. For underweight cats, use a little more dry food. Kittens may need more frequent wet food for hydration.
  • Consistency – Keep brand, flavors, and mixing ratios consistent. Cats don’t like abrupt food changes.
  • Storage – Refrigerate unused wet food. For dry food, reseal bag and store in cool, dry place.
  • Dental hygiene – Brush cat’s teeth regularly since both wet and dry food are not sufficient for full dental care.
  • Monitor health – Schedule annual vet checkups to ensure diet is supporting good health and weight, adjusting ratios if needed.

The key is finding the right wet/dry balance for your cat’s needs. When in doubt, consult your veterinarian for personalized nutrition advice.

feeding your cat

Adding water to Your cats food

For cats that I’ve owned in the past whether I was feeding them with dry food exclusively or wet food, I always added a bit of water.

Adding water to each has the benefit of softening food to make it easier to eat (dry food) or adding a bit of volume to stretch your money and help with palatability (wet food). Just don’t drown their food!

Mixing cat food with milk

This can be a little touchy, so consult your vet. It can be done, but you’ll want to mix the cat food with cat milk only and not the milk we drink from the store. Chances are if you’re having to do this, your cat (or kitten) probably has some kind of medical issue. 

Special caution applies to cats with digestive problems and allergy sufferers

For cats with digestive problems and allergy sufferers, it’s important to exercise special caution when mixing wet and dry cat food.

Some cats may have specific dietary needs or sensitivities that require a more tailored approach to their meals.

Before combining wet and dry food, it’s crucial to consult with a veterinarian or specialist dealer to ensure you are providing the right balance of nutrients for your cat’s health and well-being.

To help you better understand the considerations for mixing wet and dry cat food, here is a table outlining the pros and cons:

Pros of Mixing Cat FoodCons of Mixing Cat Food
Improve water intake and prevent dehydrationIncompatibility with prescription or therapeutic diet
Expand menu and provide varietyBudget constraints
Help wean kittens off milkTime constraints for portioning meals
Ease transition to new foodUncertainty about food allergies
Balance diet without overspendingPermanently switching to mixed meals

Therapeutic pet Foods

Be careful with this one. Remember that therapeutic pet foods are scientifically engineered or formulated to treat your pet and have dietary requirements.

Even if your mixing plain involves wet or dry cat food with a therapeutic food, tread lightly and consult your vet before adding anything.

Diluting a therapeutic cat food may counteract any benefits for your cat that the food was intended to treat. 

Think of it this way;

If your doctor provided you with a prescription drug and told you to eat or drink something with it, would you do it? Of course not. 

Did I mention to check with your vet?

You’re in control

When you work with your vet you can manage your cats diet needs that are unique to your kitty.

It’s actually pretty simple to  come up with a meal plan by combining wet and dry food that can encourage your cat to eat more or less of a type of food based on their activity and metabolism.

As example, if your cat is picky but not active you can encourage your cat to eat dry food that meets their caloric needs.

If your cat is a picky eater and like to hang out in their cat tree that you keep clean, consider giving them meals there, versus making them come down.

Think About This: Cats can get the water they need from wet food, not just drinking alone. This is helpful if your cat doesn’t like water too much.

Combination of Wet and Dry Cat Food; Why Do it?

There are a lot of good reasons why you would want to mix your cat’s food. 

Here’s what we often forget;

Wet cat food and dry cat food each have their unique properties and drawbacks that help to offset one from the other. Mixing each together helps give the cat the best of both worlds. 

Dry food tends to be less expensive, can be stored easy and can be loaded into an automatic feeder. 

Does wet cat food help with Hydration?

Yes; Wet cat food is about 70% – 80% water which helps your cat obtain 3 – 4 ounces per day from consuming one can of wet cat food. Cats need to consume about ½ cup of water per 5 pounds of body weight per day. Pate style cat food may have less water or “gravy” than regular cat food. 

Did you notice-

Above we mentioned ‘consume’ not necessarily ‘drink’. Cats can either hydrate by drinking water the old fashioned way or by drinking the water (in other words consume) in wet food. You can check out more vet info here.

If you think your cat needs a little something extra, consider giving your cat water with electrolytes, but don’t mix it in their cat food.

Mixing food helps with your cats weight management

Studies have shown (like this one) that there is a link between your becoming obese and feeding your cat dry cat food.

This may be due to cats being free fed dry cat food all day. If you stop free feeding and start mixing wet and dry food together you’ll be more aware of how much your cat is eating and start introducing some portion control. 

Just like people, if the cat is taking in too many calories and not enough exercise, the kitty is going to gain some weight. 

Cost effective combination

When you start shopping for cat food, you’ll notice right away that there is a difference between the cost of each type of cat food.

You guessed it – wet cat food tends to be more expensive and dry is (on average) less expensive. This will help you to watch how much it costs to feed your cat each month.

Mixing cat food allows you to give you cat the awesomeness of wet cat food without having to break the bank. Think about this – you’ll only be giving your cat about half a can which means one can last two days. At about .75 cents or more per can this can really help out. 

Makes the food taste better

As they say, “Variety is the spice of life” and so it is with cats also. Having a wet and dry food combination for your feline gives them a little something to look forward to.

This is especially helpful if you have a kitty diva on your hands that can’t be bothered with dry food. Mixing in wet food may be just the ticket to get them interested. 

It Can Help Keep Their Teeth Clean

Dry cat food sometimes provides some basic dental hygiene by cleaning the cats teeth. Notice I said sometimes. Whether or not kibble style food can clean will depend on the formulation of the dry food in question. As long as the food doesn’t have sticky ingredients in the food, the dry food can help scrape away tartar.

Wet Vs Dry Food

When it comes to establishing moisture content in either wet or dry cat food, there tends to be a range for both types of food. Check the food label to get the particulars for your food, but generally speaking the ranges are:

Wet cat food contains about 70% – 80% moisture

Dry Cat food is about 10% – 12%

Mixing Wet and Dry Cat Food Ratio

How much you should feed your cat can depend on a variety of factors. Keep this in mind; 

Not only do you have to take into consideration the amount of food to give your cat, but the cat’s age and  the amount of exercise it’s getting. 

Each type and brand of cat food will have varying caloric and nutritional contents. As a starting point check the label on your cat’s food and look for a feeding guide. 

As an example, if your cat weighs 10 pounds it may need up to a ½ cup of food per meal. Mix ¼ cup of wet food and a ¼ cup of dry food (half of each). Monitor how many calories your cat is burning to see if it’s gaining or losing weight and make adjustments.

Check with your vet to help you calculate exactly how much food you should feed your cat.

Start with mixing half and half of each and adjust the ratio from there.

Is It OK To Mix Different Brands of Cat Food?

It’s fine to mix two different brands of cat food together. It’s best to ensure that they are of similar quality and nutritional value to each other. You may not want to mix junky generic food with a trusted name brand which could potentially negate nutritional value of the good stuff.

Do’s and Don’t of Combining Cat Food

Here’s a few things to keep in mind when combining wet and dry cat food.

The Do’s

Do: Can’t stress it enough- speak with your vet and get info on the best cat foods and how many calories your cat needs based on its weight. 

Do: Make sure you are measuring you cat’s food with a reliable measuring device

Do: Mix foods from the same stage of life. In other words, if you have an adolescent cat don’t mix with senior cat food.

Do: Make sure both the wet and dry food have similar nutritional content

Do: Mix different aromas, shapes and textures

Do: Add water dry your dry cat food even if you don’t mix it with wet food

Do: Try different combinations and create tasty recipes for your cat!

The Don’t s

Don’t: Mix therapeutic cat food without consulting your vet

Don’t: Overfeed – Measure your cat’s food carefully

Don’t: Use cat treats instead of dry cat food. Cat treats can be like junk food and have ‘empty’ calories with no nutritional value. 

Don’t: Think all cat food is created equal. Read labels carefully.

Don’t: Mix cat food with Milk

Create Your Own Cat Food Recipe

Once you have a clear idea on how much your cat should be eating each day, what kind of wet and dry food they’ll eat and flavors they love – Experiment!

Mix and match different flavors and come up with your own tastes just like you would for yourself in the kitchen! Just be sure to write down these awesome new recipes so that you can recreate them later.

Mix Wet and Dry Cat Food… Summary

Putting your cat on a combo diet – that is a mix of wet and dry cat food is super easy to do, provides variety for your cat and can save you a few bucks. 

Cats will tend to want to eat the wet food first, but if this becomes problematic, you can adjust the wet to dry ratio as needed. Even though wet cat food can provide some hydration, make sure you have a nice bowl of fresh water nearby. 

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