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cat food

September 15th, 2007, 11:41 AM
We are first time cat owners. I have read with interest the promotion of wet food as opposed to dry. Our cat Maggie is 10 mo.? ex feral with some gum and teeth issues already. Our vet suggested a dry hard food diet for her. We have been treating her with canned food, which she loves. I will switch to Wellness brand but under these circumstances should we feed her wet food full time? Could she have both? We are learning as we go. Thanks. Laurie

September 15th, 2007, 12:23 PM
Making sure they get enough liquid is especially important for males. But really it's up to you, as long as she's getting nourished. My cat are all males, I feed them as much canned as I can afford and a good quality kibble (Orijen, but there are others). I've heard kibble is good for teeth and also that it makes no difference, so I don't know what to think.

September 15th, 2007, 01:49 PM
Dry food definitely made a difference here with my two with teeth issues. I switched to a larger kibble and both of them showed great improvement, and one is actually no longer in need of a cleaning. I too feed wet as often as I can, but my girls refuse it (and I have tried every brand out there including making my own) and strictly eat dry. They are healthy and happy and as long as its a quality brand I don't see a problem. Moisture intake is very important so if she is eating dry, having a lot of water available is a good idea. And if she likes the wet food, feeding both is ideal IMO.:D Love to see pictures of her too!

September 15th, 2007, 02:15 PM
Personally, I would stay away from dry food. If your cat is already having dental problems it's likely a hereditary issue and no dry food is going to help.

Dental Disease: Long-standing claims that cats have less dental disease when they are fed dry food versus canned food are grossly overrated, inaccurate, and are not supported by recent studies. Many veterinarians are coming to the realization that this is a myth that needs to be dispelled. First, dry food is hard, but brittle, and merely shatters with little to no abrasive effect on the teeth. Second, a cat's jaws and teeth are designed for shearing and tearing meat, and cats that eat dry food grind it in a way that it ends up between their teeth. There it ferments into sugar and acid, thereby causing dental problems. Third, many cats swallow the majority of their dry food whole and thus receive minimal benefit from chewing motion. There are many factors that contribute to dental disease in the cat such as genetics, viruses, and diet. There remain many unanswered questions concerning the impact of diet on dental health, but feeding a high carbohydrate, species-inappropriate dry kibble diet is a negative factor, not a positive one. Perhaps a more effective way to promote dental health is to feed large chunks of raw meat which is what cats’ teeth are designed to chew.

I watch how my cats eat their chunks of food and bone. They turn their heads to the side and use their premolars and molars to cut or slice the food, then they swallow it. They don't chew for an extended period of time like an herbivore would. How in the world is a food like Hill's T/D (tarter control formula) or the like supposed to clean teeth if it's not thoroughly chewed? What about massaging the gums?

Cats, when eating their natural prey, cut or tear their food into manageable chunks, then swallow the chunks whole. It's the cutting, slicing and tearing that will clean teeth, not crunching on cereal. In fact, the processed carbohydrates in dry cat food may actually be causing the food to stick to a cat's teeth a bit like white bread.

Q: Dear Dr. Shawn: ”I would like you to address the issue of diet and dental disease. I only feed my cat K.T. canned cat food. She loves it and will have nothing to do with dry food. Plus, I think the canned food is better for her. Several of my pet-owning friends say that I’m doing harm to her, that the canned food will make her teeth worse. They say she needs dry food to help prevent bad teeth. I disagree with them. What is the truth?”

A: ”What a great question! Many veterinarians, including myself, were taught that dry food was better for the teeth due to the abrasive action of the pellets against the teeth. However, clinical experience over the last few years have shown this to simply be a myth. For example, just about every pet needs its teeth cleaned at least once a year, yet most of these pets are eating dry food. Obviously the dry food is not preventing dental disease. I see no difference in my own practice in the amount of dental disease regardless of type of diet.

Several references I consulted on diet and dental disease agree. For example, in Small Animal Clinical Nutrition, the authors state, “Although consumption of soft foods may promote plaque accumulation, the general belief that dry foods provide significant oral cleansing should be regarded with skepticism. A moist food may perform similarly to a typical dry food in affecting plaque, stain and calculus accumulation.Typical dry dog and cat foods contribute little dental cleansing.” In the Journal of Veterinary Dentistry (1996 Sept;13(3):101-105,) the author states that "In a large survey, dogs consuming dry food alone did not consistently demonstrate improved periodontal health when compared with dogs eating moist foods." Interestingly, my clients who feed their pets raw foods plus meaty bones for chewing report the least amount of dental disease, many of these pets do not always require an annual dental cleaning.

And finally, the speed with which dental disease occurs seems to be breed or size related in dogs: most large breed dogs do not need their teeth cleaned as often as their smaller counterparts. New recommendations on feeding cats encourage wet food to increase water consumption and decrease the chance of diseases such as diabetes, as canned food most closely mimics the natural diet of cats. The best thing you can do to control dental disease is to regularly brush your pet’s teeth, and have a professional cleaning whenever needed. So tell your friends that they can feed whatever kind of food they wish, but that your cat is eating the most appropriate diet.”

September 15th, 2007, 04:32 PM
we had nasty dental issues with Hunter. working through bones and meat was what finally took care of it. ive been impressed so far. :) no amount of kibble or wet or home made diet made even the slightest impact.


September 15th, 2007, 06:22 PM
Thank you for your replies. I see now there is a pet food forum. I apologize for misplacing this post. This is an amazing place, I have learned so much already and there is so much more. We live in a rural area. I appreciate having a place to come to with my questions. The things I have learned today about cat food will help me make better choices for Maggie.

September 15th, 2007, 10:20 PM
Thank you for your replies. I see now there is a pet food forum. I apologize for misplacing this post. This is an amazing place, I have learned so much already and there is so much more. We live in a rural area. I appreciate having a place to come to with my questions. The things I have learned today about cat food will help me make better choices for Maggie.

Oh hey, welcome to the board! Whereabouts in Southern Alberta are you? I used to work on a ranch in the Milk River area so I've spent quite a bit of time down in those parts.

September 18th, 2007, 09:42 AM
I give my cat both at the same time - and she eats both! She goes back and forth between bowls! She loves the variety and having a choice. With cats, and kidney problems being so common, wet food is important so they stay hydrated. Teeth can always be cleaned and taken care of. But get a high quality food. Even some high quality foods can be too rich for certain cats with more delicate digestive systems. If your cat is having a problem, you may be surprised by the differnce a change in food can make.