Why Feeding Both Wet and Dry Food to Your Cat is Best

LAST UPDATED 23 February 2024

Feeding a balanced diet to your cat is vital for their overall health and wellbeing. A well balanced diet ensures that your cat receives the necessary nutrients, vitamins, and minerals essential for their growth, development, and maintenance of bodily functions. Providing a mixed diet that offers both wet and dry food can help balance your cat's diet, offer variety and diverse flavours, and help tempt fussy eaters.

Both wet and dry cat food offer unique benefits, catering to diverse dietary needs and preferences of different cats. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the nuances of wet and dry cat food, exploring their distinct characteristics, nutritional profiles, and the factors to consider when selecting the optimal diet for your feline friend.

In this article, we'll discuss:

1. Understanding Wet Food

2. Our Top Wet Food Suggestions

3. Understanding Dry Food

4. Our Top Dry Food Suggestions

5. The Importance of Variety

6. Quality - What To Look for In a Cat Food

7. What about Raw Feeding?

Understanding Wet Food


  • Helps to increase moisture intake, which is helpful for maintaining urinary health
  • More palatable than dry food, so it can be great for fussy eaters, or older cats with reduced sense of taste and smell
  • Easier to chew than dry food, making it ideal for cats with dental disease


  • Generally more expensive per serve than dry food
  • Can lead to weight gain due to the higher palatability and consequential consumption

Feeding your feline wet food will help keep them hydrated, due to the higher water content. Adequate water intake can help reduce the risk of certain medical conditions. Feline lower urinary tract disease is a very common condition in cats, and increasing water intake is an effective component of prevention and treatment protocols.

Urinary tract disease often involves the formation of crystals in the urine, which can lead to stones and blockages. Urinary crystals form when magnesium bonds with ammonium waste in highly concentrated urine. If your kitty stays hydrated, this lowers the concentration of the urine and may help reduce the likelihood of crystal formation.

Why don't cats drink enough water? It is believed that some cats may have trouble seeing still water. Some cats might also dislike drinking from a bowl, as it irritates their highly sensitive facial whiskers. (Having a water drinking fountain can help with this issue!)

Also, many wild species of felines ingest almost all their water intake through their diet of raw hunted meat, and hardly drink water at all. This could explain the domestic cat's lack of desire to drink from a water source. As you can imagine, this means that most cats need wet food incorporated into their diet to keep them hydrated.

Wet food is highly palatable. Many kitties can be fussy when it comes to mealtimes. The stronger aroma of wet food increases palatability making it easier to give your cat the nourishment they need! Stronger aromas also encourage older cats with weakened smell and taste senses to eat.

Our Top Wet Cat Food Suggestions

Shop Royal Canin Wet Food

Royal Canin's super premium, highly palatable wet food is complete, balanced and available in varieties for different breeds.

Shop Advance Wet Food

Advance wet food is expertly balanced to support their growing nutritional needs - from kittens to seniors. The flat tray tins are also great value, and your kitty will love the extra tasty recipe.

Shop Hills Wet Food

Hills Science Diet creates complete and balanced tinned food for cats of all ages. As one of our most trusted brands, Hills food is tasty, nutritious, and made with high quality ingredients.

Shop K9 Natural Wet Food

K9 Natural's grain free, near-raw cat food is packed with the goodness of high quality meats and seafood, and has options including venison and sustainably sourced New Zealand green lipped mussel.

Understanding Dry Food


  • A more convenient and practical option than wet food - more easily stored, with longer shelf life once opened, and no need for refridgeration. Can also be left in the bowl longer than wet food for cats who like to graze
  • Generally cheaper per serve than wet food
  • Beneficial for dental health - the mechanical action of crunching through kibble, particularly specific dental formulations, is helpful in removing plaque from the teeth


  • Less palatable than wet food
  • Does not improve hydration like wet food does

While wet food sounds great, kibble definitely has its benefits. Dental care is perhaps the most noteable benefit of dry food.

Most kitties get out their claws when a toothbrush comes anywhere near them. For those not wishing to brave the wrath of your spiky furball, rest assured knowing that dry food can do some of the work for you.

When chewing kibble, the dry food pieces scrape against their teeth removing built up plaque and tartar. While any dry kibble can help, specially formulated dental diets such as Advance Dental and Royal Canin Oral Care are designed to improve and maintain oral hygiene. Their uniquely shaped biscuits provide a more thorough scrubbing effect, and active agent sodium tripolyphosphate removes tartar-forming calcium from the saliva.

As mentioned earlier, wet foods are generally more palatable for cats, however don't let that deter you from some of the dry options available. Premium food manufacturers place great importance on palatability and some offer guarantees if your cat won't eat their food. For particularly fussy cats, Royal Canin have a trio of different kibbles in their Exigent range for our fancy felines. Exigent aroma has an enhanced odour to tempt those upturned noses, Exigent Savour Sensation is a flavour filled delight to tickle the tastebuds and Exigent Protein is for kitties particularly sensitive to how their stomach feels after eating.

From a cost perspective, dry foods have a definite advantage. The easier storage and transport of dry food reduces excess costs for the manufacturers and distributors than wet food and these savings are generally passed onto the consumer. When you break down dry and wet food into the cost per feed, dry food is going to be the cheaper alternative.

Our Top Dry Cat Food Suggestions

Hills Science Diet

Hills Science Diet creates balanced, premium formulas in different varieties for different health conditions and life stages. Using high quality ingredients, Hills contains a clinically proven antioxidant complex to support a healthy immune system.

Royal Canin Dry Food

Royal Canin's range of dry food is notoriously palatable, and their breed-specific diets are specifically formulated to support the health and wellbeing of the indivdual cat.

Advance Adult Dental for Toy Breeds

Advance's formulas are Australian-made, and excellent value considering their super premium quality. Their range also makes use of alternative proteins including salmon to offer variety.

Ivory Coat Grain-Free Ocean Fish

Ivory Coat dry food is very popular among owners of cats with sensitive skin or stomach. It is Australian-made and grain free, and its high palatability means it is good for tempting fussy eaters.

Variety is Important

To equip your cat with a healthy, balanced diet, the ideal method is to provide both wet and dry food - and consider a rotation that alternates between different meat proteins and flavours. This mixed-style feeding program has a number of benefits:

  • Cost-effectiveness - feeding both wet and dry, compared to just wet food, will save you money in the long run due to the affordability of dry food 'per meal'
  • Increased moisture intake - wet food helps keep your cat hydrated due to its high moisture content
  • Variety for enhanced palatability - this is particularly helpful for fussy eaters who don't like to eat the same thing every day
  • Promotes dental health - dry food has a crunchy texture which helps remove tartar, and is therefore much better for your cat's teeth than wet food alone
  • Customisable nutrition tailored to individual needs - this is useful if your dog has multiple health conditions you'd like to address (for instance, dental disease and arthritis)

Ensuring a diverse range of flavours in you cat's diet is crucial for several reasons. Cats can be sensitive to taste fatigue, where consuming the same flavour repeatedly may lead to a decreased interest in food. In wild settings, felines naturally seek out different species of prey every day to keep their diet varied and balanced. Providing diversity ensures that cats receive a well-rounded nutritional intake, as different flavours and meat proteins often correspond to distinct nutrient profiles. Moreover, it can be particularly beneficial in encouraging cats with finicky eating habits.

What to look for in a cat food

Like human food, there are different levels of quality when it comes to your pet's food. Cheap, poor quality pet foods are the fast food equivalent for your cat. Some cheap brands use low quality ingredients and can't guarantee the same recipe every time.

Cats fed on a diet with low nutritional value may develop a dull, lacklustre coat, and have larger, smellier stools. They also may develop behavioural concerns like aggression or anxiety as their bodies are being starved of proper nutrition. If you have ever been on a strict weight loss diet before, you would be familiar with the emotional rollercoaster ride that accompanies the hunger pangs.


The ideal diet for most cats will be a combination of both canned food and dry food.

Wet food to help prevent urinary conditions and increase palatability, whereas dry kibble to keep down the costs while boosting oral hygiene.

Mixed feeding can also discourage your cat from developing strict diet preferences. This way if their favourite food is discontinued you can avoid the disastrous kitty food strike.

Further Reading

What is the Best Wet Cat Food?

What is the Best Dry Cat Food?

Do Cats Need Wet Food?

Choosing the Right Nutrition for your Cat

How to Increase Your Cat's Water Intake

Shop All Cat Food Now