Friday, September 3, 2010

The Wet and Dry Experiment

It all started about a month ago during a conversation with some coworkers. The topic of pets had come up, and while I don't have any pets, there are two stray cats that hang out at my apt building, specifically on my porch. They came with the apartment. Everyone in my building takes turns feeding them. And when I mentioned to the other coworkers that I fed the cats tuna from a can, one of them expressed shock and dismay, saying that cats can only be fed cat food. That led to a debate about dry cat food versus wet cat food and which one was better for the cats. Suffice it to say it was a very slow day at work when the hot topic of conversation was cat food.

Since we never did settle which was better for the cats, I decided to do a month long experiment to see which food the cats preferred--wet or dry. Mind you, I spent hours of research online and asking other cat owners which brand they'd recommend. Who knew that cat food came in all sorts of varieties?

For the first week, I bought a bag of dry cat food. For a whole week, I fed the cats dry cat food every day. Some days, they'd eat everything. Other days, they'd only eat half. I made notes of my findings. The next week, I tried out the canned wet food. Once again, there were days when the cats ate all the food; and then there were days when they ate about half. Interesting. Finally, today, I decided to mix the wet and dry cat food together, to see if the cats had a preference. The results? They ate everything. After comparing my notes and going over the data a few times, I came to the conclusion: Cats will eat anything when they're hungry.

Wet or dry, it doesn't matter. Cats have been eating lots of things for thousands of years--from rats to birds to fish to bugs. They certainly did well without commercial cat food. So as far as I'm concerned, the debate between wet food vs dry food is over. And that means when I run out of the dry and wet cat food, I'm feeding those stray cats some tuna and left over chicken and fish. They certainly seem to enjoy those morsels when I feed it to them.


  1. We've always given our cats dry cat food. It's true, they don't eat it all right away, but they will eventually hit the bottom of the bowl. I tried wet cat food on one cat, and the results were disturbing and gross. I offered wet cat food to Skittles, and she turned her nose up at it.

    My mom's cat loves tuna from a can (she gives him a very small portion) but hates chicken. My cat hates tuna and loves chicken, but doesn't mind the white meat of a fish filet. Cats are weird. How's that for a sum up? ;)

  2. Both is what a vet recommended to me.

    I give them a small serving of wet in the morning and evening, with dry available in the bowl all day.

    The wet servings make RJ's day, Lola may or may not partake. Both snack on the dry throughout the day.

  3. this is why i have no pets, sugar. feeding 4 children was difficult enough (ask the coconut krewe about the "this ain't no short order house" speech), so now i just worry about what wine to serve with dinner! xoxoxox

  4. If they are hungry they will eat it. Most cats have personality enough to find out what they like and if you love your cat you will treat her right. And the strays always do a little hunting too.

  5. Cats, are they picky! A friend of mine has a Burmese cat who is spoiled with 2 different kinds of wet food every day, especially prepared by the vet, so that she can choose. The cat sleeps for the rest of the day (no hunting, no walking, no nothing) and eventually wakes up at night to be stroked and sleep on someone's bed. I'd love to live like this in my next life!

  6. Tara, I totally get what you mean by left over wet food looking all gross, esp when it's been sitting in the sun for a few hours.

    These stray cats luv meat--beef, pork, lamb, etc. They still love tuna and even sardines! But they'll eat fried chicken, too. No picky eaters here!

    XL, I think that these stray cats are just happy to have a meal to eat, wet or dry. But you're right. Vets do recommend both.

    I noticed that cats really will eat small amounts and keep snacking all day and night. I wasn't sure if they were drinking water, but today, I actually saw them drink water out of the bowl for the first time. Usually, I just catch them eating the food, but not drinking any water.

    Savannah, I can't have any pets because I can't handle the responsibility--and it's not fair nor responsible to take in a pet and not give it the care it needs. These two strays serve as my faux pets. They come and go as they please. And I like that they hang out on my porch, adding some character to my building, turning my apt into a home. Feeding these neighbors seem like the courteous and neighborly thing to do!

    Once I was older, my mom gave me a similar speech about this ain't no restaurant--you eat what I'll serve you or you make your own meal! And it is nice when all you have worry about dinner nowadays is finding the right wine.

    Mago, I luv watching these two strays hunt--bugs, birds, mice, etc. But I like the fact that these two cats were here long before I moved in, and they'll probably still be here if I move somewhere else. They're just part of the neighborhood.

    Leni, That cat does have it good! We should all be so lucky to end up living a fabulous life like that!

  7. Eek - my comment never stayed back when I originally left it.

    It's amazing that you are feeding the strays and short of feeding them pork (which is bad for cats) - scraps, wet, dry - it's all better than they would get otherwise. My mum's cat lived to a happy and healthy 18, went outside, ate tuna and Tender Vittles (which cat forums would see as kitty cruelty) - the fact that in North America pet owners put sometimes put so much thought into a pet's diet shows how privileged we all are! Confession: My cats are on vet food because the older one has a medical condition. I pay quite a bit, but i also realize how crazy it all is that my cats and the dog have a higher weekly grocery bill than some of the kids in the city

  8. Snooze, There's nothing wrong with trying to give your pet the best you can. But I do think it's kind of silly how some people argue about knowing what's best for cats to eat when cats have been fending for themselves long before we walked the earth. I'm pretty sure they'll do fine long after we're gone, too.

    As for the strays, I just can't ignore their little faces when I come home, and they're waiting for me on the porch. So I feed them. During cold winter nights, the apt manager lets them stay in the warm office and lets them out in the morning to roam the complex.

  9. How cold does it get in Texas in winter? I'm just wondering. My cats are fine with going outside until it's about zero Celcius. then even my older cat who lives to be outside stops going outside in January/February. Mind you, that's also because she doesn't like walking through snow.

  10. Snooze, In my part of Texas (which south, coastal bend), winter hovers between 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit, which I think is about 4 to 10 degrees Celsius. It's the winds from the sea that really make it even colder! And on the rare occasion (like every hundred years or so), it even snows for like a day!

  11. It's funny how cats will leave abowl of dry food for snacking on during the day, whereas a dog (I'm looking at you, Moom!) will just gobble up the whole lot before one has even had time to put the bowl on the floor!

    Hmmm... WV is 'caticki'

  12. IDV, So true about the dogs. They'll eat quickly and eat everything. When I dog sit for some friends of mine, I have to separate the dogs and feed them at different spots. Otherwise, they'll try to fight over the food! Dogs don't like to share! Cats don't mind eating out of the same bowl and they take their time.

  13. Strangly when I dogsit for Mr C's hellhounds they wolf everything down when they are both together , but if I have Alfie on his own he leaves himself a snack for when he gets back from his walk. What concerns me more is the current gimick of making the dog food look like a human meal for the gullible dog owner like adding vegetables and pasta......this just gives the dogs vile wind and nightmare runny bowels :-(

  14. My little bundle of neuroses has dry food normally, she's partial to a particular brand of tinned food which she has as a treat every now and then.

    You're so sweet to try and find their preferences.

  15. Beast, I, too, was astounded when I came across the pet aisle and found pet food with ingredients like salmon and crab and pasta! I thought to myself, why am I bothering with cat food when I can just make dinner myself and share the leftovers with the cats?

    Gas and runs are no fun for anyone, regardless of the species!

    Roses, I was curious and figured that if no one can give me a satisfactory answer, then perhaps I ought to find out for myself. Turns out, the cats are like me; I'll eat whatever's available when I'm hungry.