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Veterinarians hold diverse opinions about what to feed cats

Concerned pet parents ask veterinarian Dr. Lee Pickett for pet medical advice regarding the proper nutrition for cats.

Veterinarians hold diverse opinions about what to feed cats

Q:Should my cats eat dry food, wet food or a combination?

A:For healthy cats, some veterinarians recommend dry food, others canned, while still others advocate a combination.

Veterinarians who prefer dry food often suggest a dental diet, which minimizes plaque, tartar and gingivitis. Preventing gum infection helps protect the kidneys, liver and heart from bacteria migrating from infected gums to these organs. For the names of dental diets approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council, visit 

On the other hand, some veterinarians recommend canned food, which is 75 percent water, because adequate fluid intake is important for the health of the kidneys, bladder and other organs. Moreover, eating canned food may make it easier for cats to maintain a healthy weight since it contains fewer calories per ounce than dry food.

Still other veterinarians advocate a combination of dry and canned foods to provide the advantages of both. Most veterinarians agree that cats with bladder or kidney disease require additional water, and therefore do best with canned food. 

Ask your veterinarian, who knows your cats, to recommend the diets best for them.

Lee Pickett, V.M.D. practices companion animal medicine in Pennsylvania. Contact her at

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