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Many cat owners want to give their pet some variety in their bowl. But that's not all: The cat food offered should be healthy, nutritious and filling. The choice between wet and dry food for your cat is not always easy. By combining both feed types, so-called "mixed feeding", the advantages of both feed types can be combined. Here you can find out which ratio of dry and wet food you should take into account during mixed feeding, so that there is no shortage or oversupply.
The main difference between wet and dry food for cats is the water content. While the dry food has a moisture content of only about 12 percent, the wet food for cats has a 60 to 85 percent water content. This in turn means that dry food last much longer than wet food. The different water content also means that the energy content in the dry food is more concentrated and your cat therefore needs less of it. Compared to dry food, on average a cat has to eat twice the amount of wet food to take in 100 kcal from its food. This is why many cat owners who feed dry food fear that their pet eats too little. However, this is not the case due to the increased energy density. Your cat just doesn't need as much of the dry food.
Wet food is often preferred by many cats because it is more tasty due to the higher water content. It is especially suitable for cats who drink little, as it promotes a balanced water intake. The urine is diluted thanks to the increased moisture content, which prevents urinary stones. In addition, the wet food is considered more suitable for the species, because it is more similar to the natural diet of cats. The fact that water stimulates the metabolism and is important for regulating body temperature is another argument in favour of providing wet food. However, dry food also has some advantages that should not be underestimated, which have a positive effect on the health of your cat during mixed feeding.
Few cats eat all their food at once. Many pets enjoy taking a nibble from their bowl several times a day. As the dry food is less perishable, the daily ration can be placed into the bowl in the morning without any problems – without risk of it becoming rancid. A dry food for cats also promotes the chewing muscles and strengthens the jaw. During chewing, plaque is removed and oral hygiene is promoted. A healthy cat food can therefore support healthy teeth and prevent the formation of tartar. For the cat owner, the dry food is much less labour-intensive: It is often cheaper, less smelly and does not leave any unpleasant stains on the floor.
Mixed feeding – that is, feeding wet and dry food – combines the advantages of both food types. However, instead of mixing wet and dry food in a bowl, you should offer each food type in a separate bowl at a certain time of day.
To meet your cat's energy needs with wet and dry food, we recommend dividing the total feed by 3 and then feeding as follows: Give your cat 2/3 of the amount of food in the form of wet food and divide it into two rations (e.g. breakfast and dinner). Your cat receives the last third of the required amount of food via the dry food. You can provide the weighed amount in a separate bowl so that it can nibble at it through the day. This corresponds to the natural eating behaviour of a cat. Since dry and wet food have different digestion times anyway, the cat’s stomach is balanced throughout the day by mixed feeding. A vet or a specialist dealer can help you determine the correct energy requirements of your cat and the calorie content of your food.
Mixed feeding can be a well-tolerated and healthy alternative for your cat. However, before you make a final decision on mixed feeding, you should check whether your pet has any previous illnesses, vulnerabilities or intolerances. For example, if your cat does not tolerate the change between wet and dry food well, it is recommended to stay with one food type. Special care should be taken especially with allergy sufferers: Make sure that there are no allergenic substances in the wet or dry food and that there is a balanced amino and fatty acid profile in both food sources.
These nutrients are essential for your pet and should not be missing in any cat food:
  • Proteins
  • Animal fats
  • Calcium
  • Taurine
  • Niacin
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin A
  • Phosphorus
  • Arginine
  • Essential fatty acids

Just because you are now mixing your pet’s food does not mean that you have to give up the use of cat snacks and treats. However, you should always keep an eye on the calorie content of "sweeties" and your cat's daily needs, so that it does not overeat. It can help to determine the energy content of the daily quantity of snack foods and to subtract it from the normal feed rations. Alternatively, cat treats can be included in training or in a movement game. This burns the extra calories absorbed by the snack.


Through mixed feeding your cat takes in enough fluid to maintain the health of its urinary tract. The wet food supplies them with important nutrients, but is comparatively low in calories. In contrast, dry food is more energy-rich, but it helps with daily dental hygiene. Due to the higher energy density, you should always keep an eye on your cat's daily needs and give it the right amount of food. The amount of food your cat needs depends on factors such as age, weight, activity levels, pre-existing diseases, type of food, etc. and can be determined with the help of an expert.

Conclusion: Mixed feeding for cats as a varied alternative

Should you provide wet food, dry food or both? The question of which food is right for your cat cannot be answered in a general way. Many factors are individually dependent on your pet and his or her health. Mixed feeding can be a solution to combine the benefits of wet and dry food. It also provides variety in your cat's bowl. However, the quality of the food is most important: The chosen cat food should always be of high quality, because in order for your pet to be able to live all his 9 cat lives happy and healthy, the nutrient supply is of utmost importance.


Denise Avellan

Author of the advisor

"Surrounded by cool north wind, the stormy Baltic Sea and sleeping dogs, I live, blog and write in the Hanseatic city of Rostock. Since dogs and cats accompanied and fascinated me from a small age, I have specialised professionally in the dog and pet industry. As a "dog-copywriter" I fill the websites, blogs and social media accounts of animal companies with life. At the moment I am the proud owner of two male dogs, with whom I like to wander through the nature of Northern Germany."