The truth behind dry cat food: Is dry cat food bad for cats?
Dry cat food might be common and easy, but that doesn't mean it's right.
Learn more below about how feeding fresh compares.
How is dry cat food made?
Dry cat food is made through an intense process known as extrusion.
The ingredients are mixed in a large metal machine. Water and steam are then added to create a paste.
Inside the extruder, the paste is cooked at searing hot temperatures (sometimes over 150°C) and squeezed under intense pressure through a plate to form kibble shapes.
The high temperature and pressure from the extruder degrades the ingredients’ nutrition, is detrimental to vitamin concentrations and results in protein denaturation. The kibble itself is tough for cats to digest. Dry cat food produced this way retains just 10% moisture.
Alongside the poor nutrient availability from processing, dry cat food often contains high levels of fat. Making it very easy for cats to overeat and gain weight, because each mouthful contains lots of fatty calories. Higher-moisture diets are typically less calorific than lower moisture diets which can help prevent and treat obesity in cats.
Why is dry cat food not ideal?
Dry cat food is not always ideal for your feline friend, as they typically contain poor quality meat and carbohydrates in the form of grains. Cats are carnivores and need to be consuming high quality meat to stay lean, healthy and hydrated. This is something dry cat food can not offer your furry friend.
Dry cat food doesn’t have the moisture necessary to keep cats properly hydrated. Cats typically don't drink much water. Instead, they get most of their hydration from the food they eat. Which is why feeding fresh premium meat meals is vital to your cat living their happiest, healthiest life.
That’s where KatKin comes in. We serve 100% fresh premium meat cat food, gently steam cooked and naturally high in moisture. We freeze each pouch to keep the freshness locked in for longer.
Why is moisture so important in cat food?
Ensuring your cat food is full of moisture is key to keeping your cats hydrated. Other benefits of switching from dry cat food to fresh can be:
Essential for kidney, bladder and urinary tract health.
When your feline eat’s dry cat food they don’t drink enough water, which can increase the risk of chronic kidney disease (CKD) and lower urinary tract diseases. Feeding high moisture foods like KatKin allows for better hydration and promotes dilute urine, reducing the risk of these diseases.[1,2,4]
Helps with natural weight management.
Higher-moisture diets, like our Fresh KatKin meals, are typically less calorie-dense than lower-moisture diets, and it has been suggested these meals may help prevent or treat obesity in cats.
High moisture diets also increase your cats' energy levels, helping them lose even more weight.
Necessary for healthy fur coats and skin.
Water is the major component of most bodily tissues, including skin, therefore water is essential for its normal functioning. Too little moisture in your cats’ food can lead to dehydrated skin which can damage its natural barrier function - and skin is the first line of defence!
Supports good functioning of the digestive system.
Water is required for most chemical processes in the body, including those of digestion and absorption. Moisture helps to ‘keep things moving’ in the digestive system, so staying hydrated helps prevent constipation.
How we make KatKin
Unlike the dry cat food process, in our self-run KatKin Kitchen, one of our chefs takes fresh prime cuts of meat and premium ingredients which we get from UK farms and trusted suppliers.
We grind the meat ourselves and mix our ingredients together to make sure everything is in cat-sized bites. We portion this into daily serve pouches, individually tailored to the cat who is receiving it.
We gently steam cook our meals below 100°C to preserve the natural juices and high moisture. No gravy needed! Our Fresh meals have 70% moisture on average.
Finally our pouches are Frozen Fresh, packed, and sent chilled to KatKin Club homes everywhere.
Fresh cat food vs dry cat food
|Fresh food from KatKin||Dry cat food|
|70% Moisture||10% moisture|
|100% Fresh premium meat (we use thigh, liver and heart).||Meat and animal derivatives (10%)*|
|KatKin Nutrient Mix||Vegetable protein extracts, oils, fats, glycerine|
|That's all.||Minerals, vegetables, yeasts and more...|
The myth of cleaner teeth with dry cat food
A lot of people look for a dry kibble because they think that dry cat food has the advantage of helping clean your cats’ teeth. The evidence to back this up is slim. Here at KatKin we find the best solution is regular dental cleanings.
After all, you wouldn't clean your teeth with a digestive.
The difference switching from dry cat food makes
1. Larsen JA. The role of water in disease management. In: 2018 ACVIM Forum. Seattle, WA; 2018.
2. Markwell PJ, Buffington CT, Smith BH. The effect of diet on lower urinary tract diseases in cats. J Nutr. 1998 Dec;128(12 Suppl):2753S-2757S. doi: 10.1093/jn/128.12.2753S. PMID: 9868257.
3. Zoran DL. The carnivore connection to nutrition in cats. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2002;221(11):1559-1567. doi:10.2460/javma.2002.221.1559