Saturday, April 8, 2017

Caturday: What is the Most Affordable Wet Cat Food?

I've been considering switching The Hellions to mostly wet food for a while. While kibble seems to help keep kitty teeth clean, wet food provides a lot more hydration. It also makes portion control easier. Solstice is a fatty, so I'm hoping to help her slim down without making her feel like she's starving all the time.

Kidney Health?
Clearance rack cat food is the best cat food.

For years I truly believed that the dental benefits of dry kibble made it the superior choice for cat food. Then I started hearing about urinary tract and renal health, and started thinking that wet food might be the better option. Fortunately, I was determined to find some actual scholarly sources to back up my preconceived notions. What I found was FelineCRF.org

This site is put together by someone who, as far as I can tell, doesn't have an agenda other than presenting as much well-sourced information as they can about chronic renal failure. Their statements are backed up with articles from peer-reviewed journals. I love this, because so many websites and blogs have statements like "wet food is necessary for proper hydration, kibble will dehydrate your cat and eventually cause kidney failure!" This is apparently not true, the jury is definitely out on whether dry or wet food is better for cats with healthy kidneys.

Portion Control

We do know that cats tend to take in fewer calories when eating canned food. This can make it a good choice for slimming down a tubby kitty. It also provides its own portion control, because there's only so much in a can. I'm currently feeding them half a 5.5oz can, twice a day. 

Heavy and Expensive

The downside to feeding wet food is that it is bloody expensive. Also quite heavy. Trying to make this new concept work has been a challenge. James and Solstice each eat a 5.5oz can per day, for a grand total of 60 cans per month. Considering that most foods in the store cost more than $1 per can, that adds up fast. I have had some luck shopping the clearance shelf at Petsmart, I got a bunch of grain-free Wellness cans for $0.37 each. Surprisingly, the big cans of Wellness aren't a particularly better deal per ounce than their smaller cans.

My current cat food bill is around $30 a month for a bag of dry food. To match that with wet food, I'd have to find cans for $0.50 each or less. Barring opportunistic clearance food, I don't think I can manage that. However, I was quite pleased to find that Tractor Supply sells 5.5 oz cans of their grain-free 4Health brand for $0.70 each. At this point I'm pretty happy to find anything under $1 per can. I'll still get them some other stuff occasionally for variety.

4Health is so far the most affordable wet cat food I've found that meets my personal standards. That said, everyone's budget is different, and cats can be picky little buggers. If your cat will only eat the cheapest wet food at the grocery store, by all means feed that. Don't feel guilty about it, either.

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