Dietary Guidelines for Canned Food for Cats

Diets using canned food for cats help fight many common cat illnesses. Dry food that contains unnecessary carbohydrates like wheat gluten, corn meal, soybeans or brewer's rice often lead to feline diabetes, IBD, crystals in the urine and dehydration. Canned food boosts water intake and eliminates many of the unnecessary ingredients found in dry kibble.

A Cat's Natural Diet

Left to his own devices, cats would hunt rodents, birds and insects. Typical prey is rich in protein and water, but contains very little carbohydrates. To keep your cat healthy, grain-free foods are important.

Cat food manufacturers use grains and carbohydrates because of their low cost. By-products are also cheap, but they lack the protein a cat really needs.

Dry Cat Food vs. Canned Cat Food

A typical dry cat food is 30 percent protein. Canned cat food increases that to 50 percent. This is only one reason why a canned food diet is best.

Cats also need water, but most don't drink enough. Most cats are not thirsty until they are already slightly dehydrated. Some do better than others, but even then cats still benefit from having extra water in their food. While dry food has a minimal amount of water, it's not even close to canned food. Canned food contains lots of water helping prevent dehydration in your cat.

Shopping for Canned Food for Cats

Even canned cat foods may contain by-products and fillers. Get into the habit of reading labels. The by-products and carbohydrates are unnecessary.

9-Lives tuna cat food lists real tuna, water, soy protein, calcium and soybean oil in their top five ingredients. This is a good choice.

Look for canned food for cats that includes pure meat sources, little to no carbohydrates and has water included towards the top of the ingredient list.

Switching to a Canned Food for Cats Diet

Some cats love the taste and smell of canned foods and are happy to make the switch. It's best to start with small amounts to prevent digestive upset. Canned food is very rich and some cats will develop diarrhea if switched suddenly from dry food to canned. Offer a tablespoon with their dried food for a couple days and then increase the amount of canned food.

Experts recommend helping your cat adjust to the switch by acclimating them to set meals. Offer food for an hour in the morning and again at dinner. Remove the bowl for the rest of the day. Once the cat is used to set meal times and has acclimated to the canned food, start putting down canned food in place of the dry food. Most cats make the switch easily at this point.

Most manufacturers of canned food for cats suggest giving your cat between one and two cans a day depending on the cat's weight. Start with one can and adjust from there. If you notice your cat quickly gaining weight, you should cut the serving size down. Keep unused food covered in your refrigerator.