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Which is Better – Wet or Dry Cat Food?

Avoiding Diabetes
 
Pet owners often overestimate how big a healthy cat should be. They think fat cats are "cute."  In truth, cats, like humans, are healthiest when on the thin side. Obese cats can end up with health problems, including diabetes, which can be fatal. In researching cat food, veterinarian Robert Backus of the University of Missouri found that weight gain, not the type of food, is more important when trying to prevent diabetes in cats (www.missouri.edu).
 
Because dry cat food has more carbohydrates than canned cat food, some have argued that this proportion of carbs is going against nature for a cat that is anatomically designed to be a carnivore. Carbohydrates constitute 30 to 40 percent of dry cat food, and some have wondered if such a diet increased incidence of diabetes.  Wet cat food, on the other hand, is high in protein and more similar to a carnivore diet.
 
In the study, cats raised on dry food and cats raised on canned food were compared. After analyzing glucose tests, researchers found no significant difference between a dry or wet diet. The research indicated that allowing cats to eat enough to become overweight is more detrimental to their health than the type of food they eat.
 
Fat Cats
 
"Little bits of too much energy lead to weight gain overtime," Backus said. "We did find that cats on canned or wet food diets have less of a tendency towards obesity than cats on dry food diets."
 
Forty percent of all cats in middle age are overweight or obese.  Male cats should weigh between 10 and 11 pounds, and female cats should weigh between 5.5 and 7.7 pounds.  Besides diabetes, overweight cats are prone to other conditions such as skin diseases, oral diseases and certain cancers.
 
"The most effective thing you can do is be the one who determines how much your cat eats," Backus said.

By Neil Whitehall
Get Veterinary Technician Jobs, Contributing Editor

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