Is dry food unhealthy for cats?

Cat eating kibble

It seems that a lot of articles on this topic are written by pet food companies themselves. I don’t know about you but I like to hear different opinions from people/ sources that are reliable. After all, a car salesperson is going to put lots of effort to sell you their vehicle – even possibly withholding the drawbacks. 

Before the start I want to say that not all dry cat food is evil.

Feeding cats a kibble diet may seem convenient and cost-effective. While kibble is a popular choice for many cat owners, it is important to be aware of the risks associated with this type of diet. Here are SOME of the reasons why kibble is so bad:

High carbohydrates content

One of the main concerns with feeding cats a kibble diet is its high carbohydrate content. Cats are obligate carnivores, which means their bodies are designed to thrive on a diet primarily composed of animal protein. In fact, cats have several physiological adaptations reflecting their low need for carbohydrates. You can read about them in my post here; it’s quite an interesting read, especially if you like science.

Most kibble foods contain a significant amount of carbohydrates, which can lead to multiple health issues. Indigestion, weight gain, obesity, and even diabetes – to name a few.

Low moisture content

Another issue with kibble diets is their low moisture content. Cats have a naturally low thirst drive and since kibble contains very low water content (around 5-10%) – it can quickly lead to your pet’s dehydration. This can lead to urinary tract problems, such as urinary crystals or stones, which can be painful and require veterinary intervention.

Additionally, the kibble tend to absorb large amounts of water (from saliva) and gastric juices. In the process the kibble swells and often exceeds the capacity of the stomach, stretching its wall and the nerve fibers within. This sends a signal to your cat’s brain and the next thing you know… the well known puking sounds begin 🤢

Cat sitting on kitchen table High processing

The processing methods used to produce kibble can also have negative effects on a cat’s health. The high-temperature cooking process destroys many of the essential nutrients found in raw or minimally processed foods. What food companies do to fix the problem is they use chemicals to make the food smell and taste appetizing. Here is a great article discussing the different harmful substances used in pet food production.

Some cats may develop allergies or sensitivities to the ingredients commonly found in kibble diets. Ingredients like grains, fillers, and artificial additives can trigger allergic reactions in certain cats. Identifying and eliminating the specific allergens can be a challenging and time-consuming process.


The repetitive nature of kibble diets can lead to boredom and behavioral issues in cats. Cats are natural hunters and thrive on variety and mental stimulation. Eating the same dry kibble day after day can be monotonous and may contribute to stress, anxiety, and even aggression in some cats.

It’s important to rotate your cat’s meals – feeding different proteins and different textures (raw, wet food, bones, etc). Some of the benefits of rotational feeding are: better digestive and immune system, reduces the risk of allergies and intolerances, keeps your cat happy and excited for meal time.

two kittens eating from a white bowl Dental problems

Lastly, the dental benefits often associated with kibble diets are not as significant as commonly believed. Imagine that instead of using a toothbrush to clean your teeth, you decide to use Cheetos. Would it make it better? Unfortunately, no. It’s the same way with using kibbles or “dental treats” as a teeth cleaning tool.

Cats have scissor-like teeth designed to rip, tear and chew meat and bones. When you observe your cat eating, most of the kibble is swallowed intact.

If you want to learn how you can take care of your cat’s dental health, click here 😊

Final words

Like I said in the beginning, not all dry food is evil. However, it can be difficult to find the good ones. Therefore, it is good to consider alternative options, such as a balanced raw or wet food diet, to ensure the overall well-being of our feline companions.

Please give some love to your pet(s) from me 🥹💛

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Picture of Paulina, Chumka's Mom

Paulina, Chumka's Mom