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Can you add water to dry cat food?

If you are a fan of dry cat food, you may be concerned if they are getting enough water (Click here to see my 3 Best Cat water Fountains to help increase their intake) or if the dry food diet is even ideal. But what about mixing the two together?…

Can you add water to dry cat food? Yes, however, it’s advisable to consult your vet to confirm for your cat. If he/she agrees, you will find that water will not only enhance the flavor but also help to increase your cat’s water intake.

Now that you know it is possible to add the water, I will go on to explain the following: The benefits of adding water, if mixing wet & dry food is a good idea if cats can live on dry food alone and much more. Keep reading…

What are the benefits of adding water?

kitten eating dry cat food from a large bowl. Feline Follower

kitten eating dry cat food from a large bowl

Understanding if you can or cannot add water (Click here to see how much water cats should be getting) is one thing, but fully understanding the benefits is a whole other ball game. Therefore in this section, I will explain some of the benefits.

Boosting their water intake

Earlier I mentioned that adding water to their dry food can increase their overall daily water intake. In fact, this is one of the main benefits that I want to revisit. You will find that this is one of the easiest ways to increase their intake.

The dangers of dehydration

The reason I say this is the main benefit is because of the list of knock-on issues triggered by dehydration. Such as:

  • Impact blood circulation
  • Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
  • Electrolyte imbalances

This is just a small sample of potential issues that are linked to dehydration.

Improve Digestion

One of the issues with dry cat food, such as kibble, is the texture. It is not easily digested. In reality, not every piece that is put into your cat’s mouth is properly chewed and digested. Inevitably, there will be pieces that get swallowed whole and may cause digestion issues.

Therefore, adding some water can help to improve their digestion. So, these random pieces that may get swallowed will be reduced.

Slow down fast eaters

One issue with dry cat food, such as kibble, is the speed that it can be consumed by your pet. Let’s be honest, she can literally suck it up fast, like a tornado lapping up local debris, are you with me?

Therefore, adding a small amount of water will affect the texture and as an added benefit, will reduce their ability to hoover up the food, are you with me?

Can you mix dry & wet cat food?

As well as adding water to dry food, you may have considered adding wet food to it. This makes logical sense, but is this really the right thing to do? Let me explain…

Yes, you can mix the food (Click here if you are wondering if Laxatone can also be mixed in). And, to be honest, many cat owners do this.

Adding Moisture to their Meal

The benefits vary, but one of the known benefits is adding more moisture to their meal. Wet food is obviously not as beneficial as adding water, from a hydration point of view, but a close second.

Adding Flavour

Another reason why cat owners do this is to add some flavor to their bland and dry kibble. Wet food typically has a gravy that cats typically love (Click here to see if there is gravy-only cat food).


Also, mixing these foods allows many cat owners the chance to have more buying options. Obviously it depends on how your cat responds to it because some are naturally picky.

But, if you are one of the lucky ones, you may be able to mix and match all day long. Which will allow you to find a combination that will keep them happy and hopefully keep your cost down.

To be safe

One thing I would advise though is to consult your vet for the best advice on the ratio of wet to dry food and their views on it with regards to your specific cat.

Can cats live on dry food only?

Yes, cats can live on dry food (Click here to see if it is ok to leave it out all day) alone. But, there are some considerations that you need to understand before adopting this kind of diet. Let me explain…

Like us humans, cats need a certain level of daily water intake. Much like any living and breathing creature, right?

The danger of dry food…

The danger of a dry food only diet is that it does not contain the required hydration for your cat. In the wild cats get a lot of water directly through the food they consume.

Fortunately, the makers have loaded it with enough nutrients, so that side of things is not so much of a concern.

How to keep them hydrated while living off dry food

To get around this hydration issue, you need to make sure that you keep them well hydrated. This can be by simply giving them lots of water in a bowl. And, a raised cat bowl will help to make this easier for her (Click here to see why I rated this the best).

However, a water fountain is even better (Click here for my best 3 cat water fountains). This will stimulate their natural instincts to thrive on running water.

Why you shouldn’t leave wet kibble out too long

Earlier I have explained the benefits of adding water to dry food. But there are some nuances with this that you need to look out for. I will discuss this with you now.

Firstly, leaving kibble that has been covered in the water out unattended is a big no-no! Why? Because of potential bacterial or fungal contamination.

To avoid this happening, it is important to reduce the exposure time to a maximum of 30 minutes. And, in hot environments, in particular, hot sunny days, this needs to be reduced even further, to more like 10-15 minutes.

Why it’s important to calculate a cat’s food intake

So far I have focussed on the best ways to deal with dry food and the benefits of adding water. But what we have neglected is the impact of this food on your cat’s health. In particular, the amount of food they consume.

It’s important to regulate, and calculate your kitty’s food intake because you need to avoid obesity. Unfortunately, many cats suffer from obesity, much like us humans. Unfortunately, this is caused by bad habits that have been adopted by their owners.

This site reports that up to 60% of domestic cats in the US suffer from obesity. That is an alarming statistic. Hence the reason why I say it’s important to watch how much food they eat, regardless of it being dry or wet food.

One of the biggest culprits is indoor cats. They tend to have less exercise than other cats. This, along with a high-calorie diet is a recipe for obesity. To help this simple thing like toys, cat trees (Click here to see my Best 3 Cat Trees) can be used to keep them mentally stimulated and active.

Is there a naturally softer food available?

Yes, you can get “moist food”. I know you may be thinking: Isn’t this the same as canned wet food? The answer is no. But, let me explain.

This moist food is typically sold in a pouch and usually has approx. 65% moisture. To quantify the difference, normal wet canned food is typically 85% moisture. And, to add a further comparison, dry food (kibble), usually has about 10% moisture.

However, be careful. Some of these moist foods have a high number of artificial colors, e-numbers, and sweeteners, so you need to check them carefully.

How much water should you be adding to dry kibble?

If you are serious about adding water to your cat’s dry food you may be wondering how do you actually do this, how much water do you even add? Good question, let me discuss…

Before you go ahead and add water it is important to get the ratio of water to kibble correct. According to this site, they recommend a ratio of one-part water for every three parts of dry kibble.

However, it’s worth checking to see how your cat responds to this. And, if there is any doubt you can check with your vet.

Does adding water to dry cat food reduce bloating?

Yes. This is because it allows the dry food to expand before it is eaten. This can reduce the feeling of bloating. This bloating feeling is often due to the dry food expanding once it’s eaten.

Can you mix dry food with wet?

You can mix dry and wet cat food. Some cat owners benefit from the variety of food they can offer, improved hydration to the dry food, and reducing their costs.

Some cats can get bored easily, so the introduction of wet food, in with the dry, can give them that variety that they may be craving. And, give you the options that you need.

As you may know, wet food is good for hydration. Meaning, that the high water content helps to keep your cat hydrated throughout the day. So, when combined with dry food, it allows the cat to benefit from this, instead of just dry cat food.

Lastly, I mentioned cost reduction. Typically dry cat food will be cheaper than wet. So, if you mainly offer wet food, mixing in dry cat food can offer a cost-saving in the long term.

However, whatever your choice is, it’s worth consulting with your vet to see their advice. Especially with the exact portions that should be mixed for your cat, or if they advise it for your situation.

Can water in dry cat food help with vomiting?

Yes. It is known that dry kibble can expend within your cats stomach that can lead to it vomiting. Therefore, some cat owners have reported that their vet has recommended adding water.

The theory is, by adding water first, you can expand the kibble before it hits their stomach. Therefore, it will allow the cat to eat the food at the expanded size and avoid it expanding after eating it.

Without this your cat might eat until they are full, then it expands making them feel too full.

Can adding water to dry cat food boost their appetite?

Yes. adding water to dry food can help to boost your cat’s appetite, especially warm water. This is because it can improve the flavor, make it easier to eat, and improve the flavor.

Some cats are picky. So, they may not like the idea of cold dry food. And, simply adding some warm water may make them gain some interest.

However, like most things, each cat is different. Some may still refuse, while others may start to devour it.

What type of water is best to use?

It is best to use tap or filtered water to add to the dry cat food. Bottled water is an option, but its not ideal. Firstly, its expensive. Also, the quality can vary a lot, due to the lack of standards.

Ideally, filtered water will be used. This will require a filtration system being installed. WHich is a good investment, but not everyone can justify this spend.

Lindsey Browlingdon