If you’ve spent any time at all learning about what cats need nutritionally, you likely know that a highly processed diet isn’t recommended. Heck, you don’t even need to read a book for that one. Yet, one of the most common questions we get is “is kibble bad for cats”?
Kibble or dry food is the most popular form of cat food. Why? It’s convenient. It’s inexpensive. And it’s highly addictive to our cats so they eat it right up. So what’s “bad” about kibble? Let’s dig in!
Let’s go over how kibble is made. Most, but not all dry foods use inferior ingredients to start with. It’s then put through a process called extrusion. This is where the dry and wet ingredients are mixed together then fed through an extruding machine. The machine heats up the ingredients to extremely high temperature and pressure then squeezes it through a cutting die which cuts the ingredients to make the final shapes of the dry food.
Why Is Kibble Bad For Cats?
So what are the issues with this process? Sadly there are many issues, let’s start with what the ingredients are… Even if you have the very best ingredients going in by the time you are finished making the little dry crunchy pieces of food, the nutritional value is almost non existing, not to mention not very tasty. In fact, at this point in the food making process there are not many cats, if any, that would eat the hard crunchy pieces. So after the food gets the crap cooked out of it and the nutrients sucks out, they are then sprayed with a palate enhancer to make it edible. These palate enhancers are usually in the form of fat.
Also, in order to make those crunchy little pieces and have them keep their shape you have to have starches or carbs such as potatoes, corn or grains which are not digestible by cats. Remember cats are obligate carnivores and have NO nutritional need for starches in their diet. In fact the carbs are wreaking havoc on our cats weight and health!
Does Dry Food Help Your Cat’s Teeth Stay Clean?
But wait! “My cat needs dry food to keep his or her teeth clean!” Really!?! Have you ever watched your cat eat? If not, watch next time. Take note how they barely chew their food. Has your cat ever eaten a bowl of kibble and then puked it up and the shapes are still fully intact? Well how much of that do you think cleaned his teeth? Ok just for the sake of argument, let’s say they do chew the kibble. So if chewing crunchy food cleans teeth then why doesn’t eating potato chips clean our teeth? Also remember kibble is made of carbs/starches which actually stick to the cat’s teeth causing plaque, which becomes tartar which causes dental disease.
So in a nutshell, kibble is bad for cats! If you are feeding a dry kibble, try to start to introduce some fresh, moisture rich foods to his diet. If you can’t completely switch your cat to a wet food diet, even swiping out 20% off his diet to a wet food can make a difference in their long term health.