Want to know how to feed your cat wet food while away? It's simple, take him with you! Book a holiday for two and enjoy all the free time to play and have fun with your cat. Wouldn't that be great? But we know that's not always possible.
Long working hours, crazy shifts, or even prolonged getaways such as weekends or vacations are times when having options comes in handy.
In this post, we will dive deep into how to feed your cat wet food while away. You will get insights and tips on the following topics:
- Differences between dry and wet cat food;
- Why you should feed your cat wet food;
- How to keep wet cat food fresh and preserved;
- How to choose a proper wet cat food dispenser;
- Alternatives for prolonged periods;
- When to rely on dry food.
Dry or Wet Cat Food
There are many studies on cat diets, but there isn't a consensus among specialists. So, it's up to you to consult with your vet and choose the best diet for your cat according to health conditions, aging, and behavior. Being aware of the main differences between the diets will help you navigate the insane amount of options available in the market.
One of the main distinctions between dry and wet cat food is the water content and, as a result, the amount of water ingested.
While dry food has less than 14%, wet food usually has over 60% of water. Even though it is not clear that feeding wet increases better hydration in cats, most veterinarians recommend it, especially for cats prone to kidney disease. Other advantages are urinary health improvement, weight management, and constipation recovery.
On the other hand, dry food has a higher energy density which provides the best option for thin cats or with a picky appetite. It gives energy and nutrients in smaller and more concentrated volumes, maximizing the nutritional intakes in these particular cases. Another advantage of dry cat food is the possibility to use food dispenser toys that stimulate mental and physical activity.
In both cases, but especially when feeding an exclusive dry food diet, it's crucial to promote constant water intake by providing daily supply of fresh clean water. The water bowl location and the shape and material of the bowl can impact water consumption. Keep it separated from the food and the litterbox and invest in a wide ceramic cat bowl instead of steel or plastic options.
Reasons to Feed Your Cat Wet Food While Away
Either combined or given exclusively, wet food has undeniable advantages for your cat, and you shouldn't stop feeding it even if you're absent. Switching or cutting it off out of the blue can cause your cat to stop eating.
Though it expires faster than dry food, there are some tricks to keep wet cat food fresh for longer periods. Let's go through your options.
How to Keep Wet Cat Food Fresh
It's crucial to check the label for the expiration date and instructions on how to preserve the food after opening.
Although it was cooked and won't spoil quickly, the moist will disappear, becoming a blob of hardened food. Worse than that, it will collect bacteria, leaving it unsafe for your cat to consume.
So keeping it fresh is key to retaining flavor, nutrients, and overall appeal, as well as for health reasons.
There are two ways you can keep it cool for longer when you are going to be away for some time:
- Keep it in the freezer or refrigerator
- Use a wet food dispenser with ice packs.
Refrigerate or Freeze Wet Cat Food In Advance
Pet food retains its properties when stored in its original packaging. So, it is inadvisable to use other containers such as plastic bins or zip bags. They don't provide good oxygen and odor barriers. As for remaining food, the best option is to store it in the refrigerator, using plastic pet food containers that fit the cans or, as an alternative, plastic wrap. Once in the refrigerator, most brands can stay up to 5 days at 40ºF (4ºC). However, if that timespan is passed, throw it away.
Keep in mind that most cats will prefer the food to be served at room temperature instead of cold. Room temperature or tepid food emulates the prey temperature after hunting.
Automatic Wet Cat Food Feeders
Automatic cat feeders are meant to dispense a specified amount of food without the need for human interaction. And even though they are a great solution, they aren't fit for all types of cats or situations.
What to Look For in an Automatic Cat Feeder
- Feeding times: some automatic feeders don't allow specific times for feeding. Opt for a timed cat feeder to ensure your cat doesn't eat at random hours.
- Ice pack compartment: this is a crucial feature in a wet food feeder. If you intend to preserve and serve fresh food to your cat, choose one with ice packs.
- The number of meals and complementary food: consider how many meals per day your cat needs and other complementary solutions such as treats and medication.
- Noise: cats are sensible animals who don't appreciate loud sounds. If your feeder is too noisy, your cat might run from it and be afraid to get close to eat.
- Battery: being dependent on electricity can cause your cat to starve if the power goes out. Having a feeder with multiple options can be more expensive, but will give you piece of mind.
- Quality: sturdy and quality materials are essential for your cat's safety and proper operation of the device. At the end of the day, your cat needs a reliable cat feeder that's going to feed them on time, without any issues. A quality feeder will also ensure no food is stolen before time.
- Warranty: a warranty assures that the quality has been tested and approved. If anything happens, you can exchange or have it fixed without spending extra money.
Alternatives for Feeding Your Cat Wet Food While Away
According to Russell Hartstein, a certified pet behaviorist, feeders shouldn't substitute human interaction. Either by hiring a pet sitter, asking a family member or friend, or paying for a boarding facility, you're ensuring your cat is not left alone or lonely.
Even though cats are seen as independents, they are social animals that enjoy company and interaction. Leaving them alone for long periods might cause anxiety, stress, and separation issues. So, whenever you can, consider the following options.
Ask Friends or Family
Besides granting wet food, clean water, and a clean litter box, your cat will enjoy having someone to play.
Hire a Cat Sitter
Regardless of the arrangement between you and the sitter, you can ask for daily updates making sure everything is going as smoothly as possible.
Consider a Cat Boarding Facility
Nowadays, these facilities are entirely different from the steel cages and concrete floor combination. They look like luxurious pet hotels.
There are indoor and outdoor options with cozy warm beds, space to run around, play, and climb. Most of these facilities will allow you to bring familiar toys or bedding to promote your cat's comfort and help them settle in.
Like the cat sitter, your pet's routine, feeding options, and wellbeing will be followed daily. Vet access and treatment are also available with your consent.
Before committing to this option, visit several options, ask all the questions, and book in advance.
When Dry Food Might Be a Better Alternative
If after considering all of the options, you are still unsure about feeding wet food to your cat while away, consider introducing dry food before going away. The best method to do it is by slowly presenting small portions mixed with wet food daily, until the meal is mainly composed of dry food. If your cat is still not taking much of it, try adding some water or tuna water to flavor and moisture the kibble.
Just like with any family member, you want to provide the best for your feline friend at all times.
Knowing that it's not always possible to take your cat with you, here is an overall view of your feeding options, considering how long you are absent:
Staying apart from your cat doesn't need to be a problem when it comes to feeding wet food. Between automatic feeders, cat sitting, or boarding options, your cat can still receive VIP treatment. Now it's up to you to provide it.