Our feline friends don’t need much to be happy, but full tummies are definitely on the top of the list. Dry food can become too painful for older fluffs or simply too boring (because we all know cats are divas). That’s when you probably start wondering how to soften dry cat food and make your bestie enjoy it more.
If your fluffball’s teeth are getting too sensitive or your kitten starts meowing for more food, she might need something softer. But sometimes it’s simply too expensive to feed your purrincess canned food every day – and that’s completely fine.
Thinking cats don’t have many options when it comes to food means you probably don’t own one. Our feline kings and queens can get really picky, and it becomes really hard to satisfy their profound taste buds and find food that they actually like.
Luckily, we’re happy to tell you that softening dry cat food is not rocket science and you don’t need much to make your furbaby happy and full. You probably already have everything you need and it doesn’t take much time, either.
Softening kibble is a purrfect way to feed your kitty something new while staying on budget and keeping up with her never-ending appetite. It sounds like every cat owner’s dream come true, doesn’t it?
Now, without further ado, let’s dive into different ways to soften dry cat food, so you can serve your new specialty of the house even today.
How to soften dry cat food: 5 simple ways
If you’re here, your dear feline buddy is probably refusing to eat her kibble, and you’ve been racking your brain about how to soften dry cat food. We’re happy to inform you that there are many ways you can achieve that and all of them are super simple.
Finding an option that your kitto likes the best might take a few tries, which is why we’ve listed different options that achieve different things. If you’re lucky enough, your cat might like all of them, and you’ve got yourself five courses that your diva won’t get bored of.
1. Water is your best friend
The easiest and simplest way to soften dry cat food is to add some water to it. Yes, it’s really that simple. All you need to do is add one part of water for every three parts of dry cat food and let it soak for no longer than 20 minutes.
Clean tap water is sufficient. Make sure to never use hot water, though, as it can hurt your fluff. If you want to speed up the process, you can microwave it slightly – but make sure it’s not too hot.
If you’ve added too much water (where the kibble hasn’t soaked it up completely), don’t panic. Simply pour out the excess liquid so it doesn’t get soupy. To avoid this, try adding small amounts of water until the kibble is just soft enough.
If your kitty is done eating but there’s still some food left, make sure to throw it away. 30 minutes should be enough time for her to eat the amount she needs, so don’t leave softened kibble out for longer than that.
Adding water to dry cat food is an effective and quick way that doesn’t require much, and your fluff will love you for it.
2. Broth for some extra flavor
Some cats simply don’t like the taste of kibble, and that’s totally okay. From time to time, our kitty cats need some extra encouragement to eat, which can be achieved by adding some extra flavor to their standard dry food.
So, how to soften that dry cat food while also adding flavor to it? Well, it’s pretty simple. Instead of water, try adding broth. If you opt for this, make sure the broth you use is cat-intended like this one from Tiki Cat.
The broth we eat contains added fats and sodium, which you definitely want to keep out of your cat’s diet. If you still decide to go for homemade broth, make sure it’s unsalted.
To soften dry cat food with broth, use the same method as with water. The only difference is, you’ll be adding more flavor to it, and you might make your picky eater even happier.
3. Cream it up with a blender
Cats with dental problems will probably enjoy this method the best. If your fuzz ball’s teeth are hurting, she’ll probably avoid eating dry kibble at all costs. That’s when your blender might come in real handy.
For dental issues, simply softening dry cat food might not be enough. It’s often that older cats can’t use their teeth at all, which is when creamy food becomes their saving grace.
To make your cat’s kibble creamy, start by adding water or broth to it and let it soak for about 15-20 minutes. If you think you’ve added too much water, you can remove the excess. But since you’ll be making a creamy texture anyway, you don’t have to stress about removing all of it.
This is when your blender takes the leading role. Simply add the softened food into it and blend until smooth. If it’s not creamy enough, you can always add a little more water to it, or more kibble if it turned out too soupy.
Keep in mind that extra moisture means the food gets moldy faster, so make sure you serve it to your diva right away. After she’s done eating, don’t leave it out for it to get spoiled.
Don’t worry, this method might take a few tries until you find the consistency that your cat likes the best, so don’t give up on the first try.
4. Kitten formula for a fuller tummy
Your kitten might find the water method just fine, and it’s a safe option considering the baby’s sensitive digestive system. However, using the kitten formula might be an even better option as it adds some extra calories to the kibble.
If your kitten is having trouble weaning or she’s refusing to eat, this method is probably the best. Not only does it make the meal more filling, but it’s also creamier, which makes food more appetizing for your furbaby. It’s a great way to gently introduce your kitten to new textures and flavors.
This method is the best way to help your small ball of joy transition to big-kitty food. The process is the same as softening food with water, only this time you’ll use kitten formula. Over time, you can use less and less liquid, so that she gets used to a more chewable consistency.
5. Mixing in wet food for the best of both worlds
Our feline kings and queens deserve some extra special treatment. If they don’t like the consistency or taste of dry kibble, why not give them the best of both worlds? Mix canned food with dry cat food and watch their eyes sparkle with joy.
The ratio of wet to dry food is up to you and what your cat likes the best, so you can experiment a few times until you find the purrfect mixture.
Not only does mixing both foods make a super tasty meal, but it also provides your feline friend with all the nutrients and moisture they need. And it’s a great way to help you manage your cat’s weight, while also promoting healthy metabolism and improving taste.
Other benefits of softening dry cat food
Adding liquids to your cat’s dry food has a lot of benefits. Not only does it help them eat and brings diversity to their everyday meals, but it’s a great solution for dehydration and picky eaters, as well.
1. Tricks your cat into consuming more water
If you’re a cat owner yourself, you’ve probably wondered how come you rarely see your feline bestie drinking water. Cats aren’t really the biggest water drinkers out there, so tricking them into drinking any is a huge win for every owner.
One thing cats do love, however, is eating. A lot. Mixing water with dry cat food is the best way to increase your kitty’s daily water intake and put your worried mind to rest.
With this, you’ll avoid many issues related to dehydration, such as UTIs and unbalanced electrolytes. On top of that, drinking water increases your cat’s blood circulation. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
2. A great solution for picky eaters
If your cuddle buddy is anything like mine, she knows what she wants and she won’t stop meowing until she gets it. Real queen behavior. This can be a huge problem when it comes to eating, however. It’s not easy to feed a picky eater who only likes that expensive brand you try to avoid.
Softening dry cat food with warm water brings out the smell of meaty fats in the kibble. This way, you’ll make the food much more appetizing for your furbaby. On top of that, some cats might enjoy warmer food more, as they’re natural hunters and it makes the food feel fresher.
Some things to bear in mind
Although softening dry cat food proves to be rather easy, there are still some things you should be cautious about. After all, we all want the best for our kittos. Because of that, make sure to heed the following advice before you start preparing her new meal.
1. Avoid leaving out food overnight
We get it, leaving out food overnight enables you to sleep in a bit longer without a certain someone hungrily meowing your ear off at 5 AM. However, leaving softened kibble out or even soaking it overnight makes bacteria a breeding haven.
More than dry food, a moist one provides the perfect environment for bacteria to grow. To avoid this, give your cat her new feast right away, and throw away any leftovers after she’s done.
2. Less is more when it comes to liquids
Softening dry cat food is not too challenging, but there are still some things that can go wrong. The most common one is adding too much water to the dry kibble. Although it’s a great way to increase your cat’s water intake, you still want your fluff to actually eat the food, so make sure you go easy on the liquids.
The safest way to achieve this is by adding small amounts of water at a time until you reach the right consistency. You can always add more, but removing excess is usually the trickier part. Practice makes perfect, so don’t get discouraged if your softened food isn’t the best on the first try.
3. Milk should NOT be your go-to
Although milk might be the first thing that comes to your mind when thinking of how to soften dry cat food, it shouldn’t be an option at all. Milk isn’t the safest alternative in this case, as firstly, it’s easily perishable.
Also, ironically enough, after the weaning phase, our feline friends, in fact, become lactose intolerant. I know, that’s not what Tom & Jerry has taught us, but it’s the reality. So make sure you avoid feeding your cat milk. It can cause digestive problems and leave you having to deal with diarrhea, so opt for water or plain broth instead.
4. Consult a vet
At the end of the day, every cat is different, so make sure you find out what your furbaby needs the most. The best way to do that is by consulting a vet. They’ll give you professional advice that can help you keep your cat safe and healthy. At the end of the day, that’s all we want for our fluffs of joy.