How To Soften Dry Cat Food?

How To Soften Dry Cat Food?

There are several reasons why your cat may need to eat softened cat food. Your cat may be getting on with their years. A senior cat has probably lost a fair number of teeth and will have a difficult time chewing dry cat food. Softening can also be helpful for a cat who eats his food a little too quickly.

You can also soften a kitten’s kibble when they are getting weaned off of milk.

Basically, if you have a cat who has a challenging time-consuming dry cat food, you can try to make it more palatable by softening it through added moisture. This is useful also if you cannot afford to feed the cat canned wet cat food for every meal.

If you want to learn more about the benefits of softening your cat’s dry food, as well as learn how to do it correctly, then just keep on reading!

Why should I add water into my cat’s dry cat food?

You should add water in to your cats dry cat food for the following reasons:

  • Adding water softens the dry cat food making it much easier for the cat to chew.
  • For cats who scarf down their food, risking indigestion, softening the cat food makes the cat eat the food slower, hence avoiding indigestion.
  • For senior cats who do not consume as much water as they should, adding the water into their solid food prevents dehydration.
  • Adding water to dry cat food releases smells and flavors that entices cats to enjoy eating it more.
  • Softened cat food has a different texture which your cat may prefer over the hard and crunchy dry kibble.
  • It helps prevent urinary tract infections due to the increased water intake.
  • Lessens the possibility of obesity in cats because they become full much faster.
  • Prevents the formation of bladder stones.

How do I soften my cat’s dry cat food?

You can soften your cats dry food with the following methods:

1. The Most Basic Method

  • For every three parts of dry cat food, add one part of water. Let it soak for 15-20 minutes, then serve to your cat.
  • Never use hot water, just regular clean water from the tap.
  • Do not add too much water or it becomes soupy.
  • Do not leave leftover softened kibble out, especially on hot days. If after 30 minutes, the cat has not finished the food, just throw it away or it will spoil.

2. Making a more chewable texture

  • For three parts dry cat food, add one part warm water, soak for only five minutes. Drain the leftover water. Let the food stand for another five minutes, then serve.
  • This option is for cats who prefer this kind of consistency in their food as well as for kittens who are transitioning to solid food and weaning off of milk.

3. Making a creamier texture

  • To three parts dry cat food, add one part warm water and soak for 10-15 minutes. After which, take a hand masher and pound it to make a paste and serve.
  • You can also just crush the dry cat food before adding water, either way the end result is the same.
  • Just add more water if you want to further thin out the consistency.
  • This method is for cats who have difficulty chewing their food, so perfect for elderly cats as well as kittens who are weaning.

4. To add flavor

  • You can do any of the methods above depending on the cat, but instead of adding water, use gravy or unsalted meat broth.
  • Another way of adding flavor is by mixing the dry cat food with wet cat food. The moisture from the wet cat food will soften the kibble and create a nice texture to the wet food.
  • This method adds both nutritional value and flavor to the dry cat food while also softening it.
  • You can experiment with the flavors to make your cat’s food more exciting. Kind of like becoming your cat’s personal chef.

5. To help weaning kittens transition

  • When softening the kibble to transition the kitten to solid food, instead of using water, use milk formula. Make a creamy and smooth meal.
  • Over the week of transitioning, add less and less milk and more and more water gradually per meal.
  • After a couple of days, make a meal similar to the number 2 method, a more chewable consistency.
  • This is a great way to slowly introduce solid foods into a kitten’s diet without shocking their system with too sudden changes.

What are things I should not do when softening my cat’s food?

Do not forget to consult your cat’s vet

Seeking help from a professional regarding the crucial decision of changing a cat’s diet, is very important. So, do not hesitate to pay them a visit to know if this method of feeding your cat is ideal for your cat’s situation. It is also possible that there are some supplements your cat might need apart from a change in diet.

Do not put too much liquid in the meal.

Adding too much water in the dry cat food may make the food have a consistency that is unpleasant for your cat. This will discourage them from finishing their meal.

Never leave the softened cat food for more than 30 minutes.

Thirty minutes after serving the softened cat food, remove it from the cat’s reach. This is because the softened cat food will become a place for bacteria and other microorganisms to settle which spoils it fast.


Before trying to soften your cat’s food for whatever reason, be sure to consult their veterinarian to confirm that this is a viable approach to your cat’s feeding issues. There are several proportions and methods on how to prepare softened cat food. The best method for your cat will depend on their situation. Are they a senior cat, a cat with eating habits that need correction or a kitten that is just about ready to leave milk behind?  The important thing is that we figure out a strategy that best fits our own cat and  make them enjoy eating hassle free and healthy meals again.

Image: / Firn