My cat’s not a senior cat, but he is a picky little guy who refuses to eat his food if it’s too crunchy. Whether you have a picky cat like mine or you have an older cat who needs something softer on their teeth, you might want to look around for the best soft dry cat food—especially if you don’t want to deal with handling wet food or wet food messes.
But is there a such thing as a soft dry food? Most cats like either crunchy kibble or soft wet food, and you might be racking your brain to figure out the in-between options. To help your cat get all the nutrients that they need without any teeth or digestive issues, the right food will go a long way.
What is soft dry cat food?
Soft dry cat food is as the name suggests: food that is solid, but that is chewier than your usual kibble options. This type of food is great for senior cats that are having trouble eating crunchy food, and comes in a variety of flavors that will hopefully appeal to your cat. In addition, these soft dry foods are made with ingredients that are easily digestible if your cat of any age is dealing with food intolerances.
Really, soft dry cat foods are a sort of combination of your usual wet food options with your usual dry food options. They’re baked with softer bits in them or soft centers, and do have a higher moisture content as compared to your traditional dry food options. Granted, they are not as moist as your wet food options, but they can put a little more moisture into your cat’s diet.
Why Soft Dry Cat Food?
You already know that there are wet food options, and there are also semi-moist cat food options. Why would you choose soft dry cat food then?
Well, soft dry cat food is basically a dry food like any other that is softer than your comparable kibble options. It’s not wet like wet foods, but there is more moisture in them than your usual crunchy kibble bits. If your cat likes to feel like they’re chewing something, and won’t like the soft texture of wet food, this is why you’ll want to get soft dry cat food.
Granted, wet food can be beneficial for cats who need that increased amount of water in their diet, but it’s also true that wet food will generally be more expensive than your soft dry cat food options.
You can also find semi-moist cat food as a part of our options here, which will contain a lot more water than your usual kibble, or even than soft dry cat food. Of course, this food also has more sugar and salt.
In the end, soft dry cat food has the moisture that your cat needs, but it’s also a good option if your cat still wants to eat food that has some texture to it.
Types of Soft Dry Cat Food
Pouch cat food types are foods that are a little bit more portable than your traditional wet food, but that are still too wet to really feel like dry food. They still have that sauce and still might be tough for your cat to adjust to if they’re used to strictly dry food. Many of them may not be the best option in terms of calories either, with some pouch foods more like treats than meals.
Partially Dry Cat Food
This is the type of soft dry cat food you want to be on the lookout for. The partially dry option has softer pieces and crunchy pieces together, or you can find options that have softer centers and some soft bits in them that make it easier for your cat to chew it.
This type of food is perfect for cats that still want to feel like they’re chewing solid food without hurting their teeth or upsetting their stomach.
While not strictly a food that you should be feeding your cat too regularly, soft treats are something that you can purchase to compliment your existing cat’s diet.
You can find treats that have soft centers, that have chewy pieces, or even that come as a puree. These types of treats are a great way to entice your cat to try a dry food option that’s softer.
Best Soft Dry Cat Foods
Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free
This option from Blue Buffalo is made of both dry bits and soft bits that have all the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that you want to improve your cat’s immune system. You can pick one of two of the available protein options depending on your cat’s preference, which even cats with no teeth can enjoy.
We personally liked the blend of ingredients in this food, which were great for nutrition and which also ensured that our guy stayed healthy. There are no harmful byproducts in this food, so if your cat likes chewing soft cat food or if they have digestive issues, this is the food for them.
- The so-called LifeSource bits are much softer in comparison
- Real protein is the first ingredients
- Provided our cats some good energy
- If you open the pack and don’t store it properly, it can get hard quickly
Meow Mix Tender Centers Dry Cat Food
Our cat personally loves Meow Mix because of the tender centers, so he enjoys the crunchy feeling on the outside with the softer protein on the inside. Meow Mix makes multiple flavors of this type of food, which have a low number of calories and which also do include some filler ingredients like wheat and ground corn.
These foods do have lots of vitamins and minerals though to help your cat get the nutrition that they need, but it’s up to you if you want to feed your cat the artificial preservatives and colors. This is a great food option for adult cats over some much older or younger cats.
- You have a lot of available flavor options
- This is a great food for adult cats specifically or for picky eaters
- The food itself is one of the most inexpensive options
- There are artificial flavors in this cat food
Purina ONE Tender Selects Blend Adult Dry Cat Food
You have crunchier foods and you have tender center food—and then you have Purina One. Purina’s Tender Selects are made with meaty bits and tender bits that are easier for your cat to bite through comfortably. They do use fresh salmon and chicken by-products, but do remember that there’s white rice in these that act as a filler. If your cat can’t handle grains very well, you’ll want to choose another food option.
If your cat is okay with grains, you’ll appreciate the vitamins and minerals to help your cat’s coat and keep them healthy. Just be careful serving it to overweight cats, since there’s more fat in this food than comparable options.
- The texture is perfect for older cats
- It does have grains and veggies for digestion, but that does mean it’s not pure protein
- The physical bites are good for picky cats who want a little crunch
- There’s a little too much fat in this food
Iams Proactive Health High Protein
This is the perfect food for cats who need a lot of protein, from kittens to larger cats. Any cat with teeth problems can eat this food, and should hopefully enjoy the chicken flavor. Of course, there’s also prebiotics and some veggies to help your cat’s digestive system, and it helps that you won’t need to struggle with anything artificial in this food.
Now, do keep in mind that this food is made for all kinds of cats, and the protein does keep it a little less crunchy than other options. It’s not made with tender centers or soft bits though, so it may not be good for all cats with weak teeth.
- It’s good for any age and any size of cat
- Good budget cat food
- There’s nothing artificial in this cat food
- May not be soft enough for every cat
Purina Kitten Chow Nurture Kitten Dry Cat Food
Kitten food may be marketed towards kittens, but it’s possible that you can feed it to your older cats as a food option that’s soft enough for them to eat. This is because kitten foods are made to be softer—they can even be eaten without being chewed. If your cat doesn’t have any teeth, this might just be the best option for you.
That’s because the kibbles are very small in this food, not to mention that they’re easy to digest. That being said, kitten formulas like this are made to be high in protein to help your kitten grow. For adult cats, it might be too much, especially if they’re dealing with kidney or renal issues.
- This is a food that a cat with weak or no teeth can eat
- Perfect for digestion
- Soft textures that can be combined with other foods
- It might be too high in calories and protein
Purina Fancy Feast Adult Dry Cat Food
As a semi-dry cat food, Purina’s Fancy Feast food is made with chicken and turkey that should entice your cat to eat it, and you’ll love the various vitamins and minerals inside all that protein. Our cat loved the real protein flavoring even in the dry food, and he was actually interested in the shape of the food as well.
It’s that shape of the food that made it easy to chew since it’s so light and not at dense as some of your other options. That means that it’s not as crunchy, but also isn’t the same consistency as wet food.
- The shape itself is unique, which may appeal to your cat
- The minerals in this food are good for your cat’s bones and teeth
- Your cat should really notice the strong flavoring
- May not be as good for digestion without the extra vegetables
Blue Buffalo Indoor Health Natural
It’s no surprise that we just had to look as a couple of Blue Buffalo options—Blue Buffalo makes good cat food after all, using real ingredients, vitamins, and minerals that are not only meant to entice your cat to eat, but that are also made for your cat to digest comfortably. With meat right there as the first ingredient in this food, it shouldn’t be an issue at least for you to get your cat to eat this food.
Feed this food to your indoor cats for them to chew on the blended bits—which are made to be soft enough for your cat to eat comfortably. This can be your cat’s entire diet and they’ll get all the nutrition they need to live well.
- The Lifesource bits are made to be soft enough to eat
- The food is completely natural
- Adult cats find that it’s easy to chew
- There are grains in this food, so it’s not good if your cat has food sensitivities
Sheba Perfect Portions- Pate Wet Cat Food Trays
First off, yes, this cat food is closer to wet food than our other more kibble-like options. We’re including it on this list though because it’s proportioned out easily enough that you should be able to give it to your cat as easily as any dry food. It’s also a pate, so it’s not precisely as wet as your other options. It is perfect for cats that do not have teeth though, and is solid enough that your cat won’t make a mess with it.
Sheba food is made without any fillers like wheat or corn, and there are no artificial flavors either. Real meat is the first ingredient, but this is a complete diet for any cat. You might prefer to give it to your senior cat, or to your cat as a treat or as a transition to softer food.
- You do have real meat in this food
- The vitamins and minerals are good for cats in all life stages
- This may be economical with the two meals per package
- This food is too rich for cats with sensitive stomachs
Rachael Ray Nutrish SuperFood Blends Dry Cat Food
One of the best things for elderly cats or cats with sensitive teeth is food that’s a good size and texture. That’s what this Rachael Ray food is: it’s made to be small enough for your cat to chew, while still including a high amount of protein like chicken, salmon, and chicken meal. There is also the inclusion of extras such as beet pulp, rice, and pumpkin. If your cat has a sensitive stomach, this might not be the food for them.
There aren’t any artificial flavors though, and for the most part, any cat of any age can enjoy this food. The fact that the kibbles are made to be a little softer is a huge help for kittens and older cats.
- There’s nothing artificial in this food
- It’s soft enough to give it to all ages of cats
- You can purchase it in a variety of flavors
- The price of this food is more expensive
Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food
Now, this cat food by Hill’s Science is made specifically for senior cats, with the variety that your cat deserves. You have five different formulas that your cat can try out, and it helps that this food is specifically made for cats with none or fewer teeth to help with their heart, eyes, and kidneys. Really, if your cat doesn’t have any teeth and you still want to feed them a dry food, this is the option for you.
Of course, rest assured that you’re feeding your cat healthy food that includes tons of antioxidants and Vitamin E that is meant to boost their immune system and keep them active into their senior years. Without anything artificial either, this is an easy food to digest.
- The little triangular pieces are shaped just right for cats with few teeth
- It’s made with ingredients to support your cat’s immune system
- Made specifically for senior cats
- It is a little greasy, so it might not be great if your cat has a sensitive stomach
Wellness Core Air Dried Natural Grain Free Dry Cat Food
If you’re finding for a dry cat food that your cat can still eat comfortably with weak or sensitive teeth, look no further than this Wellness Core grain-free dry cat food. It’s made with kibbles that include 70 percent raw pieces without any wheat, gluten, soy, by-products, or any artificial preservatives. The formula is made to be completely natural, with deboned turkey and chicken for your cat to enjoy.
What really stands out here is the semi-softness of the kibble, which is what makes this food such a good choice for both kittens and senior cats. The only issue here is that there’s a lot of fat in this food, meaning that it’s not the best option for cats who have dealt with weight issues.
- This food is completely natural, with nothing to upset your cat’s stomach
- The texture is soft and yet with a little crunch to it
- There’s a lot of protein content in this food
- It is very fatty, and does contain peanuts too
Purina Pro Plan Savor Adult Dry Cat Food with Probiotics
Your cat has some good flavor options when you pick up this Purina Pro Plan food, and if they don’t like the flavor you pick out, you can buy a smaller bag of food at first just to test it out. Do keep in mind that this is a moist dry cat food that sits in a pouch, so there’s a blend of crunchy bits and soft bits. Within this pouch, there’s a unique blend of probiotics in the food, which are made to enhance your cat’s digestion.
Check out this Purina food to see that real protein is the first ingredient, although you will also notice that there are a variety of vegetables, grains, and fruits inside this food too. Do be careful when it comes to cats who have trouble with digesting grains.
- You have a good blend of meaty pieces of kibble that are easy to chew
- The available flavors provide your cat with a lot of options
- The probiotics are a good option for your cat’s digestion
- There are a lot of calories in this food
Choosing the Best Soft Dry Cat Food
You’ve gone through many of the available brands out there, and while you can choose based on caloric intake, it doesn’t matter how few calories a food has if it’s too difficult for your cat to eat. When you’re picking your soft dry cat food then, here are some tips to help you choose.
Check the softness
If you’ve checked out the reviews online and people say that the food is soft enough for a cat to chew, this is a good indication that it might be good for your cat. It helps if the food is made for cats with no teeth or specifically marketed for cats with few teeth.
If your food option comes in a small bag though, it always helps to buy the small bag first just to make sure that your cat can easily eat the food. This lets you check the size and the tenderness of the kibble too.
The brand does matter when it comes to soft dry cat food, since there are so many foods and you’ll want to make sure that you’ve got a brand that isn’t just an unpopular option. Take a moment to look into the brand population to see what other options they have.
You want your cat food to have a good texture to it so that your cat can comfortably chew and swallow the food. You also want to check on the nutrition of your food though. Make sure that there’s not too much protein in food that you’re giving to your adult cat, and check on the fat content too. You don’t want too much fat in your cat’s food or else it could negatively impact their weight.
Take a look at the ingredient list on your cat’s preferred food. You should notice a protein as the first ingredient. Especially in foods that have tender bits or tender centers, there should be a prime protein right at the top of the list, rather than fillers like corns or grains that reduce the nutritional content of the food.
This is where it’s a great idea to buy a small pouch or bag of your food option before you go all in with your new option. You need to make sure that your cat likes the flavoring, and beyond the flavoring, you also need to check that they’re comfortable eating something softer. Some cats like their food extra crunchy, after all, and will have a hard time transitioning to some softer options.
Finally, you’ll want to take a look at the price of your available food. You want something that you can afford and that will still work for your cat, so take a look at the price compared to your ingredients when you’re making your pick.
Can I Soften My Cat’s Favorite Brand?
In actuality, yes, you can help your cat out if they’re very picky and you don’t think they’ll switch to another type of food. This is more work on your part, but if you’ve tried out some of these foods and your cat doesn’t seem to be liking it, you can try to soften your cat’s favorite brand.
This can be done simply by putting some water, broth, or stock in your cat’s food that will help soften up the kibble. You will need to be careful about the ingredients in any broth though in case there’s something in it that won’t be good for your cat.
You can also try to break up any kibble so that your cat doesn’t need to put as much effort into chewing. Just place the food in a plastic bag and give it a good whack to crack the food, but don’t turn it into a powder that your cat won’t eat.
Of course, this is something that you’ll only need to do if your cat just isn’t liking any of the available soft dry cat food. With so many options, it’s likely that this won’t be necessary.
There are a lot of choices out there for soft dry cat food. Some of these options are like pate, but others have tender insides or bits that help your cat still feel like they’re eating kibble. Check on the flavoring to see which one your cat might like and which one suits your budget, and if you have the option to buy small pouches, this is a great way to get your cat used to a new food that will be good for their health and for their teeth.