There are many reasons to adjust your cat’s food. Read our blog to learn more about how you should go about transitioning your cat to a new diet.
Just like you may have once enjoyed a certain kind of food and now longer do because you’ve grown tired of it, every cat goes through different food phases in their lives. Much like us, tweaks in the cat’s diet and feeding habits are essential in promoting a healthy and balanced lifestyle. My former roommate’s cat, Bear, used to love being fed salmon-flavored cat food, whether dry, wet or simply a special treat, he’d always eat whatever it was. It wasn’t until the third quarter of our year living together that my roommate, Claire, and I noticed Bear’s usual preference for salmon was dwindling before our own eyes. He’d begun leaving unfinished bowls of food around after being fed and gave off a certain lack of interest in even entertaining the idea of a salmon-flavored treat. This wasn’t the case though when we’d feed him something pork, chicken, or beef flavored– only when the dish was fish. A lot of the time, cats lose interest in certain foods or grow out of a phase in which they ate only certain kinds of food. This is why knowing how to transition your cat’s food is important.
There are many reasons to switch up your cat’s diet. Some may be directly due to transitioning to a new stage in life or simply getting tired of a certain flavor of the food they once used to enjoy. Other reasons may include:
- Your cat has developed allergies that can be relieved by a certain diet.
- Your cat’s been diagnosed with a condition that warrants a specific kind of diet.
- Your cat’s overweight and needs to be fed food that promotes weight loss.
- Your cat’s current food is causing them to experience gastrointestinal distress like gas or diarrhea.
- Your cat may be experiencing a dull hair coat or overall sluggishness that could be caused by a lack of essential nutrients in its diet, like omega-3 fatty acids.
Whatever the reason for the change-up in your cat’s diet, it’s very important to be familiar with the steps in how to transition your cat from its current food to another, newer food.
How to Gradually Transition Your Cat’s Diet
- Days 1-2 - Mix ¾ of your cat’s current food with ¼ of your cat’s new food.
- Days 3-4 - Mix ½ of your cat’s current food with ½ of your cat’s new food.
- Days 5-6 - Mix ¼ of your cat’s current food with ¾ of your cat’s new food.
- Day 7 - Feed your cat 100% of their new food.
Assuming there were no aversions or negative reactions to the new food introduced, your cat should be fully transitioned to their new diet by the end of the week.
If there was a bump in the road with their transition in diet, usually something gastrointestinal, it’s okay to transition back to their old food for a while. Patience is a virtue and key in situations like these. Once your cat has eaten their old food for a week, then it’s okay to begin its transition to a new diet once again. Go slowly! Instead of mixing ¼ with ¾, try mixing ⅛ of the new food with the current food! Always take stock of how much and what your cat is eating and if their negative reactions become worse than stomach issues. Any concerns should be consulted with their veterinarian to ensure a smooth and sustainable diet.
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Special Times in Transitioning Your Cat’s Diet
- When kittens reach 12 months of age, they should be fully switched over to adult cat food.
- Cats who are pregnant or nursing should be provided with energy-dense foods, high in calcium content. They should transition to kitten food during this special time.
- When a cat reaches 7 years old or older, their diet should transition yet again. A cat of a certain age, aka a mature or senior cat, needs its diet tweaked to make sure they have the appropriate amount of essential nutrients during this new life cycle.
Sometimes when transitioning your cat’s food, you’ll need to outsmart your cat. Tricking your kitten can seriously help in transitioning their diet if they are picky eaters. Some tricks may include drizzling tuna juice on top of their food, mixing wet cat food and dry food, and trying a different texture of food. Just be sure to check how much dry food to feed a cat and if you have kittens, check when kittens can eat dry food as well.
Other Ways to Transitioning Feeding
- Provide a quiet, safe place in your home to promote a comfortable eating environment for your cat.
- Hand-feed them, at least at first. This will instill a positive feeding relationship between the cat parents and the cat.
- Always offer moist/canned food as well as dry food.
- Always feed them room-temperature food. If the pet’s food is too cold or too hot to the touch, it should not be fed to your cat until it is at an appropriate temperature.
Here’s some final food for thought when transitioning your cat’s food and tweaking their diet; listen to your cat. They will let you know if they don’t like a type of pet food or flavor in their diet. Consult your cat’s veterinarian if there are any concerns in their dietary transition or if they’re exhibiting negative signs of certain foods in their new diet. Packed with premium nutrients and delicious flavor, PrettyPlease cat food is here to help when it is time to transition your cat’s diet.