We probably all know that domestic cats have a very selective taste, which can make the process of changing the diet a real challenge. For this reason, we must be very careful when we offer a different food or incorporate a new food in our cat’s diet. In addition, it is essential to know that there are certain prohibited cat foods that can be toxic and can cause severe poisoning.
However, it is also important to be clear that with the dedication, patience and appropriate specialist advice from a veterinarian, it is possible to adapt a cat’s appetite to new flavors, aromas and textures.
To help you with this process, this ‘ Love Cats and Dogs ‘ article will guide you step by step to change a cat’s food without harming its health.
1. Consult the veterinarian
Before changing the diet of a cat or pet, it is essential to consult a veterinarian you trust. First, we need to know if our feline is strong and healthy to cope with a change in their diet. It is also crucial to have specialized advice from a veterinarian to choose a new food that provides adequate levels of nutrients and appetite for our cat. The same goes for owners who choose to offer a raw or BARF diet to their cat.
In addition, regular visits to the veterinarian and adequate preventive medicine are also essential to detect any allergy or possible symptoms of pathologies associated with dietary imbalances, such as diabetes, obesity or kidney failure. In these cases, your cat will have to adopt a specific diet to avoid the development of these symptoms and offer him a better quality of life.
Changing a cat’s food should always be a slow and gradual process, respecting the adaptation time of each cat. Cats cling to their food and daily routines to feel safe at home and not expose themselves to unfamiliar contexts that may pose a risk to their well-being. If we force our cat to undergo a sudden change in its diet, we favor the appearance of symptoms of stress, as well as certain physical signs, such as vomiting and diarrhea.
Elderly cats require special attention to modify their diet, since they need adequate nutrients, such as a high contribution of proteins and certain vitamins, to compensate for the natural loss of muscle mass and metabolic decrease. In addition, they are often more vulnerable to the development of digestive disorders compared to a sudden change in their diet.
For this reason, we should never completely or suddenly replace their daily diet with the new food. To change a cat’s food slowly and gradually, you should start by substituting a very small percentage of its traditional food for the new one. Gradually, you can gradually increase this percentage until the new food represents 100% of your daily diet.
Step by step to change the cat food:
- 1st and 2nd day: add 10% of the new food, and complete with 90% of the previous food.
- 3rd and 4th day: we increase the quantity of the new feed to 25% and add 75% to the previous one.
- 5th, 6th and 7th day: we mix equal proportions, offering 50% of each food to our cat.
- 8th and 9th day: we already offer 75% of new foods and we leave only 25% of previous foods.
- From the 10th day: we can already offer 100% of the new feed, and we are attentive to the reaction of our cat.
Adding wet food or pâté to your cat’s new dry food is a good alternative to nuanced flavors and stimulates its appetite. You can even prepare tasty homemade wet food for your cat yourself, without preservatives or industrial products.
However, this is a temporary method, which should only be used during the first days of the food transition. Otherwise, your cat will get used not to the new flavor, but to that of wet food. In addition, combining food with homemade or moist food can cause digestive problems, as the food has different digestion times.
Cats, like real carnivores, like to keep their food a little warm. Remember that animals that hunt for food generally eat the meat of their recently killed prey, while maintaining their body temperature. Therefore, if you notice that your cat shows no interest in his new food, you can use this old “trick” to temper his food to stimulate him to try it.
To slightly temper your cat’s food, add a little hot (but not boiling) water to his dry food and let it sit until it reaches a temperature between 35 ° C and 37 ° C (about the body temperature of a mammal). This will not only increase the flavor and aroma of the food, but will also give a more pleasant texture to your cat’s dish.
Before claiming that our cat has a very exclusive appetite, we must be clear that, in general, the owners themselves generally facilitate or increase the selectivity or the limitation of the appetite of their cats. We tend to offer only one dry food or the same flavor of wet food to our cats for a large part of their lives. And if a cat experiences a single flavor, aroma or texture for a long period, it will be much more difficult for it to adapt to a new feeding proposal, because it will have followed a very strict and little varied diet.
To improve the adaptability and flexibility of our cats’ appetite, we need to invest in early food adaptation. All cats set the criteria for their dishes and personal tastes during their first 6 or 7 months of life. During this period, they are more likely to try different aromas, flavors, textures and forms of dry and wet food. And if we offer this variety in the food of our cats, we will have an adult feline with a great food tolerance and a better predisposition to accept the changes of routine.