Just like how a picky teen may prefer eating a cheeseburger on a constant basis as opposed to salads, cats also possess a stubborn tendency to reject any newly introduced elements in their diet.
While all cats have varying nutritional requirements which also depend on factors like their age, health, and breed, a nutritional diet with a balanced uptake of all the minerals is highly crucial.
Most cats prefer wet food due to its easy digestion and a more palatable taste while usually straying away from dry counterparts. But this might not turn out to be a good option due to some of the pitfalls of water-based cat foods over dry kibble.
The same also holds true in an opposite transition ( dry to wet ). So are you wondering how to make these transitions seamless without affecting your kitty’s health?
We have got some answers for you! This guide will walk you through multiple intuitive ways through which you can switch cat food without causing disturbances in their diet.
Addition of Digestive Supplements
Digestive supplements such as probiotics and enzymes act as a catalyst and make the transition easier for your kitty. Aside from a traditional slow & steady approach to bringing changes, prebiotics foster the growth of healthy bacteria in their system.
It is important to note that ‘probiotic’ is a term that refers to the actual good bacteria while prebiotics just multiply their growth. These can be given along with their diet for their entire life or administered a week before the transition occurs.
As for the digestive enzymes, as their name suggests, they aid easy food absorption. A cat’s pancreas works in order to produce digestive enzymes such as protease, amylase, and lipase. These supplements just bring positive reinforcement to the functioning of these organs.
They can also be given if your cat is prone to a sensitive stomach or has reached senior age.
First and foremost, the food that your cat will be getting should be in accordance with their age. Brands offer different varieties for all ages, whether your kitty is a kitten, an adult, or a senior.
For younger cats, a seven-day transition period is preferred. To get started, begin mixing the old and new foods together as the transition takes place while keeping the total volume the same.
- For the first 2 days, feed a quarter of new food mixed with three-quarters of the old food.
- Post the second day, change the ratio to an even 50% for both new and old foods.
- Gradually follow this practice and reach a stage where you replace the entire old food with new kibble.
If your cat is a senior (older than 9 years), then the same process can be followed but at a slower pace owing to its delayed metabolism.
If your cat shows restraint, then you should again go back to square one and try sticking to a longer transition period this time. Here are some signs which may help you determine whether or not the new food is suited for your cat :
- Soft stool
- Decreased appetite
Creating An Ideal Eating Environment
Just as humans, cats also prefer a quiet and hospitable area for binging on their food. When feeding them, go for a quieter part of your house. If you have another pet, you might want to feed your cat in a separate room to avoid any disruptions.
Many intuitive feeding tools and attractive plates can also be purchased to entice them towards eating. The temperature at which their food is served is also imperative. In the case of refrigerated canned foods, always give them some time to cool off and only serve at room temperature.
Many owners also hand-feed their cats during this process and reward them with their favorite toy or a treat when getting positive results.
To better determine the time frame during which you should switch to adult food, taking a vet’s discretion will be helpful. Many users switch foods when they see that their cat has stopped growing.
Foods come with different specialties. While some are geared towards better hair growth and aesthetics, other foods help keep your kitty’s weight in check and deal with issues like health conditions, urinary tract problems, sensitive skin, etc.
A vet may give you the right advice and some good recommendations when it comes to these types.
In some cases, cats may also stop eating altogether during the transition. This can lead to fatty liver diseases and weakness and can even be fatal if overlooked for long. If you notice that your cat hasn’t had anything for more than 36 hours, you should consult your vet immediately.
Here are some more tried and tested tips :
- You can sprinkle some water on your cat’s food to soften the dry kibble.
- Hand-feeding some chunks of kibble along with a treat can also trick your cat into getting used to eating the new food.
- Try to introduce a diet that has an even concentration of all the nutrients. You cannot completely eliminate a type of food altogether. This often causes nutrient imbalances.
- One can add various toppers to their kitten’s food to further enhance the taste.
- Sticking to a brand your cat is familiar with can have some nutritional benefits due to the similar base and compositions amongst company foods.
- Always use a flat dish so that your cat can easily access the food. Ensure that the food is at a good level of height and is far away from any source of foul smell or contamination.
- Cats generally prefer to eat foods at room temperature instead of refrigerated ones.
With all the important knowledge now at your disposal, we hope that you are able to bring a positive change to your cat’s diet without causing any deficiencies.
When it comes to food, quality is always preferred over quantity. So always go for highly rated and vet-prescribed foods along with some home-cooked recipes to provide a perfect mix of minerals to your feline friend.