How to get your cat to eat new food – Now, we often have to change cats’ diets for a variety of medical reasons and, as most cat owners know, cats can get pretty finicky about their diet. Today’s blog is going to be a little tutorial on how to get your cat to eat new food?
So let’s come to the topic How To Get Your Cat To Eat New Food?
What Vet Describe About Cats Food?
The way vets describe it is that cats develop food affinity, or food addictions, quite easily. Now, cats typically get obsessed with food if it’s the only food they’ve had for a long time they’re neophobic, they don’t like change too much, and while taste is important to them.
They actually get quite particular about texture as well and unfortunately, when we have to change their food for medical reasons, We often don’t have a lot of choices in terms of taste and texture.
Food is a tool, like any drug or surgery, that can be used to maintain the health and welfare of our little.
And unfortunately in some cases a food is the most powerful intervention we have, such as kidney disease, diabetes and obesity.
So, if you’re lucky and you have a cat who’ll eat anything then simply take the new food that your vet prescribed and put on the table and your cat finished it. And this is always worth trying.
Gradually Transitioning Foods
Now a lot of people talk about gradually transitioning foods. Ensure, if you’re just changing foods at home, gradually transitioning them does make sense. When we’re talking about clinincal diets, where this is a tool that we’re using to manage a specific health condition.
I don’t bother with doing the slow transition if it’s not necessary. Put the food down and the cat eats it. You just thank your lucky stars because it helps to make your life much easier.
Now, if you’re not so lucky and your cat doesn’t want to eat the one food that will save its life What do you do?
How to get your cat to eat new food?
Well, there’s a couple things you can do. The most important thing to realize when you transition cats is that cats don’t like change, so you’ve got to take it slow and easy with them.
Give yourself lots of time
You give yourself lots of time, you make the diet change, which is what we call it: a diet change, you know about, a two-week, three-week, month long project.
It’s a project because there’s no specific timeline. We should do it as fast as we can, but we’re not going to be rushed.
Give Them Choice
What we wanna do is: we wanna give the cat some choice. We also want to get the cat used to the new food. And a classic way of doing that is to just start a little bit of the old food, and start mixing in with the new food.
You could be changing from wet food to kibble, kibble to kibble, wet food to wet food. It doesn’t really matter what you’re changing from and to.
The basic principle is: you add 10% new food, 90% old food on day one.
On day two, you go up to 20% new food, 80% old food and so on and so forth, by little 10% increments until, at the end of that, your cat’s just eating the new food.
Now, if we stall anywhere along this process for example if the cat eats the food when it’s fifty-fifty but once you go over that they start sort of turning away and being a bit off their food, you can always just take it back one step going back to fourty-sixty, and then push it up to fifty-fifty again.
This is what I mean by taking your time and making this a longer term project
So, gradual mixing-in of the new food and the old food typically does the trick for most cats.
How To Speed Up This Process?
Now, there’s certain things you can do to speed the process and make the food a little bit more acceptable. We don’t want cats to ever starve, so sometimes we offer two dishes side by side. One has a mixture of new food and old food, one has just the old food, so if the cat really turns their nose up they can just eat from their old food dish.
And then you slowly decrease every day, you decrease the amount in that dish until it’s no longer enough to keep them full and then they’ll hopefully pick at the new food dish, again, having had time to get used to the smell and the flavour and the texture of the new diet.
Try to disguise the flavour
You can also try to disguise the flavour of the new diet and we have a couple tools for that. One that I really like to use is: you simply go to your local supermarket and get tuna in spring water.
Now, tuna is typically sold in spring water or oil, not the oil one. Tuna in spring water, and you use just the water from that can to sprinkle it on the food.
Most cats love that flavour and it helps them accept the new food a little easier.
Before Any Changes Consult With Your Vet
Before starting the other ways to flavour the new diet that makes it a little bit more acceptable, I want to say one thing to you,
we don’t have too many options, and to be honest with you, typically in these cats you don’t want to feed them anything other than the prescribed diets, so you are gonna be a little bit limited with it but in some cases it’s okay to mix in some other protein like tuna or lean chicken meat to flavour the food.
Often that’s unnecessary and you should only be doing that if the vet says it’s okay because in many conditions where we use diets, such as kidney disease, feeding a high-protein meal like that is actually quite harmful, so you don’t really wanna do that on your own. Always check with your vet before you make any changes like that.
So another thing you can do to flavour the food that is typically okay in most health conditions is a product from Purina called FortiFlora. This is actually something I use in my practice all the time. It’s a probiotic powder, it’s hydrolised protein, so, it’s okay to use in cases where you have inflammatory bowel disease or food allergies and cats seem to quite like the taste of this.
So, if I sprinkle this on the food it does really encourage Mr. Pirate (my cat) to eat.
Normally I don’t need to encourage Pirate to eat but I do use it sometimes with him if he’s on antibiotics or if he’s having tummy upset. It’s quite good.
But we also use it for encouraging cats to eat adding a little bit extra flavour that they typically quite like. Some cats don’t really like this that’s because they’re cats and that’s the way cats are, they’re all weird, they’re all individuals, and all have their own preferences.
So, we talked about a few things: we talked about gradual mixing of the food, We talked about flavouring the food with something that’s gonna make it really acceptable to the cat, something really tasty and then, again.
we talked a little bit about probably the hardest thing which is to have patience and of course not making any significant changes without consulting a veterinarian first, if you’re trying to change the food for medical reasons to manage some health issue because there could be factors that maybe not everybody’s aware of, that your vet should be aware of.
So, with this approach, I find that I can get just about any cat to eat just about anything. There’ll always be the odd one that just will refuse to eat the food you want them to eat.
In those cases you just have to find a workaround or do without that one really powerful tool when managing their health, but I would say 90% of cats plus can be gotten to eat anything if you use this kind of approach.