Cat owners need to transition their kitty’s food for many reasons. Perhaps you’re switching to a vet-recommend formula, or their brand is discontinuing. Either way, you’ve probably realized the process isn’t easy. Don’t worry; it’s still possible to convert the pickiest eaters.
10 Tips to Help You Transition Your Cat’s Food
It’s important to transition your cat’s food slowly and carefully, as cats are creatures of habit and may not initially enjoy change.
Here’s how to safely and effectively transition your cat’s food.
Start With Small Changes
Begin with minor changes in the food to get your cat used to the new flavor. Gradually introduce the fresh food while continuing to feed the old food. Eventually, you’ll be able to switch over to the fresh food completely. According to Pet MD, switching to a new food can take approximately seven days.
Mix Both Foods
Start by mixing small portion sizes of the new and old food. As your cat adjusts to the unique flavor, gradually increase the ratio of the new food. For example, for the first 2 days, add ¼ of the new food to ¾ of the old. Add half of both food types for the next 2 days after that.
Increase Portion Size
Gradually increase the portion size of the new food over time. This will give your cat time to adjust to the new flavor and texture. If you don’t mix both foods (or you can’t), add a bit of the new food with treats they enjoy. Try taking away the extra treat in the next few days.
Give your cat options by including toppings like kibble, fish flakes, and other treats in their bowl. This will excite your cat about the new food and entice them to eat. Do your best not to overfeed your pet. If you give them too much, they’ll get used to that portion and be hungry.
Use Wet Food
If your cat prefers wet food, try introducing different flavors or textures. Switching to wet cat food can help your cat adjust to the new flavor, as wet foods are more flavorful than dry. Introducing high-quality wet food is much easier than dry kibble or flakes.
Follow Up With Treats
If you aren’t giving your cat’s treats with the food, follow up each meal with a few treats or snacks to reward them for eating their new food. These rewards will create positive associations with the new food and make your cat more likely to continue eating it instead of the old food.
Don’t Force Feed
If your cat refuses to eat the new food, don’t force them to do so. You don’t want to make your cat have a negative experience when it comes to change of any kind. Not only will this make them more resistant in the future, but it’ll also make it difficult for them to trust you.
Transitioning your cat’s food is difficult, especially if they’re seniors, so don’t rush the process. Do it gradually and slowly, and be patient. If your cat isn’t interested in the new food, it’s possible that they don’t like it. Speak to your vet about another alternative to try.
If you’ve been leaving food out for your cat, consider changing this habit and feeding your cat twice a day instead. This will help them adjust to the new food more quickly and make mealtime more enjoyable. With that said, don’t change when you feed them, as that will cause stress.
Cats can be picky regarding food shapes. If possible, try to find a food similarly shaped to the old one. So if the food is stamped into stars, find another star-shaped food. Texture plays a big part in your feline’s comfort and food enjoyment.