Switching Your Cat to a New Food

It’s likely that at some point in a cat’s life, they’ll need to be transitioned to a new food. The reason could be medical, weight-related, or simply logistical. Whatever the cause, use these tips from your 4S Ranch vet to make the switch as smooth as possible.

Always Switch Gradually

Rule number one for switching your cat to a new diet: do so gradually. It should take at least a full week to fully transition from the old food to the new. If a cat suddenly stops eating their old food and starts eating something completely new, diarrhea and upset stomach will almost certainly result.

Begin by placing a small amount of the new food in with your cat’s old food. As each day passes, increase the amount of the new and decrease the amount of the old. Eventually, the bowl will be filled with just the new diet.

Don’t Free-Feed

It’s never recommended that you free-feed your pet, and this couldn’t be more true than when transitioning between foods. Free-feeding is the practice of leaving food out at all times for your cat to munch on as she pleases. The trouble is, many cats will eat even when they’re not hungry, leading to eventual obesity.

Feed your cat her meals on a schedule. Put food out during the selected mealtime, then remove it after 15 or 20 minutes. Ask your veterinarian about the proper portions, mealtimes, and scheduling.

Dry to Wet or Vice Versa

Many times, cat owners have to switch their pet from dry kibble to wet canned food, or vice versa. This can be especially troublesome since your cat is experiencing a completely new sensation when eating. Try mixing a small amount of the new in with the old, just as described above, then gradually increasing the amount. Some cat owners have found success by crushing up dry food sprinkling it over or mixing it into the wet diet.

If your cat isn’t eating, call your 4S Ranch veterinarian right away. He or she can offer other helpful tips and examine your cat to make sure everything is okay.

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