How To Switch Cat Food
Changing Cat Food: How Do You Do It?
Estimated Read Time: 4 ½ minutes
Summary: In this blog, we explore and explain how to switch cat food and avoid disturbing their stomach in the process! We’ll establish when to switch from kitten to cat food, from adult to senior food and how to switch cat food brands. Read on to discover more about changing cat food…
You may be looking to change your cat’s food because of preference, price, or due to medical advice. It’s always best to implement the switch slowly and gradually over two or so weeks.
This may seem like a while, but this hesitant approach will help to not shock their sensitive digestive system (which can cause sickness or diarrhea). Or, if rushed, your cat may reject the food completely – our kitties are creatures of habit after all and stubborn by nature!
So, how should you change your cat’s food?
How To Switch Cat Food
Over a period of two weeks, use the below as a rough guide when changing your cat’s food. If your cat is particularly fussy, it may take a little longer to encourage them to enjoy their new meals.
Day 1 - 4
Feed your cat the food they're used to and in a separate bowl next to it, place one teaspoon of the new food. Do not mix them. This will let them know that this new texture/substance that smells different is food. If they show no interest in it, don’t be disheartened - persist with this routine for a few days.
Move on to the next phase once your kitty has willingly eaten the new teaspoon of food consistently for 3 days.
Day 5 - 10
It’s worth noting how important texture is to cats. So, be sure to keep the old and new food separate.
But now, over this period of time, slowly increase the new food amount and decrease the old food amount on different plates next to each other.
Don’t add more new food until your kitty is reliably eating all of it. This process may take longer than 5 days if your cat is fussy or a senior. And on the other hand, don’t skip to the next phase until at least day 10, even if your cat is responding well. Rushing the transition might trigger them to reject it completely and then you’ll be stuck.
Day 10 - 14
Once your cat is happily eating all of the food every day for at least a week, then you can continue on with just the new food.
If they reject the food, then it may be time to look at another brand or the process has been too quick for them.
Changing Cat Food: Further Tips
- If you’ve been told to change your cat’s food by their vet to help ease the symptoms of a particular health condition, make sure to discuss and obtain their advice on switching their food. They may have additional suggestions to help the transition go as smoothly as possible.
- The transitioning of food may go smoother if they are fed in a private, quiet area away from other cats, other pets, loud noises, and distractions.
- Ensure all your cat’s food is stored as directed on the label and kept air-tight to ensure quality and freshness, preventing it from going off. Most cats prefer to eat food at room temperature, so if you refrigerate their wet food for freshness, remove it an hour or so before mealtime to help it slightly warm.
- Most cats don’t like their whiskers brushing against the sides of a bowl, which can put them off eating. Make sure you’re serving their food to them on a saucer-style dish to avoid this discomfort.
When To Switch From Kitten To Cat Food
Once a kitten turns 1, this is when you should introduce them to adult food, using the same advice as above. This will ensure they’re getting the appropriate nutrients for their age.
When To Switch From Adult To Senior Food
A cat is classed as a senior at 7 years old, and using the same guidance as above, this is when they should begin making the transition to suitable senior food. This will make sure they’re getting the right vitamins and minerals they need as they mature and age.
Switching Cat Food: Final Thoughts
Even the pickiest cats can be encouraged onto new food if you tempt them over gradually using the steps above as a guide. If you’re having a lot of trouble, check in with your vet to rule out that it’s not a health issue that’s making them particularly reluctant to the change.