TRANSITIONING TO A NEW DIET

Cats do not like change.  Often they have never eaten a canned food, or they are not used to getting dry kibble.  Many commercial cat foods are high in salt, which the cats get hooked on and miss when switched to a prescription diet.  To successfully change a cat over to a new food, you must go slowly.

  1. Start by putting a small amount of the new food in a bowl right next to the old food.  Just occasionally, the cat likes the new food better!
  2. Mix one part new food with nine parts old food and present this in another bowl.  Try feeding a little bit less than normal so your cat will have a good appetite for the new food.  If your cat does not eat the mixture at all for 48 hours, notify CCC.  We may want to try an appetite stimulant.  If he is picking out the old food that he likes best, that’s okay.  Just give him more time.
  3. If your cat eats the first mixture well for about five days, go to one part new food and four parts old food for five days, then one part new food to three parts old food for five days, then one part new food to two parts old food for five days, then half and half for five days, then two parts new food to one part old food for five days, then three parts new food to one part old food for five days, then 100% new food.
  4. If at any time your cat stops eating, go back to the mixture that he was last eating.  Notify CCC if your cat does not eat for more than 48 hours.  We may need to try another diet, or look for other causes of anorexia.
  5. It is very important that cats do not stop eating entirely.  When cats do not eat, they mobilize their stored fat for energy.  In fat cats especially, large amounts of fat go into the blood stream and lodge in the liver, causing liver failure.  Never let a big cat stop eating!
  6. Most cats prefer canned food warmed in the microwave to body temperature.  Food gives off more odors when warm.  But some cats prefer food cold from the refrigerator, so try it both ways.
  7. When storing opened cans of food in the refrigerator, cover the food with a layer of water before putting a lid on the can.  This traps in smells and keeps the top layer from drying out.  Just pour off the water before serving, or leave a little in to make more gravy.
  8. Offer a new dry food as treats, or as a reward after play.  Try hiding some around the house so your cat can hunt for it.  If weight loss is a goal, you can hide all of the kibble around the house instead of serving it in a bowl, so your cat has to go searching for it.
  9. All prescription diets are guaranteed, so if your cat refuses to eat them, you can return them for a full refund.  Often there is an alternative diet that we can try that might be more to your cat’s taste.
  10. Keep trying!  Often it takes months to transition a cat to a new diet.  The improved health is well worth the effort.

We recommend keeping a diary of your cat’s eating, so that we can determine whether he is eating enough, and know if the transition is going well. 

Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about your cat’s diet.  We are here to help you!