Cats are creatures of habit, much like we humans are. They like lounging in the same spots, zooming across the house at the same time of night, and eating the same food they always have. If you come to a point in your cat’s care where you need to switch them to a new food, this preference for the familiar might result in some resistance from your cat in behavior or even from their GI tract.
The good news is that there is a “right” way to transition your cat to a new food without upsetting them or their stomach. Let’s go over what you need to know to get started.
When would you want to change a cat’s food?
There are a few reasons why your cat might need or you might want them to switch to a new food. Cats often need new food for new life stages to ensure they’re getting the proper nutrients for their bodies, such as going from kitten to adult cat at one year old or adult to senior cat at seven years.
You may also need to alter your cat’s diet because of a medical issue, like a sensitive stomach, kidney problems, or during pregnancy. Or, you may simply want to upgrade your cat to a better-quality food or be unable to find the brand you were previously using.
How should you transition your cat to their new food?
It’s important to switch your cat from their old to new food gradually, unless your vet recommends otherwise due to a medical concern. Sudden changes in diet can cause gastrointestinal issues such as upset stomach, diarrhea, vomiting, and lack of appetite. Additionally, some cats are just picky about their food, so a gradual transition will help ease them into something new.
Follow this general schedule to gradually transition your cat to their new food over a period of 7-10 days:
- Day 1-2: Mixture of 75% old food and 25% new food
- Day 3-4: 50% new and 50% old food
- Day 5-6: 25% old and 75% new food
- Day 7: 100% new food
Pickier or more sensitive cats may need to be given each ratio of mixture for an extra day or two to allow them more time to adjust.
If you’re caring for cats in a commercial setting, safe, comfortable, and spacious housing will help ease transitions to new foods, new companions, and ultimately their new home. At The Cat’s Inn, we can provide you with cat townhouses, condos, and shelter towers designed to keep every cat in your care happy and healthy.
For more information about our innovative designs and ordering enclosures for your business, call us at 877-228-7466 today!