Introducing your cat to a new food should be done slowly to avoid any potential stomach upsets. Follow our simple, seven-day guide to ease your cat onto their new diet safely and carefully.
Why might you change a cat's food?
There may be an occasion when you decide it's time to change your cat's diet. There could be a number of reasons for this transition, including:
- Your kitten is ready to move on to adult food
- Your cat's health requirements have changed and they require a more specific diet
- You'd like to transition to a wet, dry or mixed feeding plan
Nowadays complete well-balanced foods adapted to the cat's age, physiological status and lifestyle can be given all throughout their life with no risk of nutritional deficiency. This means pet owners could be increasingly more likely to shift between cat food products.
Why is it important to change a cat's food carefully?
Early experience of a type of food will play a big role in the creation of later food preferences for kittens. This is why it is important to find out what sort of food a kitten was given before you bring them home; they will adapt to a new environment more easily if their food is familiar.
In the same way, during the cat's life, any change in food should be made gradually. Faced with a new sort of food, some cats can be wary. This avoidance behaviour is called neophobia. It is believed that this behaviour is a protection against ingesting toxic or tainted food. This is why it is better to introduce new types of food in stages, and to reduce any potential stress factors, to avoid aversion to the new food.
How to change your cat's food
It's best to introduce a new food to your cat gently, over a period of at least a week. This way you can help to avoid stomach upsets, neophobia or any other anxiety for your cat.
Begin by introducing small percentages of the new diet, gradually increasing the ratio until your cat has completely transitioned onto their new food.
Days 1 & 2 – 75% previous food + 25% new food
Days 3 & 4 – 50% previous food + 50% new food
Days 5 & 6 – 25% previous food + 75% new food
Day 7 – 100% new food
It’s a good idea to maintain your cat's regular feeding routine, sticking to the same mealtimes and eating environments to minimize change and keep your cat comfortable through the transition to a new diet.
Keep an eye on your cat
Pay close attention to your cat's behaviour once they have fully transitioned to their new food. This will help you to notice how well they are responding to the change. The best diets will be visible in your cat's appearance, body weight and stool quality.