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by Doug Hines

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What's in Your Cat's Food Dish? ®

- Transitioning to New Food -

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Transitioning? So You Want Your Cat to Eat Better Food?

The First Law of Cat Transitioning  -  Expect Rejection.


Law Two?

The straightest path to rejection is to bring home an entire case of the new stuff.


Facing each other over the empty cat dish you think, "Will my cat eat it this time?" We've all been there!


Transitioning your cat to eat a new food can be bewildering, challenging, confusing, daunting, disconcerting dismaying, discouraging, disheartening, dispiriting, demoralizing, frustrating, perplexing, troubling, unsettling, and upsetting.


However, there are other words which will lead you to success in transitioning your cat to a new food. The words determination, patience and perseverance come to mind.


Like two Japanese heavyweight sumo wrestlers stepping in to the ring, you line up across from your cat prepping yourself for the challenge. Meanwhile, season ticket-holders (your family and friends) are lining up ringside to place their bets on the final outcome.


To repeat from above, first transitioning requires patience. It also takes money. Somewhere in the transitioning process you will begin to ask yourself why you are putting, perfectly good, nutritious, expensive cat food down the garbage disposal. You’ll begin to ask yourself questions like, “Am I out of my mind?”


It seems like cats either have an extreme food affinity or an extreme food addiction!


And both taste and texture are important!


Cats are resistant to eating new foods, no matter how good the food might be for them. Cats are especially resistant to transitioning to wet food after having eaten dry food. (It seems cats just can’t resist the synthetic, chemical flavorings sprayed on dry food. They love it.) (When you read the words 'synthetic, chemical flavorings' do alarm bells start going off in your mind? Don't be like an ostrich with your head in the sand ignoring these words. Transition from dry to wet food or your cat will suffer in the long run. Refer back to this page about Dry Food.)


You can’t just bring home one can of food and expect your cat to like it right away. It takes multiple feedings, over time, for a cat to finally accept a change in food. After all… How long has your cat been eating his or her present food?


Another thing that I have learned is to not give away rejected cat food cans too soon. The very food that my cats have turned up their noses at today may become one of their favorite foods tomorrow. You'll see.


Just keep the end game in mind and you’ll be fine. Someday, your cat will finally eat the food you want he or she to eat, which will eventually impact his or her good health for the better. Stand firm, and you will reach the goal line. Cave in early, and you will not.

One thing I have observed about transitioning

Don't try to introduce a new food to your cat(s) when they are not hungry in the first place. You'll misinterpret the results by thinking the cats don't like the food. Put the food back into the can, cover it, and try again later. You may be surprised at the results!

From The Conscious Cat with Ingrid King

Here an article about Transitioning featured on the website, The Conscious Cat.


Written by  Ingrid King, a certified veterinary journalist and a professional member of the Cat Writers Association, Ms. King addresses 'Transitioning a Finicky Eater to a Healthier Diet.'


She begins, "There aren't many things that are more frustrating than a cat who is finicky about her food. The problem is compounded when you've educated yourself about what construes a healthy diet for cats, but your fussy kitty will only eat dry food or highly processed wet food. What's a cat parent to do?"

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From The Conscious Cat with Fern Slack, DVM

Here an article about Transitioning featured on the website, The Conscious Cat.


Here's a post by guest Fern Slack, DVM, titled 'Ask a Cat Vet: How Do I Transition My Cat to a Healthy Diet?


It begins, " You have done your research. You know that cats are obligate carnivores who need meat in their diet, not just to survive, but to thrive. You understand why cats should never eat dry food... Now you have a case or a frozen bag of this great new food - and your cat "won't eat it." He puts up his nose and walks away, and you are left with a stack of useless cans or bags and a strong sense of annoyance."

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Transitioning from Dry Food to Wet Food

Pam Johnson-Bennett writes in CatBehaviorAssociates.com about 'Transitioning Your Cat From Dry Food to Wet Food.'


"Cats are creatures of habit and making any type of significant change can be tricky. Making a food change requires extra care because of the potential health complications that can occur if done incorrectly or abruptly."  Read more here.

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Transitioning Feline Dry Food Addicts to Canned Food by Lisa A. Pierson, DVM

This is just part of Dr. Pierson's article at CatInfo.org. Read the full article here.


This is the hard part. Cats, like children, often resist what is best for them.  The two most frequent comments that I hear from people when trying to convince them to feed their cats a healthier diet are “my cat won’t eat canned food” and “but my cat really likes his dry food.”   Children really like potato chips and ice cream but that certainly does not mean those food items constitute optimal nutrition.


The transition process often involves much more than just plunking down a new food item.  Time, patience and tricks are often required.


One reason that cats like dry food so much is because the pet food companies do not play fair when manufacturing this sub-optimal food source.  They coat the kibble with extremely enticing animal digest sprays which are very pleasing to a cat – making a poor quality diet very desirable to the target animal.


In addition to the aforementioned coating of dry food with animal digests, another issue  is one of a crunchy texture which is very different from canned food.  Cats are very resistant to such a drastic change in the texture of their food.


If you are convinced that getting your cat off of dry food is the way to go, read on for some tips on how to accomplish this.


The key is to do it slowly and with patience and incorporate various tricks for the stubborn cats. The most important issue is actually making the change, not how fast you accomplish it.

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Here's Some Advice - From J.G. Himself!

Transitioning Advice from Jackson Galaxy

When the transition period is over you'll want to sing Hallelujah & do cart wheels!

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Information on this website is provided for general purposes only. It should not be considered as a substitute for professional veterinary advice, care and treatment. Nothing herein is intended to treat, heal, or otherwise be considered as medical advice or treatment. Contact your veterinarian with any questions regarding your cat's diet or health. See additional details here.

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