Why should I change cat food and how do I do it?
Although it is rare for an owner to change their cat’s food regularly, there are times when it is an essential part of being a responsible pet parent.
Just like humans, the dietary requirements of our pets change over time, mainly due to health factors, activity levels and what stage they are at in their life.
Realistically, there are three main times in your cat’s life where you will need to alter their diet.
The three stages of change
As a kitten: The food they eat in this period is required for growth, meaning more protein and calories are needed to meet their daily needs.
Adulthood: This is a stage of life where you should think of food as being a maintenance tool, so ensure you don’t give you cat too much and risk making them obese.
Seniority stage: In their older years, cats can see medical issues crop up which mean dietary changes are essential. If your precious pet has joint pain or arthritis, their diet may need foods with more glucosamine and fatty acids like DHA and EPA.
Seven reasons why you may want to change cat food
- Dull-looking fur: Make sure there are Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids in your cat’s diet to make their coat shiny and bright.
- Lethargic and tired: Antioxidants are a good way to boost your cat’s immune system, especially after illness or surgery, so increasing their levels in your pet’s food is a good idea.
- Weight gain: If you cat if putting on a few pounds around their middle, you may want to reduce their calorie count. Fortunately, you can do this without reducing the amount of essential vitamins and minerals they eat too.
- Diarrhoea and stomach upsets: Increased flatulence or a rumbly stomach could indicate that a switch in food is needed. If that’s the case, try a premium food or one for a sensitive stomach.
- Itchiness: Some food can contain ingredients which disagree with our pets, but a low-allergen diet can reduce the risk of this happening.
- The food you are feeding may no longer be available: Try to find a product with similar ingredients and integrate to your cat’s diet gradually.
- From wet food to dry: Making this switch should always be a gradual process over a few days, if possible.
How to introduce a cat food change
Firstly, it is essential to make the switch gradually, over a few days so that you precious pet does not resist the change or, even worse, refuse to eat.
If you can, and time will allow it, start by adding 10 per cent of the new food and mix it with the one they are most used to.
The following day add another 10 per cent and continue to build this up until you have phased out their former.
Once you’ve done that, if they are not keen on the new diet, try warming the food in the microwave for 30 seconds to make it more homely.
Unless your cat won’t eat one type of food, it can be a good idea to get them to eat a variety of foods – including canned, dry and raw food – so they don’t become accustomed to just one type.
Canned food is made up of more than 50 per cent water, so it will provide plenty of fluids and can help to prevent urinary issues. Dry food is also good for your pet’s teeth, whilst cooked or raw pieces of beef can be good for their dental health too.