Most of us find that their cat becomes accustomed to one food and they eat it day and night, ad infinitum. We believe this is fine, that cats don’t need variety and are content knowing that they will always eat the same thing. This commonly-held belief has long been the stronghold of most feline diets.
Well, now there is someone who refutes this and proposes that, even with felines, variety is the spice of life. Veterinary nutritionist Dr. Donna Raditic is here to tell us that not only is variety a good thing for the feline but it helps their entire digestive system accommodate to changing food sources, as can sometimes be necessary over time.
Why Change Foods: When you increase GI tolerance, she says, the cat’s gut becomes used to different nutrients from different foods so she will not only be more tolerant of different foods but will be less likely to have digestive upsets when her food is changed. When cats are too habituated to only one food, rather than eat a new prescription diet, for instance, they would rather go hungry and not eat at all. Lack of eating can have fatal consequences. This is why it is worth it to teach them to eat a variety of different foods.
Plus, it should not be too difficult. Again, we must look back to the days when felines spent their lives in the wild. Here, as carnivorous hunters, they would eat whatever animals they were able to catch and kill. By its very definition, hunting produces variety in food sourcing. So, now that you can see reason in this, how do we do it?
How to Change Foods: Starting with kittens is easiest, of course, as they have not yet become set in their ways. Unlike dogs, cats become habituated to what they are fed as they mature. Based upon tastes, smells and textures, cats grow finicky because, like everything else in their lives, they are reluctant to change. Felines are quite OCD and like everything in order, with no deviations. This obsessiveness carries over to their eating behavior. The adult cat is picky and hesitant when it comes to trying new foods.
So, the best way to introduce variety is to do it slowly. You can get cats used to different tastes by providing a lure, say tuna, something so irrestible that the new food, when mixed in, won’t be noticed. As time goes on, you can introduce more and more of the new food while you begin to remove the irresistible item that lured them to eat the new food. Do this until they are perfectly content with eating either the old or the new food.
Good ideas for food lures besides tuna include salmon, sardines, bonita flakes, parmesan cheese, bouillon, or any kind of commercial cat treat you know they already look forward to.
Don’t forget to introduce different textures, both wet and dry. Offer different brands as well as foods from different manufacturers. You may want to try boutique companies that offer grain-free or raw diets. Again, mix your new foods in a bit at a time, using lures to get their attention. Remember to consult your vet before attempting to change diets.
- 1.Offer Kitty several choices of special or prescription diets, and see which flavor she gravitates towards.
- 2.Try food puzzles. This “feeds” Kitty’s hunting instincts. With the fun of hunting for her food, she may be able to get past the new tastes.
- 3.Microwaving the food a bit will help to release its scent and attract her interest.
- 4.If Kitty prefers wet food, try adding water and crushing up the added dried food until she becomes accepting of it.
- 5.Make sure to feed her away from any other pets. You don’t want your good efforts sabotaged by a hungry pup who will eat anything!
Since dietary changes are sometime inevitable for age or health reasons, by being proactive now you will have that much less to concern yourself with at such time as food changes become crucial to your feline’s ability to thrive.
For further information, please go to: