For Cats, Slow and Steady Wins the Diet Change Race
Transitioning Your Cat’s Diet to Raw
If a cat is used to a particular diet, a slow transition to a new food (raw or not) is imperative. While I’m a proponent of raw meat diets for cats, there are many high quality canned options available on the market these days and I would rather that anyone who is opposed to raw switch to the healthiest option available than stick with nutrient-less, difficult to digest, kibble and cheap canned foods! Whatever you do, proceed with caution.
As with humans, normal gut bacteria in cats help their digestion. A sudden change in food can result in changes to the number and type of bacteria and your cat’s ability to help digest food. These changes can lead to intestinal upset resulting in either vomiting, gas, constipation, diarrhea or, as I’ve seen with my own past hasty switches in my cats, blood in their stools.
Not only is a slow change digestively imperative, cats are some of the pickiest eaters around! And one may turn his nose up at something that another one may simply find delectable. Two of my three cats devoured their first bite of raw meat, one was very resistant. She is now the one who’d steal the meat off the other one’s plates in an instant.
It is important to switch your cat’s food gradually over the course of 7–10 days, or longer, if you can manage the continued measuring. The process means gradually replacing some of the old food with some of the new. To add time to the process, wait an extra day before increasing the proportion of the new food.
Here’s a chart of both 7 and 10-day switches:
A good veterinarian will know the importance of this slow transition. A great one will know the value of a raw diet. Whatever level of support you have from your vet, keeping them abreast of your cat’s new dietary changes is very important. So, as your cat adjusts to the new food, closely monitor the litter box for any changes. If you witness diarrhea there or vomiting, gas, etc, take that as a sign to slow the heck down and do consult your vet at every step of the way.