Introducing Cat Food

Introducing Cat Food: two ways to introduce new foods

Cats are notoriously finicky eaters. Usually they will know right away if their usual food has been tampered with in any way. There are many ways to help promote the acceptance of new foods. A simple way includes making sure the food is at room temperature, not refrigerated. However, simple ways usually don’t work. Here are two other ways, somewhat simple, that may help. If they don’t, then you have a REALLY finicky eater.

A gradual transition

This is one that most owners do when getting their animals on a new food. The gradual transition also allows the digestive system to adjust to theCat Food new food without having the ‘shock’ of having it introduced right away. This works by switching the old food to the new food over a gradual period of time.

If the cat is not as finicky a eater, the transition period will be shorter. All you do is take a percentage of the old food away, and substitute it for the new food. Say I started out with 100% old food. So on day 1, I am going to take 10% of that away, and add 10% of the new food. So the cat is gradually making that adjustment, usually without knowing it.

However, you might have that cat that WILL know it. The gradual transition will be much longer. Instead of day one being 10% new food, it might have to be as low as 2%. In a bowl of dry food, it might be a few kibbles. What a pain huh? But if you really need your cat to switch over, it might be the only way.


If the transition just doesn’t work at all, compromising might be a solution. This is somewhat similar to the transition, however it works the opposite. You start out giving the new food right away. That is what they eat, no adding it gradually to the old food.

But if you see your cat is having difficulty adjusting, or just flat out refuses to eat, some compromising might have to be done. What is meant by that is adding the old food to the new food, but only a small amount. So if the food in question is wet food, just add a little spoonful to the new wet food. Sometimes all a cat needs is that familiar scent of its old food to encourage it to eat the new stuff.

If the food in question is dry food, add a few old food kibbles to the new stuff, like I mentioned it is kind of the opposite of the transition. If you are going from dry food to wet food here is a tip: just crush a few of the dry food kibble into a powder of sorts. Then sprinkle it onto the wet food. As mentioned, sometimes all it takes is that familiar scent to get them eating.

If the transition or the compromise doesn’t work out for you, then that is one stubborn cat.

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  1. Would love suggestions on transitioning from wet food morning and night (and pretty much on demand when I’m home) to wet only at dinner time. I keep kibble available 24/7 for two adults and two teens. Think I might reduce the quantity of wet in the mornings for a week or so rather than trying boot camp approach.

    1. That’s exactly right. Slowly reducing the quantity of the wet food in the mornings is what I’d do too. Cats are known to be very finicky and will refuse to eat the dry food in the mornings if you suddenly stop feeding wet food because that is what the cat is used to. Slowly fading out the wet food in the mornings for a week or two is great.

      What I’d personally do is divide the can up into 8ths and subtract 1/8th every day from the food in the AM. If there are days where it is not going smoothy (cat is unhappy, still hungry, etc) I’d still feed whatever amount I did the previous morning. It more than likely will take longer then the 8 days but eventually you will get there.

      For the on demand part, I’d simply just give less than what you usually give. For example, say I am used to giving them half a can every two hours. I’d simply cut that to a quarter can, then after awhile space it to every 3 hours. There may be adjusting as needed, but the goal is to reduce and eventually eliminate those on demand feedings during the day.

      Also what some people like to do is add a little water to the dry food. It is said to be a ‘gravy’ of sorts and makes sure the cat is getting some moisture (ie. water). Just add a little water as you don’t want the food to become soggy. Also, if you try this approach don’t leave this watered dry food out all day, just let the cat eat this dry food for its morning meal. If you leave it out all day it will become less appealing (both for the cat and for you).

      I personally have not tried a watered dry food approach but it may help the cat transition from the wet food to dry food.

      Hope this was helpful for you.

      Good luck! 🙂

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