Here are 5 tips to help you prepare to make the switch from dry cat food to canned cat food then raw food
Have you wondered if your cat can just switch from dry food to canned food or even to raw food? Switching can be quick and easy with some cats. On the other hand, some cats can be quite challenging.
Use the following 5 tips as a starting point to get you into the right mindset, which will help you have a more positive and quicker outcome.
How long does it take to make the switch from dry cat food to canned cat food then raw food?
First, I want to answer this frequently asked question, because I know you're wondering. Adults can be a little more resistant, and even more so if they have been eating strictly dry food for most, or all, of their lives. Most adult cats should be able to make the switch around 2-4 weeks. That is, by the end of 2-4 weeks, they will eat the new food without hesitation.
Some cats want to switch immediately and do with no upset tummy side effects of vomiting or diarrhea.
On the other hand, some cats can take several months to accept the change.
I know a 17-year old cat that made the switch right from dry food to raw food with no hesitation and no digestive problems. This girl was ready to be a real carnivore and probably quite tired of her "prescription" dry food which contains zero meat, poultry, or fish of any source. Not even any by-products of animal, poultry, or fish! Unless you count chicken fat.
I have never had a problem making the switch with rescue kittens. Kittens are easy because they are so hungry all the time and will usually eat anything. They haven't been conditioned to any particular type of food yet.
Fortunately, I've never had a problem switching adult cats either.
I want you to know...
You can do this--
I believe that some cat parents are AFRAID and their cats are picking up on that.
Maybe it's because they read online about how hard it can be and don't believe it's possible.
Or maybe it's because they tried once and failed.
It could be that it's just a REALLY finicky and dry food-addicted cat.
Maybe, I've just been REALLY lucky with all the cats I have switched over very quickly.
You and your cat can do this -- contrary to your carbohydrate junky's belief (that's your cat we're talking about) and contrary to your cat's effort to make you think they won't live another day without their dry kibble food.
The end goal
And the end goal we are shooting for is raw food. That is how cats are designed to eat. They are carnivores, and carnivores thrive on raw flesh/prey.
This can be pre-made raw cat food bought in a store or ordered on-line. Pre-made food DOES cost way more than making your own. If price is not an issue for your budget and saving time is crucial, this is the easier way to go.
Or you can make your own homemade raw cat food. This requires more work, but will cost much less. It's also fun to make the food for your cats.
For me, it's rewarding and empowering to make their food. My cats get very excited when I get out the grinder. They like supervising and licking out the bowls.
My cats don't like pre-made raw cat food as much as they like my homemade raw cat food.
Side note: There are very few cats that cannot tolerate raw food. They will throw it up, even when the process is taken very slowly. I had such a kitty. We just couldn't get her on raw food. She is the only one out of many cats I've had. You might have to resort to homemade properly supplemented cooked food, which is still far better than commercially prepared dry and canned cat food. Homemade is always better than over-processed food.
Here are 5 tips to help you Banish the Bag Forever!
So, let's get to those 5 tips to help get you in the right mindset.
Tip #1 - Be happy and excited for your new health-conscious choice, yet remain calm
Breathe. Play relaxation music around meal time. This calms my cats throughout the day and helps them get along better, too.
Act as if it's just another day, another meal time.
Tip #2 - Have patience
This MAY take up to a month for complete transition. Notice the word "MAY." That doesn't mean it will take a month. Some cats will cooperate in 2 weeks or less.
Picky cats--most likely 3-4 weeks. These are likely to be cats that have been eating the same dry cat food day in and day out. For years. Okay, it might take a little longer than 4 weeks.
But remember, I know that 17-year old cat who was eating the SAME dry food for 10 years, day in and day out. She did get canned food as treats. For her, Day 1 of raw food--bam, that was it. Cats having had some exposure to canned food helps matters along.
Accept where and who your cat is in this process. Try not to think about it too much.
Tip #3 - Don't give up
It's called Tough Love. It's your responsibility as the caregiver. Ignore your cat's pleas for help and distress. Remember, they win awards for dramatic acting and know how to tug at your heartstrings. Buck up.
However, do not let your cat miss more than two-three meals (one full day to 1-1/2 days of not eating). It can take just 3 straight days of not eating for a cat to develop potentially fatal Hepatic Lipidosis, or "fatty liver disease," a condition specific to cats. Overweight cats are especially susceptible to Hepatic Lipidosis if they lose weight too quickly.
Tip #4 - Remember your why, know your why, feel it in your heart
Remember why you are doing this for your cat(s). You want to do the very best you can for your kitty. Because when your kitty is older and/or becomes ill, you know you fed him or her the healthiest way possible. You know you did everything in your power to help him or her have the healthiest life possible.
Hey, I've been a vegetarian for over 25 years. I own a meat grinder and handle raw poultry and meat. I blend liver in a blender. It's disgusting to me. But, we vegetarians/vegans should NEVER force our eating habits on a carnivore. Knowing what is in my cats' food is important to me. If I can do this, anyone can. I hope that nothing ever keeps me from being able to make raw cat food for my cats.
It is a labor of love. And that is what you need to remember.
Tip #5 - Stop free feeding
If you haven't already done this, STOP now. Food is NOT the way to your cat's heart.
For cats that over eat from the endless bowl of dry cat food, it can be the way to obesity, disease and illness.
Plus, that food is sitting there collecting dust, fur, possibly growing mold on the bottom, bleck. When WAS the last time you washed out that bowl or platter anyway?
When cats can free feed, they are then typically not too excited about eating, because it's always there. It takes no effort. Which makes it harder for many cats to try something new.
Instead of free feeding your cats, have meal times. Take the total day's amount of food, and divide it up into three meals. Depending on size, an average 8-12 lb adult cat really needs no more than half a cup of dry per day. For reference: the average adult male cat's weight should be in the 8-12 lb range. An average female is 6-10 lbs.
Give your cat 30 minutes tops to finish the meal. Then pick it up.
Additional help for you and your cat to make the switch from dry cat food to canned, then raw food
It's always easier to make a change when you have support from someone who understands your worries and concerns. It can be very stressful when your cat doesn't eat what you offer. You start thinking all kinds of bad thoughts:
What if kitty starves?
And, what if kitty starves?
I think my cat is going to starve.
Your stress reflects onto your cat, and he or she will be less reluctant to cooperate with your requests and pleas.
I am here to help you both get through this! That's why I created the Thrive Nutrition Program. You get emotional support, hand and paw holding, and a cheerleader to help you Banish the Bag and give your cat what she really needs -- meat and moisture! Sign up now.
Healthy Life Cat Coach