Changing A Cat’s Diet-How To Do So Safely

Cat owners are told to not make sudden changes to their cat’s diet. This can lead to a refusal to eat a new food or upset the stomach.

Some owners will try to outwait their cat. Unfortunately, this can lead to a potentially fatal disorder known as hepatic lipidosis. In response to the body not receiving enough food, fat is sent to the liver, unfortunately, the liver is not very efficient at processing fat, which begins to build up in the liver which causes dysfunction.

Why do I need to change my cat’s diet?

  • Your cat may be put on a prescription diet to help manage a medical disorder such as kidney or liver disease.
  • He may have developed a food allergy.
  • The food you are feeding may no longer be available.
  • Switching over from kitten food to adult food, or adult food to senior food.
  • Changing from wet to dry, or homemade etc.
  • Bringing a new cat home, I always ask the shelter/breeder what my cat has been eating. That way I can have some of their regular food on hand and gradually transition the cat over to what we feed.

How to switch over to a new diet

On day 1, add 10% new food to 90% old food, mix in well. Day 2, add 20% new food to 80% old food, mix in well. Gradually increase the amount of new food while you decrease the amount of old food by 10%. If the cat stops eating the food as a result of the change, go back to the old food and try again, but slower, just adding 5% at a time. You can also help to improve the palatability of wet food by warming it for 30 seconds in the microwave.

Feeding different types of food

I will contradict myself a little here and possibly go against guidelines, but I have never been a fan of feeding one type of food over another (unless treating a medical condition). For example, feeding a wet diet only, or a dry diet only. I like to feed my cats a range of foods including canned, dry and some raw food. They are not finicky eaters (although one refuses to eat dry food).

I also think that there are advantages and disadvantages to all types of food.

  • Canned food is made up of 60-70% water. This means even if your cat isn’t a big water drinker, he is still getting plenty of fluids. This can be advantageous if you have a cat prone to urinary problems.
  • Dry food is good for cats to graze on between their twice-daily meal of canned food.
  • Chunks of human-grade raw beef are good for jaw and dental health.


  • Julia Wilson, 'Cat World' Founder

    Julia Wilson is the founder of Cat-World, and has researched and written over 1,000 articles about cats. She is a cat expert with over 20 years of experience writing about a wide range of cat topics, with a special interest in cat health, welfare and preventative care. Julia lives in Sydney with her family, four cats and two dogs. Full author bio

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