How To Safely Transition Your Cat’s Food

By Katy Gilligan
Updated April 14, 2015
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How To Safely Transition Your Cat’s FoodThere are a lot of times when your cat’s food needs to be transitioned into a different food. Many cat owners will just take away a cat’s old food and start giving them the new one without delay, and that is actually not safe for the cat, and they could go days without eating if food is transitioned in the wrong way. The best place to start when transitioning foods is to consult your veterinarian, and see which foods are best for your cat’s specific needs, and what the best way to transition food will be for your cat. There is an easy way to transition your cat’s food that only takes a week, and your cat will have little to no trouble transitioning over to a new, delicious food. Transitioning over a slower period of time will result in fewer digestive issues, and better acceptance to the new food. As a quick side note, be patient with older cats, or cats with health issues. The transition could take up to 10 days for cats with these symptoms.

How do you know when it is time to transition your cat’s food? Well, the first step is to look at the age of your cat. Kittens should switch to adult cat food at 12 months (1 year) of age. This transition helps ensure that they are getting the correct amount of nutrients that are essential to adult cats. Kittens need nutrients that help them grow, while adult cats need nutrients to sustain themselves.

Another time to transition your cat’s food is when the feline hits 7 years of age or older. They should change to mature adult or senior cat food, which helps ensure that they are receiving the appropriate level of nutrients that are essential for the older life stage.

One last transition time comes when your cat is pregnant of nursing. These cats need energy-dense foods with increased calcium content. You should transition them to a kitten food during this time.

After you have established that is time to transition your cat to a new food, it is time to being the transitioning process. Make sure you allow yourself a week of time to completely transition your cat to the new food. This means you will need to have enough of the old cat food to last through the week, and make sure you don’t run out before the seven days is up. For days 1-2, you should put in 1/4 of the new food, and 3/4 of the old food. This way, your cat will still be used to the old food, but get a hint of the new food, without too much surprise. For days 3-4, you will put in half new food, and half old food. This way your cat will see a slight decrease in their old food, but not too much of an increase on the new food. On days 5-6, you will do 3/4 new food and 1/4 new food. The cat will sense the old food still there, but become more used to the new food. On day 7, your cat should be served only new food, and they will not see it as a shock to their system.

Transitioning your cat’s food correctly can be beneficial to their health and well being. Shocking your cat with all new food up front can be very damaging to their digestive system, so transitioning correctly is vital. Always consult a veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns about transiting your cat’s food.

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This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional.