The party line has always been not to feed variety of cats, but Athens, Georgia-based veterinary nutritionist Dr. Donna Raditic suggests reconsidering this theory. For cats, too, she says, variety is the spice of life.
START AT THE BEGINNING
If you happen to see your cat as a curious kitten, promoting nutritional diversity is likely not a challenge. “If you can be proactive, you are ahead of the game,” she says. “Kittens are generally curious enough to eat pretty much anything you offer. Hopefully they offer variety before the window closes to try new things. “
Numerous studies show that as adults, people can have a hard time trying new foods that they didn’t enjoy as children. While some dogs have similarly ingrained taste buds, most dogs will try anything edible, if it smells nice, and sometimes to their detriment, at any point in their life, and devour items that are not as edible. Cats are famous for being fussy eaters; However, what really happens is that over time cats get used to what they are feeding based on the taste, smell, and especially the texture of the food.
“We really don’t know why this is the case. Perhaps it is because the ancestors of the house cat had to learn from a young age what dinner can be and what is safe to eat, ”says Dr. Raditic. “But we know that most domestic cats don’t eat just one thing outdoors like domestic cats do. We also know that their eating habits develop early. “
In cats, these eating habits become almost addictive, again based on taste, smell, and texture. Cats become loyal to the food based on these three parameters. Veterinarians in the past have suggested choosing a brand that you and your cat like, and if the cat is fine, stick with it. It’s what veterinary behavioral scientist Dr. Meghan Herron calls the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” concept. If the cat is fine, why bother with success?
Give Dr. Raditic the disruptor. She says, “Think about what cats do in the wild. It makes sense (unless your cat is currently on a special or prescription diet) to offer your cat two or three diets, each with different textures, tastes, and smells. “
CHANGING AN ADULT’S DIET
While kittens can enjoy a variety of food, adult cats are likely to be hesitant at first. You may need to experiment to see what works.
Try these simple tips:
+ Choose different textures, damp and dry. If you are against drought, offer dry treats regularly so that they at least become familiar with this unique texture.
+ Not only do you offer different brands, but also food from a total of different companies. And while Dr. Raditic is a fan of the big players like Purina, Mars, and Hill’s, spice it up a bit by mixing in food from some smaller companies, even some raw foods.
Of course, you are trying to gradually incorporate the new diet into the old one – but some cats will not be fooled. They can either choose their existing diet without trying the new one, or avoid the dish altogether. To make matters worse, the cat may need a new diet because it is sick.
And of course, Dr. Raditic that you should speak to your veterinarian before committing to diet.
What is the advantage of all of these variations? “They increase GI tolerance so that the intestinal flora is not used to just one food and one set of nutrients,” says Dr. Raditic.
Of course, it is important to change your diet gradually. However, when all of the intestinal flora is used to a particular strain, it is less likely that an upset stomach will occur. More importantly, the cat is not married to just one product.
Many cats are not fans of prescription diets under the best of circumstances. Cats may not even consider a new diet because they are used to what they have eaten. As a result, these cats can go days without a meal. That’s right – they’d rather go hungry than eat. And when this happens, cats can suffer from potentially fatal consequences.
FOOD CHANGE TRICKS
Dr. Herron, co-editor of Decoding Your Cat and veterinary behaviorist at Gigi’s, an animal nonprofit in Columbus, Ohio, says lack of appetite can be a clue to tricks of the trade such as:
- To the chicken broth Pour into the bowl, then pour it out to preserve the essence of the chicken.
- Get several special or prescription diets as well Create a buffetin the hope that your cat will choose at least one.
- Another idea from Dr. Herron and Dr. Raditic is closed Make feeding interactive and even fun if you can. Many cats enjoy food puzzles. “Certainly there is no disadvantage to activating a cat’s prey,” says Dr. Raditic. “Cats are born to hunt and are better off if we can recreate this indoors.”
- Warm food Microwave can help release the flavor to make it more appetizing.
- If the cat prefers moist food, Add water to dry food and mash to moisten it.
- Feed your cat out of sight from other pets. Dr. Herron points out that cats like to eat alone and don’t want to share their food bowls with other cats (unless they are raising kittens) – and that sharing with the Slobbery family dog is certainly not ideal. All of this only increases the stress of changing diets. Dr. Herron’s favorite method is to put an activated microchip on the cat as it is adjusting to a new special diet so that only that cat can enter a room through an e-baby gate or e-pet gate. However, other cats may just climb over the gate or you may not have the free room available. A popular DIY project is building a door that microchips open from a large dog crate. “A large dog crate is included for security and privacy, but visibility allows a cat to see what is going on.”
Diet changes are inevitable, and Dr. Raditic believes in being proactive, hopefully preventing a fight, often at a time when the cat is sick.
Lure them in!
Adding something irresistible to the bowl often attracts cats to eat. (Check with your vet before doing this, of course). The idea is to add tuna as just one example – enough tuna for your cat to eat, even if the new food is only 10% of what is there. Then gradually add more food over time while slowly removing tuna or whatever is special.
Here is a list of some of Dr. Raditic and Dr. Herron to lure cats to their new food:
♦ Nutritional yeast (light enough to simply sprinkle on food).
♦ Tuna, salmon, sardines (or just tuna, salmon or sardine juice)
♦ Nice flakes
♦ Freeze-dried liver
♦ Manufactured treats (countless options are available and cats have a variety of individual preferences)
♦ Angel Food Cake
♦ Veterinary appetite stimulants: Mirtazapine or Entyce for example.
Steve Dale is a certified animal behavior consultant who has authored and contributed to several books, including the Good Cat e-book, including “The Cat: Clinical Medicine and Management,” edited by Dr. Susan Little. He hosts two national radio programs and can be heard on WGN Radio in Chicago and seen on syndicated HouseSmartsTV.