Cats prefer their meals served warm or even closer to body temperature. Warming the meals releases the flavors and aromas. Cats choose their food by smell so a warm aromatic meal is more appealing than a cooler food.
Use a flatter food dish so it does not interfere with your cat’s sensitive whiskers and put them off their food.
Transitioning Cats to Raw Food
For cats, a fresh meat-based diet such as Darwin’s can have a profound impact on its health – even more so than for dogs. Because of cats’ carnivorous nature, they are used to obtaining their water requirements from their food, and feeding fresh food can help avoid many of the problems associated with hydration imbalances due to dry food (i.e., crystals, urinary tract infections, kidney disease, etc.)
Unfortunately, cats imprint on the specific smell, taste and texture of the foods they ate as kittens. While you may be fortunate to have a cat that will immediately switch the new raw diet, especially if they already eat a variety of fresh foods, most cats will be instinctively wary of any dietary changes. Transitioning a cat will require patience and diligence on your part.
Establish Regular Feeding Times
The first step is to establish regular feeding times for your cat, even before starting to transition (i.e., do not allow your cat to “free-feed”). Give your cat a limited amount of time (15 minutes) to eat its meals. If it has not eaten in that time, pick up the food and put it away. Your cat will quickly learn to eat its meals when served. This will be essential when you make the switch to fresh food.
However, make sure your cat does continue to eat. A “tough love” approach will not work with cats – they will starve themselves and could develop serious conditions if they stop eating for very long.
Transition Very Gradually
The key to successfully transitioning to a new food for cats is to go very slowly. In most cases, start by mixing in a thumbnail size portion of Darwin’s with their current food – just enough to enable them to get used to the sight, smell and taste of the new food. Very gradually, increase the amount of Darwin’s, while proportionately decreasing the amount of their current canned or dry food. Continue this process for at least 3-4 weeks. Most will make the transition within this time but if your cat continues to show resistance to this unusual new food, just slow down the transition. It could take several months for some cats to make the full transition.
If your cat has been eating dry food and won’t eat any of the small amount of Darwin’s food, you may need to first transition them to a canned food to get used to the new texture and smell. Use the same gradual transition process over several weeks to move to canned food and once that is successful, do the same to gradually shift to Darwin’s raw cat food.
Your patience and perseverance will be well worth the effort for the benefit it brings to your cat’s health!