Transitioning Your Cat To A Raw Food Diet
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For cats, a fresh, meat-based diet can have a profound impact on their health – even more so than for dogs.
Because of cats’ carnivorous nature, they are biologically adapted to obtaining their water requirements from their food, and feeding fresh food can help avoid many of the problems associated with hydration imbalances often caused by dry food.
Here are some tips to help you transition your cat to a raw food diet.
How to Transition Your Cat To A Raw Food Diet
Unfortunately, cats often 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 to the new raw diet, most cats will be instinctively wary of any dietary changes. Transitioning a cat will most often 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 to raw food, do not allow your cat to “free-feed”.
Give your cat a limited amount of time (15 minutes) to eat its meals. If they do not eat 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 – in some cases, they will starve themselves and could develop serious conditions if they stop eating for very long. Be sure that your cat is eating something each day; a small amount of food is sufficient to prevent serious issues and it need not be their usual daily portion of food.
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.
Then, 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!
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, since a warm aromatic meal is more appealing than a cooler food.
Use a flat food dish so it does not interfere with your cat’s sensitive whiskers and put them off their food.
Transitioning Cats with a Compromised Immune System
Many things can disrupt the healthy function of your pet’s immune system, including disease, chronic stress, medications (such as antibiotics), and even vaccines.
If your pet has a compromised immune system, we recommend lightly cooking Darwin’s Meals by sautéing in a pan over medium to medium-high heat for 8-12 minutes to minimize any risks associated with feeding raw foods. Remember not overcook as the bones can become brittle.
In addition, it is always a good idea to talk with your veterinarian before making the switch if you have concerns about their health, such as if your pet suffers from a disease