Finicky Kitty

 
 
Paper Trained
by
Scott Sandeman, D.V.M.
 
So the diagnosis for your elderly cat isn’t so bad-in fact your veterinarian was very pleased that a simple change of food may not only improve your friend’s present health but allow Tigger to live longer as well.  Sounds great right up to the “change of food” part right?  Tigger will eat a new food when Martha Stewart craves pork rinds and queso dip!  Here are some tips to keep this from happening in the first place or ease the transition to a new food if it becomes necessary:
1) Feed your kitten a combination of dry and canned foods.  Dry food is often less expensive, easier to store and more convenient than canned food and the diet of choice for most feline owners.  However, many cats later in life will have a nutritional requirement that can be solved by canned food or a condition that benefits from the extra moisture in a can of cat food.  Cats that have never been exposed to or eaten canned food often will turn up their nose when it is offered.  If it was a part of their diet as a kitten, they are much more likely to eat it.
2)Most cat food manufacturers and veterinarians prefer a slow introduction to a new food-mixing a small amount of the new food into the old food and increasing the amount until it is all new over a one to two week span.
3)Veterinarian and internal medicine specialist Dr. Dennis Chew has a novel way to ease the transition.  According to Dr. Chew, its best to offer two bowls of food, one contains a normal amount of the old food and the second, a small portion of the new food.  Over a week’s time, gradually increase the new food in the separate bowl and decrease the old food in the second bowl.  Dr. Chews experience is that the vast majority of cats will ultimately eat the new food.
Remember to keep your veterinarian apprised of your cat’s condition if it is necessary to switch foods.  Never assume that the only reason it won’t eat is because it doesn’t like the food- other health factors may be playing a role and not eating at all, can be just as dangerous for a cat as eating the wrong food. 

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