How do I Transition My Cat From Dry Food to Wet Food?

Many cat caregivers have fed their feline friends dry food at one time or another. There's no denying that it's convenient, but it isn't the best choice to meet a cat's nutritional needs. However, it can be quite difficult to transition a cat from kibble to a more nutritious food. Laurie L. writes:

I was away for a while over the winter and my son looked after my three cats. Well, I guess he got lazy because now I can’t get them to eat any wet food at all. They will only eat treats and a bit of dry food. I have tried numerous ways to get them back on track but to no avail. I am concerned for their health. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Laurie, any food change can be difficult, but it's especially hard to get some cats off of dry kibble. We often tell people that feeding cats dry food is a lot like feeding toddlers nothing but potato chips. They like it but it's not nutritious. 

You have to be careful. Cats can be very stubborn, and hunger alone will not drive them to eat if they don't approve of the food. They will starve first, so make sure they're still eating something and that there's fresh water available. The water won't provide enough moisture for them long-term but they should be fine until you can get them back on their wet diet.

This might be a good time to try a re-hydrated freeze-dried raw food like Primal. They're even better for your feline friends than canned foods and they might like them better. Rad Cat Raw is another convenient raw food option.

If you'd like to keep them on the food they ate before your son took over feeding duties, we suggest you try and make the wet food more appealing. You can do that by sprinkling a half a pouch of FortiFlora onto each meal. We've yet to see a cat who wouldn't eat practically anything this stuff is sprinkled on. In addition, it adds a good probiotic to their meals. If you go this route, be sure to get the feline version. It's pricey but a little goes a long way.

 
 

We keep some around for use when a cat has a digestive issue or when they become finicky about a particular batch of food. This can sometimes happen when a cat is fed one thing for quite some time. Subtle variances in the flavor can make them reject an entire batch of a familiar food. A little FortiFlora usually entices them back.

A word of caution - FortiFlora has such a strong flavor that it can cause flavor dependence. You want to give them enough to get them started on the wet food and then, after a week or so, slowly reduce the amount you add. If you're lucky, they'll continue with the wet food without the FortiFlora.

 
 

Intelliflora is another product that may work just as well and which does not include "animal digest" among its ingredients. We simply haven't used it yet, but plan to test it with our own feline friends in the near future. 

Laurie, with a little luck, you should have Eclipse, Twilight, and Starz back on a healthier diet in no time. We wish you and your kitties all the best!