Can I Force my Cat to go Cold Turkey in the Transition to Raw Cat Food?
One of the most important things to keep in mind when transitioning your cat to an all raw diet, and one of the reasons it can take time to do so, is that you must never starve a cat into eating raw food. This point cannot be overemphasized. Tough love is simply not an option when switching cats to a raw diet. The reason for this is because some cats that are forced to go without eating anything for more than a day or so can become susceptible to a very serious and potentially fatal form of liver failure called hepatic lipidosis.
Cats have a unique predisposition to contracting this particular ailment when they stop eating food for any length of time for whatever reason.
What is Hepatic Lipidosis?
What happens when a cat doesn’t eat for a prolonged period of time is that its body begins to tap into to its stored fat reserves in order to survive. This fat is sent to the liver to be converted into a usable form energy. But unfortunately a cat’s liver is easily overwhelmed and often unable to cope with this sudden increase of fat being circulated through it. As more fat is deposited into the liver than it is capable of metabolizing and releasing, the cells of the liver become swollen with fatty deposits which cause serious damage to the organ itself. Once a cat contracts hepatic lipidosis they become terribly nauseous, which means they have no appetite and may vomit even if they do eat, making it extremely difficult to get enough nourishment into the cat to keep it alive.
As you can see, this is something you most definitely do NOT want to risk!
The bottom line is that when you start making the switch to raw, if your cat doesn’t eat enough of the raw food you’re offering him each day, then you must continue to feed him enough of whatever he will eat to sustain him every day, even if that means continuing to feed your pet some of his old commercial pet food.
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