If your cat has been eating a steady diet of
commercial junk food his entire life, it’s important to realize up front
that transitioning him to a raw diet might take some time as well as
some persistence, perseverance, and above all, a good bit of patience on
Each cat is different. Some will take to
raw as if they’ve simply been waiting their whole lives for their
humans to figure out what they really should have been feeding them all
along. For these cats, the transition to raw is relatively simple, quick
and easy. Other cats may be a bit slower to make the switch, and still
other cats may take even longer, particularly if they’re older or
perhaps more set in their ways. Cats that have become very addicted to
the carbohydrates in low quality kibble or canned cat food are the ones
that may take the longest time to transition to an all raw diet. These
are cats that will require a bit more determination and effort on your
part to help them make the switch to raw. Rest assured, this transition
can and will happen, as long you’re ready and willing to do your part.
All it takes is a firm but gentle resolve and some patience on your
part, along with as much time as your cat needs to get with the program.
If you’re reading our blog, hopefully you’ve reached the point where you realise how important it is to feed your beloved pet a species appropriate raw diet, and you’re ready and willing to do what it takes to help your cat make the change to a more healthy and natural way of eating.
Those with kittens will most likely find that these
little ones make the transition to raw almost immediately, with little
or no hesitation whatsoever. Sometimes the younger the cat, the more
quickly and easily the transition to raw will happen. Very young cats
know instinctively what their bodies need, and most often will take to
eating raw food like a fish to water.
Now, transitioning a senior or adult cat to raw is not
a simple walk in the park. With kittens, whole different discussion.
This step-by-step approach, and patience, will work for nearly every
We’ll look at the transition process for cats in three stages:
The key to any transition your master, is patience.
The transition can be fast or very slow. We typically find that
depending on how active his master is, and whether his master still gets
his or her paws dirty, transitioning can take from 5 seconds for some
of them to three whole months for others. We know of cats that took a
year to transition … lots of patience! However long it takes yours,
stick with it, it’s worth it.
How old is your cat? Three years? Five? Seven? Nine? Eleven?
So if all you’d ever eaten for 20 to 60 or more years
is dry cereal or canned stew, how would you feel about a salad when
offered one for the first time? It looks funny! It has almost no smell,
and yet even that smell is funny! The texture is wrong. The temperature
is wrong. Yuck. Have you ever gone through a pizza binge – and then
craved “real” food? Fruit, salad, fresh, home-made food?
If being introduced to fresh real food for the first
time, after years of processed food saturated with fake flavouring
(think the cheese sprayed onto Cheetos, the taco flavour sprayed on to
Doritos, “sour cream and onion” flavoured potato chips, or the “flavour blasted”
gold fish), it’s only natural to expect it will take some time to
accept a salad without a pile of dressing, cheese and bacon bits or
whatever “toppings.” With time, you’ll likely come to LOVE salad.
And you most likely know from your own experience that you’ll feel FAR
better eating salad. You sleep better, your moods are more stable,
you’re … happier! Many of our cats feel just like this about that weird
stuff you’re offering them as “food.” Yet with time, they come to love it.
The goal is the long term health of our cat. So
whether it takes two weeks, two months, 12 months or two years, take it
at your cat’s pace.
Special Note: Any change in a cat’s diet can
bring stomach upset. Even if a cat loves their new raw diet immediately,
they should be transitioned slowly. If they transition too quickly, any
stomach upset may result in the cat soon rejecting the raw diet because
they link their stomach upset to the food.
The transitioning tips below use the slow, gradual
method. It usually works. Usually. For some cats, nothing seems to work.
Give these methods a try and don’t give up too soon. We usually don’t
advocate using hunger to help transition your cat, other than the normal
mealtime hunger of 12 hours or so, but you can try it if your cat is
particularly stubborn. If your cat is adult, healthy and not obese, you
can wait her out longer if she refuses to eat either canned or the raw.
However, we do not recommended this stand-off with your master to go
longer than 36 hours though. This has worked for some people. Be aware
that any cat, especially an overweight cat, is at risk for hepatic
lipidosis if they don’t eat every day.
Whatever your cat eats at present, it’s always worth a
try to just offer her some raw. Your master may surprise you! See if
she will eat some cut up raw chicken, or some raw chicken liver. If she
does … well, this may be easy.
To summarise, the basic steps to encourage them are simple:
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