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A fluffy grey cat with green eyes relaxes on a blanket, looking towards the camera. A person's arm, adorned with several turquoise and gold bracelets, is gently resting on the cat.
Pet Blog

How to Change Your Cat’s Food Without Behavior Backlash

Cats are creatures of habit in many ways, and that includes the food that they eat. Many cats are picky eaters and will refuse to eat anything except what they like. If you have a cat that has an established food, changing that food can lead to behavioral problems. Cats don’t like to have their food changed and will likely act out if you try. However, there are times when you may want or need to change your cat’s food. It is possible to switch your cat to a new food without running into behavioral problems.

Reasons to Change Your Cat's Food

Most cat owners will not change their cat’s food, but there may be situations where it becomes a good idea. For example, cats can develop health problems where eating specific foods can be a problem. You may have to switch your cat to a new food for his or her own health. In other cases, the food that you have and that your cat prefers may not be available due to shortages or changes in regulations. If you have to switch your cat to a new food, there is an effective way to do it without the problem behaviors of a passive aggressive cat.

Three Tips for How to Change Your Cat's Food

If you need to switch cat foods, then you need a process. Switching all at once is a sure way to run into problems. There are steps to follow to make the transition easy on everyone. Follow this process to make the food transition:

1. Place the food somewhere new so they can find it

Cats like to find their own food. If you have established a routine where you put the old cat food in the same place every day, don’t put the new food there. Instead, choose a new place where the cat can find it. This will help keep your cat from associating the new food with the old location so it will feel like something new that they found rather than a replacement for their old food.

2. Gradually transition

Do not switch your cat’s food cold turkey. Make a gradual transition if at all possible. Try replacing one meal a day with the new food. Then, increase the number of switches gradually so that your cat can make the adjustment.

A slow transition can also be a good thing for you. It gives you the chance to test the food to see if your cat has health problems related to the new food or just doesn’t like it enough to eat it. By doing a slow transition, you can test several foods to make sure you are switching to one that works for your cat.

3. Find a similar cat food formula or flavor

One way to make the transition easier is to try to pick foods that are similar to the one that your cat already eats. By keeping the foods similar to each other, the change from one food to the other is less severe. For example, try changing your cat’s wet food to a dry food with the same flavor profile. Your cat can still get the flavors and texture that he or she loves, but with a slight change. Your cat is less likely to act out if you can make the transition as minimal as possible.