Before you decide to change the food of a fussy cat, please consider whether it’s really necessary. Obviously if it’s for medical reasons then you don’t have any option but, otherwise, be aware that it’s more of a pain in the arse than you can possibly imagine; not only could it take months, but it could cost you a lot of money in rejected food. Don’t ask us how we know this.
As well as being a fussy eater, Louis Catorze has strict requirements* due to skin allergies of unknown origin. So, when he happily ate Acana Pacifica – which ticked all the boxes – with no issues, we really should have stuck with it. However, we felt guilty about the fact that the packaging wasn’t recyclable, and so we changed to Lily’s Kitchen whose packaging was compostable. Although that particular swap went smoothly, Lily’s Kitchen later went on to change their formulations which meant we were forced to look for something else, making the whole thing a waste of time.
*Non-negotiable: no grains, no rabbit, no mixing of animal meats, high meat content (minimum 60%); desirable: no chicken, no egg, no flax/linseed, no fennel
If you are an eco-warrior and you are concerned about the packaging of your cat’s food, contact TerraCycle https://www.terracycle.com/en-GB/ or First Mile https://firstmilehome.com to see if there is a solution for it. If there isn’t, you may be better off just trying to gain your greenie points in another way rather than enduring a Grand Changement for this reason alone.
There are two official schools of thought when it comes to changing a cat’s food, and each one has in mind the fact that you don’t want kitty to reject the new food, nor do you want to risk any stomach upsets or other unfortunate digestive issues:
1. Adding a very small amount of new food to the old food and gradually shifting the proportions over time
2. Serving a very small amount of new food in a separate bowl, alongside the new food, to teach kitty that this new stuff may look and smell strange but it’s still edible
Method 1 worked one time for Catorze, years ago, when changing from Acana to Lily’s, but has not worked since. We tried Method 2 once and it didn’t work at all, because Catorze responded to two bowls in the way that most people would respond to an alien invasion or zombie apocalypse. We were therefore forced to devise a new method which involved just stopping the old food and serving the new, because we really needed to find something that Catorze liked enough to eat on its own, without the smell of his familiar old food alongside it. This defies all traditional advice but we had no choice because NOTHING ELSE WORKED.
Cat Daddy’s contribution to the proceedings was to make helpful comments as follows: “He obviously likes the old food best. If you were given one nice thing and one awful thing in a restaurant, you’d eat the nice thing, wouldn’t you?” Regretfully, the nice thing had been discontinued, so we had to find an alternative, equally nice thing. I firmly believed that there couldn’t possibly be just ONE nice thing in the entire world, and I was right. Please persist in your search if your cat doesn’t like one food; there will be something else. It may not be the very next thing you try, but there will be SOMETHING.
Obviously your vet is the best person to advise on any food change and how to go about it. However, if your cat is very particular, set in their ways or just downright weird, you might wish to consider our method.