Directions from a Vet: How to Transition Your Cat to Answers

Dr_Doug_3724_Silo_BLOG_200x200Guest Contributor— Answers Chief Veterinarian, Dr. Doug Knueven, veteran among veterinarians, examines raw nutrition as a healing power of pets and works to ensure an all-encompassing true health (physical, mental and spiritual) regimen in veterinary medicine for animals. Apart of his work with Answers Executive Veterinary Program, he’s a consultant for Answers product and program development, lecturer, and participant on panel discussions.

How to Transition Your Finicky Cat onto Answers Raw Food

Adult cats tend to be very finicky about their foods. In fact, cats become imprinted on the food they are first fed. They can even become addicted to the shape of the kibble. That’s why each pet food company makes their kitty kibble in distinct shapes.

The companies also spray the surface of the kibble with “animal digest” which is similar to MSG and has a taste cats can’t resist. I liken this to Doritos. I personally do not care much for plain old corn chips. However, when those same chips are sprayed with that delicious, orange, Doritos coating, I can’t resist. Similarly, the cat’s natural proclivity to eat a healthy diet is hijacked by the technology of flavor enhancers. Many cats out there will only eat dry cat food.

Sugar_Spice_200

Sugar and Spice, Dr. Doug’s Answers Raw transitioned cats.

I have personal experience with switching finicky, dry-food-only felines to raw. Several years ago, I inherited my parents’ cats and these kitties were dry food junkies. When I put raw food in front of them, they looked up at me and said, “We can’t eat this. Are you trying to kill us?” Well, my other cats were all eating raw food, so I told the newcomers, “You’re going to have to eat this food like everyone else.” Each morning and evening, I put a bowl of raw food in front of them, and each time they turned their noses up.

By day three of their hunger strike I think I heard them say, “We’d rather die than eat that raw food.” By the way, although a healthy cat can miss a meal or two, even a healthy cat that does not eat for three days can go into liver failure and die, so I do not recommend the starvation method of food transition. Because of my learning experience, taught by a couple of pros, I have come up with the following finicky cat transition technique.

Easy Steps with Lots of Patience

The first step is to get your cat on a twice-a-day feeding schedule. No matter what your cat may tell you, they do not need a bowl full of food sitting out all day. If cats were in the wild, they would not have dead mice lying around to eat. In fact, cats would have to get their butts off the couch and catch a mouse. And, if they missed that mouse, they would go without a meal.

So, first thing in the morning, you put ½ of your cat’s daily ration in the bowl and put it down for them to eat. If your cat is like most, they are likely to eat a few pieces and walk away, confident it will be there later. But it will not be there later because you are going to let the bowl of food stay down for only 15-20 minutes and then put it up and away.

Then, in the evening when you put a bowl with the other ½ of the daily ration down, your cat is very likely to finish it off. Your cat will quickly (within a few days) get into the new rhythm of eating on schedule. If you have more than one cat, I recommend that you feed them separately, and in different rooms if necessary, so you know if, and how much, each is eating.

It may be best to start the feeding schedule during the week when people are not in the house to hear the cat complain about the lack of readily available vittles. And, if you are home for the transition and your cat does complain, do not give in. Giving your cat food when they get loud and obnoxious will only reinforce the unwanted behavior. You must resist the temptation to give in to your cat’s demands.

Now that your cat is used to eating morning and night, it’s time to start adding the Answers raw cat food. With each feeding, put a teaspoon of raw food on the bottom of the food bowl and put the dry food of top. That way, your kitty won’t have to touch the raw food, but will smell it with every bite of dry food they take. Considering the sensitivity of the feline nose, this is a big step.

Once your cat adjusts to the new aroma, mix the raw food in with a small amount of the dry on the bottom of the bowl. That way, if your cat wants to get a whole belly full of food, they’ll have to eat some that is touching the raw food. Now, very gradually mix in more and more of the raw and less and less of the dry. After a month or so of this process, you should have a totally raw-fed cat.

If your cat likes canned cat food, then switching can be even easier. First of all, be sure to eliminate any dry food, then basically follow the procedure above – get kitty on a feeding schedule and very gradually mix in the raw food. You may need to start with a teeny, tiny, little portion of Answers raw. And remember, most cats can stand to miss a meal or 2 so don’t give in too easily.

For many cats, the owner has to really want their companion to eat a healthy, raw diet. It takes persistence and a slightly deaf ear, but it can be done. If I can make raw eaters out of my parents’ cats, I know you can do the same for your kitty.


ANSWERS CELEBRATES: CHRISTMAS DOGS EVERYWHERE

MEET OUR ADOPTED ANSWERS HOLIDAY DOG

Our Answers family absolutely loves our dogs and cats. (You may have guessed that!) We’re always happy to take in a furry new family member and often find our lives profoundly changed by each new addition, and our love for each unique personality.

So, this holiday season, we’d thought it would be fun to share the story of one adorable and lucky dog adopted this year by an Answers family member and the head of the Answers HR department.

The Story of Judah

Meet Judah. Here’s what we know about him. He was found over the summer along the Texas/Mexico border. His tail had been cut (possible home cropping gone wrong) and he was chained to a fence and left to starve.

 His “owners” moved and took their other two dogs, but left Judah for dead. Amazingly, he fought infection and wounds, and his tragedy turned him into a gentle giant who just wants to be loved.

Judah_Rescue_1024We believe he is about a year and a half old and predominately American Staffordshire Terrier. He is a big boy, most recently weighing in just over 75 lbs., and is expected to pack on some more weight.

Since adopting him from the rescue, we have fully transitioned him to @answerspetfood raw diet with an introduction to our fermented cow milk kefir and raw cow cheese bites to his pre-existing diet. Shortly after, he took to our raw diet seamlessly. His favorite foods thus far are Beef Detailed Formula, our kefir and raw cheese bites. Within a few days, we noticed Judah had more energy, required less water, and his bowel movements were less frequent and smaller. His coat is becoming soft and wounds are on the mend. He is thriving.

Avoiding any unnecessary stress, we’ve also given him Turkey Stock with Fermented Beet Juice because it’s high in Glycine. Glycine produces a calming effect and aids in sleep.

The kids have already established a few cute nicknames for him like “Judy with the booty” and “Jude the Dude”, they also think his “hot dog tail” is quite comical.

He has no idea the glamorous life he’s about to live and we are so blessed to have him. Welcome to the family big guy!

We wish a wonderful holiday season to all Answers pets and all the “new adoptions” that 2019 brought to our homes as fuzzy gifts of love we’ll cherish for years to come.

Share your holiday pet photos, and stories of how your new pet joined your family on our Facebook page and/or at info@answerspetfood.comJudah.Outside.1024