Vomiting. Diarrhea. Abdomen ache. For those who abruptly change your cat’s weight-reduction plan, chances are you’ll unintentionally trigger your cat to expertise one, two or all three of those reactions. Feline tummies will be delicate, particularly if modifications are shortly made to your cat’s meals when it comes to manufacturers, flavors and kind (kibble, canned or freeze-dried).
Throughout a cat’s lifetime, dietary modifications happen as they depart kittenhood, merge into maturity and, ultimately, attain senior standing. Some cats must transition to new meals after being adopted from native animal shelters. Others might develop ailments, resembling hyperthyroidism or diabetes, that will require that they eat particular therapeutic diets. And bulletins of meals recollects might panic some pet house owners to shortly put their cats on what they understand to be safer business manufacturers. So how do you make a meals change safely to your cat’s sake?
“Any modifications in weight-reduction plan should be gradual,” says Kathryn Primm, DVM, proprietor of the Applebrook Animal Hospital in Ooltewah, Tennessee, and host of the 9 Lives with Dr. Kat and the Dr. Kat Gone to the Canine podcast reveals on Pet Life Radio. “Cats course of stress in numerous methods, and a sudden change in weight-reduction plan generally is a massive deal to many felines. That’s as a result of you possibly can trigger an imbalance of micro organism within the intestine and trigger your cat to vomit or have diarrhea or hairballs.”
Sean Delaney, DVM, board-certified veterinary nutritionist and founding father of the Davis Veterinary Medical Consulting, Inc. in Davis, California, provides this perception into how cats digest meals.
“Sudden will increase in dietary fats, moisture and fiber are the more than likely to trigger GI (gastrointestinal) upset even in wholesome grownup cats,” Dr. Delaney says. “Thus, switching to canned meals all of a sudden from dry meals may be tougher than switching to a different
dry meals with a comparable fats and crude fiber degree.”
Making the change
Many veterinarians help what’s informally referred to as the Three-Three-Three rule on the subject of safely switching your cat to a brand new meals in any kind. On the whole, they suggest that for the primary few days, you give your cat two-thirds of his present meals blended in with
one-third of the brand new meals. In the course of the subsequent three days, change the quantities to one-third of your cat’s present meals and two-thirds of the brand new meals. Inside seven to 10 days, most feline digestive techniques are able to obtain meals constantly utterly of the brand new meals.
“The micro organism in a cat’s intestine will be fairly choosy,” Dr. Primm provides. “It’s possible you’ll wish to seek the advice of your veterinarian about supplementing your cat’s weight-reduction plan with probiotics and prebiotics to make sure there’s a micro organism steadiness that may be a key to your cat’s general well-being.”
Making the suitable selection
When choosing meals to your new or present cat, Dr. Delaney says to buy not by value. He recommends looking for out manufacturers with reputations for security and meals high quality.
“Typically, I favor to make use of meals from identified and established producers with a great observe document and at the very least one full-time nutritionist,” he says. “The 4 ‘must-have’ elements in cat meals are animal protein/meat, minerals, nutritional vitamins and taurine. And, undoubtedly, please converse to your veterinarian about your cat’s particular dietary wants.”
And in case your cat has been recognized with hyperthyroidism or diabetes, your veterinarian might suggest that you simply change your cat to a therapeutic weight-reduction plan. More often than not, the change ought to comply with the Three-Three-Three rule, however there are medical exceptions.
“If the present meals is making the feline affected person in poor health actively (resembling a meals allergy), a sudden and speedy change is finished realizing that GI upset may be a facet impact however possible not worse than what’s already occurring,” Dr. Delaney says. “Your veterinarian will
assist information the pace of transition in addition to prescribe any concurrent medicines (resembling anti-inflammatory
or immunosuppressive medication) to assist ease the method.”
The primary takeaway: Steadily introducing new meals to your cat might decrease undesirable diarrhea, vomiting and abdomen points.
On the SPCA of Texas with campuses in Dallas and McKinney, Kelly Garner is answerable for diets and extra because the shelter consumption supervisor. With kitten season usually operating from April to September, she additionally must pay particular consideration to rescued kittens who must transition from bottle-feeding to kitten meals. Younger kittens let her know when they’re able to transition from method to meals.
“We get kittens from a number of days outdated to underneath 1 week of age and, basically, they keep on bottles three to 6 weeks,” Kelly says. “When a kitten begins to chunk the bottle nipple and the child canine enamel are displaying, we are going to put a bowl with method and moist meals in entrance of them. Some go to city on this meals combine and others nonetheless should be bottle consumed method. With younger kittens, they’ll simply get diarrhea from modifications in weight-reduction plan and shed some pounds, so we monitor them carefully.”
By 6 weeks of age and 1 pound of weight, most kittens sport all their child enamel. Even at that younger age, some present meals preferences for canned meals or kibble. “We all the time be certain that moist meals is obtainable to them, as a result of at this age they’ll get dehydrated so simply if they like to eat dry meals,” Kelly says.
When the kittens are wholesome and sufficiently old to be adopted, the SPCA of Texas workers supplies pet dad and mom with take-home provides of their kitten’s present meals. The workers additionally educates new adopters on find out how to step by step and safely transition their new felines to different business manufacturers.