There are plenty of reasons why you may decide it's time to switch up your cat's diet from dry to wet food. Many people prefer to start their cats off on a dry food diet due to the convenience and lower price point. However, wet cat food is actually higher in protein and water retention which results in many health benefits for your furry feline. It may seem like a no-brainer for cats to savour the formula of canned wet food, however, this isn't always the case. Many cats won't eat wet food right away. Cats are very texture and flavor sensitive, especially if they weren't exposed to a variety of these beforehand. Transitioning your cat's food may pose to be a bit of a challenge, but it doesn't have to be. If your cat won’t eat wet food, keep reading to learn how to make your cat's transition as easy as possible.
The Benefits of Feeding Your Cat Wet Food
Even if your cat won't eat wet food at this very moment, there are several upsides as to why you should continue to encourage your cat to do so!
Firstly, hydration is one of the most important reasons. Because of the high meat content in canned wet foods, it allows for higher moisture content. Naturally, cats aren't water drinkers. In the wild, most of their hydration comes from the prey they catch and eat. Senior cats also don't hydrate themselves well enough, and this can make them feel poorly.
Secondly, urinary crystals and urinary tract infections are common and can easily develop in cats who aren't properly hydrated. This is a condition you certainly don't want to have on your paws! However, adding in wet food to your cat’s diet can reduce this by fighting dehydration and kidney problems. Additionally, many cats who have had teeth extracted can find dry food difficult to handle, whereas wet food will be much easier for their tummies to digest.
How to Transition from Dry Food to Wet Food
Depending on how long you've been feeding your cat a dry food diet, it may take a while for them to jump on the wet food bandwagon. However, have a little patience! Transitioning your cat to a wet food diet can sometimes take weeks or even months. You'll probably have to go through a bit of trial and error before you find the perfect texture and flavor.
If you've been free-feeding your cat dry food, transition to 3 or 4 meals per day before offering wet food. Let your cat know it's mealtime by leaving the food down for 20 minutes, then take it away.
Once your cat is comfortable with their scheduled mealtimes, you can offer them wet food. Some cats will take to the wet food right away; others may take a while.
If you find your cat won’t eat wet food, start by introducing a small amount first by mixing it with your cat's dry food. Then, slowly increase the ratio of wet to dry until your cat is eating all wet food.
Try adding in some warm water to dilute the wet food and to give it an easier to chew consistency. If your cat still doesn't seem interested, try putting a small amount on the tip of their nose or paw. Sometimes that's enough to get them interested.
Try switching it up! If they didn’t seem to take a liking to any of the previous flavors or textures of wet food you introduced, you can also try a different type such as a stew or paté. If they don’t eat it within 20 to 30 minutes of serving, take the meal away and try again later.
It's important to remember to allow your cat to not go without food for more than 24 hours due to a risk of disease commonly called 'fatty liver disease'. When left untreated, this can be fatal. Therefore, if it looks like your cat is continuing to be picky, offer them their original food. Then, start over again slowly. Patience is key!
Choosing the Best Cat Food
You don’t have to transition completely away from kibble, both wet and dry foods have their benefits. Try to find the perfect balance that suits your cat’s needs. Remember, cats are known for being creatures of habit and it may take a little longer for the transition to happen. Exposing your cat to different textures early on in their life will help them enjoy the various types of wet food available today.