No more cat hunger strikes: Life-saving tips for introducing new foods

iStock_000005392034XSmall-300x210 No more cat hunger strikes: Life-saving tips for introducing new foods introducing a new cat food how to get cat to eat hepatic lipidosis fatty liver cat food
Yes, there is a secret formula to introducing a new cat food.

I regret that years ago I did not know how to introduce new food properly to the cat I had then, Bastet.

When she rejected the food in a sniff, I assumed “well, so much for that idea.”

I was wrong. Now I know so many tricks that can help you get your cat to eat a healthier cat food.

Switching from dry to wet, and switching to low-carb grain-free, are very healthy switches and–contrary to what your cat may have told you–it’s  do-able.

Secret cat-food switching formula

The thing about cats is they are inherently suspicious of most new food: “It’s just wrong. Something must be off about it!” they say with a tail twitch.

It’s their instinct to react to unfamiliar food smells, which is why it helps to put a little of the new food on the side of their plate for a day or two.

The way this works, as I was taught by Anne Reed, DVM, is to have your cat eat their usual “happy food” while inadvertently smelling the new (oh no!) food. They are more likely to then associate the new food with happy feelings and eventually accept it as normal.

So you introduce it s–l—o—w—l—y. Cleverly, like this…

The 6-day plan

The following 6-day formula works well for us, and follows a consistent advice theme from a variety of experts.

You may need more or fewer days, depending on your cat’s sensitivity, digestion, and how radically different the new food is. If you see alarming changes in the litter box, go back to the old food and start over more slowly, or with a different food.

  1. First, CONGRATULATE YOURSELF! This is something to be proud of. It takes some focus, but it pays off in the long run.
  2. Gradually mix the new food in with the old food, following the picture below. Start with just a dab (that they probably won’t eat) on the side of their regular food. This gets them used to the scent while enjoying their usual meal.
6DAYPLAN No more cat hunger strikes: Life-saving tips for introducing new foods introducing a new cat food how to get cat to eat hepatic lipidosis fatty liver cat food

About the Mixing:

If your cat has been eating dry and you are introducing wet food, try mixing the wet food with another wet food they WILL eat. This might mean tuna, folks. As a last resort, if you are trying to switch from dry food to wet food, mix the new wet food with the dry food gradually.

  • Don’t let your cat go more than 36 hours without eating–especially if they are overweight. Have some of their old food on hand just in case. They will need to be eating at least 3 oz of protein each day during the switch to avoid hepatic lipidosis (see below), according to Dr. Elizabeth Hodgkin’s book, Your Cat.
  • Do use enticements (see below)
  • If all else fails, don’t give up. Try another flavor or another brand.

Irresistible food enticements for cats

Experts get results from using enticements either during or after the switch to keep the momentum up. You can then gradually taper the enticements off over a week or so.

What’s worked with our cats:

Feline Instincts is wonderful company that makes supplement mixes for homemade cat food. They have helped countless cats switch to raw homemade food, so they know what they are talking about when it comes to enticement tips. Here are their top enticements:

  • Halo Liv a Little’s treats, crumbled on top
  • Chicken Liver Powder (mentioned above)
  • “Mix any kind of food they like into the meal”
  • Salmon juice, tuna juice
  • Mix in beef or chicken broth

One moreCynthia at Bee Holistic Cat Rescue and Care finds bonito flakes to be a great enticement too.

What I mean by life-saving

It’s just that there are lifesaving facts about cat food switching that I did not know about for ages.  Many cat lovers may not know that:

  1. If an overweight cat pulls a hunger strike because they don’t like the new food, they could very quickly develop hepatic lipidosis—which could be deadly if not treated soon enough. So never play the “I’ll just wait until your starving” game with a cat—especially an overweight one. I cannot overstate this.
  2. If an indoor cat stays on a diet of high-carb dry food, their life could be shortened by diabetes. Or they may even develop IBD—which some experts believe is a precursor to the deadly intestinal lymphoma.  (You may be interested in another vet’s post about this on too.)

Have you had switching success?

Do you have success stories about cat food changes at your home? I welcome them in the Comments below.

Love to hear your thoughtful thoughts! Leave a reply...


  1. My cat has hyperthyroidism and IBD. I tried so many foods and even though he was on thyroid medication, steroids and high quality wet food he kept throwing up pretty regularly.

    I tried literally every wet food I could find with unique proteins (no chicken at all). Eventually we got to N&D lamb digestion wet food and that was the one that has worked and made a huge difference. It’s grain free but has quinoa (which is a seed) in it which can help some cats with inflammation. I mix this with some pumpkin and after a very long year he’s improved so much.

    I was kind of surprised not to see any N&D food on this list because after trying all the usual suspects, it was the only one that worked. Plus N&D have really high quality ingredients (I don’t work for them, I swear lol). They are very pricey, however, so that’s the one caveat and is honestly the reason why it took me so long to buy it.

    Anyway, if you’re struggling to find a food for your cat with IBD and said cat is excruciatingly picky and refuses to eat raw, try the N&D lamb digestion wet food.

  2. My 4 month old kitten will only eat royal canin thin slices in gravy wet food. It is out of stock indefinitely and she walks away from all other food. She won’t touch dry food. I’m panicking since we are down to last 6 cans. I’m going to try the 6-day

  3. Very glad to have stumbled across this blog. The vet had recommended switching my kitten to an adult diet after her spay procedure, so I set out to find the adult wet food she liked. Problem was, she didn’t like any of them and would just give it a sniff and then walk off. I had tried multiple variations – pate, gravies, morsels, sliced – but none was to her liking…that is until I tried the 6-day method mentioned here and she’s now loving her new wet food. Actually took fewer than 6 days as well.

  4. Hi,
    My name is Leslie. 6 years ago just after my wife Janis passed away, Annie weighing less than 6 oz. showed up at my back door. She was abandoned by her mother. She looked sickly, so I took her to a vet that used to treat my rescue dog and after ex-raying her, she was found to have a birth defect of her sternum. Her breathing was never the best it could be. After I brought her home, I found she wouldn’t eat cat food of any kind. Nor milk. After trying virtually every cat food on the market, I found that she loved various brands of Tuna that us humans would eat. She never refused canned Salmon as well. I made the mistake one day by sharing a Roy Rogers Roast Beef sandwich with her and she was hooked, totally. Just mention those words within hearing distance of Annie, and I could swear she actually levitates after hearing them. Except for the only dry cat food she will eat, “Temptations Catnip Fever” as a treat, I have found that those are virtually the only food items she will eat along with fresh water. But I am concerned that even though they have kept her alive and relatively healthy for the last 6 years, I suspect that if I continue feeding her these delicacies, there might be a price to pay with regards to her health. I really do not know how to switch her to regular cat food. She appears to dislike them all. What to do….

    1. Annie must have in her diet an adequate supplement of TAURINE , necessary for maintenance of cardiac function. Speak to your vet

  5. I made a point after weaning the cat from the shelter food to constantly mix it up. Mostly using Natural Balance Wet food in multiple flavours but also Trader Joe’s canned Turkey (least bad of the bunch) and One stick of Primal freeze dried raw for breakfast. The theory is she eats so many different things I’ll never have to deal with “That’s not my usual!”.

    She has freeze dried chicken liver treats as a topper on a bad day, usually since between spring allergies or a head cold, she just can’t smell the food well. One crumbled treat and “Oh that smells like food”.

  6. The cat I saved from the shelter is just amazing. Right away he ate what I bought him without any problems. Now that its been a week and his feecies is solid again (his stomach got upset as I forgot to ask what food they were feeding him. x_x) I gave hum dry and wet food as my plan is to ease him into a raw diet or at least healthy cooked. (I still need supplements.)

    The start of this week I’ve introduced a new wet food (fancy feast) as it’s mistly meat.

    Ge eats everything I give him! This cat is so mellow, he didn’t even hide when he came home. 🙂

    Thanks for the tips I want him to get more water in and off the nasty dry food.

  7. I’ve found that FortiFlora probiotic powder is an amazing taste enhancer that very few cats will refuse. Most can smell it the second you open the pouch. Yes, it has animal digest (a questionable ingredient) but we’re not talking about feeding them FortiFlora every day forever. This has worked every time we’ve tried to get a cat to eat, even when they had sinusitis.

  8. We are trying to switch our cat to raw chicken food. Has not made it very far. She eats a wet fish food now so I’m wondering if the addition of chicken is too weird of a flavor mixture for her?

  9. I have two cats and one has ibs. Both have been on wellness core indoor grain canned food and taste of the wild kibble. I tried switching to Freeze dried raw

    Both were eating it for a few days and then one started rejecting it entirely (would rather starve) and the other who loved it started throwing up alot after every meal. Any idea why?

    Does my cat who started rejecting it just hate the flavour? Or can he be trained with a slow transition?

  10. Hi there,
    I’m hoping you can help. My cat Miette was throwing up every time she ate. I took her to the vet, they put her on Rx food and anti-vomiting meds for a week. She loved the food, all was good. Now about 1 month later she started throwing up, but just bile.
    Soon after she isn’t interested in the food at all! Sniffs it and walks away. I haven’t seen her drink water either, which concerns me. In every other way, she seems fine. I gave her a small amount of tuna tonight which she ate, and I thought she was keeping down. But 2 hours later (surprised it was so much later) she threw up.
    Finances are tight and the last vet bill was $600. Any suggestions?
    Thanks so much!

  11. Hi
    I really need some help swapping g my cats food over he only will eat wet never dry my vet feels he has some food intolerances due to weight loose threw diarrhea so wants a hypo allergenic/ natural diet he hates everything only wants his old very rich no good food ;(

  12. Hey there,

    Thanks for your post. And here I thought my cat was the biggest weirdo. Well, he is of course, but I’d never heard of another cat refusing wet food until I read this post. The thing is, he will not only refuse any of the many wet foods I’ve tried, he won’t eat ANYTHING but dry food. No tuna or tuna juice, no amazing roasted chicken … nothing but dry food. Ever.

    My last kitty died of kidney failure, which his vet said involved a condition he was probably born with, but I learned from that how important water is for a cat, and that much of a cat’s water comes from wet food. That kitty DID eat wet food every night. Like any “normal” cat, he raced across the house at the sound of the can opening. The kitty I have now … well, his breeder apparently only gave wet food on occasion and I think there were so many other older kitties that jumped at it first, I’m pretty sure he never got any. Poor little guy.

    Initially I was lead to your post when researching possible causes for the itchy scabs he has. Mostly along his spine and close to his tail, but some up around his neck as well. I highly suspect a food allergy and already switched his formerly grain ridden dry food to a grain-free brand. Maybe I need to give it longer, but after a few weeks there doesn’t seem to be any improvement. I did just read it could take 8-10 weeks to know for sure. But if his current food doesn’t fix the problem, I’m prepared to try another, apparently focusing on what protein could be causing it (I can’t remember off hand which protein is in his current food).

    At any rate, I WOULD very much like to get him on wet food and wonder if there are any further tips on getting a cat that flat out won’t eat even tuna or real chicken to switch to wet food. Have you heard of a cat with this severe of a disdain for anything but dry food … who was successfully switched? And how??

    Thanks so much!

  13. Make sure you don’t use commercial chicken broth that has onions or garlic in it. A lot of them do, and it can make them sick.

  14. Nice blog. Just wanted to share my experiences. Recently encountered trouble with cat eating new food.

    I certainly heard the food transition idea before but never really had to employed it much cuz most the time she just eats without resistance to new food till recently.

    So I stumbled upon this blog and the advice remind me of transition. And it did worked surprisingly.

    My situation was like this:


    she eat half of the new food with no sign of resistance. Then the other half she didn’t touch for while. At first I thought she was just eating less cuz that what was said of organic kibble.

    And then it got too long and I suspected something’s wrong. Then we practically were fighting for me to complain she not eating and she pleading, rubbing me , “meow, reow”.


    And then I tried this transition like 60% other with less artificial ingredients, “no soy,wheat, corn”, I happened to have lying around and 40% new organic kibble. And it worked, she first ate most leaving some new kibble around. Then not too long afterwards she went back and finished the new leftovers. I have to say I’m surprised.

    But I’m a pragmatists. “Whatever works works.”

    But I’m curious why some dry food brands need transitioning while other don’t.

  15. So happy to find this blog with all the info and suggestions! I, too, have been attempting to switch my 15 year old kitty to a better quality of food. Lucille has eaten Fancy Feast for years. I was clueless about how bad this was. She is a very healthy baby,and has been eating wet food most of her life, with the a few Temptations treats a couple of times a day. Had a health screen panel with new vet, since I moved from Texas to California, and all tests turned out great! The doc said it would not hurt to look into a healthier food, thus, the search began. Blue, Solstice, Merrick, and numerous others with no luck. Tried Honest Kitchen dehydrated, and no luck. Got raw, frozen by Natural Instinct and found your blog, so I did the gradual intro like you suggested, Lucille ate all around the good food, and then actually ate a tiny bit of the raw. Slowly decreased bad, increasing raw, and now she barely will eat any of it. Maybe it’s partially the temperature… I just don’t know. She will eat a bite or two when I give her a treat, but that is it. This is the fourth day like this & I am at my wits end, worrying that this will hurt her. Please, any suggestions will be gratefully received. Should I start the ‘dab on the plate’ again and take a little longer? I did this for about seven days the first time. She is also unable to eat any seafood because it gives her the runs, so tuna juice, etc, is not an option. Help? Thank you again for what you do.

    1. Hi Vanessa:
      I have 10 cats and each of them has their own likes and dislikes. I began changing the commercial cat food last October 2014 when I lost my Chloe to Squamous cell Ca of the mouth. She was the second cat with the same disease; Annie died in February with the same illness. So, to shorten the tale I have done extensive research with cat food. This is what I did. I started with the dry food. Switched to Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken. My guys go crazy for this one. I also tried Origen. This is an excellent choice because it does not have Sodium selenite in the recipe. This and carrageenan are the worst ingredients. However since I have so many I also use Call of the Wild. All the dry foods have sodium selenite with the exception of Origen.
      I tried all the holistic cat food until I found something that worked. Let me warn here that they all have issues. Blue Buffalo cat food cans is to be avoided. I have been
      using Tiki cat succulent chicken which is human grade quality. It tasted bland and insipid. Blue buffalo has chicken toppings which I crush and then serve the Tiki cat and some of the topping on top. 3 of the 10 love this dinner. The others I have not been able to convert them to the high end healthy food yet. It is 8 months now and the best I have been able to achieve is tiki can chicken with a tiki cat fish entrée such as Sardine cutlets and tuna and there is another with muscles/shrimp/clams. They love this combo. Remember that Tiki cat is human grade so it is not like the other garbage foods on the market like Fancy feast, Friskies etc.
      The best I have achieved is Tiki cat with the Medleys label. More Tiki chicken and I have used the Medleys as a topping. This works the best for me at the moment.
      As far as Lucille is concerned, since she cannot tell you if she is having a sour or upset stomach when she eats I would let the raw food go for the time being.
      My vet told me that a cat will starve itself before eating something it did not like. So keep that in mind. Lucillle may just have indigestion when she eats it, so now she has figured out that when she eats “her tummy hurts”

  16. I am in desperate need of help. I have a sphynx who is 2.5 years old. When I got him at 6 months of age he had severe diarrhea..bright florescent yellow. i tried everything the vet told me and about 1 year later we found a food that didn’t give him the diarrhea but did make him break out in hives and vomit all of the time. She said that was the best she could do (this is not the first vet i had gone to). He had gotten to the point of vomiting after every meal and i had to go to the vet regular to get allergy meds and sometimes even take him in for a shot because his face had swollen so badly. After thousands of dollars in vet bills i didn’t know what to do.I asked to try a new cat food with fewer ingredients (you know, ones that i could actually read that art all terrible fillers) She gave me a “new one” that has made him go back to having insane diarrhea. I have gone back to her a couple times over the last few months and she keeps saying to give it more time. I am fed up with the vet, so I decided to once again research into the raw food diet (the vet told me this way of eating was horrible for cats so i stayed away). It is the only logical thing in my mind. No fillers, all healthy ingredients. everything my alfred needs. I found a holistic pet food store in town and bought frozen raw pet food…..He is not having it. I have tried everything you have listed above. i have tried mixing it in slowly with his regular food. i tried grinding up his food and sprinkling it on top. i tried adding it to tuna. I tried tuna juices on top. i tried pretty much everything. It got to the point he wouldn’t eat anything anymore. not even his old crappy cat food that gives him diarrhea (oh and i forgot to mention farts that clear the room…his farts wake me up in the middle of the night..they are THAT bad) i got him to go back to his regular cat food and then started feeding him three times a day, the morning and evening id give him his hard food and at lunch time i was giving him a wet version of his cat food now…the goal was to be able to eventually get him on all wet food so i could start incorporating the raw… it hasn’t worked…its been 3 weeks and he will just skip the middle meal completely. this wet food isn’t cheap and its all going to waste. Please help me . i don’t know what to do anymore. He must be hurting. i pick him up and he either farts or poops liquid. he rarely plays. the only time he does is when he’s just used the kitty litter and has a burst of energy and then its back to nothing. Ive been to multiple vets and no one can seen to help. He has had blood taken numerous times and she said all that she found was “he has no immune system” his white blood cell count is radically low yet he does not have cancer or any other form of disease/virus etc. she has told me that if he gets a single cut he can die. So not only is there the street of him being in constant discomfort, yet every time i leave the house I’m worried he will have an allergic reaction and he will die when I’m not home.
    Ive tried to talk to the breeder i bought him from yet she goes on the defensive on how he is the only kitten she’s ever sold with these problems. I’ve tried contacting many other breeders who never reply. Im at a loss.
    I really hope you can find the time to get back to me….I don’t know what to do anymore. I love him and I just want him to be healthy, at any cost.

    1. Hi Ashley:
      Sorry to hear about your kitty but I believe that the sphinx breed have lots of problems because of the fact that they have very little hair and they are susceptible to illness. Whoever created these poor things did a great injustice to the species of cats.
      So, the first thing I would do is to go to a holistic natriupatic vet. I would suggest a probiotic. Endurosyn is a cat probiotic and I use this when I see diarrhea in the pan.. My brood accepts and like it. Next you can use L-lysine 500-1000mg for kitty and Transfer Factor(from colostrum). These are the kind of supplements that might help your kitty. Before I would do anything I would see a vet as I mentioned before. These are things you can suggest to the right holistic vet who can zero in on you kitty’s problems.
      Another things to do is to try to give kitty Blue Buffalo wilderness chicken dry food. Years ago I had a mixed Persian and Maine coon female cat who was allergic to the commercial cat food.
      I changed her diet to broiled chicken all the oil from the pan and some cooked rice. I cut the chicken up into small pieces and cut up the skin too. I put it in the blender for a split second with a tad of water. That is all she ate. And all of the allergies disappeared within 3 months.
      Please bring kitty to a holistic vet. You will be surprised at how many remedies they have outside of orthodox veterinary medicine that work and that are very effective.
      Keep us posted as to the progress with kitty.

  17. My cat actually LOVES wet food, maybe even prefers it, so I don’t anticipate any problems switching as, again, she loves it (she’s had it a couple times), but do you recommend I still do the slow switching? She’s never appeared to have any problems after eating it but it was more a snack & she still had her dry food out.

    It was also a bad brand (9 Lives or Meow mix I think) so I don’t know how she would do with something human grade like Tiki or Weruva or just better quality but I assume she wouldn’t mind.

    I’d also like to get her on a better kibble though but do you recommend I just feed one or the other or would both be okay, at least for now? I don’t want to buy a bigger bag if we’re going to switch soon anyways.

    But anything to get her off the Meow Mix dry kibble my dad buys…. :/

    After reading the comments above, this may be why she sometimes throws up and has horrible poop no matter the litter we use. Granted, we also don’t clean it quite as often as we should but even if it is clean, you can smell as soon as she goes which I don’t think is normal?

    I also think she has a few health issues, which hopefully a trip to the vet will answer and/or hopefully better food will help.

    1. Read your note. I am also having a great problem switching my family of 10 to human grade food, i.e. Tiki cat. I have tried all of the ???holistic and healthier lines among them Evanger, Halo spot stew, Blue Buffalo, Weruva, Fussie cat just to mention a few. THEY WILL NOT eat any of them. I tried doing a slow switch as you did but all they did was eat the roadkill and leave the rest. There is another problem with these holistic healthy lines either they add carrageenan or sodium selenite or both to the food. Carrageenan, processed seaweed is harmless in itself provided it does not come from Japan(nuclear radiation) but after the seaweed is manufactured the chemical processes from seaweed to carrageenan is carcinogenic itself. As for the sodium selenite it can accumulate in the animal’s organs and cause medical problems later on. So the Blue Buffalo and Call of the Wild dry food contain sodium selenite. And all of the cans and dry holistic contain it as well. Sodium selenite is the salt of Selenium. These companies should use Selenium yeast instead.
      I have called Blue Buffalo and Call of the Wild and complained about the sodium selenite and I suggest everyone take the time and complain too.
      I am for the moment using Blue buffalo and Call of the Wild dry. I also continue to offer the Tiki cat and some Halo spot Tuna and Shrimp. They will eat some of it but not all. There must be something addictive in the road kill cans (Purina, 9 lives, fancy feast etc..) because as soon as I put a small can down it’s gone.
      My next venture is to cook for my babies in the hope that I will find something that they love.
      I also have stopped using Tidy cat litter and changed to OKO cat litter. This is a natural pine litter and it is great. It is biodegradable and a couple of hints for you Put only an inch of litter in the pan because it will grow as the kitty uses it. Change it every 5 days so that when the kernals become like saw dust it does not escape the pan. I can use some creative ideas if anyone has them.

  18. A 7 year old cat that I recently acquired in June from a neighbor, was only on cheap kibble where she came from. She had the smelliest poop that I have ever smelled and I have had animals my whole life. Immediately started giving her a better kibble which I have my other cat on too called 4Health. Has no by products, grain, soy, gluten, corn, etc. The food is a pretty good dry food. I wanted to get her on a canned food…was using Merrick at the time, and she would eat it sometimes…most times she would try to cover as if it was poop and when she did eat she started having explosive diarrhea and also crying continuously for food. I switched them to Tiki, but the only one either will eat is the Ahi Tuna. She is now vomiting and continues to have diarrhea that is soft, sometimes explosive and smelly. I just recently started sprinkling probiotics and digestive enzymes on the food. I don’t know what to do..Tiki, only has 4 ingredients in it and is supplemented, but is costly, just like Merrick and didn’t take care of the diarrhea. When she was only on the kibble, she was fine, but always hungry and whining for food. Trying to feed her less, 2 small cans a day…but she still continues with the vomiting and diarrhea and won’t eat other…I have tried Tiki Chicken, Beef Liver… Also both of my cats love pate not chunks or slices or shredded. She loves the ahi Tuna from Tiki, yellow can, but like I said…expensive and also vomiting and gagging (doesn’t matter what time of day or even is she has eaten then or not) there is so much I thought it was poop and it was food. She is still having very loose stools. She has been to the vet and there is nothing physically wrong. There were no problems when she just ate dry food except she was always hungry…What can I do?


    1. Hi Melissa:
      Glad to hear that you are feeding Tiki cat food. However, you cannot give the ktties Ahi Tuna daily. At the most I give my babies Ahi Tuna once every 2 weeksl And it is a topping on the Succulent Chicken from Tiki cat. Have you tried Weruva cans?
      The article at the beginning of this blog describes how to transition cats from one food to another. Try to find foods that are free of carrageenan and sodium selenite.
      You may want to make turkey wings in the oven. I have a couple of kitties that love roasted turkey or chicken. So for the turkey I season with salt, pepper and garlic powder and butter. Chicken is plain broiled with a dash of salt. Of course I don’t give the skin but the inside meat that has a mild flavor. I did have a Persian/Maine coon cat called Samantha who was allergic to all cat food. Once the vet figured it out, she gave me a recipe of freshly cooked shredded chicken and rice with the chicken fat that I put in the blender for a very very quick spin. Samantha loved it and for the last 5 years of her life she was very happy and healthy. Just so you know Tuna can cause Cancer of the mouth. I am 100% positive that the Tuna flavors from Purina, 9 lives and all the other commercial companies are cuplrits. As for Tiki cat tuna, I cannot say but because I have lost 2 babies to Ca mouth directly from the Tuna I am reluctant to feed them Tuna frequently and I don’t care what company makes it.
      Tiki cat is a far better product that all the others but because there is a high level of mercury in the tuna both humans and animals should eat it sparingly.
      There is a probioticcalled Enduosyn. And it is something that you will have to give the kitty with your finger. All of mine love it. And the diarrhea goes away immediately.
      And your cat may have IBS(irritable bowl syndrome). You should take her to a GI specialist or a holistic doctor. Have you tried, BlueBuffalo Wilderness Chcken dry food.
      Kitty has to have Taurine for a healthy heart. Taurine is always in the dry food.
      Call of the Wild, Blue Buffalo, and Origen dry foods are excellent. Their only drawback:
      they all contain sodium selenite. Sodium selenite is the sodium salt of Selenium.
      In this form it is not a good ingredient but all these companies use it. The best form of Selenium is selenium yeast and I believe Origen is the only one who uses this.
      Hope this helps.

  19. Hi Folks:
    The worst possible food you can feed your kitty is TUNA. It causes Carcinoma of the Mouth.
    Foods with Carageenan are no good either. Carageenan is a type of seaweed which in itself
    is harmless however because of all the chemical processes that are used it can also cause
    cancer in felines. Carageenan is used as a thickner.
    I am switching to TIKI cat or Weruva both carrageenan free and more importantly these are
    Human grade foods. They are not laced with rancid road kill, euthanized cats and dogs and
    heaven knows what other poison these malevolent greedy manufacturers like Purina are
    putting into the cat and dog food.

  20. Hi! Thank you for this blog!

    I got a kitten a month ago and she had been on prescription wet food since then. Now the vet said I could switch to regular non-prescription food, and I decided to let her try a variety of flavor and brand (is this a good idea though?) so that she will pick her favorite. I read a lot about switching cat food — all talks about transitioning slowly — but I am still not sure how to do this? I mean, I haven’t decided which one to feed her yet so I can’t just buy 24 packs of everything. The slowly transition will only happen once I decided which one to switch to, right? I have stocked a lot of single cans of different flavors and brands. Should I give her a little bit of each one (different everyday) on the side of her regular food and just watch?

    Thanks in advance!

  21. I was so happy to find your blog. I’ve learned a lot!

    I’ve been trying to get my cat to eat wet food for months now and I’m having little luck. She dislikes most canned foods but when I find something she likes…she usually won’t eat it again. I’ve been buying/trying all brands and it’s getting very expensive.

    Two weeks ago I started weighing her dry food (so that she meets her nutritional requirements and isn’t at risk for developing fatty liver disease). It’s a lot less than before I started weighing it so I know she’d like to eat more but the only extra food she gets is wet food which she consistently walks away from. I really hope that she comes around soon. I’m at my wits end.

    If anything, she will lose the extra weight she’s put on since I took her in off the street. And now that I know which dry food is starchy I can at least stay away from those.

    Thanks for your info! Wish me luck. :o)

  22. I have a 9 year old cat (Flighty) who is over weight and has urinary crystals. My vet recommended Royal Canin Urinary SO reduced calorie. He adores this food,and we have had good results with very few crystal issues. We just got a new kitten (Phoebe) and I would like to feed them both a more natural grain free diet. Phoebe loves wet food…Flighty does not. Every once in a while he will nibble on some..and he only will eat fish flavors. We tried Blue Buffalo Wilderness for Phoebe…she did not like it but she loves Wellness kitten and Natures Variety Instinct salmon. Flighty won’t eat tuna..tuna juice..etc…he is stubborn, but I really feel like he would benefit from more wet food in his diet…especially grain free. I have read your helpful tips on switching foods. I am going to try to place some food on his plate…what is you opinion on mixing wet and dry foods together? Any other advice would be appreciated. Thanks! Hopefully between the food switch and his new sister playing with him he can shed a few lbs 🙂

    1. My cat had urinary crystals and the vet told me not to feed him ANY fish because it aggravates the condition. Even a little water from a can of tuna will cause him to flare up. So while wet food would definitely be good for Flighty (the other thing my vet said for urinary crystals is add as much water to the diet as possible), I’d be cautious about tuna or any canned foods with seafood.

  23. Hi! My cat, Bogart, has always refused any food but kibble. He wouldn’t even try tuna. The only success I had was with Liv a Littles chicken. He’ll do anything for them. I just read your tips on switching from kibble to canned food and had that lightbulb moment. I tried a little bit of canned food with chicken scattered around it. He immediately snatched up the chicken. I was encouraged so I tried crumbling the chicken on top and was stunned an hour later when the dish was clean! WOOHOO!! I’m so excited because he’s been vomiting a lot lately on his dry food. I thought it was hairballs, but I understand after reading your blog that this is a bad sign. Poor guy, I’ve been giving him food with grains (wheat and rice)!

    The wet food I gave him tonight was I and Love and You Whascally Wabbit Recipe because that’s what I had on hand and I didn’t see anything offensive in the ingredients. Have you evaluated this brand yet? I’d be very interested to know what you think.

    Thanks SO much for the tips and here’s to a healthier calmer kitty tummy 🙂

    1. JCP, I’m so glad to hear about this progress for Bogart. I and Love and You cat food – wow, yet another new food! I peeked at it quickly and my best guess is it will go on my Runner’s Up list. It’s USA-made and grain free, which is good. But it has carrageenan, which isn’t ideal over the long term – though temporarily or once and while is probably not too bad.

  24. Great blog! Thanks so much for the clear, detailed information. My cats both have digestive issues of different sorts (one often has diarrhea and the other throws up a lot) and I have decided to try a grain-free diet in hopes that it helps both of them. I bought a few different varieties to test them out — all ones you recommended. So far they have liked everything I put in front of them. Not surprising since neither of them is finicky. Amazing, I know.

    Since they will adapt to the new food easily, is there any dietary reason to introduce the new food slowly? I’d like to get them transitioned over as soon as possible in hopes that it will clear up their digestive problems.

    1. Amy, that’s great news! It may be that the new foods contains many ingredients (eg, meats) they’ve had before so it smells just fine to them.
      I don’t think you need to introduce this grain-free food slowly then. If it were raw food, I would say yes, but canned is typically not a problem if they take right to it.

      1. Thanks for responding so quickly! And thanks for all the great advice. If the change in food is a success, I’ll let you and your visitors know — probably as a comment on your post about IBS.

    2. Amy,

      If your cat is throwing up it probably has IBD and will get intestinal lymphoma at some point if you don’t get the cat some treatment. I know this because my manx cat threw up for years and vets always told me it was hairballs but I know better now and she ended up be put to sleep because of intestinal cancer. Get the cat to the vet and it xrayed if it throws up all the time and then have the vet put the car on predisolone to clear up the IBD because it turns into cancer that in not curable.

  25. I have to say thank you for the great research and advice for cat owners! I have a cat (slightly overweight) who won’t eat any wet food no matter what i try. In fact, she paws at it like it’s poop from her litterbox. I also think she’s allergic to turkey/chicken because of her constant scratching and dandruff whenever she eats anything with those in it. definitely makes things tough as almost all dry food has chicken of some sort in it. i have her on the orijen 6 fish right now, but really want to get her to wet food like my other cat because of greater choices for chicken-free food… My other cat will eat just about anything, but after three years, doesn’t seem to have had any influence on the first one’s pickiness… Any thoughts??

      1. Yes, I have – unfortunately, there is NO wet food she’ll eat. She won’t even eat dry treats. She has no problems switching between dry foods. She just scratches at any wet food (including straight tuna) as if she’s covering her poop. Since my prior posting, she has now started having issues even with the Orijen which is all fish. I’m trying the Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Boost Lamb & Salmon, but it seems that it’s happening after a month or two of any one food, then switching makes it better, then it reappears again. 🙁 Wish I could get her to wet food, but she’ll starve herself before touching the canned food, regardless of what it is.

        1. I bet your cat will eat Fancy Feast! Have you tried it? My cat was a dry food addict and I got her on Fancy Feast Chunky Chicken. Now I am trying to phase in a better wet food called Instinct Grain Free, Chicken wet food.

  26. Hi Liz,

    I am switching my two cats to freeze dried raw. They recently stopped eating the wet food they’ve been eating over the last 6-9 months. Just out of the blue, completely disinterested. So I gave Soulistic a shot, thinking I had found the perfect cat food health-wise. I tried to switch them over for two weeks. I enticed them with everything I could think of, crumbled treats, tuna chunks and juice, old wet food, old dry food…It has never taken them this long to transition to a new food. They basically have started to starve themselves the last few days and I am petrified they will damage their health seriously. So of course last few days I’ve been supplementing with dry food and they seem less active and always in a bad mood.

    So, I have decided on freeze dried raw. I have been having trouble finding some locally, but finally found a store with Stella & Chewy’s and Primal. I’m leaning towards Primal chicken and salmon as it seems to come out cheaper in terms of portions and seems to be more nutritionally complete. What do you think of the two? I know they’re both on the best list, but any preference? Also, as the Primal is chicken (95%) and salmon (5%), is it okay feeding them that on a daily basis cause of the fish?

    I am expecting a huge struggle with the transition, but I now feel really strongly about a freeze dried raw diet (they will not go for straight raw). Any suggestions?


  27. I am thrilled to find your blog here! You have so many useful bits of information that is simply overwhelming to sift through on my own via the web. I’ve been eye-crossed and frantic about trying to make sense of all the information on the web regarding my cats’ health. You’ve managed to sew together a common sensed simply written blog that is refreshingly easy to understand. THANK YOU!!!

    Last year, we made the change from mostly vegetarian to vegan (hubby and me, NOT our 4 “babies”). Since then, it seems like every time I look into something…ANYTHING (from MY food to household items to the Kitties’ food) there is some new horror that is uncovered! It is extremely overwhelming and difficult to keep in perspective. The latest was discovering the food I chose for the babies, after MUCH online research, is owned by a company that performs cruel animal testing. Seriously?! I mean of all things I thought would be “safe”!! Now I’m back to square one, but my happy discovery of your blog has made my job a TON EASIER!


    1. Cody, thanks so much for your happy comment on my blog. It made my day. : ) Yes, I know that information overwhelm experience too, so I wanted to create a resource to make it easier on discerning-but-overwhelmed cat lovers like you and me.

      1. I am trying to switch my 5 month old kitten to Blue Buffalo dry kitten food. She will not eat any of it. She was on Friskies which I know is not a good food. What should I do?

        1. Start by mixing the old dry food with the Blue Buffalo dry. Put small amounts of BB dry in with the Other food. You might have to do this for several weeks. Just be patient. Gradually increase the BB and decrease the other dry. Taste of the wild is an excellent other dry food to try. carries it.

    2. Liz-cat, I’ve just found your blog. It’s so helpful, and I could not agree with Cody more…as we are in exactly the same position, we’ve just become vegetarian due to the constant uncovering of how horrendously farm animals are treated – and now I’m also discovering how many cat food companies do ghastly animal testing. Are there any good cat food companies that you know definitely DON’T do animal testing? lots Companies seem to do a great job of covering it up, and I can’t bear the thought that I’ve been supporting them and buying their products!