Tips for Transitioning Cat Dry Food Addicts to Canned Food

| April 5, 2016 | 6 Comments

Tips for Transitioning Cat Dry Food Addicts to Canned Food

If there is one thing I am passionate about on this site, it is to spread the word that a dry food diet for cats is not a good choice for cat or human.  All the reasons why I am opposed to dry food can be found on our best canned cat food page or you can read Feeding Your Cat: Know the Basics of Feline Nutrition by Lisa A. Pierson, DVM to learn more.

If I had a quarter for every time a reader sends me an email about a problem with a cat on a dry food diet, I would be a rich woman.  Usually the owner (and the owner’s vet! YIKES!) has no idea that dry food is the culprit or a big part of the problem.  Dry food problems I hear about on a regular basis: kidney failure, kidney stones, bladder stones, bladder infections, diabetes, UTIs, constipation, tar-like poop, obesity, lack of energy and more.

When I got my Ragdoll cats, Charlie and Trigg, I had them on a dry and wet food diet.  After having this site for a few years and after reading, Feeding Your Cat: Know the Basics of Feline Nutrition by Lisa A. Pierson, DVM, Charlie and Trigg were switched to wet food only (Read how we switched them to wet food only).  My mom quickly followed suit after Murphy was diagnosed with kidney stones.

I know, some of you are thinking about their teeth – there is a HUGE MYTH that dry food helps to keep a cat’s teeth clean.  This is a fallacy perpetuated by the big pet food companies, so they sell more dry food.  Again, Feeding Your Cat: Know the Basics of Feline Nutrition by Lisa A. Pierson, DVM will have the answers to your questions about that.

A reader wrote in the other day explaining the difficulty she has been having transitioning her kitty – and her kitty is in dire need to get off of dry food – he is having reoccurring bladder infections and losing weight (he has tested fine – and the vet is stumped!).  It upsets me when a vet is stumped about a kitty with recoccuring bladder infections and the first thing not being examined is what the cat is eating.  I guess because I had a thyroid disease for 8 years, I think of things differently.  Western medicine addresses the problem, whereas Eastern medicine tends to address the cause.  Most vets operate from a Western medicine perspective (since they are trained as such) – when we need to start with the cause.  Please read Feeding Your Cat: Know the Basics of Feline Nutrition by Lisa A. Pierson, DVM to understand this more in depth.

So I made the following video with my parents’ Ragdoll cats, Caymus and Murphy, to show some of the things I do to get them to eat wet food – this occurs too when we try new foods.

As you’ll see in the video, my parents have a Cuisinart Mini Chopper Grinder that is great for breaking up kibble quickly – and then you can sprinkle some ground up kibble on the top of wet food. So that they understand it’s something to eat and also so that they might be attracted to eating it.

In the video, I offer a Weruva Cats in the Kitchen Variety Pack Cat Food Pouch to Caymus and Murphy (they have been on wet food only for 5 years or so, and this is a brand/flavor they like – so it wasn’t difficult to get them to eat it).  And then I show how you can sprinkle ground up dry food or the Purina Fortiflora Feline Nutritional Supplement (learned about it from Dr. Pierson) or the dust left from Whole Life pet treats.  The Purina Fortiflora Feline Nutritional Supplement is essential for kitties who have had a round of antiobiotics.

Yes, some kitties live their entire lives on dry food and do not have the medical issues listed above.  This post is just to discuss tips and tricks on how to transition if you choose that route with your kitty.

Catinfo.org also has a PDF that you can print off that gives you tips for transitioning.

Have you transitioned your kitty off of dry food?  What does s/he eat now?  And what did you have to do to transition them?  Got any tips or tricks?

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About the Author ()

Hi, I’m Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,

Comments (6)

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  1. Patti Johnson says:

    Awesome post & video! This information is so helpful, Jenny! Thank you so much for sharing it with all of us. Having such great information to use as a guide and reference is going to be so helpful for those who want to try and transition from dry to wet food! THANK YOU!!!! 🙂

    Big hugs!

    Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbelle 🙂 <3

  2. Wayne Robinson says:

    I think of it this way. Imagine if we had to live on a diet of dry muesli with some crumbled beef jerky and a crushed vitamin tablet sprinkled on top. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Every day. Forever. And imagine that the essential proteins in that concoction were not the ones nature intended us to eat, developed by scientists in white coats who believe they know better than millions of years of evolution. Yes, it could be argued it contains all our nutrient requirements, but we would have to drink a lot of water to keep ourselves hydrated.

    Imagine we suffered from some disorder that prevented us from feeling thirsty and so we weren’t compelled to drink. Cats are like that. They don’t have a strong thirst drive. Their urine becomes super-saturated, like trying to dissolve too much salt in too little water. Those crystals form in the bladder and eventually block their urethra.

    I remember coming home from work a few years ago to find my Himalayan boy, Toby, in a very distressed state. I picked him up for a cuddle and noticed his lower abdomen was very swollen and rock-hard. I rushed him to the vet where he spent the next three days on a catheter and fluids and had to have his bladder rinsed. The vet recommended Hills “Prescription Diet” S/D. Of course I took his advice. Yes, it seemed to fix the problem, but I realise now with the benefit of hindsight that it would never have occurred if I’d only fed him wet food. He remained on that for the rest of his life, although I decided to only give him that in the morning and he had wet food at night. I can only imagine what would have happened had I stuck to the advice of Hills S/D and nothing else! After he passed from kidney failure and hyperthyroidism, I did my research and realised to my horror that the dry food very probably contributed to that. I loathe Hills will the heat of a thousand suns.

    Never again. My new little guy, Loki, will benefit from the horrible lessons I learned. Dry food is BAD. It just is. There can be no argument. Many years ago we were led to believe by the tobacco industry that smoking was actually good for us. We believed it. Look at us now.

    Rant over. Phew! that feels better 🙂

    • Patti Johnson says:

      Great rant, Wayne!!! Bless you for sharing all this great info and analogy with us. So happy you have your new little guy, Loki. He’s one lucky kitteh for sure!!! Wishing you both a very long lifetime of happiness, joy and tons of love and good health together! 🙂 <3

      (So sorry for what happened with your beautiful Toby. A lot of us have experienced that type of loss and the guilt that followed realizing that we might have contributed in speeding our beloved kitty's demise by feeding them a dry cat food diet.)

      Big hugs!

      Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbelle 🙂 <3

  3. Lyn Johnson says:

    Thanks for the information. I was so unhappy that the cat breeder is feeding Royal Canin dry kitten food to the kitten I’ll be getting. She prefers the dry food over the wet food. So I needed to purchase the Royal Canin dry food to start her off when I get her (in about a month), and I bought a large bag from Amazon. Then I’ll need to transition her over to wet food. I’ll try your suggestions. I think I’ll use a pate wet food, since it will be easier for a kitten to eat.

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