How to Wean Your Cat Off Dry Food

Allegra eating canned Wellness grain-free food

One of the best things you can do for your cat’s health is to stop feeding dry food. Dry food is the equivalent of junk food for cats. Many of the degnerative diseases we’re seeing in cats, including diabetes, urinary tract disease, kidney disease, and inflammatory bowel disease, may be directly linked to these foods.

Cats need meat and moisture

Cats are obligate carnivores.  This means they need meat to survive.  They cannot get enough nutritional support from plant-based proteins such as grains and vegetables, because, unlike humans and dogs, they lack the specific enzyme that processes plant-based proteins metabolically.  They need few to no carbohydrates in their diet.

Cats also need moisture in their diets. They do not have a strong thirst drive when compared to other animals, and this can lead to chronic low-level dehydration when the cat’s main diet is a dry one. Even if your cat drinks water, it won’t be enough if she only eats dry food. A cat’s natural diet (prey) contains about 75% water. Dry food only contains 7-10%. Canned food contains somewhere around 75% (depending on the brand). Even though a cat on only dry food will drink more water than a cat who is eating canned food, when you add up the water they drink and the water that occurs in their diet, water intake still falls short for the cat on dry food. Considering how common urinary tract and kidney problems are in cats, this in itself should make a convincing argument against dry food.

Meal-feeding, not free-choice feeding

Many pet owners feed dry food because it can be left out during the day without spoiling while the cat is left at home alone.  This method of free choice feeding is one of the leading contributors to obesity in cats.  Cats, by nature, are hunters, and it doesn’t make sense that they should need access to food 24 hours a day.  Meal feeding twice a day mimicks their natural hunting behavior much closer, and by feeding controlled portion sizes twice  a day rather than leaving food out all day long, calorie intake, and weight, can be controlled much better.

Dry food does not clean teeth

The myth that dry food helps clean cats’ teeth is one of the most persistent beliefs when it comes to pet food, and it is simply not true. Most cats don’t chew their kibble long enough, if at all, for any of the scraping action that is the theory behind this myth to kick in.  What little they do chew shatters into small pieces.

Some pet food manufacturers offer a “dental diet” that is made up of larger than normal sized kibble to encourage the chewing longer, but many cats swallow even those larger size pieces whole.  Additionally, dry food leaves a carbohydrate residue in the cat’s mouth that actually encourages growth of tartar and plaque. And seriously, if it was true that dry kibble cleans teeth, wouldn’t human dentists recommend that we eat dry cereal to keep our teeth clean?

How to transition from dry to grain-free canned or raw food

Some cats will transition easily. The first time you feed them grain-free canned or raw food, they’ll start eating it right away, and I’m guessing what goes through their minds at that point is something along the lines of “finally, the humans have figured out what I’m supposed to be eating!”

Others can present more of a challenge. This is in no small part due to what pet food manufacturers do to make these dry food so enticing to cats. As part of the production process, the baked or extruded kibble is sprayed with animal digest (and yes, it’s pretty much as disgusting as it sounds: digest is material which results from chemical and/or enzymatic hydrolisis of clean and undecomposed animal tissue.) Cats love the taste of these digests; for some cats, it’s like kitty crack and actually causes them to be addicted. Some cats also love the texture of dry food and may resist the drastic change in texture from dry to grain-free canned or raw food.

Go slow, and be patient

The key is to transition these hard-core dry food addicts is to go slow, and be patient. And you may need a few tricks up your sleeve. For some cats, it may take several months. I’ve heard of one cat whose human would put down a small amount of canned food next to his dry food every day for several weeks. He refused to touch it, so she wound up throwing it out each time. Then one day, several weeks into the transition, he gobbled up the raw food and never touched his dry food again!

Stop free choice feeding

If your cat is eating only dry food, and you leave food out at all times, stop this practice immediately. This step is critical. Feed twice a day, at set meal times, and take up what the cat doesn’t eat within about half an hour. She gets no other food until the next meal time. Your cat will not try anything new if you keep his bowl filled with the old, familiar food 24/7.

Be prepared that your cat will make you feel like you’re letting him starve. This phase of the process can be much harder on the human than it is on the cat. Persistence is key. A little hunger at meal times can be a powerful motivator to get a cat to accept the new food.

Gradually increase the amount of canned or raw food

If your cat is already getting a small amount of canned food or raw food as a special treat, she will probably be much more receptive to being transitioned to all canned food or even raw food. All you have to do is gradually increase the amount of canned or raw food, and decrease the amount of dry food, until you’re only feeding canned or raw.

Add some incentives to tempt finicky eaters

Some hard core dry food addicts can be convinced to try canned or raw food by sprinkling freeze dried chicken or salmon on top of the food. A little bit of tuna or clam juice drizzled over the canned or raw food can also help. Other “bribes” can include cooked meat, cut in small pieces, a spoonful of meat-based baby food (make sure it doesn’t contain onion powder), or, as a last resort, a small amount of crushed kibble.

Never let your cat go without food for more than 24 hours

Be patient and persistent during the transition period, but never let your cat go without eating for more than 24 hours. Allowing a cat to go without food, especially one who is overweight, can result in a life-threatening condition called hepatic lipidosis.

Minimize intestinal upset

Most people recommend to transition to a new food gradually, by reducing the amount of the old food and increasing the amount of the new food over a number of days to avoid upset stomach and soft stools. I’ve found that when transitioning to grain-free food, this is usually not an issue.

I do recommend adding a good probiotic every day. I actually recommend this not just during the transition period, but as a lifelong immune system booster. Probiotics come in unflavored powders and can be mixed in with the food. I use Dr. Goodpet’s Feline Digestive Enzymes, a mix of enzymes and probiotics.

Cat parents who have weaned their cats off of dry food are usually amazed at the difference. Overweight cats who have been unable to lose weight are starting to lose fat and build muscle. Haircoats look sleeker and shinier. Stools decrease in volume and smell. And most importantly, cats are healthier.

Related reading:

The truth about dry cat food

Feeding raw food: separating myth from fact

New Dr. Goodpet banner

57 Comments on How to Wean Your Cat Off Dry Food

  1. Karumama
    October 14, 2017 at 11:47 pm (1 month ago)

    Hello, I’m hoping you can provide some tips for me. My cat eats only dry food, and I have tried to get her to eat canned food several times with no luck. She refuses to eat any human food (she won’t even like chicken or tuna juice) and the best I can get her to eat is baby food mixed with water and even that is a huge struggle.
    How can I entice her to eat canned food? I want to get her on a canned diet but I feel like I’m not having any luck, and the sooner I can get her on a canned diet the better since she has pancreatitis.
    Thanks!

    Reply
  2. Anna G
    August 18, 2017 at 5:24 pm (3 months ago)

    Thank you so much! I thought i’d never wean my tortie off dry food. I followed your steps and now she’s eating high quality canned. Soon i’ll trade up for raw plus probiotics. Thank you for your great advice am subscribing to your newsletter.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      August 19, 2017 at 5:20 am (3 months ago)

      I’m so glad our advice helped you, Anna!

      Reply
  3. Yoshi
    May 30, 2017 at 9:08 pm (6 months ago)

    Thanks for this. Our cat seems picky and I’d like to wean her off dry food and this helps. She has a habit of leaving half her wet food on the plate and will never eat all of it. I’m sure it’s because she has the dry food out all the time thanks for the probiotics tip as well.

    Reply
  4. Elaine
    October 29, 2016 at 3:32 pm (1 year ago)

    Thankyou for the information on this site it has been really helpfull in making sure my two kitties are being fed correctly.

    Reply
  5. Tanya
    April 29, 2014 at 4:44 pm (4 years ago)

    Hi Ingrid

    I live in New Zealand and have 2 lovely 2 year old rescue cats – a beefcake of a boy and his wee sister who has had soft stool issues including blood in her stools plus more recently, regular vomiting. They both live indoors so don’t have access to any other food sources.

    I was feeding them wet food sachets (Whiskas) supplemented by an SPCA dry food and my vet told me to get them off the Whiskas as it’s not good quality and was probably the source of Harley’s bowel problems. They recommended a dry vet diet but obviously this is grain based. I also feed them a small amount of wet food (1 sachet between them per day) as they love wet food and weren’t too impressed by their new dry diet. I chose Iams as I’d been told by my vet it’s better ‘human grade’ meat but I found out they test on animals so I’d like to find a good alternative.

    I have tried raw food once as we have a great range of raw cat food here in NZ but they weren’t interested. They seem not to want to chew any morsels of meat no matter how small I cut it – perhaps this is because they are used to easy to eat wet and dry food?

    I’m thinking of weaning them off their dry food after reading your article but was wondering if you knew of any good quality wet food brands here in New Zealand that won’t upset Harley’s delicate tummy. The only brands my vet carries is the aforementioned Iams plus Hills Prescription diet cans which is very expensive.

    In the meantime I’ll follow your tips on weaning off the dry – might be able to get them back on raw if I take away their constant supply of dry food and my piggy Teddy learns what a bit of hunger feels like!

    Thanks!
    Tanya

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      April 29, 2014 at 4:59 pm (4 years ago)

      Unfortunately, I’m not very familiar with what’s available in New Zealand, Tanya. The only brands I’m aware of that I believe are made in New Zealand are Addiction (I like the grain-free varieties) and ZiwiPeak. ZiwiPeak is a good brand, but their canned foods contain carrageenan, which I try to stay away from, although I think they’re planning on removing it from their formulas.

      Reply
  6. nemo
    April 4, 2014 at 10:57 am (4 years ago)

    With ‘homemade’ diets, there is still the concern of taurine deficiency. And advocating raw meats still means having to overfeed your cat to ensure that they get enough once the amino acid is broken down and degraded via digestion. And honestly, telling people to feed raw meat to a cat is not just dangerous, it is aggressive ignorance. Much like dogs, a typical cat’s digestive system is sturdier than a human’s, but salmonella, e coli, listeria – those can hit your pet JUST as hard and with cats, who often act like they aren’t sick or hurting, it is easy for a digestive bug to become a major issue before you even realize they are sick.

    I am the proud mama of a healthy, 8 yr old tuxedo, Boocifer, who eats a 60/40-75/25 wet:dry ratio, per my vet’s recommendation. Get a decent dry food, feed bulk in decent wet, and make water available at all times — don’t put your cat at risk just because ‘the internet says xyz fad diet for cats is better’.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      April 4, 2014 at 5:23 pm (4 years ago)

      There are plenty of commercially prepared raw diets on the market that are complete and balanced, and that includes proper taurine content, either from organ meat, or from supplementation. As for the salmonella concern, most, if not all, of the pet food recalls in the past few years have been for dry food. Nothing is without risk. It’s up to each pet guardian to make an informed decision.

      Reply
      • Sharon Bilotta-Testa
        January 2, 2017 at 7:44 am (11 months ago)

        Hello Ingrid I’m from New England(Massachusetts) not sure where your location is but I just stared reading your article and am fascinated by the knowledge!! I just started feeding my 5 cats Darwin’s raw here in the U.S. I cook it for a minute or 2..I also feed B.F.F (Wervua) and Origen 6 fish dry hoping to wean them off but read that Orijen is a really great alternative like what I read what in it and what’s not what are your thoughts on this?

        Reply
        • Ingrid
          January 2, 2017 at 5:30 pm (11 months ago)

          Event though Orijen bills its dry food as “biologically appropriate” for cats, there’s nothing biologically appropriate about any dry food. Orijen is still too high in carbs. If you absolutely must feed dry, Nature’s Variety Instinct Ultimate Protein is the best dry food I’ve been able to find (and it pains me to use the word “best” in conjunction with dry food!)

          Reply
  7. Mahshtay
    April 3, 2014 at 1:35 pm (4 years ago)

    Thanks for posting this again on FB. I’m in the process of doing only wet since my 4-year-old kitty just developed crystals in his urinary tract. We’ve been to the ER twice in two weeks to have him unblocked. The second time after he’d been on the special diet for two weeks, which was the special wet food mixed with some of the special dry food. Now I’m convinced to do no dry whatsoever.
    My question though is I had been feeding him Wevura wet since he was a kitten with a small side of Wellness Core dry through the night and he still developed the crystals. I’m not a fan of the ingredients in the special prescription formulas (they all list pork byproducts as the first ingredient!). Are there good quality wet foods that will help with the urinary tract problems?
    He will eat the wet as long as he doesn’t see any dry around. Thanks again for the timely post.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      April 3, 2014 at 2:12 pm (4 years ago)

      Depending on the type of crystals your kitty had, the goal of the “prescription” diets is to either acidify or alkalinize the urine. I agree with you that these diets’ ingredients are not something I consider a quality diet for cats. Acidification/alkalanization can be achieved with supplements. I would recommend working with the guidance of a holistic vet to find the right food and supplements. You may also want to consider having a homecooked diet formulated by a veterinary nutritionist, you can do this at petdiets.com.

      Reply
  8. MIcaela
    April 3, 2014 at 10:51 am (4 years ago)

    HI! I’m from Argentina, and I worried because here you can only get dry food (Our best choice is Royal Canin whichshave lots of grains but less than other brands). Canned food is a very low quality here. I would like you to give me a piece of advice, Shall I rehidrate dry food, and mix it with raw meat? What do you think my choices are?

    Thanks in advance.

    Reply
      • Ingrid
        April 3, 2014 at 11:56 am (4 years ago)

        Look for meat from poultry or cattle that is raised without the use of antibiotics and pesticides. It may not be certified organic, but it would still be a good choice.

        Reply
    • Ingrid
      April 3, 2014 at 11:58 am (4 years ago)

      If you can get the dehydrated raw diets in Argentina (or have them shipped from the US), they would be a better choice than any dry food. Companies like The Honest Kitchen, Sojo’s or Stella and Chewyy all make dehydrated diets that are balanced. You wouldn’t even have to add meat.

      Reply
  9. Jessica
    March 7, 2014 at 4:40 pm (4 years ago)

    We live in South America right, where finding a product is hard and being able to stick to it is even more so; stock is a big issue in Chile.
    I had to feed my cat Royal Canin (he was on grain-free diet back in the States), which is the best brand here. Dry, mostly, until a year ago, Hills started to sell Indoor and Hairball Control canned food. Recently, Earthborn dry food arrived for dogs, a few months later, the Primitive range for cats arrived. but the cans didn’t and I’m afraid they won’t, Chileans are not fond of cats, nor cans, except the cheap brands. I can’t go raw for now for several reasons.

    Our cat is a neutered indoor male, slightly overweight. Right now, he’s being fed 1/8 can in the morning, 1/8 in the evening and ~40 g Earthborn Primitive per day. I have to give him Omega 3 and recently started raw coconut oil for skin issues. So I’ve reduced the dry food but he’s not happy; he’s always asking for his kibbles right after being done with the wet food, sometimes, before. I assume now would be a good time to increase the wet food and keep decreasing the dry food. But I’m concerned about the Hills not being grain-free. Let aside that I realized that most cans contain either carrageenan or guar gum. Would a can still be better than grain-free kibbles ?

    Reply
      • Jessica
        March 9, 2014 at 3:10 pm (4 years ago)

        Thanks Ingrid. I have already considered making raw diet for my cat but I won’t here in South America where I can’t be sure of the meat quality and where finding anything good is actually pretty difficult. I sneak in a few things for our kitty each time I travel to the US eventually run out.

        Nevertheless I’m appalled by Hills Hairball control or Indoor wet food guaranteed analysis. 24% carbohydrates, 35.9% protein, 23% fat when the dry Earthborn Primitive contains 18.5% carbohydrates, 44% and 20% fat. If I understand correctly, the latter have better numbers except for the moisture, of course. So I’m not quite sure what would be my next best move given all that.

        Reply
  10. clare
    July 28, 2013 at 2:48 pm (4 years ago)

    I am having very little success switching my cat to a non-grain free to a grain free wet diet. In actuality things may be worse. He ate dry kibble and in the am and pm got a treat of wet food (all non grain free). In trying to switch him he will eat NO wet food now, will leave it and go hungry, such that in my concern that it will do him harm to go without food, i have broken down and given him grain free kibble which he eats. He knows now of course that if he holds off long enough on the wet food I will eventually give him dry kibble grain free.
    so what i appear to have achieved is totally turned my cat of wet food which he ate, until i tried to switch him to a grain free diet. This is going on over a month now, and he has lost weight which he did not need to loose, he has gotten very cranky and when i let him out the back he wants to immediately eat grass which i cannot let him do, so i end up putting him back inside, where as in the past he used to sit on a patio charge and relax in the sun.
    i wonder how bad is it to leave him on the grain free dry, fed twice daily not free range and give up the idea of the wet food for now. i have tried all the tricks, Parmesan cheese, freeze tried treats, etc on the wet food, he licks them off and leaves the food.

    Any thoughts are appreciated, right now i am totally frustrated and i know my cat does not like me very well,

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 28, 2013 at 4:18 pm (4 years ago)

      As I stressed in the post above, you should never let a cat go without eating for more than 24 hours. It sounds like you both need to relax, Clare. I’m guessing that he’s picking up on your frustration. A grain-free dry diet is not ideal, but if that’s what he’s eating right now, then feed him enough of it twice a day so he can maintain and/or gain back the lost weight. I would prefer a non grain-free canned diet to a grain-free dry diet for the long term, though.

      Reply
  11. Meltem
    July 25, 2013 at 11:45 am (4 years ago)

    Hi Ingrid thank you for all of your helpfull articles, especially this one is something exactly what I was looking for. Here is our situation:

    I have a Persian cat 8 years old female Coco and 2 years old Scottish Fold female Misha both are castrated.

    Coco has a heart problem and need to take medications everyday so this makes the changing diet period so challenging. She is a strict Royal Canin Persian dry cat food fan never ever eats any other food besides that. I am only interested in healthy cat food subject for 4 years so they used to eat royal canine dry kibbles till I get that food is not a healthy choice at all.

    I live in Turkey and unfortunately in this part of world there isnt any other healthy cat food brands except Acana brand. And both of my cats hate all kinds of Acana dry cat food.

    There is only one brand that produced raw frozen cat food which is made of chicken meat and vegetables and looks like a frozen meatball. I tried it and my cats again hated it so badly never touch it never eat it.

    Besides dry cat food I gave my cats natural wet cat food and they like wet food so much. Again there is only one brand of wet cat food which is made of naturally here in Turkey and that is Brit Care. I feel so anry that I have to live in this country! I cant buy any food related stuff from abroad because of the strict customs rules.

    I had tried to change my babies dry food to raw meat diet for 2 weeks.Even they were straved and never eat anything whole day, they didnt touch the raw food. And I had to give them dry food again at the end of the day beause Coco must eat something to be ablew to take her medications. So at the end of 2 weeks I gave up to try and started to fed them with royal canine again.

    My cats are too stubborn about food I feel so sorry and dont know what to do about changing their diet 🙁

    If Coco doesnt have an illness and doesnt have to take medications with a full stomach everyday, I could be more determined and force them but in this situation I can’t. Do you have an idea about what can I do?
    Best wishes from Turkey
    Meltem

    I want to give up Royal Canine

    Reply
  12. Tom
    April 21, 2013 at 10:28 pm (5 years ago)

    Well I’ve spent the afternoon doing research on what we are going to be able to do for these fur kids to get them eating better. I’ve read Dr. Pierson’s extremely informative article on how to make our own cat food and this may be something we want to look into. As a stopgap measure I’m looking for other grain free foods that can be bought in the more economical 12.5 ounce cans. Unfortunately nature’s variety which Saul is on now doesn’t seem to be one of these. Some of the Wellness foods seem to come in these bigger cans. If I’m doing my math right we can feed our bunch for roughly $140 a month, more than we want to spend but it beats the over $300 price we were looking at for a sufficient amount of the Nature’s Variety which there’s just no way we can do. The Wellness line doesn’t appear to be entirely fruit and vegie free which I know isn’t the best but hopefully it will do. I’ll look at other brands as well.

    Best regards,

    Tom Mary Beth and the Furries.

    Reply
  13. Tom
    April 21, 2013 at 3:28 pm (5 years ago)

    Thanks much Ingrid, ok that gives me a much better idea of how much he should be getting.

    At that rate we’re definitely going to have to do some serious looking around and see if we can find this stuff any cheaper than what we’re paying at pet extreme. If we convert all five of them over if my math is correct we’re talking roughly 150 cans a month which is roughly $300 before tax, there is no way we can afford this much. If I can’t find it for significantly cheaper than $1.99 per can somewhere we are going to have to look at some other alternatives for the others.

    Thanks again, will keep you all posted.

    Tom Mary Beth and the furries.

    Reply
  14. Tom
    April 21, 2013 at 1:16 pm (5 years ago)

    Hi Ingrid and all. Just a quick update, we have put Saul on the Nature’s variety instict, we got some of the beef because it was one of the flavors that came in five ounce cans, we wanted to get the bigger cans. He has been eating it since yesterday and is doing excellent on it so far, he absolutely loves it and no stomach issues whatsoever so far. I finally found your article where you talk about portions, you say it should be about the size of a mouse, well I haven’t felt a mouse in quite some time, since our snake was little and he used to get mice, would that be maybe a couple tablespoons? If you feed this little how much of the Dr. Goodpets do you use, it says half a teaspoon per cup of food on the label so we just put a pinch of it in his food.

    Our kitties are definitely going to think we’re brutalizing them when they start getting this little food, and no we don’t free feed.

    So that’s what’s going on for now, sorry for the long post.

    Tom Mary Beth and the Furries.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      April 21, 2013 at 1:50 pm (5 years ago)

      I’m so glad Saul is doing so well on the Nature’s Variety! For an average 10 pound cat, I’d probably feed half a can of the NV (5.5 oz size) each meal. You’ll have to adjust accordingly once they’ve eaten it for a while, not all cats are the same when it comes to metabolism, exercise, etc.. I use 1/8 of a teaspooon of the Dr. Goodpet enzymes with each meal.

      I think the mouse quote came from an article Dr. Crist wrote for my site, and while it’s true that that’s a meal for a cat in the wild, they also eat more than one mouse a day, so it’s not quite an accurate measure for estimating how much to feed!

      Reply
  15. Tom
    April 16, 2013 at 11:20 pm (5 years ago)

    Hi Ingrid and all, well good news is Saul is improving, the diarrhea he was having has improved somewhat. We did get worried and took him back in last Thursday and had them check him out because we had to leave town for a few days. Fortunately we were able to find someone to leave him with because we wouldn’t have left him alone at home.

    Anyhow we are going to go ahead and get some of the grain free stuff hopefully tomorrow. We’re going to try the nature’s variety stuff first since we can get that at a store we can get to easily. His vet agrees with our decision to get him off of food with grains in it and hopefully that will clear him up the rest of the way. Ingrid, I know you had mentioned in one of your posts how much wet food you should let them have but damned if I can find it, how much should we let him have? We will of course start him out on a small amount and see how his system reacts first.

    Thanks much.

    Tom

    Reply
  16. Tom
    April 9, 2013 at 4:27 pm (5 years ago)

    Hi all, just a quick update. We’ve got the Dr. Goodpet stuff on order and it should get here tomorrow. I was able to have a friend of mine read the ingredients on the food we are giving Saul, it’s the royal canin rabbit dry. Well the first ingredient is peas and the second is rabbit meal whatever that is and the third is pea protein I believe. Suffice it to say we are definitely determined to get him on something better as soon as possible. The prescription food is not really helping the diarrhea that he’s been having, it’s not getting any worse but it’s not getting a lot better either. I’m really hoping the different food and the probiotic will make a difference as our vet is kind of at his wits end too as to what is causing this.

    So that’s what’s going on at the moment.

    Tom Mary Beth and the furries.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      April 9, 2013 at 4:49 pm (5 years ago)

      Please keep me posted on how things are going, Tom!

      Reply
  17. Tom
    April 4, 2013 at 10:31 am (5 years ago)

    Hi Ingrid,

    I’m sure we are probably always going to have to keep a close eye on the little guy, he has some chronic issues besides the sensitive g.i. stuff, he unfortunately has feline herpes, we had to give him antiviral eye drops and keep him isolated from the others when we first took him in because it was pretty active at the time. It’s pretty controled now according to our vet but I am hoping that a good probiotic such as the one you recommend that I am going to order will help him further, I know of course there is no cure for it. It unfortunately has damaged his right cornea and our vet thinks he is pretty blind in his right eye.

    We are still going ahead with getting all of them on a different food that they can hopefully all eat even though we think we may have solved this latest thing, I will of course keep you all posted as to how he does. With the feeding twice a day thing, what do you all do if you have to go somewhere? It can be difficult to find someone willing to come over twice a day. Well I’d best get ready for work.

    Best,
    Tom Mary Beth and the furries.

    Reply
  18. Tom
    April 4, 2013 at 9:03 am (5 years ago)

    Just a quick update, I wanted to let you guys know I think we’ve solved the mystery of Saul’s latest bout of diarrhea which has had us at our wits’ end for the last couple weeks.

    It seems that Mary Beth had this bunch of bags of sample dog food that she’s taking to a fund raiser next week. We’d put this where we thought it was out of the way of the cats, well apparently somebody found a package or two and got into it. Saul has been going into the closet in my office where the blasted bag of samples was and munching on the loose kibbles. I got it all cleaned up out of there yesterday and have the closet shut so he hopefully won’t get into any more. It’s too soon to tell for absolutely sure if we’ve found the culprit but we are pretty sure. The things they get into!

    Tom Mary Beth and the furries.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      April 4, 2013 at 9:30 am (5 years ago)

      I hope the answer is that simple, Tom! Never a dull moment with these furries, is there!

      Reply
  19. Tom
    April 4, 2013 at 8:52 am (5 years ago)

    Hi Ingrid, thanks very much for the reply. Ok I will get some ordered off of Amazon real soon.

    Tom Mary Beth and the furries.

    Reply
  20. Tom
    April 3, 2013 at 12:29 am (5 years ago)

    I see that you have provided a link to get the Dr. Goodpet powder on Amazon, can you buy this stuff in pet stores or do you pretty much have to get it online?

    We tried the Fortiflaura with Saul when he first came down with this chronic diarrhea, well he actually had it when we found him as a stray, anyhow he did not like the fortiflaura at all. We tried sprinkling it on his dry food that he was eating at the time, he would eat it but it was obvious he wasn’t crazy about that powdered crap on his food. I can see this is another advantage of wet food, easier to mix things in if you have to.

    Best regards,

    Tom Mary Beth and the furries.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      April 3, 2013 at 6:22 am (5 years ago)

      I buy it online. Unlike the Fortiflora, it has no flavor (that I can tell, anyway!), and most cats accept it readily.

      Reply
  21. Tom
    April 2, 2013 at 5:19 pm (5 years ago)

    Another really good article on this issue, we are seriously looking into this particularly since Saul our little seven month old kitty has recently started having chronic diarrhea and we’re convinced along with our vet that it may be a food allergy. She said the problem is that when they make the dry food they do not always clean the equipment between batches which can lead to cross contamination. This isn’t a big deal unless you have a kitty like our Saul who is very sensitive. We have always fed dry food with occasional wet food for treats and I’ll freely admit to being taken in by the myth that wet food isn’t good for the teeth.

    I too would be interested in how people handle multiple cats, we have five. I’ve found a couple stores here that carry a couple of the brands you mention and am going to head down there as soon as the Royal Canin rabbit and potato our vet is having us try for now to try and settle his system down is gone.

    Best regards,

    Tom Mary Beth and the furries.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      April 2, 2013 at 6:04 pm (5 years ago)

      Your best bet is probably to find a food that all of the cats can eat, including the one with the food allergies. If that’s not an option, you may need to feed the cat with allergies separately. If your vet hasn’t already recommended this, I’d suggest adding a good probiotic to Saul’s meals.

      Reply
      • Tom
        April 2, 2013 at 11:09 pm (5 years ago)

        Hi Ingrid, that is exactly what we want to do, at this point we are having to feed them separately, Saul gets the Royal Canin and the others are still on the dry stuff we want to wean them off of. I am surprised that our vet has not recommended the probiotic but we are going to do that anyway probably even before we try switching everyone off of the dry food.

        I was really pleased to hear how getting your kitty on a good food and probiotic cleared up the diarrhea problem you were having this is the first thing we need to get cleared up with poor Saul. The stuff we’re currently feeding isn’t cheap stuff, between the stuff we were buying for the other cats and Saul we’re probably spending 60 or 70 bucks a month at least, I will definitely keep you all posted as to how it goes, I am going to have to see if anybody here in town carries the probiotic you recommend.

        Thanks for the reply.

        Tom

        Reply
  22. LINDAFAY
    May 9, 2012 at 9:27 pm (6 years ago)

    THIS TRANSITATION IS SO FRUSTRATING. ROMEO MY 3YO TABBY KNOWS WHEN I CRACK OPEN THAT CAN IT IS NOT DRY HIS FAVORITE. BUT MY QUESTION IS ONCE I FIND A CAN FOOD THAT HE LIKES SHOULD I CONTINUE THAT OR SHOULD I GET A VARIETY OF CAN FOODS. I ONLY HAVE NINE LIVES LOL.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      May 10, 2012 at 6:28 am (6 years ago)

      Good for you for hanging in there with the transition, Lindafay! Once you have Romeo switched over to all canned, it would be best to rotate several varieties of canned foods.

      Reply
  23. Koti W.
    April 25, 2012 at 2:46 pm (6 years ago)

    Hiya,

    I’m just wondering about good brands of wet food. One brand of wet food I was feeding to my cat last year made her eyes watery for a time, and they would drain clear fluid for awhile, then it would clear up after a couple of days. I took her off the wet food, and haven’t had a problem since. Still, reading your articles on dry food made me want to re-consider wet food, so I’d like to know if you recommend any particular (maybe organic?) brands.

    Thank you!

    Reply
  24. Ed
    July 26, 2011 at 10:48 pm (6 years ago)

    Any tips on achieving this with multiple cats? I have three and the 1 female who is a little more timid than the boys and will usually wait until they’re not eating to eat. I’m afraid the two males will gobble everything up and not leave much for her. They are all grazers with no weight issues on a dry food diet but they all do love moist food as it’s occasionally offered as a treat or special occasion 🙂

    Reply
    • Cheri
      January 24, 2015 at 6:34 pm (3 years ago)

      Feed the female in a different place. My little female has her own placemat at the other end of the kitchen from the one where the boys eat.
      It’s unclear from your post why you don’t just give them all wet food, since they like it??

      Reply
  25. kristen
    July 25, 2011 at 5:21 pm (6 years ago)

    I’m weaning my cats off any dry food. Its not their main diet, they mostly eat wet food from sachets. But recently ive been giving them chunks of raw pork, which 2 of them go crazy for, but the last one isnt interested. She likes it cooked….*sigh*

    Being from the UK, i cant seem to find any UK suppliers of cat enzyme suppliments..Do you know of any?

    Reply
  26. hugO
    July 25, 2011 at 11:55 am (6 years ago)

    Thank you for this article. Currently i am experiencing the most difficult of times with my big 7-yr old floppy boy, Moon: he won’t eat any canned food, even ones he used to gobble up. I’ve always bought the “natural”, “organic”, or grain-free cans and he hasn’t taken to any for a few months now. Moon has always preferred chunks to pate. And i’ve avoided for the most part any cannned food in “gravy”. Once in a long while we give him a little cooked (no seasoning) chicken, which he loves. I do measure his dry food (which has not been a “premium” dry food for a couple years: purine one smart blend) and have always kept a strict feeding time. However, i do have concerns about maintaining a healthy ragdoll for a long time.
    Any feedback is greatly appreciatied. Thanks again!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 25, 2011 at 1:28 pm (6 years ago)

      Hugo, I’m assuming your gravy aversion goes back to the 2007 pet food recall? There are brands available now that are chunky with gravy that do not use whey/wheat to bind the gravy. Wellness’ new succulent cuts with savory sauces line is grain-free and does not use whey or wheat, and neither do the Weruva varieties. Since Moon likes chunky foods, it may be worth trying those brands if you haven’t already.

      Until you’ve got him completely transitioned to canned food, or if you’re going to stick with feeding some dry food, I’d encourage you to switch to a premium brand that is grain-free.

      Reply
  27. Sammy, One Spoiled Cat
    July 25, 2011 at 6:56 am (6 years ago)

    We’re working on weaning Sam off dry food….as you say though, it’s not easy. He’s never liked any kind of meat. He will eat canned food if I add some water to it – making it more “soupy” in texture so that’s how we’re slowly transitioning him. I no longer keep dry food down all day and he gets breakfast and dinner only. He’s not happy that’s for sure, but we’ll keep working on it. At his age we need to concentrate on health issues more than ever!

    Pam

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 25, 2011 at 1:22 pm (6 years ago)

      Pam, I’m glad you’re working on getting Same off dry food – it’s well worth the effort (even though he might not agree just yet!). Since he likes a more soupy texture, you might look into some of the brands that have “gravy” added. Some of the new Wellness grain-free varieties do, as do some of the Weruva flavors. Just make sure that the food is still grain-free – some of the gravy-based brands use wheat to bind the gravy.

      Reply

3Pingbacks & Trackbacks on How to Wean Your Cat Off Dry Food

  1. […] If your cat is still eating dry food, I urge you to consider changing to either an all canned grain-free diet, or to a raw diet. For tips on how to transition even hard-core dry food addicts, read How to Wean Your Cat Off Dry Food. […]

  2. […] Allegra and Ruby give Whole Life treats four paws up. In addition to making a healthy, delicious treat, they can also help entice finicky felines to eat, especially when you’re trying to transition them from a dry to a raw or natural grain-free canned diet. Simply crumble some of the treats over the new food to spark your cat’s interest. (For more on how to transition your cats to a healthier diet, read How to Wean Your Cat Off Dry Food.) […]

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