Is Your Cat Getting More and More Chubby?

This is Raja, our overweight cat!

Raja started out a reasonably svelte 12 lbs when we got her from a local shelter at age 7. Then, barely 2 years later, she was up to a hefty 15 lbs!

Diet cat foods were no help. Then, I happened to read a book: "Your Cat, Simple New Secrets To A Longer, Stronger Life" and it changed everything.

We invite you to follow our quest for a healthy weight-loss plan for this funny, personable and very talkative cat.

Hopefully, together we can help all our cats live healthier and thinner lives!

*Disclosure: I am compensated for sales from this site. Click for details.

2007-12-27

How To Switch Your Cat From Dry Cat Food To Wet Cat Food

Finicky Cat
Most cats absolutely love wet cat food, but if your cat is addicted to dry, you may have trouble weaning it off of this "junk" food addiction.

The simplest way to find out if the switch is going to be a problem is to try using canned cat food as a treat when you are home to see how your cat responds. We found that the smell of the wet cat food was enough for our cat to get very excited!

If that works, then gradually increase the amount of canned food and decrease the amount of dry food. What you'll find is that your cat needs less and less dry food as you increase his/her wet food intake. That's because canned food (i.e. the foods listed in this blog) have more protein and fat than the dry food your cat has been eating. The more protein and fat your cat eats, the better nutrition it's receiving and the less it feels hungry.

Your cat may not like all textures and flavors of canned cat food, so you may have to experiment. If you buy canned cat food from the lists in this blog, you should have enough variety to figure out what your cat will and won't eat.

However, if your cat is a picky eater or really, really addicted to dry cat food, you may have a problem switching to wet cat food.

Here are some ideas to help wean your chubby friend off dry food:

  1. Be sure the canned cat food you choose has meat ingredients. (You can refer to the list of meaty canned cat foods in this blog.) Foods with grains are not only higher in carbohydrates, they are less palatable to your cat.

    Many cats really like fish-based canned foods. If your cat is one of them, by all means use fish-based canned food as a transitional food. Eventually, you can vary the mix of canned foods by incorporating other meat flavors. Remember, too much mercury-tainted seafood is as bad for your cat as it is for us humans.
  2. Try different textures of meat-based canned cat food to see which your cat favors. For example our cat, Raja, is not fond of the mushy "spam"-type of cat food. She prefers food with a chunky texture or with gravy or aspic.
  3. If your cat won't eat canned cat food, try adding a meat gravy or meat juice (like tuna juice from human canned tuna) on top of the cat food. Create a sauce-like texture to induce your cat to try the new food.

    If you (or your cat) prefer, you can mix-in roasted meat. Basically, use any healthy "enhancers" to train your cat to eat wet food. After he/she is used to canned food, you can gradually eliminate your home-made "additives".
  4. If your finicky eater still refuses canned cat food, try feeding it meat-based baby food either alone or mixed-into the canned cat food.
  5. As mentioned before, you can mix a little dry food into the canned cat food. How much will depend on your cat. After a while, reduce the dry cat food until your cat is only eating wet food.
  6. IMPORTANT!! Do not allow your cat to go without eating anything for more than 36 hours!

    Your cat can develop liver problems if it refuses to eat for that length of time. Even three to four ounces per day of a meat-based food will provide enough protein to avoid such problems. If your cat is eating at least that much, continue with the diet changeover to wet food.
  7. Don't take the feeding recommendations on the canned cat food labels too literally. Many say to feed your 14 lb cat 3 3-ounce cans per day. This is not necessarily what your cat wants or needs. I talked to Raja's vet and he said that 2 cans is sufficient for proper nutrition unless your cat is heavier or more active.

    If your cat seems to want 3 3-ounce cans, then do it. But always consider whether your chubby feline isn't just overeating. To be sure your cat is getting what it needs and no more, it's best to confer with your vet.

Our Raja has never been an overeater, so when we switched her to canned cat food about all she could eat was 2 3-ounce cans. Any more would just go to waste.

That's the good thing about canned cat food -- Because it's higher in protein, fat and water, your cat fills up faster and stays satisfied longer than with high-carbohydrate, low-protien, low-moisture dry food. So don't be surprised if your cat eats less overall, just be sure it gets enough food. See (6) above and talk to your vet if your cat's appetite drops significantly.

We had it easy with Raja as she loves canned cat food and did from day one. If you have other solutions to wean your fat cat off dry cat food, I invite you to leave a comment at the end of this post so other readers of this blog can learn from your success. Thanks!

Coming... I'm working on a "cheat sheet" or rather "cheat card" that I can carry with me to the pet store. The card will list only the low-carb brands and flavors that I have researched here.

As soon as I have finished the "cheat card", I will make it available for download from this blog.

5 comments:

  1. Thank you for posting your research on cat food. We just took our two cats to the vet - one is OK, the other is, well, chunky.

    Vet recommended cutting the dry food back by 1/2 and filling the rest in with wet food. Your recommendation on the wet food is exactly what our cats like, so that won't be a problem.

    Look forward to your post on dry food.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I read the "Your cat" book, too, and I really appreciate all the research you did to put Dr. Hodgkins' advice in a real world setting! I think that the fact she worked for a pet food company at one point means that she was reluctant to endorse a certain brand, so your research was invaluable. I wanted to let you know that Innova has come out with new Evo products that are 95% named meat, i.e., 95% chicken, or turkey, or beef, or duck, or venison: talk about variety! petfooddirect.com sells it by the case and if you buy 2 or more cases the shipping charge is not bad. I've checked several stores in my area that carry the basic EVO and none of them carry the 95%. It looks like a great product for my little carnivores so I wanted to pass this along!
    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks anon, this is great news for our cats!

    I will be checking my local Pet Supplies Plus store for the new Innova Evo products. Last time I visited (before Christmas) they only had Cat and Kitten formula.

    I will be checking the carbs in these formulas and then listing them in this blog if they "pass". I expect they will.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for all of your very helpful information. Inquiring minds want to know....how is Raja doing? Has she lost any weight yet? Which food are you currently using?

    Thanks again! I look forward to more updates. Because of your blog, I went out and bought the book as well. You blog is the perfect real world research!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks for your comment! Glad you found the information useful.

    As far as Raja's weight... I weighed her last Sunday (1-13-08) using my bathroom mechanical scale and she weighs anywhere from 13-14 pounds!

    I stepped on and off the scale multiple time and got different readings each time, but it looks like 14lbs is the winner.

    That's an improvement over her original weight of 15lbs when we started her low-carb diet on September 1, 2007.

    According to the book by Elizabeth Hodgkins, she should lose about 4 oz per month which is about right.

    We were hoping for faster weight loss, but Raja is very lazy and hardly moves much except to go to her food bowl and litter box!

    As an added bonus, I noticed her coat is smoother and she sheds far less than before. All good signs that the diet is healthy for her.

    We have been feeding her mostly Fancy Feast and some Petsmart Sophisticat (when we get to that store.) We have tried Innova Evo Cat & Kitten, (now called Turkey & Chicken Formula) once, but Raja wasn't thrilled with it, so we switched back to the less-expensive Fancy Feast flavors and she's happy again.

    ReplyDelete

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