Cats by nature are cautious animals and may not take to raw as quickly as others. If the cat does not take to 100% raw meals immediately, it is necessary to do a slow transition into a raw diet. This process takes time and patience to wean off picky cats from their previous commercial dry or wet diet.
Before moving to step two, if the cat is accustom to “free feeding,” it is necessary to get them adjusted to eating on a set schedule throughout the day. Free feeding is not advisable in raw feeding and taking this additional step in the beginning of the transition will get the cat on a feeding schedule.
Select feeding times when feeding the cat and offer the meal for limited amounts of time (30 minutes). This allows the cat to have times of rest in between meals and the sensation of hunger will encourage the willingness to try something new. Additionally, feeding on a schedule will allow the cat’s body to regulate and begin producing the appropriate gastric acid that is essential to raw digestion.
Step two of slow transition is getting the cat to accept and eat wet meals. Substituting portions of the dry food diet with canned, wet food will slowly transition the cat into eating 100% wet meats. It is ideal to select a chunked style canned wet food rather than a canned paste.
For the first days, substitute a small amount of dry food with canned wet food mixed in. Begin using 25% canned wet cat food mixed into dry food for the first few days.
Following the initial substitution of 25% wet food, begin increasing the substitution amount. Substitute 50% dry food with wet food.
When the cat is accepting 50/50 dry and wet meals, increase the substitution of wet food. Begin substituting 75% of the cat’s dry food with wet food.
Once the cat has acclimated to 25/75 dry and wet food, begin feeding 100% wet food. When the cat is eating 100% wet food, move to step three.
Some cats will not take long to transition, while others may be a bit difficult. Remember to only move at the pace of the cat and do not allow them to go without eating for more than 24-hours. If the cat is not accepting the changes in food, make adjustments until they accept the meal.
Chunk boneless muscle meat into small, bite sized pieces to begin adding into a cat’s canned wet food meals. Add chunks of the meat into pieces that can be easily hidden in the chunked canned wet food. This will help disguises the chunked raw pieces in the wet food.
Mix in the raw chunks into the canned wet food. Be sure to coat the raw food thoroughly with the canned wet food to help encourage your cat to eat the raw.
One your cat is accepting meals with raw chunks mixed in, its time to increase the amount of chunks included in the meal.
Continue increasing the amount of small chunks in the canned food mix. As you begin to include more raw be sure to decrease the amount of canned food.
Once the cat is eating 50% canned wet food and 50% small raw chunks, it is time to start gradually increasing the size of the chunked raw pieces. Begin chunking muscle meat in slightly larger portions. At this step, it is necessary to continue phasing out the wet canned food.
Since you are going to be including slightly larger raw chunks, you need to continue with 50/50 to ensure you’re cat will not refuse the changes.
As time progresses and your cat accepts larger chunks, begin increasing the chunk sizes and decreasing the amount of canned wet food.
Once your cat is eating primarily chunked muscle meat with small amounts of canned wet food, it is time to make the next step into fully balanced 100% raw meals.
When adding raw chunks into canned wet food, provide a variety of protein sources. Begin using chicken and turkey for the first couple of days and then slowly incorporate red meats such as beef and pork.