Making Changes

Once you have checked all your cat's available resources, you may want to make some changes. We recommend that you choose the one change you are most interested in, think will be easiest to do, or is most pertinent to any problem you may be trying to resolve and start with it. Cats are creatures of habit, and you won't want to risk frightening your cat by changing too much too quickly. Once you've decided which change you want to make first, try to begin during a time when you have as few "outside distractions" as possible so you can monitor the change process. If you want to change food or litter, plan where you will store the new product, how you will discard used cans if you're going to feed a canned food, etc. before you start. A few minutes of careful planning may save hours of frustration trying to "get into" the new routine later.

Place new food beside old foodA simple way to change the diet or litter is to offer the new food or litter in the cat's usual container next to the usual offering, using another container for the old product. If you can put both products in similar containers, it may make the change somewhat easier. If the cat doesn't eat a new canned food within an hour, take it up until the next feeding. Once the cat has been exposed to the food for a day or two, you may offer the new food first when the cat is the hungriest, then offer the cat it's old diet after the cat has eaten some the new food or if the cat refuses the new food, initially. Repeat this process until the cat is eating the new diet. Once the cat is eagerly eating the new diet, you can start decreasing the old diet until you are no longer feeding the old. You may decrease the old food in increments of ¼ cups until the change is complete.

If the cat begins eating the new diet immediately, then you may start decreasing the old diet to complete the change process. With a new litter, once the cat uses the box, which may take a few days, you can start decreasing the old litter to complete the change process, and remove the box.

For new structures, cats should be allowed to explore them at their convenience; Feliway, catnip, or a favorite toy or treat may be used to tempt the cat to try it. When introducing toys or play, cats often are most attentive before they are fed, and when they are rewarded by small amounts of treats (that replace some of the usual diet to avoid obesity).