I've found that changing cats’ diet can be a problem for some owners. I prefer to be sure that the cat is provided an enriched environment (described HERE), feeling better if after an illness, and eating its usual diet normally before starting to change diets.
A simple way to start changing the cat's diet is to offer the new food in the cat's usual feeding container next to the usual diet, using another container for the old diet. If you can put both foods in similar containers it may make the change somewhat easier. If the cat doesn't consume the new diet after an hour, take it up until the next feeding. At the next feeding, repeat the process, always providing fresh new food. Once the new diet is familiar to the cat (usually in a day or two), it should start eating it readily. When this occurs, continue to decrease the old diet by a small amount each day (1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon per day; there are about 5 tablespoons of dry food in an 4 oz. measuring cup) until the change is complete. Using this strategy, the change can be completed over a period of 1 to 2 weeks.
Small quantities of your cat's favorite flavor, meat drippings, tuna, clam or salmon juice, can be mixed with the new food initially to make it more appealing. Feed your cat in a quiet environment where the pet won't be distracted.
For the client:
Start the change process on a rest day, or during a time when you have fewer "outside distractions", if possible, so you can monitor the change process.
Plan where to buy the new food, where you will store it in your house, how you will discard used cans, etc. before you start. A few minutes of thoughtful planning may save hours of frustration trying to "get into" the new routine later.
If feeding is a time when you enjoy interacting with your pet, we can suggest some alternative activities that you can substitute, such as play, teaching tricks, walking, etc. for feeding. These other activities also can be used to distract the pet if it seems to beg for food. Pet often beg when what they really want is your attention, and would be just as satisfied with other forms of interaction with you!
Explain the importance of the diet change to other members of your household so everyone understands the reasons for the change; we can help you with this!
Changing feeding containers
A relatively recent refinement in feeding cats and dogs is the use of food puzzles to provide the pet’s food. As with diets, I prefer to be sure that the cat is provided an enriched environment (described HERE), feeling better if after an illness, and eating its usual diet normally before starting to change to a puzzle feeder.