How to Transition Your Cat to Raw Cat Food

switching your cat to raw

Nothing could be better for your cat than eating a natural raw diet.  It’s what they were born to do.  Raw cat food is the answer to so many common cat health problems.  The transition to a raw diet can require a little patience from the humans though, because cats are biologically programmed to be fussy eaters (check out this article to find out why).  Depending on just how fussy your particular cat is, switching them to a raw diet may take just one or a few attempts. To start off with, let’s look at the basics.  If your feline fusspot resists all these tips, don’t worry, we have more up our sleeves. We’re here to help through it all, and they all come round eventually.  You won’t believe the difference raw cat food makes to your and your kitty’s life, so don’t give up!

Starting the Switch

First, try a straightforward approach.  Take away the old food, put down the raw, and walk away without a fuss.  If you're lucky you'll come back to a clean bowl, though that's a rare cat. If your kitty ignores the food completely for 30 minutes, put it back in the fridge and try again an hour later.  It's wise to get whatever you used to feed your cat right out of her range of smell.  Preferably remove it from the house completely, or at least stash it in the fridge.  If they can smell the food they’re used to, they’ll go on hunger strike until you give it to them!

Use That Nose to Your Advantage

If you've tried for a day with no luck, put something with a tempting smell on the raw food.  You won’t believe it but a sprinkling of parmesan cheese works!  Liver gravy, fish oil or bone broth can also tempt a fussy cat.  A simple spoon of warm water will bring out the natural meaty smells and can make a bowl more enticing.  Don't try all of these at once, one bribery attempt at a time please!

cat with raw fish pieces

Raw Cat Food Needs Regular Mealtimes

If you’ve been leaving a bowl of dry food out all day, your cat will need to adjust to the idea of mealtimes.  Start with two meals a day, and resist the urge to treat in between as this will hamper the transition. If you need help to know how much to feed your cat, we lay it all out here.

Don’t leave the cat food out for more than 30 minutes at a time, rather put it away and try again later.  Your cat can safely fast completely for up to 24 hours if necessary so don’t be afraid to use a bit of hunger to your advantage.

One Change at a Time

Start off with one meal type at a time, as the change to a raw diet is a big enough adjustment for your cat and you don’t want to overwhelm them.  A lot of people start off with our classic Alfie's meal, which is a mix of proteins, but if you want to be extra conservative in the approach then a single-protein option like chicken is a good choice. Many cats ultimately choose a favourite protein once they've tried a few, though some enjoy a range.  Different raw cat food brands also use different recipes, and cats often choose one and remain brand-loyal!  That’s why we sell a wide range of brands so there is something to satisfy every cat.

cat with alfies

Resist the Panic

The most important ingredient is patience.  Most cats acclimatise to their new raw diet within a week to ten days.  Some may take longer.  If you do have a reluctant cat, don’t let them starve themselves by refusing food for longer than 24 hours – if the only way of getting them to eat at all is to mix a bit of the old food in with the raw then do that as a last resort.  But never give them the old food without the new food mixed in too, or they’ll never make the change.

cat with raw food

Need More Help?

We’ve been negotiating with cats for years, so we aren’t afraid of a fussy foodie.  If you’ve tried all of these tips and are still struggling with the transition, don’t give up.  Reach out to us - helping your furfamily make a happy transition to raw cat food is our top priority!

Back to blog

Have a question? Pop us a mail, we'd love to help!