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How to wean my cats off dry food?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
When I first got my cats as kittens, I asked my vet for advice on what food would be best for them. She strongly suggested dry food, arguing that dry food would be better for their teeth. We now know that this is untrue, and meanwhile my cats have become dry food junkies.

I would like to wean them off dry food. Should I do it cold turkey? I have been trying to feed them all kinds of wet food for almost a day now and they haven't eaten much. I am getting worried. Should I hold out, or should I give in and give them a little bit of dry food to tie them over and wean them off slowly?
post #2 of 17
Most never do away with dry food just decerease it while increasing canned , raw or homemade.... are they currently used to having food at all times
post #3 of 17
If you PM me with your e-mail, I have a very long Word document that I will send to you on the topic. I had to switch my dry food junky to wet when we had all of his teeth extracted and got this from a yahoo group. It's very informative.
post #4 of 17
My dry food guy has never gone completely off. He does eat more wet now though. It took us a long time to find what he liked.
post #5 of 17
First start with scheduled meals - do not free feed. Then offer a canned food meal instead of the dry food.

IMO you can still feed dry and canned. Our guys get dry in the morning; canned at night. And some cats just don't like canned food (I've known some) - you won't get them to eat it no matter what. And they were just as healthy on a diet of dry (living into their teens).
post #6 of 17
http://www.catinfo.org/#Transitionin...o_Canned_Food_

This section of this well-regarded website seems to have some good ideas. Actually the whole website is quite informative. NB: I have absolutely no ties whatsoever with the creator(s) of that site.
post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by RobertM View Post
http://www.catinfo.org/#Transitionin...o_Canned_Food_

This section of this well-regarded website seems to have some good ideas. Actually the whole website is quite informative. NB: I have absolutely no ties whatsoever with the creator(s) of that site.
that site is used often on here
post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by sharky View Post

Most never do away with dry food just decerease it while increasing canned , raw or homemade.... are they currently used to having food at all times

 

Not to be nasty, but this is completely untrue.  While Vets seem to still be debating whether Raw Food diets are good or bad for cats (most say it's "not recommended"), the dry food issue is considered settled (unfortunately, old-school Vets still tend to relate "old news" to pet-owners and often don't keep up on the changing facts about cats and what they are "meant" to eat for optimal health).

 

Dry food contains Carbohydrates which are completely and totally NOT meant for cats to eat.  They are from desert-dwelling ancestors who ate primarily rodents, birds, and lizards and typically gained most moisture from the moisture in their prey.  That is also why the average modern housecat STILL does not drink enough water even though they DO typically know "to drink some water".  

 

Dry food not only further dehydrates cats (who don't drink enough to start with), but it also negates the moisture they're getting from Wet/Canned Foods.  In addition, the high-carbohydrate levels in even "Organic" Dry Foods have absolutely ZERO nutritional value for cats because they are meant to live on meats and small amounts of vegetation.  So anything you give that contains Carbs are basically doing them NO good as far as "health benefits" (at best) and are also a leading cause of Obesity and Diabetes in older cats (because while they can digest them and may enjoy them....carbs are not meant to be in their bodies at all).

 

My own Vet has confirmed this when I took my kitten for basic vetting and deworming.  She said that Kittens can eat more (in general) since they are growing, but dry food is basically something that is only useful to the human that's feeding them (since we are often afraid we'll forget to feed them, are afraid they don't eat enough soft food, and like to pamper them since we love them).  

 

My Vet suggested that I wean my cat off of dry food entirely (since it does nothing positive for cats) and switch him to a "wet-food-only" diet.  It's also important to buy wet foods that are labeled "grain free" because regular brands ALSO contain grain/carbs because it's a cheap filler ingredient (including big names like Iams Kitten Formula).  

 

So basically, the healthiest thing for a cat is to have NO table food ever, obviously NO cat treats (they are already known as "dangerous-only" for cats), and either zero dry food or only dry food as a "treat" on special occasions.  And serving them 2 meals of soft food per day is the best diet for your cat, but only if you are using Grain-Free Soft foods.  Anything that has grains has carbs and are to be avoided at all costs.

 

Even brands like "Wellness" (a popular grain-free brand) contain OTHER ingredients that aren't the best for cats.  

 

A brand that I use and is highly recommended (for soft foods) is "Weruva:  Cats in the Kitchen" packets of soft food.  They are BPA-free, Grain Free, Gluten-Free and usually contain Pumpkin (a useful healthy addition to your cat's diet) and are my cat's absolute favorite.  They are not the pureed kind, they're the kind with a "gravy sauce" which is good for hydration and the "meats" do not contain "by-products" and are also in slices/pieces that cats really like.  

 

So eliminating dry food actually IS considered the best option for both kittens and cats, but especially for adult cats who are no longer growing.....and will just retain weight and develop the same problems humans who overeat/eat unhealthy develop.  Obesity in cats has also been found to be linked to Cancer in Cats ....and we all want to avoid that, of course!!

 

Shop carefully and look for "no carbs, no grain, gluten free" and you can be reasonably assured you are feeding your cat the optimal diet for optimal health throughout their lives.

post #9 of 17

On a side note:  My kitten also has a sensitive belly and possible GI issues, so if you have a cat that has similar issues you also should eliminate the soft foods that contain Beef, Fish, and anything other than Turkey and Chicken (this is a difficult one since most soft foods are "blends" of various meats and sauces, but if you're really vigilant, you can find them).  

 

If your cat has immediate GI distress (like vomiting which many people think is "normal" but is something considered very much "ABnormal" and indicates a serious health problem) you can try a plain, boiled chicken and plain rice diet until their symptoms improve (but that's more of a temporary way to get them back to "normal" whatever that may be for you cat).  Adding canned pumpkin to their food is also a way to alleviate immediate GI distress like vomiting daily, unusual stools, or physical distress signs like excessive licking, licking of the lips, or purring at unusual times (purring being another sign of both happiness AND distress).  So you kind of have to know your pet, but if you already know your cat is "sensitive" to a lot of types of foods, your safest bet is to give them only soft foods with Turkey and Chicken and nothing else.  It's not easy to do/find, but it's a huge relief when you see your cat's health improve.

post #10 of 17
I'm confused. The cats in the kitchen packets have multiple meats in them but its best to stay away from everything except chicken and turkey?
post #11 of 17

Hi Wendy. Welcome to TCS ! wave2.gif You might not get a reply from the original poster because that was 5 years ago.smile.gif Anyway, this is always a popular topic. I agree with your post about feeding cats wet food and low carb. However, I have learned recently that my beloved Weruva is a very HIGH carb food ! This was one of my favorites so I was upset to read that. I still give it to mine once in a while as a treat because they love it.

 

Mesha, I would stay away from fish based foods as they are not good for cats to have very often. Any other meat is fine.

post #12 of 17
This is timely as I am just now starting Venus on wet food. I got a pâté version of the dry food I use- Nature's Variety Instinct, Chicken Flavor. Per her weight, it says she should get two cans per day, but when I fed her this morning she didn't eat much of it and she still hasn't. Reading this and other threads I get the idea that I should "wean" her but I'm not sure how to go about doing that most effectively. Tips?
post #13 of 17

If she is eating between 4-6 oz. of wet a day that is average. I don't know if you were referring to the 3 oz. or 6oz. cans. Sometimes they recommend too much on the label. If I fed my cats as much as some labels say they would be huge ! See how she does tomorrow. If she continues to eat too little, you could gradually reduce the amount of dry while increasing the wet. I hope she does well, wet food is so much healthier. Good luck.smile.gif

post #14 of 17
This is a really old thread LOL! But, I have a little experience with this. I have 4 cats and used to free feed them Nutro Max kibble. I also fed 2 wet meals per day of premium wet foods, mostly Nutro Max Cat and Nutro Natural Choice. I also feed other premium brands of wet to give them variety. Their dry to wet ratio was about 60% wet to 40% dry but the dry began to win out and more and more of the wet was being left uneaten. So I decided to take action. Depending upon the food, kibble can have some dental benefits but depends upon what it's treated with. Besides, a healthy cat will graze between 20 and 30 times daily so I wanted them to have some kibble to just "nibble" on.

I really got tired of spending the money I do on the wet foods only to have them just nibble at it. So I kind of went hard core on them. I read the info on the catinfo site and adapted it a bit to suit my own needs and lifestyle.

What I did - I bought 2 timed feeders and began to measure their dry food. I spaced the kibble output 3 times daily in between the wet feedings. Gradually, and I mean gradually, I began to reduce the amount of kibble dispensed. It took a year but all 4 of my cats are now on a 90% wet to 10% kibble diet and I'm quite happy with that. To this day I measure out the 10% daily amount to be dispensed. Yeah, it's a little bit of trouble but I'm much happier and they LOVE their wet meals now.

It's not impossible to turn around so don't give up. You might just have to find the right way of doing it for your schedule and a way to keep the kitties happy.

The 5th cat is feral and lives in my garage. She's always been a huge wet food fan! I leave a smidge of kibble out for her and she does nibble on it now and then but I throw most of it out usually.
post #15 of 17
Well, I'm trying to feed Venus some wet and dry to wean her, but it has not been going well. If I feed her the two in separate bowls, she will ignore the wet. If I put them in the same bowl, she'll pick around the wet. I have been feeding her both at the same time- should I offer them at different times? Any other tips? Venus needs to lose weight, yes, but I want her to do it the healthy way which means eating what I offer...
post #16 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by VenusKitty View Post

Well, I'm trying to feed Venus some wet and dry to wean her, but it has not been going well. If I feed her the two in separate bowls, she will ignore the wet. If I put them in the same bowl, she'll pick around the wet. I have been feeding her both at the same time- should I offer them at different times? Any other tips? Venus needs to lose weight, yes, but I want her to do it the healthy way which means eating what I offer...

 

I would feed them at different times.  Gradually decrease the amount of dry and increase the amount of wet.  Find a wet that she likes.  Try different textures and flavors to tempt her.  Eventually mine came around to the wet.  Keep us posted on progress.

post #17 of 17

Wet is the best then raw. Get a good grain free canned food such as Wellness core or Instinct.Also dry food should be grain free,starch free,wheat free and gluten free. You can also get freeze dried dehydrated raw just add some warm water to it,Primal Formula is a good one.

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