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How to Switch a Cat’s Food Easily: Step-by-Step Guide & Tips

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By Misty Layne

siamese cat eating food from bowl at home

Throughout your cat’s lifetime, you’ll need to switch out the kind of food they eat a few times. Whether it’s because your feline is a picky eater or your kitten needs to start eating adult cat food, occasions arise where you just can’t keep feeding them the food they’ve been eating. But you also can’t just give your cat a new brand of food.

Quickly changing out foods raises the risk of your kitty getting a very upset stomach, leading to diarrhea and vomiting, which isn’t a situation either of you wants to deal with. Instead, you need to take some time to switch out your pet’s food. Ready to learn how to switch out your cat’s food easily?

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The 4 Reasons to Switch Out a Cat’s Food

There are several reasons for which you’ll have to switch your cat’s food out during its lifetime.

  • Health: If your kitty friend is dealing with health concerns such as food allergies or sensitive skin, switching it to a different food could greatly improve the situation.
  • Age: As your cat matures, you’ll need to change its food to meet its nutritional needs. Kittens can’t continue eating kitten food their whole life, so around the age of one, they’ll need to be switched to adult cat food. And when your feline reaches its senior years, a switch to a senior-specific cat food may aid in keeping joints and immune systems healthy.
  • Weight concerns: Felines are food-motivated, so it comes as no surprise that they could end up eating more than they should and end up packing on a few extra pounds. Sometimes the remedy for this can be as simple as just feeding the cat less of its current food. However, switching your pet to a weight-control cat food may be beneficial.
  • Outdoor or indoor: Where your cat spends its time can determine the type of food it needs. If you bring a kitty in from the outdoors to stay inside full-time, it’s advisable to switch to indoor cat food as indoor pets are less active than those living outdoors (and more likely to have hairballs, which an indoor formula can help remedy).
close-up of a Bengal cat eating wet food from a white ceramic plate on the floor
Image By: Svetlana Rey, Shutterstock

The 4 Steps for Switching a Cat’s Food Easily

As we said above, switching your cat’s food shouldn’t be done quickly; the process will take roughly 7–10 days, but following the below steps should enable you to avoid stomach issues.

  • Step 1.: For the first couple of days, mix 75% of the old food with 25% of the new food.
  • Step 2.: For the next two days, serve 50% of the old food with 50% of the new food.
  • Step 3.: For the final two days, mix 75% of the new food with 25% of the old food.
  • Step 4.: Finally, serve only the new food.

Yes, it really is that simple! The trick is to switch things out gradually, so the kitty can slowly get used to the new food.

Tips for Switching Out Food for a Picky Feline

Felines are known for being finicky, so occasionally, you’ll realize you have a picky kitty on your hands—one displeased with their food change and refusing to eat. Don’t worry, though; there are ways to entice your cat into eating the new food.

  • Feed your pet the old food on a schedule rather than free feeding. Put out meals 2 or 3 times a day, and remove any food that’s not been eaten after a half hour. Once your cat is used to this schedule, you can try the slow transition again.
  • Add a bit of wet food to your pet’s dry food (or vice versa).
  • Toss a couple of   into your cat’s food.
  • Put some tuna juice on the food.

Eventually, your picky eater should come to enjoy (and maybe even love) the new food!

hairless sphynx cat eating hepper nom nom bowl


Switching your cat’s food is easy, but it will take some time. Simply changing one food for another overnight can often result in upset stomachs, so instead, switch out food slowly over the course of a week or so. By the end, your cat should have no trouble eating the new food.

However, if your kitty is a picky eater, you might have to work a little harder to entice them into eating the new food. Doing that could be putting a bit of tuna juice on the food or just adding a couple of treats to it. Over time, though, picky eaters should learn to love the new food!

Featured Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

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