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Understanding fussy cats & changing to fresh food

Understanding fussy cats & changing to fresh food

Read time: 5 min

The highlights within this guide

  • Cats aren’t fussy: they’re neophobic, AKA instinctively wary of new food. So, not eating isn’t a sign they don’t like it. They’re just getting to know it first.

  • You can help through persistence – continually putting the food down gives them time to familiarise

  • Starting with 24 hours of just KatKin gives them exposure to the look and smell without distractions

  • If that doesn’t work, serve KatKin with their old food to build smell association

  • Always warm up and use Sprinkles: the more tempting their food smells, the quicker your cat will come to trust it

  • It’s fine if your cat only likes 1 or 2 recipes – each of our recipes is complete, so they’ll be perfectly healthy even if they only eat the same recipe every day.

  • Remember your cat isn’t a nutritionist: they might be wary, but you know what’s best for their long-term health, so keep at it and don’t give in. A few weeks of switching them to fresh-cooked meals means a lifetime of health for your cat, so it’s worth persevering.

  • Once your cat switches to fresh, you’ll see a real difference in them – more energy, a softer coat, better and less messy digestion, and better all-round health

Does your cat seem to turn their nose up at everything you put down? Or are you struggling to get your cat to switch to healthy fresh-cooked meals? Here’s what you need to know to help your cat love their food.

First things first: we called this blog ‘Understanding fussy cats’ but here’s the truth. Cats aren’t fussy. What looks like fussiness is actually neophobia: a fear of new things. It’s what protects cats in the wild. By sniffing and familiarising, they make sure food isn’t poisoned, or rotten, or just plain inedible.

That means when your cat sniffs something and leaves it, they aren’t saying they don’t like it. They’re just getting to know it.

So, let’s talk about how to speed up that process: helping your cat get used to their new fresh-cooked meals. (Oh, and if you’ve just landed here from a search engine and you’re feeding something other than KatKin’s 100% fresh-cooked meat cat food, here’s why you should switch to us.)

Just KatKin for the first 24 hours

Processed wet and dry food is full of flavour enhancers. That means it smells tempting, even if it’s not the best thing for your cat. It’s like making a child choose between a fresh-pressed orange juice and a double chocolate milkshake.

Worse, kibble in particular is rich in calories. Even a little could spoil their appetite – which means there’s no need to try new things.

So, take away all other food, including treats, and feed only KatKin for the first 24 hours – half a pouch at breakfast and half a pouch at dinner.

Just one recipe: Cluck!

Your cat needs time to get to know the food. But if you give them a different flavour of KatKin every day, you’re giving them six new foods one after the other, and it’s overwhelming.

When you switch to us, start with Cluck!. (Or, if your cat can’t have chicken, start with whichever recipe is closest to their old food.) Stick with that recipe for the first 4-5 days.

Don’t let your cat train you

If your cat doesn’t eat at first on the first day, don’t leap in with something else. Or jump to the conclusion that they’re fussy and this hasn’t met their high standards. Let them get to know the food, even if they only sniff it.

The most important thing to remember here is, if you jump to feeding their old food, they’ll learn they can get familiar (and more unhealthy) processed food if they wait.

Warm it up and add a Sprinkle of magic

Cats prefer their food at body temperature, the way they’d catch it in the wild. Plus, the heat brings out the tempting aroma of the food’s natural juices. So, give their KatKin a 15 second swizz in the microwave, or mix in 2 tbsp of boiling water.

Oh, and don’t forget a generous serving of our 100% meat Sprinkles on the top.

Reintroduce familiar smells if you have to

If your cat doesn’t eat on the first day, start putting down half of their old food, with some KatKin next to it in the same bowl, once in the morning and once at dinner.

They still might not eat it at first, but over time, they’ll start to associate the smell of the safe food with the smell of the new food, and then they’ll tuck in.

What’s important here is, don’t mix the two together. The two foods mixed will be one new, unfamiliar smell. What you want is two distinct smells – the old food and the new.

Be persistent

If your cat doesn’t eat after a few days, don’t change what you’re doing. Your cat just needs time. By sticking to it – old food, plus KatKin on the side – you’re giving them the time they need to familiarise.

Play it cool

Cats are solitary eaters, so try not to hover over their shoulder or make any big fuss over their new food that might freak them out.

One recipe is better than none

If your cat only likes one or two recipes to begin with, that’s absolutely fine. Each of our recipes is complete and balanced, so even if they ate the same one every day, they’d be perfectly healthy.

Most cats do prefer variety, so you could try introducing other recipes again later. What’s important to note here though is that cats prefer variety of premium meats, not variety of fresh, dry and wet. Don’t be fooled into thinking they need kibble for variety – they definitely don’t.

Remember to take away their old food

When your cat starts to eat KatKin and knows it’s a food source they can trust, you should remove their old food.

Wait, get rid of the kibble entirely? Yes. Your cat doesn’t need it – not even for their teeth. Kibble for dental hygiene is a myth with no independently-funded research to back it up.

KatKin’s 100% fresh-cooked meat recipes are what cats were built to eat, and we’re complete and balanced for everything they need. No need for wet or dry food at all.

In fact, because each of our pouches contain their personalised day’s calories, you’ll actually be overfeeding your cat if you continue feeding their old food on the side. So, aim to eventually remove their old food entirely to give your cat their healthiest life.

Keep your eyes on the prize

Keep your eyes on the prize

The first few weeks of introducing your cat to their healthiest diet, and weaning them off their old processed food, can seem difficult. But those few weeks are more than worth it for a lifetime of better health for your cat. From even a few days in, you’ll start to see:

  • More energy for play, cuddles and exploration

  • A shinier, softer, healthier coat

  • Better digestion and less smelly, messy poop to scoop

  • A happier, healthier cat

And remember, if you need help, you can always phone our cat experts on 020 4538 4144 or email us at meow@katkin.com. We’re all in for all cats, and here to help you give your cat their best life.

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