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Getting Your Cat to Eat Healthier Food

Updated on April 23, 2015

Why grain-free?

As a responsible pet owner, you have undoubtedly heard about how you should switch your cat to an all natural, grain-feed, all meat diet. You might have even tried to implement this diet change only to find that your cat just turns up her nose at the new and expensive food. Worried about starving you cat, you just let her go back to the junk food. You can make the switch with a little patience and willingness to experiment with a variety of different types of natural food. The grocery store cat food contains a lot of fillers that are not in the natural diet a cat would eat in the wild. As a result, cats tend to get a lot of health problems from the food they eat. Since I have made the switch to grain-free, all meat diet, my elderly cat has a lot more energy, a smoother and shiner coat, less hairballs, and overall less trips to the Vet's office. Even though the natural food is more expensive, you will save money in the long run.

How to make the Switch?

My cat was very resistant to going on an all natural diet. I made the big mistake of trying to switch her diet overnight, which caused her to go on a hunger strike. To avoid your cat going on a hunger strike, I would suggest that you follow my tips. The switch in dry foods was accomplished finally by starting off slowly with introducing the new foods. Mix in a little of the new food with the old food to get your cat used to eating different food. At first, my cat picked through her food to find her old food. She did get tired of doing this on a daily basis and soon forgot about picking out the old food. Each day I put less of the old food in the bowl until it was mostly new food. And I never again bought a new pack of the old food. Instead, I experimented with different brands of natural dry food until I found one she loved. Buy the smallest bag of new food you can find so that your experiments do not leave you with a lot of uneaten cat food. This was a lesson I learned the hard way. Eventually, I found that my cat enjoys the EVO dry cat food the best. It is rather high priced so I buy it on Amazon or other online sites and a 2.2 lb bag is around $7. I get the Turkey & Chicken formula because the Salmon flavor variety tends to smell really strong and makes my entire apartment stink.  My cat will also eat cheaper brands like Natural Balance, so I tend to vary the food depending on what I can afford at the moment.  Always have some natural food on hand, so you are not having to feed junk in an emergency and ruin all your hard work. 

The habit of eating wet food was much harder for me to make with my cat. She really did not seem to like any wet food at all. It took me about 4 months for me to get her to eat a half of a can of wet food per day. At first, I would open the can and she would come sniff and not eat even one little bite. I would throw the can away and waste money. This went on for weeks. Finally, I came up with a new strategy. The only wet food she had ever eaten before was those little Friskies pouches that are full of gravy and basically wet food in a bag. I found that Wellness has pouches that are grain-free. These pouches don't look the same as Friskies. The chunks are much bigger in the Wellness brand so at first all my cat did was lick up the juice. However, it got her in the habit of expecting some wet food every day. Within a few days, she tried the chunks. She got to where she would eat a half of a pouch per day. From the pouches, I tried small cans of wet food. The small 3.2 oz cans.  She eventually got up to eating a half of this size of a can. I had to try a variety of types in order to find something she seemed to like. With much experimenting, I found she likes Merrick which comes in a variety of different flavors such as California Roll and Turkey Dinner. I also have found that she now will eat some EVO 95% Duck cat food. When I first bought this kind of food, she did not eat it at all. I have now re-introduced it into her diet, and she does eat it. Just because you bought one type and your cat refused it does not mean she won't like the food at a later day. Whatever you do buy, save it and re-introduce from time to time to see if tastes have changed in your cat.

The key thing I have learned is that variety is your best bet. With a little effort, you will find something that your cat will enjoy. Also, do not feel as if your cat has to fall into some "cookie-cutter mold" of what is expected as proper eating behavior. Cats like people are different. All we can do is be the best owners we can to our pets and work with their own unique quirks. I have never been able to get my cat to totally eat one entire can of wet food in one setting. She likes to graze and eat a little at a time. So, I keep the best dry food on hand for her to eat during the day and she eats both wet and dry. It has been about seven months since I switched my cat to an all natural diet. In these seven months, I have seen a world of difference in my cat's health. Yes, it was a struggle. But, it was worth it.


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    • profile image

      SLGinNYC 5 years ago

      My cat also eats Natural Balance – I put him on their newer grain-free Alpha line and as you say it’s reasonably priced and best of all, she looooves it. They have two flavors I think – one with fish and another with chicken and other meats – and she’ll eat them both so I trade off for variety. Apparently it’s good stuff – and I can afford it on my limited budget.

    • truthfornow profile image

      truthfornow 6 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      Yes it is hard. When my cat stopped eating, I got very upset and thought she was going to die. I wrote another blog about how i got my cat to eat.

      My cat would only eat baby food at one point but that was enough to keep her alive when we figured out what was wrong - just make sure you use all meat baby food with no onion powder.

      I am glad you are taking your cat to the vet.

    • profile image

      justine 6 years ago

      i am worry about our cat lucy did not ate nothing few days what wrong with her she did not like ate things sometimes i gave her she like only chicken but she did not like tuna and beef and lamp and fish what wrong with her she is 8 half yearolds i am worry she is not well i will phone vet tomorrow. lucy;s mum cat are die passed away two years ago she got cacner thoart she did not ate found otu problem thoart but lucy have no cancer lump strange how do? i pray lucy will be ok she is young only 8 yearold half thanks