Switching Food and Diarrhea in Cats

When changing cat food, do so gradually.

When changing cat food, do so gradually.

Did your pet store stop carrying kitty's favorite food? Perhaps your vet suggested a special diet for kitty due to a health condition. Whatever the reason, sometimes you have to change cat food. Doing so properly can help prevent tummy upset and diarrhea.

Effects of Switching Food

Quickly replacing kitty's old food for a new one can cause stomach problems. Vomiting and diarrhea are common side effects of a rapid change in diet. Another side effect of rapid diet change is kitty's refusal to eat. Whenever you need to switch kitty's food, it should be done gradually to alleviate complications.

Take Your Time

When you do change his food, don't just empty his bowl of the old food and fill it with the new. It is best to mix both the new and old foods together and gradually increase the ratio of new to old. This should be done over a period of five to seven days. During this period, monitor your kitty for diarrhea or vomiting, both signs of gastrointestinal distress.

Choose the Right Food

Selecting the right type of food can also make the change easier on kitty. Pick a food that is designed for sensitive stomachs and made with easy to digest ingredients. Look for foods that use turkey or chicken as the main ingredient. These are easier for kitty to digest and less likely to cause stomach upset. Rice, oat, wheat and egg protein are other ingredients that aid in digestion and minimize gastrointestinal reactions. Avoid “cheap” pet food brands as they can have additives that your cat can't digest well. Ask your vet which foods he recommends.

When to See the Vet

If you carefully chose a food for sensitive stomachs and introduced it gradually to your feline friend, but he still is having issues with diarrhea, something other than switching food may be the culprit. Food allergies, worms, toxins and stress can all cause diarrhea in cats. If kitty's diarrhea is bloody, contains mucus or lasts for more than 24 hours, your kitty should visit the veterinarian immediately.

 

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