Transitioning a fussy cat like Cam
Posted by Nathan Pearce on
In this two-part article I’ll be sharing my personal experiences transitioning my cats: Angelo and Cam.
While my cats and dog always steal the show, let me quickly introduce myself: Hi! I’m Nathan Pearce. I am the most recent addition to the Balanced Blends team and I’m super excited to be focused on customer engagement. My two favorite things about the Balanced Blends team are: 1) everyone is aligned on delivering the best customer engagement, and 2) we all love our pets. It would be a very strange day if an animal didn’t attend one of our video calls, invited or not... Enough about me, let’s talk about transitioning my cats!
These two below have very different personalities, so hopefully you’ll identify with one of them, or both of them, as having similar behaviors as pets of your own.
The important takeaway from this article is to be patient and ready for change.
How these cats differ: Ang is bigger than average (big, not fat), and Cam is tiny. Ang is a socialite and loved by all, while Cam hides in bushes and occasionally swats at insects. Ang has had heart problems and is prone to urinary tract infections. Cam has a beauty spot. Ang eats like a Labrador, scarfing down almost anything put in his bowl with neither class nor elegance. Cam treats all food with a level of suspicion rivaled only, I imagine, by cold-war spies, and eats daintily as though he is the Queen of England.
Of the two, Cam is much more like a cat.
How they are similar: They are both rescue cats, and they both deserve only the best because they’re family and we love them. It might seem obvious that Cam is going to need a transition plan, especially with his suspicious nature. However, his bigger eats-like-an-adolescent brother showed us just how important transitioning is for all personalities. In this article we’ll cover Cam’s transition, with Ang covered in Part 2.
Initially, Cam started out with the strategy mentioned in the previous article (What makes a good transition plan?) – with gentle increments of his new food every 3 days, like this:
Image 2 – Cam’s original transition plan
Well, that was the plan… but in reality, Cam’s transition went like this:
Image 3 – Cam’s actual transition journey
Let’s walk through what happened.
Days 1 – 3
25% of his kibble was replaced with a heaped teaspoon of Species Balanced™ Raw Chicken for Cats. Adding only this initial, small portion enables pets to adapt to the new smell and texture while ensuring they still have something familiar, the 75% of their old food, to eat. Confidence and consistency are key, so I had the food ready in his bowl before letting him in, the way he is accustomed to being fed.
NOTE: I didn’t hang about to see how he went with the food. Remember, cats can sense any anxiety you might have about the change of routine. Better to leave them to it and check in on them in a few minutes.
Watching Cam from a distance, I noticed that he sniffed at his food a little while longer than usual, but then ate the lot. Over the next 5 feeds (he is fed twice a day) Cam spent less and less time cautiously sniffing. Things were going really well, and we were off to a great start.
Having made progress and feeling Cam was no-longer harboring any concern over the new smell and texture, I decided to stick with the plan and make Day 4 the first day of a half and half mix of his old food and the new food. Unfortunately, Cam had other plans. He wasn’t ready and decided instead to hide behind the washing machine.
NOTE: This reaction to change is very normal. Nothing wrong or bad has happened. This is just Cam’s way of telling me he wasn’t quite ready.
I left Cam to be alone with his bowl for a while, but his mind was made up. At this point the best action is to return to the previous step: a 25% new food and 75% old food mix.
Days 5 – 9
For the next 5 days we stuck with the single, heaped teaspoon of his new raw food, and his bowl was empty after every meal.
Days 10 – 14
The second attempt at a 50:50 distribution was successful. For Cam, the extended time adjusting to the smell and texture was all he needed and much of his cautious hesitation was gone.
Days 15 – 17
While doing my very best to hide any concern about Cam’s response to the next stage of transition, I was delighted to see no reaction at all to this next step. Possibly due to Cam now being familiar enough with the new food that the change in quantities mattered little to him. With no new changes in smell and texture he consumed his new species appropriate food with enthusiasm and gusto. Hoorah!
Commencing pet food transition with a plan is highly recommended as it will keep you focused and on track but be prepared to adapt as you progress. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail”.
Please share your experiences with transitioning in the comments section below. We’d love to hear from you.
In the next article we’ll cover the importance of Angelo’s transition, despite him thinking he didn’t need one...
Having completed his transition to the Species Balanced Raw Chicken for Cats I decided to introduce Cam to a new protein, the Species Balanced Raw Beef for Cats. I wasn’t prepared for Cam’s response to this, seeing it as a transition. Of course, the change in smell and texture mattered to him, having never had it before, and it was an oversight on my part. To correct this, I added 25% of the beef recipe to 75% chicken for 5 days before making a 100% switch. Maybe Cam was just better with change now, having gone through it once already. Or maybe the change from raw chicken to raw beef is easier than from the vastly different texture of dry kibble. I will never know, but that’s ok. We had a plan, and we were prepared to adapt!