When it’s time to welcome a new feline family member to the household, it is important to learn how to keep the cat’s tummy happy during the transition period to their forever home.The following guidelines will help to make this transition easy for both you and your cat.

Questions to ask before adopting

Ask about the current diet being fed to the pet. If it is a high quality and appropriate food, you may want to continue feeding the same diet so that no transition is needed. If the pet has a medical condition or food sensitivity that requires a special diet, it may already be eating an appropriate food. If this is the case, a diet change is not generally recommended. “It is also beneficial to get a copy of any vaccinations or medical records if available, says Elizabeth Shines, DVM.

Setting up their eating area

Once the cat is ready to settle in, their eating area should be set up separate from a litter box as well as the eating area of their human friends. This will help eliminate confusion of boundaries, and also support healthy eating habits through established routines. . Make sure that the water dish is always full of fresh water and available at all times. When you bring your cat home, show them where their bowls are, but give them some time if they don’t show interest in their food right away. “If you have other pets, you may choose to feed the new pet separately until all the pets are acclimated to each other and you can be sure that no bullying is taking place. Some cats do not share well with others and in that instance, there should be two separate feeding areas to ensure that the less dominant cat can access the food and water when needed” recommends Dr. Shines.

Switching to a new diet

Switching to a new diet can be hard as cats are creatures of habit and they may not welcome the change.  And, the transition should be done gradually to help avoid side effects such as vomiting and diarrhea  which can occur any time a new food is used. Initially, start by mixing 25 percent new food with 75 percent of their current food. After 48 hours if the cat has no apparent problems,  slowly change the proportions over the next three days by gradually increasing the amount of new food and decreasing the amount of the cat’s old food. Generally increasing the new food by 25 percent and decreasing the old food by 25 percent every 2-3 days will be a slow enough transition to avoid side effects. If your cat seems to be adversely affected by the new diet, please consult a veterinarian as dietary intolerance, other health conditions, or the need for a slower transition could be the cause.  Occasionally, some cats may be more difficult to transition to a new diet. Some things that can help to make the diet change easier can be to institute a slower and more gradual diet change, hand feeding the new food, and encouraging the pet to try the new diet by using a pleasant tone of voice and offering affection. With holding treats may also help until the new diet is accepted. If switching from moist food to dry food, adding a bit of warm water may help to make it more appealing. Make sure to discard any uneaten portion of the moistened dry food after 20 minutes to prevent spoilage. Once the cat has become accustomed to that, gradually reduce the amount of water added.

Different food choices: what you should know about breed-specific diets

Not every cat has the same meal plan. While factors such as age, daily exercise and existing health conditions play a role, pet guardians should also take a look at the needs of different breeds Here are a few popular cat breeds and some specific dietary needs of the breed:

Support the active Bengal cat

Bengal cats, are lean and athletic and need a food with the appropriate ratio of protein to fat content to help maintain muscle mass. Some Bengal may also be prone to digestive issues, so a diet formulated to be highly digestible is highly recommended.

Prevent obesity in American Shorthair cats

The widely popular American shorthair cat, has a propensity for weight gain. Appropriate protein levels are essential for a healthy fat metabolism.Portion control with automatic or slow feeders,as well as a diet formulated specifically for weight management can be used to help support their health as well as to help prevent obesity.

Ensuring joint health and a full coat in Maine coon cats

Maine coon cats are known as the gentle giant because of their bushy tail and impressive size and plush, thick coats. Their large size can make them prone to arthritis as they age. An appropriate protein level is needed to maintain a healthy body mass. Fatty acids as well as other nutrients are necessary to support the health of the joints and the coat.

Prevent dental disease in Siamese cats

The Siamese cat has been recognized as the oldest known domestic feline breeds. They are also known as being prone to developing dental disease. It is a common misnomer that all kibble is better for the teeth but this is not true. Specially designed kibble can help prevent tartar build up on the teeth by not breaking apart until the tooth is fully engaged. This creates a ‘scrubbing’ kibble designed to help reduce tartar formation and regular brushing can help maintain dental health. Siamese cats also have sensitive gastrointestinal systems, that’s why it is important to make sure their food is formulated with highly digestible proteins.