Eight Effective Bribes for the Kibble Addict

Eight Effective Bribes for the Kibble Addict

Cats are peculiar and wonderful creatures, but if they are raised with dry food only they may not recognize other forms of food as being food. Their eating habits get set early in life and they can be a challenge to change. But, it is doable. Your cat will benefit enormously from ditching the dry food, so it is worth making the change.
 
Due to heavy commercialization and convenience, dry cat food is very abundant. People are very used to feeding kibble foods. It's so easy! Dry food manufacturers are also very adept at making these inappropriate foods enticing to cats, primarily by coating the food with digests that smell good to kitty. Without this enticement, your cat would show little interest.
 
But, two can play that game. If you have a hard-core kibble addict, you can change their ways. You also can use aroma to entice your cat to try the more appropriate canned or raw diet. You may need to try a few different techniques until you hit upon the one that works for your cat. Be persistent. Don't give up.
 
The following bribe foods can help you transition your dry food addicted cat to a canned, raw or fresh food diet:
 
1. Add some juice from water-packed canned fish. Salmon, tuna, mackerel or sardines will all work. These are smelly and most cats love fish. Just pour a little over the canned or raw meal.
 
2. Chopped sardines. Most cats love sardines – and they are good for kitty, too. Add some as a topping or mixed into the food.
 
3. Try a product called Fortiflora. This is a probiotic for cats, but that's not what we're using it for. This probiotic is in a base called a digest that is the same sort of product that is sprayed on dry food to get cats to eat it. Sprinkle it on the new food.
 
4. Bone broth. Many cats love it. You can buy it canned – get the no-salt version – or make it at home. Add a little to the new food.
 
5. Freeze-dried raw food. These have a texture similar to dry food and may help in transitioning your cat if fed dry. Add some as a topping to a wet food meal. There are many brands available, including Vital Essentials and Stella & Chewy's.
 
6. Dashi granules. Sprinkle just a tiny pinch of these Japanese fish soup stock granules on the food. Dashi is made from bonito fish and is used as a base in many soups and dishes, including Japanese miso soup. It is highly enticing to cats. Use sparingly though as it is also high in salt.
 
7. Dried fish flakes. Shaved bonito flakes are freeze-dried fish flakes that have a strong appeal to cats. Sprinkle on the food as a topping. Keep these flakes in the refrigerator as your cat will likely try to steal the entire package if she can get to it!
 
8. Dry food. Yes, the same dry food you are trying to get your cat off of. Cut up or crush just a few pieces as a topping. This isn't the best choice as we recommend getting rid of all the dry food in the house, but it works for some in getting kitty to try the new food.
 
If you are trying to introduce your cat to a raw diet, keep in mind that it must be fed separate from any dry, processed food as it is digested very differently. You can feed dry food and canned food in the same meal, but keep the raw food as a separate meal from a kibble meal.
 
Fasting your cat for 24 to no more than 36 hours can help make your cat hungry enough to eat what you put in front of him or her. Please do not intentionally fast your cat for more than 36 hours as they can develop liver problems if they do not eat regularly, especially if your cat is overweight. Diabetic cats should never be intentionally fasted.
 
Cats are good learners, especially when it comes to food. So, just be patient and persistent when making this transition. Cats who start out only eating kibble foods can be transitioned to a canned diet first, then to a raw diet, if that works out best for you. It is always worth offering raw foods in the beginning. Your cat may surprise you and take to it without hesitation.
 
Dr. Elisa Katz, DVM, is a graduate of Ohio State University and is the owner of Natural Pet Animal Hospital in Bourbonnais, Illinois. She practices holistic and integrative medicine focusing on proper diet and nutrition. Dr. Katz shares her home with four kitties and one dog.
 
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