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I have been feeding my cat (3 years old neutered male British shorthair) with dry and occasionally wet (but I prefer mostly dry food according to the vet's advice to keep his teeth healthy) food from one of the most expensive cat food brand since he was 2 months old.

I feel that to eat the same food all the time might not be healthy and try to give him some fresh cooked meal. What surprises me is that he shows almost no interest in trying fresh cooked food, chicken, beef or fish which a normal stray cat would love to have. He just smells the food I offer him and look at my face like “Are you kidding me? Do you really think that I eat this crap?”. I have also tried cooking meat without any salt and spices but still didn’t work with him.

According to some websites, fabricated foods “are sprayed with proprietary mixtures of palatability enhancers”. I have no problem with that as long as they are not unhealthy. However, I really wonder if commercial foods have all the nutrition and vitamins my cat needs.

Now the questions:

  • How can I change my cat's eating habit that he eats also fresh cooked meats? According to some cat owners, cat will eat anything if you don’t feed him a day (or two) long but I can’t do that.
  • Or is it completely ok if cat eats fabricated food all the time?
  • 2
    Related: Is dry food better for a pet's teeth? – Zaralynda Jun 9 '16 at 20:30
  • 2
    Related: How long can a healthy cat go without food? – Zaralynda Jun 9 '16 at 20:32
  • @Zaralynda, thanks. I will stick with the vet’s advice as I can see my cat has no problem with his teeth. Sure I give him wet food as well, though once a month. And he has no problem with his appetite; he eats as much as I give him :) But I will also not experiment if he eats everything when I don’t feed him a day long, I feel it is unfair. – Lati Jun 10 '16 at 6:47
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A lot of commercial foods have corn in them. Some even have molasses in them. Even reputable food companies still have non-nutritious content, or are on the low grade food spectrum. Corn is a starch (very little of corn is digestible but the sugars and starches in corn are). Molasses is either sugar, or sugar beet juice boiled down into a syrup. Sugar is very addictive, thus commercial foods with these ingredients are addictive. I always recommend people searching for a good food shouldn't always trust a sales rep, although some are very helpful, but should try to help themselves read ingredient lists on the back of bags. Look for fillers, sugars, by products (if it's organ only by products - which are good for pets, companies are inclined to list them as so, instead of the word biproducts).

When adding anything new into a cat's diet, whether a total change in diet or supplementing, you always want to do a gradual mix introduction. A little at a time. If you're doing a 100% diet change, not additive switch, as you gradually introduce the new food, you would also be gradually decreasing the old food. A good transition time for a food change is 7-10 days. A good introduction of a new supplement is around 4 days.

I hope all of this helps you with your answer, and possibly plus some if you're on the search for cat food. Good question.

  • Thanks! So far the most comprehensive response. What about "the new food"? Can it be any type of cooked meat? – Lati Jun 8 '17 at 5:46
  • @Lati that is totally dependent on your dogs needs. Chicken is good for easily upset tummies. Rabbit and duck is great for allergy related sensitive stomachs. Whitefish, salmon, lamb, rabbit & venison are the options to choose from for skin allergies or dry skin and coat. Some people do raw diets as well, but depending on your dog he may be predispositioned for pancreatic issues- for those dogs I'd stick with cooked lean, light meats like fish or chicken. Hope this helps – Christy B. Jun 8 '17 at 13:09
  • Thanks, I will start with chicken. By the way, it is all about my cat not dog:) But in a way, same topic valid for dogs as well. – Lati Jun 9 '17 at 7:35
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    Incidentally, it's pretty involved to create your own complete diet for cats, even more so if you are looking to avoid adding supplements. Just providing a single meat, especially something like chicken that has been butchered for human consumption, which is just muscle meat with no organs, is not nutritionally complete. In the wild, a cat would eat entire rodents, birds, etc, including the organs, bones, and stomach contents. If you want to cook for your cat, or feed raw meat diet, there are whole websites dedicated to the process. – Meg Dec 23 '19 at 21:25
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In a sense, yes, commercial cat foods could be addictive insofar as tasty food is addictive. This does not mean that there is anything nefarious in the commercial food (like nicotine in tobacco).

You do not need to supplement your cat's diet with fresh cooked meat.

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Commercial foods from respectable manufacturers will meet the cats' nutritional needs better than anything home-cooked is likely to. They know the requirements precisely from lab studies, and supplement the foods to meet those needs. There are specific issues to watch out for, such as ash content which can affect kidney health, but avoiding the cheapest brands will screen out most of those problems and your vet can probably recommend which brands they are happiest with.

Cats can be notoriously picky eaters, given the opportunity, and often are less appreciative of variety than we expect them to be. If you've found something the cat likes, it's entirely reasonable to stick with it for long periods, offering alternatives periodically to see whether the cat considers them interesting.

  • Thanks, that partly answers one of my question. But I still do concern about the addictive commercial food and want to know if there is a way to change my cat’s eating habit. – Lati Jun 8 '16 at 11:35
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I don't know if you have already been successful with feeding your cat home cooked food. I have 4 cats and I had once the same questions you had. I recommend you watch the documentary Pet Fooled on Netflix. My whole understanding of pet food changed ever since. I started reading more and more about raw pet food. I made research and followed Dr. Barbara Royal and Dr. Karen Becker. Google them, read them and come to your own conclusions. There is a protocol they suggest to make that transition. It has worked with me. My cats are very healthy, and their breath and hair has changed. Since I was not able to find raw food for cats in my country I started doing it my self and now I sell it and try to share what I know to other people who are concerned about their pets health enough to read and invest a little time in get new information and them evaluate. I hope this information is helpful. I wish you the best of lucks.

  • Welcome to Pets Stack Exchange - Whilst you mention raw food and that it might be better, you don't specifically address the question asked. Are you able to add anything to answer the question? – Henders Dec 23 '19 at 20:46

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