Cats and their owners are creatures of habit. In some ways, having a routine is great. For example, it’s a great idea to feed your cat at the same time each day.
However, there are areas where changing things up is a good idea. If you’ve been feeding your cat the same brand of cat food for awhile, you may be wondering if it’s time to switch it up.
There are actually some good reasons to mix different brands of cat food. However, there are a few dos and dont’s you should be aware of.
Can I mix different brands of wet cat food?
Yes, you can mix different brands of wet cat food. Vets recommend feeding your cat a varied diet, including different types or brands of food.
Trial and Error
Each cat is an individual. They will have their own food preferences. Some can tolerate a wide variety of foods, while others experience digestive upset when consuming different foods.
Cats can also have food allergies, which make them unable to eat certain food ingredients.
When feeding your cat different brands of food, it’s important to monitor their response. If it’s working for your cat, great. If they have gastrointestinal upset, you may need to stick to one brand of food or make the switch gradually.
Types of Cat Food
Some cats do well when fed different types of wet food. However, this might be problematic if your cat has a preference for one type of food.
A few types of cat food have chunks of meat. These include chunks, flaked, shredded, minced, and sliced. These types typically have pieces of meat and a gravy sauce.
Pate cat food doesn’t contain chunks. Instead, the ingredients are blended together to create a spread. Puree is similar to pate, and can be either commercial or homemade.
Lastly, you have sauces and toppers. Broth and gravy are two examples of this type. These are typically used as a topper for other types, or mixed in with another type of food.
Generally, feeding your cat different types of cat food is a good idea. Each type will vary slightly in terms of nutrition and how it’s digested. It also provides your kitty with a variety of tastes and textures, which can help prevent them from getting bored with their food.
Flavors of Cat Food
When it comes to flavors of cat food, it’s about more than expanding your cat’s palate. Different flavors typically contain different protein sources as well.
Feeding your cat different sources of protein is important for their digestive system, and their overall nutrition.
Finicky Cat Troubles
If you only feed your cat one brand of food for a long period fo time, they may refuse to eat other brands. This can be problematic.
This isn’t a big deal as long as the brand they prefer is available. However, continued availability isn’t guaranteed. What happens if the stores in your area stop carrying the brand?
What if the company goes out of business for some reason? What if the company experiences a shortage, and the food is temporarily unavailable?
The more common reason for concern if your cat will only eat one brand of food is a prescription diet. Vets recommend prescription diets for a wide range of conditions, including allergies, obesity, and urinary issues. A prescription diet requires a different brand of food, which a finicky cat will likely refuse.
If your cat will only eat one brand of food, any of these situations can be very problematic. Some cats become so finicky that they will choose to go hungry rather than eat a new food.
Another reason to feed your kitty different brands of food is it provides a more balanced diet. All cat foods are supposed to be nutritionally complete, and have to meet certain nutrition guidelines.
However, a greater variety of foods is always better at providing adequate nutrition. One food will naturally be a bit higher and lower in some nutrients than another.
Feeding different brands can help your kitty get optimal nutrition, particularly if you are feeding different flavors and types of food as well.
Vets explain that cat food brands typically have a standard recipe. There will be some variation between flavors, but a lot stays the same. Feeding different brands gives your cat access to different basic recipes, which helps balance their diet.
We know that feeding your cat more than one brand of cat food is a good idea. However, more isn’t always better. There’s no need to switch between a multitude of brands.
How many brands you feed your cat will vary based on their preferences and the type of foods you feed them. Two to three varieties of wet food should be sufficient.
In addition to different brands, be sure that you are giving your cat different types and flavors of food. This is also essential for healthy variety and good eating habits.
Is Mixing Brands Necessary?
The truth is that the jury is still out on the necessity of switching cat food types or brands. Many vets say if your cat is healthy and happy, there’s no reason to make a change.
Still, there’s a lot we don’t know about cat nutrition. Switching brands might be a way to hedge your bets. If one brand is missing something, the other brand may contain it.
Can I mix different brands of dry cat food?
Yes, you can mix different brands of dry cat food. The odds of your kitty having gastrointestinal upset is higher with different brands of dry food. This is likely due to the high amount of grains in many types of dry food. However, many cats do well with different brands.
Some cats will experience gastrointestinal upset when eating different types or brands of food.
This can be caused by inflammatory bowel disease. In this case, dietary changes can trigger a flare up.
Food allergies are another concern. Feeding your kitty a variety of foods can reduce their risk of developing allergies. However, if they do have a food allergy, this can make changing the food brand a bit more difficult.
It shouldn’t be problematic as long as both types of food don’t have any ingredients your cat is allergic to.
Lastly, some cats simply have sensitive stomachs. These cats will experience gastrointestinal upset if their food is changed, because their digestive system doesn’t cope with the change well.
Any of these issues can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. If this occurs, you’ll need to go back to the other food, or make the change gradually.
Can you switch between cat food brands?
Yes, you can switch between cat food brands. It can even provide benefits for your cat. However, there are some things you should know before alternating or switching brands.
Choose Quality Foods
First, any food you choose should be the best quality you can provide. Wet food, particularly grain free wet food, is considered the best for cats. Freeze dried or raw diets can also be beneficial.
However, this can be cost prohibitive. Not everyone can afford to feed their cat these options. Other cat owners may choose to feed these high quality options as part of their cats’ diet, along with less expensive options.
How to Feed Different Brands
There are several ways to feed your kitty different brands of food. One way is to feed them both wet and dry food. These can be different brands and different flavors for maximum variety.
One way to do this is to mix the wet and dry food together before feeding. If you want to leave food out for your cat while you are at work, leave dry food out for them while you are away. When you are home, give them wet food.
This is important because wet food should not be left out for more than a few hours. It can grow bacteria that can make your kitty sick if it’s at room temperature for 4 hours or more.
If you plan to switch between brands of dry or wet food, how often to switch is up to you and your cat. Some cat owners will feed one brand for a few weeks, or until the package of food is completely gone.
They will then switch to another brand, and feed that one for a period of time.
Others will combine two brands of food for each feeding, or feed one brand in the morning and another in the afternoon.
There are no hard and fast rules. Instead, you’ll need to figure out what works best for you and your cat.
If you choose to feed one brand for a month or more and then switch, you may want to follow the instructions for switching brands below.
How to Switch Brands
If you want to switch from one brand to another, it’s best to do so gradually. If your cat has a sensitive stomach, it’s best to follow a gradual change schedule.
Days 1-3, feed 25% new food and 75% old food. On days 4-6, increase to 50% new food and 50% old food. For days 7-9, feed your cat 75% new food and 25% old food. On day 10, transition to only the new food.
If your cat does well with new foods, you may want to do this process by increasing the new food by 25% each day, and feeding them only new food by day 4 or 5.
If your kitty has a very sensitive stomach, you may need to increase the new food more slowly than mentioned above.