Top 5 Reasons Why it is Advisable to Feed Your Cat a Variety of Food
Updated: Feb 22
During the pandemic, cat food has been frequently out of stock. Providing your cat with a variety of products can reduce stress when a product is not available, and has additional benefits.
An issue I’ve seen during the pandemic is that products are hard to find. It's been happening to me recently with Weruva and Tiki Cat canned food. Some of my most popular blog posts have been about Nutro products being out of stock or discontinued because so many people are searching for alternatives. Although I stopped using Nutro products entirely last summer, I still provide my cats with a variety of commercial brands, food types (mostly raw and canned), and proteins.
Top 5 Reasons Why Offering a Variety of Food is Advantageous:
The product can be discontinued - My cat's favorite food used to be Nutro’s Max Cat. I bought all the different flavors regularly and then all of a sudden it was no longer available. Luckily, I also fed them a mix of other brands. Finding another food to replace Max Cat was annoying, but low stress since there were other canned food brands that my cats would eat.
Nutrition - Each company does nutrition a little differently in terms of what they use for protein, fat, carbohydrates, and nutrients. Your cat's needs may vary over time. When you rely on one food, that particular nutrition formula may or may not meet your cat’s needs long-term. I like to vary the brands, types, and proteins for a good balance. I look for foods that are heavy on animal based proteins since cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they need meat to survive.
Enrichment - I love pizza, but I wouldn’t want to eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. In the wild, cats eat a variety of protein based food including mice, birds, and bugs. Depending on the climate, they may eat lizards, snakes and frogs. Providing cats with variety is more in line with what nature intended. It's similar to what nutritionists tell us . . . eat a variety of food.
Preventing Finickiness - When cats are fed the same food all the time, they may have a hard time transitioning to other food. If the food is discontinued, the formula changes, or you need to change the diet for medical reasons, your cat may be resistant. By offering not only different brands and proteins, but also different textures and types of food, your cat becomes more flexible when it comes to what food they will eat.
Safety if Product is Recalled - if you’re only using one food and that food is recalled because it was found to be dangerous, your cat is at a higher exposure since that’s the only food they have been eating. If you’re using a variety of foods, your cat will have less exposure to the danger.
Go slow when making changes. Introducing a new food can be easy or challenging depending on the cat. Some cats experience stomach upset when new food is introduced too quickly. Some cats love change and others are more resistant. Don't give up on providing variety. It will be worth it when one of your cat’s favorites is out of stock and you have other options that you know your cat will eat.
Do you need help coming up with a good feeding plan for your cat? Since I got certified as a pet nutrition coach, I began offering feeding advice consultations. Find out more by clicking the services button:
Jennifer Van de Kieft is an Advanced Feline Training & Behavior Professional located in NYC and providing services worldwide virtually.