3 Steps for Transitioning Your Cat to a New Pet Food

There will likely be a time when your cat will need to switch to a new food, whether it’s to a dietetic food or simply one that better suits their life stage. Cats should transition to their new cat food gradually to avoid stomach upset. Here are three tips to help ensure success.


Determine the right amount per serving

bag of dry hills food with highlight on recommended feeding chart

Make sure that you’re not overfeeding your cat and the portions they get are appropriate for their weight and health needs. A good way to start is by checking the feeding guide on the back of your cat’s food packaging, but your veterinarian will have the best recommendation.


Follow this 7-day transition schedule

Over a week, gradually decrease the amount of your cat’s current food while increasing the amount of new cat food. The foods may be offered mixed in a single bowl or in separate bowls side-by-side. For fussy cats, the transition time could take 10 days or slightly longer.

pet food transition days 1-2
DAYS 1-2
pet food transition days 3-4
DAYS 3-4
pet food transition days 5-6
DAYS 5-6
pet food transition day 7

Add a little wet food if needed

cat eating from bowl with can of wet hill's food on the side

Cats can be wary of changes, especially new foods. A little bit of canned food can go a long way in getting them to try a new food. If you do add wet food, take those calories into account so you don't overfeed, and make sure to check with your vet on the proper amount.

Reviewed by Dr. Hein Meyer, DVM, PhD, Dipl-ECVIM-CA and Dr. Becky Mullis, DVM, DACVIM (Nutrition)