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Switching To Fish Free Food

Discussion in 'Cat Nutrition' started by Katsols, Aug 13, 2019.

  1. Katsols

    Katsols Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Aug 13, 2019
    Hello everyone!
    don't know why it took me so long to sign up here but I'm glad :D

    Anyway I have read how feeding cats canned food that have fish is not good health wise in the long term. I have been buying cans from weruva.

    The process is grueling because he will barely touch can food that does not have fish in it. He'll eat the chicken and salmon can but not the chicken itself and he won't even go near the beef.
    He's always been fed canned food that had fish, I used to feed him wellness chicken and salmon, and again when i tried switching to something without fish he wont eat it.

    And when he is hungry and is not given food he eats he starts doing this thing where he pulls fur from his back (already saw vet for this) and so far he stopped doing this for a long while and he just did it today when i bought and fed him chicken canned food. Came home from work and only the broth was gone.
    What can i do to switch him? or is it a lost cause?

    Thank you! :blush:
     
    Maria Bayote and Furballsmom purraised this.

  2. Furballsmom

    Furballsmom Cat Fan especially Black Cats Staff Member Forum Helper

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  3. white shadow

    white shadow TCS Member Top Cat

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    Hi Katsols and welcome to the forum !

    The Golden Rule when changing a cat's food is..........to do it.... s l o w l y !

    Sudden, abrupt changes will often produce the effect you're seeing......resistance and/or refusal.

    Now, fish is well known for its addictive quality, so, given that he's always had it to some degree or other, it's sure to be a long road - perhaps a very long one - to a finish line sans poison !

    I suggest that, at this point, a realistic goal will be to have him accept foods with a lesser amount/percentage of fish onboard. Over time, the fish content can be continually reduced in very small increments.

    I see a couple of practical strategies to accomplish this.....

    But, first a short preface....because you've 'messed with' his food recently, he has lost trust in what you're giving him. So, you want that trust back - therefore, go back to his original fishy foods for at least a couple of/3 weeks, so that any suspicion is put to rest. Considering how long he's had fish, another short period will do no harm.​

    The first method is to 'dilute' one of his currently acceptable fishy foods by adding in a very small amount of a no-fish product. Let's take the food you mentioned up above, the Wellness Chicken & Salmon. My suggestion is to take a can of that and mix in about 10% of its weight using Wellness Chicken. Mix it really well and just serve it. Don't hesitate or be tentative or wait around watching, just put it down and go about your business as if nothing has happened.

    After a couple of weeks, 'up' the quantity of the added plain product by another 10%. As you continue this schedule, make the periods between the changes longer.....so, for instance, keep him on the +10% formula for a couple of weeks, the +20% for a month or so, the +30% for 7-8 weeks - and so forth.

    Time and patience will do it.

    When you mix, keep the foundation and the added flavour/variety the same, i.e. both to be chicken, both beef, both turkey etc.

    And, changing up those flavours/varieties can also help, because the changes will be more difficult to notice. I think there are enough Wellness varieties with & without fish to make this work well for you.

    I think planning will be key for you. I know I would need to actually create a schedule for this. There are practicalities to be figured out as well....can sizes, saving leftovers or not, preparing and mixing 'out-of-sight' etc.

    If you're intent on this, you can do it. And, there will be a payoff.

    I had said that I had a couple of how-to ideas.....in re-thinking that (which would have involved adding a different brand to one of his favourites) it's probably best to first try and regain his trust with the varieties he's familiar with. In the (hopefully) unlikely chance that it doesn't, that could be a 'Plan B'.

    One thing - another Golden rule - never allow a cat to go without their basic nutritional requirements. It can have very grave medical consequences. Cats must eat - they don't metabolize body fat well at all. And, a shortage of one particular amino acid can cause blindness and heart disease in relatively short order.

    So........what do you think?
    .
     
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  4. MissClouseau

    MissClouseau TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    "If you’re feeding good quality commercial cat food manufactured by a reputable company, you can safely feed fish-based food without risking thiamine-deficiency or pansteatitis." This is from the link Furballsmom shared.

    If you are worried about feeding with only fish-based food, there are wet foods with fish as the smaller ingredient. Like "chicken & fish" but the fish in lesser amount. Or, Hill's® Science Diet® Adult Savory Salmon Entrée cat food this for example says salmon but look at the ingredients list -- it has more pork liver than salmon
     
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  5. Katsols

    Katsols Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Aug 13, 2019
    Wow thank you everyone for the great suggestions! I will try adding it little by little and slowly get him used to plain flavor.
    I need to buy his fishy food today after work so i added just a few drops of tuna water to the food he hasn't touched since last night and he devoured it... just a few drops smh lol he loves his stinky food.
     
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  6. white shadow

    white shadow TCS Member Top Cat

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    Well, first off........anyone offering 'help' should, at the very least, understand the nature of the question/request that was posed........and, that doesn't appear to have happened here at first.

    Here, the thread's title is "Switching to.....". Given that, it's difficult to understand why someone would offer a link/reference that runs contrary to someone's stated intent !

    Then, there's Katsols's actual request:
    So, again, why reply with 'No worries, fish is just fine'....?


    The real risks of feeding fish go far beyond "risking thiamine-deficiency or pansteatitis"......fish is not a natural food to cats - they did not evolve eating fish (few lakes, fewer fish are/were found in deserts!), but what makes this protein source particularly dangerous for our cats these days is that the type of (so-called) "fish" that is being peddled by the petfood industry......it's offal, it's garbage, it's unfit for human consumption. Here is but one piece from a world-renowned feline Veterinarian on the pitfalls of feeding fish to cats: Why Fish is Dangerous for Cats – Little Big Cat.
    .
     
    Katsols purraised this.

  7. MissClouseau

    MissClouseau TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Some people might have different opinion than yours. It shouldn't be that weird on a public forum. And the OP said s/he found the suggestions useful so I don't know what you are on about honestly.
     
    Uncled and Furballsmom purraised this.

  8. lisahe

    lisahe TCS Member Top Cat

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    This is a good sign -- I wonder if a few bonito flakes might help, too? Maybe if you were to start with those and then gradually reduce them you could switch your cat to just land-based protein?

    The tuna juice is a good indication that you're not faced with a lost cause. :) I try to keep our cats on low fish -- they just get a little, usually far down on the ingredient list, in two or three meals a week -- and our vet is very anti-fish, for basically the same reasons @white shadow mentioned. The potential for fish contributing to thyroid disease and inflammation/sensitivities is what concerns me the most.

    If you're looking for stinky foods, I wonder if something like Nutro Natural Choice might work? Their chunky chicken pate is pretty smelly and lots of cats -- including ours! -- seem to find it irresistible.
     
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  9. Katsols

    Katsols Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Aug 13, 2019
    I really hope it's not too late, he is about 8-9 y/o vet determined.
    One of the things i love about him is that he's really not that picky and tolerates changes well, this is just the only thing im having issues with.

    I didn't even think about adding bonito flakes, i can add even a tiny amount of something fishy smelling and he'll eat it.
    So I'll try the long but steady switch.
    I appreciate everyones responses.
     

  10. Furballsmom

    Furballsmom Cat Fan especially Black Cats Staff Member Forum Helper

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    :vibes::goodluck: Let us know how things go :crossfingers:
     
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  11. 1 bruce 1

    1 bruce 1 TCS Member Top Cat

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    We have successfully (though it was a very slow process) transitioned some hard core adult kibble cats to a diet of canned and then raw, so it's never too late! If that's possible, and he's eating food with just a few drops of fish in it, it might turn easier than you'd expect.
    Have you considered adding a good quality fish oil to his (non fish based) food, so he gets the benefits of the omega 3 fatty acids on top of a less fish-heavy diet with the same aroma and flavor? This will cause no harm and might lead to some good benefits of his heart health, skin and coat health, joint health, etc.
    Welcome aboard to TCS :hellocomputer:
     
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  12. lisahe

    lisahe TCS Member Top Cat

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    I totally agree! Our previous cat was a hard-core kibble and canned fish food addict until her last months, when she was very sick and I switched her over to wet food only, mostly without fish. She was so sick that she wasn't very hungry but I kept trying new foods out on her and she came to like some of them. Including raw food on the first go! All of which is to say 1) if at first you don't succeed and 2) slow and steady. ;)

    Another one that our cats really like is Whole Earth Farms duck. It's not super stinky but for some reason the cats really lap it up. (Some of the other foods in that line have potato, which one of our cats can't eat but the duck has good ingredients.)
     
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