For cats, if you're transitioning them to raw food, it can take a little bit of time for them to get used to it. Some cats and most kittens will eat it right away without any hesitation. If they're eating dry kibble now, you may need to switch them to wet food first. Then you can mix the raw in with the wet and keep increasing the percentage of raw until it's all raw. Cats tend to prefer it room temperature and may wait until it’s warmed up a bit to eat it. It can take a few weeks and a lot of patience.
There’s a reason cats appear to be finicky. It’s actually a manifestation of their natural instinct to fixate on a certain food, which helps kittens learn what food is and to recognize it later on. Cats that have been eating the same thing for a long time may not recognize fresh raw meat as food. Commercial pet foods are coated with flavor enhancers that become addictive to cats and it will probably take some patience on your part to transition your cat.
For cats who are new to raw, we've found that cats have the best success with transitioning if you feed our proteins in this order - Fine Chicken, Fine Chicken & Salmon, Fine Duck & Salmon, Fine Turkey & Beef.
If your cat currently eats kibble only:
Start by offering your cat a small portion of raw meat as a treat in the morning and evening. You may need to warm it up. Don't microwave it, you may end up accidentally cooking it, rather place it in a bag in a bowl of warm water. If your cat eats it, gradually start feeding raw food at meal times, slowly increasing the amount of raw food and decreasing the amount of dry food you feed each day. If your cat won’t eat the raw food alone, start by mixing a small amount with their kibble and gradually increase the raw portion. Ideally, you don't want your cat to have too many meals with mixed kibble and raw food because kibble digests more slowly.
Another option is to transition to a commercial wet food, then transition to the raw diet from the canned food. Sometimes this makes it easier for cats to transition.
If your cat currently eats wet food only:
Start by placing small amounts of the raw diet next to the regular diet or mix with their current wet food. Gradually begin increasing the ratio of raw to canned until the transition is complete.
If your cat eats both wet and dry food:
Slowly move to a feeding schedule for the wet food twice per day and reduce the amount of kibble left out during the day for grazing. Add small amounts of the raw diet to the canned wet food or offer as a separate treat at meal time. Gradually begin offering kibble only during meals, and eventually not at all. For cats that have trouble recognizing a raw diet as food and are completely ignoring it all together, here is something to try:
Place a tablespoon of raw food next to their regular food. This will let the cat begin to associate raw food with their meal time. It may be a slow process, with the cat only sniffing it at first, but gradually, they begin to decide this might also be food, will taste it, and eventually begin a transition.
In the beginning you may see stools that are loose, odd or not happening. This is completely normal and natural when switching to a raw diet. You may see some soft, badly formed, oddly textured and/or oddly colored stool, sometimes with mucus. Cats sometimes have trouble digesting raw food properly after being on highly processed commercial food and it takes a while for everything to start working properly. It is not unusual to have a day or two without a bowel movement. Once the digestive system has adapted, you will see stool that is firm, small, essentially odorless and quick to dry out and decompose.