Dear Doctor: New diet not agreeing with cat


Q. We needed to switch our cat to a different diet to help manage her heart disease, but I can see after only a couple of days that it’s making her sick. Her stomach is gurgling, and she has diarrhea. How are we supposed to slow the course of her disease with food when the therapeutic diet is something her body can’t tolerate?

Avery Hutchins
Flagstaff, Arizona

Dear Ms. Hutchins,

A. There’s a very good chance that it’s not the food making your cat sick but the fact that you didn’t switch from the old food to the new one gradually. It takes most cats at least a week to adjust, starting on day 1 with 90 percent old food and 10 percent new, then gradually changing the ratio until she’s at 90 percent new food by day 6.

Your cat may still have some GI issues after a week, but they should be calming down. You can go back to a little more of the old food and less of the new if she needs more time to adjust.

Of course, if even with a gradual switch your pet is still having problems, talk to the vet. There are usually several different brands of foods that can be used to deal with a particular medical situation, and if one doesn’t agree with your cat, another will.


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