When to Change Your Cat’s Food

Cats are picky, especially when it comes to their food.

When you find one she won’t turn her nose up at, you may be tempted to stick with the same food for the course of her life. After all, changing food may lead to digestive upset when it’s done improperly. But there are reasons why you may want to switch up your cat’s diet.

There are times in your cat’s life when switching her food is necessary. These include a decrease in activity levels, a health condition or entering a new life stage.


A growing epidemic, more cats than ever are battling weight problems. If you think your cat is overweight, take her to your vet’s office. A vet will be able to go over her feeding habits, the type and the amount of food you’re giving her, and the amount of food you’re feeding her. You want to be sure that your cat is getting all of the nutrients she needs while cutting down on calories.

Additional Recommended Reading About Cats, Weight, and Diet:

Digestive Problems

Low-quality food or food sensitivities can cause digestive issues for your cat. These problems are often resolved with a premium diet that contains quality ingredients. There are also cat foods that are designed for cats with sensitive stomachs, plus supplements to help the process along.

Coat Quality/Itchy Skin

A healthy cat should have soft and shiny, as well as itch-free skin. A dull coat and flaky skin means your cat needs more fatty acids in her diet. Look on your cat’s food nutritional label to ensure there’s omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the recipe.

Itchy skin can also be caused by a food allergy. A limited ingredient diet can reduce exposure to potential allergens.

Senior Cats

Senior cats need different nutrients than kittens. A food that’s formulated specifically for older cats will contain fewer calories, higher levels of fiber, and ingredients that support the health of a senior cat (including antioxidants and joint support supplements).


If your notice your cat is showing signs of weakness or lethargy, a trip to the vet is necessary rule out Illness, surgery, and stress. A change in diet may be called for—a formula with higher levels of antioxidants can assist in boosting your cat’s immune system.

Life Stages

Cats go through different life stages that require different nutrients. Kittens need a food that’s designed to promote healthy growth—they need higher levels of protein and calories in order to grow and be active.

Adult cat food will be balanced to meet the needs of a fully grown cat, and will prevent them from becoming overweight or obese. If your cat isn’t active, it’s important to watch her weight.

A senior cat with or without medical issues may benefit from foods designed for older cats. However, if she has mobility issues or chronic conditions, a change in diet will be recommended by your vet.

Before you change your cat’s diet for any reason, always consult your vet for the best course of action, as well as an expert opinion on if your cat’s nutritional needs are being met.

Meet the Author: Amy Tokic

Amy Tokic is the Editor of Petguide.com, the flagship site to over 70 different pet communities, which offers pet parents a one-stop-info-shop for all things dog and cat related. Amy's been with PetGuide since the beginning, guided by the wisdom of her Shih Tzu mix and furry roommate, Oscar. Together, this pet power couple has their paw on the pulse of the pet industry, sniffing out trends, advice, news, tasty treat recipes and other tail-wagging stories.

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