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Is a rotation diet right for your cat?

Could you imagine if your parents fed you the same thing, day in and day out, for the rest of your life? It seems like an unlikely scenario for humans, but many pet parents unwittingly give their cat the same food every day.

Even though commercial pet food is formulated to be a complete and balanced meal, not having enough variety in your cat’s diet can lead to problems down the road. You may want to look into the rotation diet for your cat.

What is a rotation diet?

Variety is the spice of life. The rotation diet, which is also referred to as rotation feeding, builds on this concept. You give your cat a variety of brands, flavors, and textures on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.

By changing up which foods you feed your cat on a regular basis, you’re also one step closer to mimicking the diet of your cat’s wild ancestors. Even feral cats know that the secret to getting as many nutrients as possible is to eat a varied diet. That is why house cats that used to live on the street are thought to be more picky about eating the same food everyday.

What are the benefits of a rotation diet?

Moreover, having your cat accustomed to eating several brands of food can help you avoid having to do a sudden pivot if one of the varieties is recalled or out of stock, which could upset your cat’s stomach if done incorrectly. The rotation diet can also help your cat avoid developing food allergies, intolerances, and deficiencies that can develop after a lifetime of eating only one kind of food.

What are the drawbacks?

Not every cat takes to trying a new food very well. Mild stomach upset can occur, so talk to your vet about an appropriate probiotic to give your cat to support the transition. You may also want to mix the new food and the old food until your cat is able to eat the new food on its own. If you find that your kitty isn’t thrilled about certain flavors during your trial period, don’t get discouraged. This process is about learning about what your cat likes and doesn’t like.

How do you begin a rotation diet?

The best time to begin a rotation diet is to start when your kitty is young, but you can begin a rotation diet at any time in their life. Just be sure to check in with your vet if your cat is on a prescription diet or has any illnesses. Rotation diets can still be done with different prescription flavors, textures, and brands, but it’s better to do so under the advice of your vet.

For healthy kitties, you can begin by researching the best cat foods, keeping in mind if your cat has any allergies or flavor preferences. You can buy individual cans from the pet store or write to companies for free samples. Then, make a chart and keep notes of which brands, flavors, and textures your cat seems to enjoy. Once you’ve established a good spread of foods to choose from, you can either devise a schedule, create a pattern, or just choose cans at random. Your cat will be thrilled to find out what’s next at each meal time!


Candace Elise Hoes is a pet sitter and blogger at Katie’s Kitty. She is a graduate of the MFA Writing Program at California College of the Arts.

Photo by meineresterampe on Pixabay.

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