We know very well that we should eat different food items at each meal. It’s not only about our taste buds; nutritionists always tell us to have “a rainbow” on our plates to receive adequate nutrition. But what about cats and dogs? They eat complete and balanced commercial diets, right? So why should they eat a different type of food each day, or even at each meal? Let’s find out!
Whether you feed a raw or commercial cat diet, it’s good to provide some variety and not stay fixed on one recipe or one brand. Below is a list of reasons why feeding more than one type of food can be beneficial to you and your cat.
IMPORTANT NOTE #1: Adding new food to a cat’s diet should be done slowly. Initially, give your cat a small bite to taste and then gradually increase the amount you provide. Introducing new food too rapidly can lead to gastrointestinal upset, which may be expressed as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
IMPORTANT NOTE #2: Talk to your vet if your cat has a chronic medical condition or allergy. Many treatment plans require a fixed diet to be successful.
- Provide your cat with an even more “balanced” diet. In the pet food industry, as with human food, the truth is that there is no such thing as a complete and balanced formula. Your cat’s nutritional requirements are not constant; they change, even throughout the day. Assuming that one cat food contains all the necessary ingredients is gambling on very high stakes (your cat’s health). Why not increase your cat’s chances of good health by providing more than one “complete,” yet different, diet? Alternating the type of food you feed your cat every meal is the best way to make it happen.
- Reduce allergy risk. Contrary to common sense, you have to introduce a whole bucket of different ingredients to prevent certain allergies from developing. Allergies can develop over time if you feed the same ingredient every day, every week, every year. The best way to avoid food allergies is to provide your cat with a variety of foods and ingredients. Switching from one chicken/corn cat food to another one is better than never changing at all, but it won’t do the trick.
- Add some joy to your cat’s life. Do you love having different food each meal? Most of us do. Are animals different? No. Are they just animals? No, again. And we know this belief is deep, so we’ll repeat: animals do love variety in their diet. Humans and cats both can easily operate on a single food item in every meal, especially if we are used to it. Buckwheat in the morning, buckwheat for lunch, buckwheat for dinner; delicious, right? Pour some variety in your cat’s bowl. It can make a huge difference in how the grass smells and how the sun shines.
- Reduce your cat’s pickiness. Rotating your cat’s diet helps prevent your cat from developing a preference for a single brand. Brand preference is no big deal until you need to change your cat’s diet. Even if you think that you won’t change his diet, you can’t predict when a medical diagnosis might require dietary changes, nor can you predict when a manufacturer might stop making a specific line of its food or even change the recipe of a particular brand. And what if you unexpectedly run out of cat food and you just can’t get a certain brand overnight?
- Teach yourself to follow new tendencies. It takes a lot of work to find the best commercial cat food brand. Once you find one, it takes even more work to realize that an even better one might be available just around the corner. The pet food industry is changing fast, and new foods appear regularly. What was considered premium cat food 10 years ago is known as junk food today. If you are used to adding new pet foods to your cat’s diet every once in a while, you can also adopt the habit of following these changes and being better informed.
If you do prepare your cat’s food at home, it’s also a good idea to have more than one recipe in your arsenal. No single recipe can be completely balanced, and it’s good to learn new recipes regularly.
You can also check out another way of raw feeding, called Frankenprey. We do not know if the name is related to Frankenstein, but the idea is that you feed only one or a few raw ingredients at each meal; over the course of a week, your cat receives all the ingredients he needs for a complete diet. Find out more about Frankenprey here.
One last thing. It’s not about buying 100 cat foods and mixing them all in one bowl. It’s best to have a few in your fridge or cupboard and give different foods at different meals. Once you get into the routine, you can easily discover new foods and leave behind those that your cat no longer appreciates.