Deciding when and how you should change your cat's diet takes some planning. Because cats are creatures of habit, it is not uncommon for them to prefer their current cat food to a new food. They, like humans, become accustomed to something, such as a particular food, and may not welcome a disruption to their routine.
Tips for Successfully Changing Your Cat’s Diet
The following tips should help you change your cat's diet and successfully transition your cat to a new food:
- Introduce the new food gradually. This is the most successful way to ease your cat into the diet change. Start by mixing 25% new food with 75% current food. Slowly change the proportions over the next three days or so by gradually increasing the amount of new food and decreasing the amount of current food. At the end of this weaning process, you should be feeding 100% of the new food. You may encounter difficulties; for example, your cat might choose to eat only the old food, or not eat at all. However, a healthy cat can miss meals for a day or two with no ill effects.
- Watch your body language. Bringing a new food into your home, placing it into a bowl, and declaring that your cat had better eat it might cause your cat to go on an eating strike. It is better to introduce the new food to the cat using a pleasant tone of voice. Gently encourage the cat to try the new food.
- Don't give in to demands. It is important not to give up too soon. During the initial two-day period, do not give your cat treats or table scraps! Cats train us as much as we train them. Giving in to their demands only reinforces refusal behavior and makes it more difficult to make a nutritious dietary change.
- Expect a challenge when changing from a moist food to a dry food. The biggest challenge in switching diets occurs when changing from a moist food to a dry food. If your cat continues to resist eating dry food, mix a little warm water with it. You may even want to put the moistened food in the microwave for a few seconds. If you mix the food with water it is important to discard the uneaten portion after 20 minutes. This prevents spoilage. The same rule applies for canned food. After the cat has become accustomed to the moistened food, you can wean him or her onto the dry food.
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Understanding and learning how to decipher kitten food product codes will help you choose the right kitten food. While selecting the right ingredients is important, making sure those ingredients are fresh is just as vital to your young cat. Learn how to read the product codes of kitten food packages and cans with our handy guide.
What Is a Product Code?
A product code is a series of numbers and letters printed on the outer package of each product a manufacturer produces. This code provides information about when and where the kitten food was made.
As part of the product code, IAMS™ products include a “Best Used By” date, or the date at which the product is no longer considered fresh and should no longer be sold. This date is expressed in “ddmmyy” and “ddmmmyy” formats.
The second line of the product code represents company internal information for use in traceability and inventory control.
Line 1: (ddmmyy) (ddmmmyy)
Example: 040220 04FEB20
Line 2: 60351111## QQQQQQQ
This product should be used before February 4, 2020.
Depending on the production line, pouch products* may have code date information in a single or double line. By recognizing and understanding these codes, customers can make sure they are receiving a fresh product.
What Is Shelf Life?
Shelf life is the duration, measured in months, during which a properly stored kitten food product maintains its freshness. This means if a product has a 16-month shelf life, it is fresh for up to 16 months from the date of manufacture.
The shelf life for IAMS dry kitten foods is 16 months. All canned formulas have a shelf life of 24 months.
How to Properly Store Dry and Wet Kitten Food
Unopened dry kitten food products are best stored off the floor in a cool, dry place. Open bags of kitten food should be stored in a clean, dry container with a tight seal. Dry kitten food products may also be frozen without loss of nutrients.
Opened wet kitten food products are best kept refrigerated in tightly sealed containers for no more than three days after the container has been opened. Wet products should not be frozen in unopened cans. However, wet kitten foods can be frozen if removed from the container, packed in freezer containers and frozen immediately.
*IAMS has no kitten pouch products at this time.
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