Transitioning Cats to Raw Food

Have you thought about changing your cats diet to a raw meat diet or a higher quality wet diet? Perhaps you think there is no way your cat will accept the change. That’s because cats by nature have addictive personalities and addictive taste buds. So transitioning cats to wet or raw food food requires patience and consistency. Generally older cats are more difficult to transition than young cats, but it is always possible.

how to transition cats to raw food


Important points to consider:

  • Transition as slowly as needed.
  • Cats can starve themselves to death; never withhold food from your cat
  • Your cat may be perfectly happy on a dry food kibble diet just like a child may like to eat McDonalds everyday, but that doesn’t mean they should.
  • The speed between these steps can take days, weeks or months depending on your cat
  • Do not go directly from dry food to raw food. You must first transition to wet food
  • When mixing wet food use the highest quality wet food possible (do not use the semi-moist pouches).
  • Do not add water to dry food.
  • Do not feed dry food and raw food together or within 8 hours of each other
  • Only keep raw food out for 30 minutes maximum.

If your cat is absolutely not touching wet or raw food you can try sprinkling small amounts of flavor on top, such as:

  • treats your cat likes
  • canned tuna or  tuna juice
  • Parmesan cheese
  • capsule of salmon oil

As I said you should never starve your cat as it can be very dangerous. However, when you’re trying to transition, you can use hunger as a tool. A cat that has not eaten in 6-8 hours will be much more likely to try a new food than a cat who has constant access to dry food. I know it is hard to see your cat hungry and crying for food, but you must stay consistent and the process will work.

Once your cat is eating a fully raw ground diet you can start to experiment with Frankenprey or whole prey diets (I discuss the differences here)

Young kittens usually take to this diet no problem and will eat it directly. The same goes for outdoor or stray cats that are not used to eating dry food.

You can see my entire raw food making process here and the chicken recipe here.

Please share your experiences or questions in transitioning cats to wet or raw food.




  1. Sharon
    May 26, 2017 / 5:02 pm

    I have concerns about safety…feeding 100% raw. For that reason, I am not sure whether to half cook the meat first (as does Dr. Pierson). Have you had any of your cats become sick due to bacteria from using raw?

  2. Kath Ryan
    December 19, 2016 / 3:11 am

    I was wondering about oral care? My two cats have bad teeth that need to be cleaned annually by the vet. I was wondering if a raw diet would prevent this?

    • January 1, 2017 / 3:52 pm

      A raw diet will help with oral care. Chewing on raw bones is especially helpful to keep their teeth and jaws clean and healthy.

  3. April 6, 2015 / 11:10 am

    I don’t know why, but I’m only just now connecting the dots of how much more sense it makes to feed animals raw foods. Do you have any advice for convincing family members that this would be better for our pets health than the (generally) corn heavy commercial dry food that many people feed them?

    • April 6, 2015 / 11:59 am

      That’s a great question. First I would direct you to my post about why I feed raw – An Intro. There I explain the biological nutritional needs of cats and the differences between commercial dry food and raw food. Family members are likely also to be concerned about the practicality of it. The price, ease and safety of it. I would do all your homework first, collect information and then explain to your family the benefits and what the process will be like. Keep me updated if you decide to try and I’m happy to answer any questions!

  4. jade
    March 14, 2015 / 10:51 pm

    great post !!!

    love your blog

    would love to know your thoughts on my new post Jadiee’sLittleBlog



    Have a nice day


    • March 15, 2015 / 11:04 am

      Thanks for visiting Jade, but your links don’t work :-(

  5. March 14, 2015 / 1:28 pm

    I am amazed at the process. My girl Princess Lily, is 15 and I have a very difficult time getting her to eat all kinds of things. This has been a life time with her. She has always been to my mind, skinny, which surprises me since she is a bottomless pit for food. She hates fish, salmon and tuna. She will only eat cooked chicken and her canned chicken. I may just try the raw food and use beef, since she loves it! Thanks for a great article!

    • March 26, 2015 / 8:55 pm

      That’s interesting that she hates fishy foods. My cat goes crazy when I cook any fish or tuna. He is constantly begging for some. It is really not recommended to give cat’s fish, I give him the smallest sliver and he goes crazy. For your princess, yes a ground raw beef would probably be the easiest transition.

  6. March 14, 2015 / 9:21 am

    Wow, 20 year old cat, how amazing! Of course I would do the same at that point, anything that keeps him happy and eating. yes I made the chart.

  7. March 14, 2015 / 1:06 am

    Did you create the chart? I feed a combo of raw, wet and a little high end dry plus supplements. With my 20-year-old with CKD, anything he wants as longs as he’s eating the vet says is fine. E

    • ron
      December 17, 2016 / 2:41 pm

      It’s not good to mix raw and dry food lol, 20 years or not it’s hard on the system. Just like food brands, some vets are better than others. Also my cat is 18