Feeding Tips for Cats Transitioning from Foster Care Transitioning a cat from foster care to a new diet can be a real struggle, but help is at hand.

Feeding Tips for Cats Transitioning from Foster Care

As joyous as it can be, bringing in a cat from foster care requires a lot of hard work. Much of it goes into helping your newly adopted feline friend transition to the new food and dietary practices. However, with the right guidelines, this transition process becomes much easier.

Bringing home a cat from foster care? Rest assured, this will be one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll ever have. 

These foster cats come from uncertain, often downright abusive, backgrounds. Hence, the fact that you are adopting or have adopted cats or kittens from foster care is something to be proud of.

However, these foster cats, after being adopted, will need extra care and attention. After all, these felines are about to adjust to a whole new environment and lifestyle. Here, a major aspect of this transition is ensuring these cats have proper nutrition and a consistent feeding routine.

Dr. Kara, a cat vet and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM), makes a crucial remark in this regard. She suggests that resetting your cat’s gut is crucial if it’s just been adopted. At the same time, you can also try probiotics if your cat is facing tummy issues at your place. However, during the transition period, consistency is key.  

All that being said, let’s check out a few essential tips to help you successfully transition a foster cat into your home. For this article, we will primarily focus on your feline friend’s dietary needs and feeding habits.

Understanding Your Cat’s Background

Before you can effectively cater to a foster cat’s nutritional needs, you must first learn of its history. That includes working out the details of where the cat has previously lived, what its diet was like, its food allergies, etc. 

Foster cats can come from various situations, including previous homes, shelters, or the streets. Each background brings its own set of dietary habits, feeding routines, and health conditions. 

Consult with the foster care or previous caretakers to collect information about the cat’s past diet, any known allergies, and its overall health. Doing so will help you make informed decisions about the cat's diet and avoid any adverse reactions or stress. You might also get a good idea regarding what kind of cat food or recipes they may like. 

Many cat parents have had an easy time feeding their adopted kittens the O.N.E. Healthy Kitten Formula Dry Cat Food. This cat food contains real chicken and is highly digestible, making it ideal for foster cats. One review for this food goes on to say, “I foster kittens all year long for a local shelter. The Purina One kitten kibble is my go-to food in transitioning them to solids.” 

The Purina Pro Plan Total Care Dry Chicken Rice Cat Food is also hailed as a good food for cats transitioning from foster care. This cat food also contains real chicken and has antioxidants for ensuring better immune system health. 

Besides, as it is rich in omega fatty acids, the food can help your feline friend get healthy skin and a radiant coat. This can be very helpful for cats from foster homes as they tend to have rough skin and coats. 

Stick to a Strict Cat Feeding Schedule

Randall Haveman, a former veterinarian, suggests that you meet your cat's nutritional needs by picking foods that address them. Of course, it does seem a simple task but it’s not going to be so easy when you actually have to feed your cat.

The cat diet you pick should provide essential carbohydrates, fats, minerals, vitamins, and proteins, including taurine. You should use nutritionally balanced commercial pet food, whether wet, dry, or a mix of both. Apart from giving your cat the right type of food, it’s also vital that you follow a consistent feeding routine. 

Consistency is crucial when helping a foster cat transition to a new diet. 

A regular feeding schedule provides security and routine, which is important for a cat adjusting to a new home. Feed your feline friend at the same time each day in a quiet, comfortable location. This helps them adjust and allows you to monitor their eating habits for any changes that could indicate health issues.

Kittens need more frequent feedings due to their rapid growth and higher energy needs. With smaller stomachs, they can't hold large amounts of food, so multiple meals a day ensure they get the essential nutrients for proper growth.

Gradual Food Transition

There will come a time when you have to change your foster cat’s diet. When that time comes, make the diet changes gradually in a step-by-step manner. Any abrupt dietary changes can easily disrupt the gut microbiota balance in your cat, especially in their kitten stage. This, in turn, can lead to issues such as vomiting and diarrhea. 

A gradual transition, however, allows the cat’s digestive system to adapt, maintaining optimal nutrient absorption and gut health.

You can begin this gradual transition process by mixing a small portion of the new food with the current food. Then, take some time, like a period of seven to ten days, to gradually increase the amount of the new food. Sticking to this slow transition process allows the cat’s digestive system to adjust and reduces the risk of adverse reactions.

During this transition period, make sure to keep an eye on the cat’s stool and overall health. The moment you notice any significant changes, immediately consult with your veterinarian.

Selecting the Right Food

Choosing the right food for your foster feline friend involves considering its age, health status, and any special dietary needs. 

For example, kittens require high-protein, high-fat diets to support their growth. Senior cats, on the other hand, might need food tailored for joint health and lower calorie intake. 

The Purina Kitten Chow Dry Cat Food is a good choice for feeding foster kittens. This food has the following qualities

  • High protein content for better growth

  • Includes DHA, choline, and B vitamins for ensuring better brain development

  • Delicious chicken and turkey flavor to stimulate appetite

  • Formulated for kittens, ensuring 100 percent complete and balanced nutrition

  • Free from artificial colors or flavors for improved overall health

If your foster cat has specific health conditions, such as kidney disease or diabetes, a veterinary diet might be necessary. 

There’s a good chance the vet might recommend the Hill's Prescription Diet k/d Kidney Care Canned Cat Food. Controlled phosphorus and low sodium levels in this food help protect your kitty’s kidney. At the same time, the food also provides essential amino acids to help your cat build lean muscle.

Hydration is Key

If you have raised a cat before, you’ll know how fussy of a drinker these felines can be. Hence, if you bring home a foster, you need to encourage it to drink more water. Who knows how water-starved it might have been in foster care. 

Serve your newly adopted friend fresh water daily, and think about using a cat water fountain. Many cats find these fountains more appealing than a still bowl as the fountains provide a sense of fresh water to them. 

Wet cat food can also help with hydration, as it contains a higher moisture content compared to dry kibble. 

Handling Food Sensitivities and Allergies

Food sensitivities and allergies can be a concern for foster cats, especially if their history is unknown. Common symptoms include itching, skin irritations, and gastrointestinal upset. 

Now, if you have good reason to believe that your cat is suffering from a food allergy, don’t worry. Just talk to your vet and help them conduct a food trial. A food trial involves feeding the cat a hypoallergenic diet with a novel protein source that your cat has not been exposed to before. This will help the vet understand whether or not your cat has any food allergies. 

To conclude our discussion, we start by pointing out the obvious. Transitioning a foster cat to a new home requires you to carefully consider its dietary needs and feeding habits. By sticking to these helpful tips, you can ensure a smooth transition for your foster feline friend. 

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