Oh Those Finicky Cats!

by Kevin Schafer 
I was so excited when I brought my first bag of Sojourner Farms natural cat food home. At the time, I was working for a holistic vet who taught us all about the ills of our fast food culture. I knew about the toxic ingredients present and all about the synthetic additives added into most pet foods. I asked myself, “Would I be healthy eating a pellet out of a bag every day?” Of course not. This was very obvious to me except for one thing . . . my cats hated it. To say the least, this posed a small problem that had not even crossed my mind. I just assumed that they would love their new fresh, raw pet food. How could they not? That was day one. I took a deep breath, cleared my head, and figured that tomorrow was a new day and it would just take a little longer than I had expected. Little did I know . . .

The next day I tried feeding Sojos natural cat food mix again, and despite my high hopes, failed again. All three of them just sniffed their dishes and then stared at me with the same puzzled look that I gave my mom when she, without warning, switched my Wonder-bread P. B. & J. with a whole grain, made from the earth, organic, suitable for royalty P .B & .J. (if you haven’t guessed I hated it). So the question became, how do you beat the finicky critter within? You sneak it up on them, that’s how.

The next day I knew that I had to start giving less food. I mixed in a teaspoon with their old pet food. Again, they each refused it. Many frustrating thoughts were dancing through my head. The following day I had a new plan. I would add 1/8 teaspoon on top of their old pet food. I would not stir it in, and would implement a 5 to 10 minute feeding window. I would feed them each in a separate room, my goal being to sneak the food into them and hope that slowly but surely they would get used to the taste. Finally, I had some success. They actually ate some of their new raw pet food. No, it wasn’t a whole bowl — but it was a start. The plan was in motion. I did the same thing for the next few days and they kept eating it. At that point I figured I could give them more of the raw pet food. I think I mixed in a teaspoon or so at that point. They each took a couple of bites and walked around a bit, took a couple more bites and walked around some more. It was too much too soon. I had to keep it slow. I went back to 1/8 teaspoon of the new raw pet food and did that for about a week. It was going smooth so I went to a 1/4 teaspoon and that worked too. I had learned to increase the raw pet food in just tiny amounts. When I got to a full teaspoon I started to diminish their old pet food very gradually, and increase their new food by about 1/4 teaspoon every couple of days. While they were a bit tentative at times, it was working. I just decreased their kibble and added a little more Sojourner Farms each time. I think that the whole process took me 5-6 weeks. They were eating their natural pet food, though still not going nuts for it.

Then after a couple of weeks of having them completely on the raw pet food, I had a huge breakthrough. I opened the fridge and at the same time heard a growl coming from below me. My cats were trying to climb in the fridge to get their food. All of their tails were puffed up. It was a frenzy! I put their dishes down and each of them devoured their food in about 45 seconds. It was the beginning of what is now my daily ritual. To put it mildly, they really like to help me out when it is supper time, whether I need it or not. In the past seven years there has not been one time that they haven’t completely finished their food. And now I can even add small amounts of fresh greens, and other assorted veggies . . . and they absolutely love it!!

For years I was under the belief that a finicky cat was just that, and there was nothing I could do about it. Now I believe that finicky pets are a symptom of the processed foods that lack the natural vitamins and enzymes that their bodies need. I figure I wouldn’t be too excited about eating either if I had to eat a processed pellet or canned pet food everyday. But taken slowly, I now know it is possible to get those finicky critters excited about eating again.

So remember, for those of you having a tough time with those finicky critters, here’s a list of tips to assist you in getting them switched. If they don’t help, give us a phone call at Sojourner Farms, toll-free 1-888-867-6567. Anyone here would be more than happy to speak with you. We’ve all been there.


1. Remember to switch slowly, there is no need to rush.

2. When starting our pet food, begin with as small as 1/8 teaspoon put on top of their existing pet food. The same is true for added vegetables. Don’t add too much of a new food all at once, and try one new thing at a time so as to not overwhelm your critter. Chop veggies into very fine pieces or put them into a food processor if need be.

3. Use a 5 to 10 minute feeding window. (Their bodies were never meant to have food available 24 hours a day.) If they refuse to eat, put the food in the fridge and try again in an hour. If they still refuse then wait til the next day. They will get the idea after a few days. And don’t worry, they won’t starve. A little fasting now and then is great for cats!

4. Feed each of your cats in a separate room with a closed door between them. Cats are typically solitary eaters and enjoy it that way. That will also prevent the dominant cat from stealing everyone’s food.

5. Be very, very patient. It will make for a smoother transition. You cat needs you and you won’t regret it!