In March of 2010, we started changing the way we feed our cats.
This page describes what we did, why we did it, how we did it,
and the results we've seen so far. It is not intended as
instructions for other cat owners to follow.

The changes we made to our cats' diet were based on information on veterinarian Dr. Lisa Pierson's website, Feeding Your Cat: Know the Basics of Feline Nutrition and from a telephone consult with Dr. Pierson. I believe that the changes we made are the single best thing we've done for our cats' health and I encourage all cat owners to check out Dr. Pierson's site.


We switched our cats from Science Diet dry food to high-protein, low-carbohydrate canned food. We serve the following:

- Wellness grain-free canned food
- Blue Buffalo/Blue Wilderness grain-free canned food
- Several low-carbohydrate varieties of Fancy Feast canned food
- A couple of low-carbohydrate varieties of Friskies canned food

They eat Wellness (primarily) or Blue Buffalo for breakfast and lunch and one of the Fancy Feast or Friskies flavors for dinner.


For some years I had been vaguely worried about my cats' diet and about commercially produced cat food in general. Like a lot of people, I'd been taught that dry food is the best thing to feed cats, so I had fed Science Diet dry food for years.

As I've mentioned elsewhere on this site, we seem to encounter more than our fair share of feline illnesses and I've been suspicious that diet contributes to that. In addition, a number of our cats were overweight and obviously diet was contributing to that. Several vets I know have commented about the tendency of most dry food to contain a high percentage of carbohydrates, which made me even more concerned. Cats are carnivores, of course, so I had to wonder what all those carbohydrates were doing to them.

Finally, in March of 2010, I stumbled across Dr. Pierson's site and read it thoroughly. What she says makes good sense and after reading her site, my husband and I switched our cats to canned food. We accomplished this in phases, which are described below.


All of our cats had been eating dry food since they were babies, though we occasionally offered canned food as a treat. We figured that making a switch to canned food all at once would be met with resistance and quite possibly with tummy troubles, so we opted for a phased approach.

Phase 1

We started by serving canned food for one meal and dry food for the rest. It took a while to settle on the types of canned food we were going to use, as it had to be something that everyone agreed on. There was some experimentation involved and a fair amount of food went down the drain in the first two phases.

Probably because we'd been giving canned food as a treat, the cats readily accepted it as a meal. The biggest problem we encountered in this phase was that Tamerlane and Aisling absolutely refused to eat the Wellness food. We had to feed them one of the supplemental canned foods instead.

We also began weighing the cats weekly. This is critical, as rapid weight loss in cats can be very dangerous - even fatal.

This phase lasted from early March through mid-April of 2010.

Phase 2

In mid-April, we began serving canned food for two meals a day and dry food for one. At this point, we were still doing some experimenting with varieties of canned food and Tamerlane and Aisling were still stubbornly refusing to eat the Wellness.

This phase lasted through the end of May. During this time, we noticed an increase in the kitties' activity level. My sister, who switched all of her cats to canned food at about the same time, reported the same thing. They just seemed to feel better overall.

We continued once-a-week weighing and several of the fat ones showed nice, gradual weight loss.

Phase 3

In June, we began feeding canned food for all three meals. During this phase, both Tamerlane and Aisling abruptly began eating the Wellness. Who knows why...cats are weird.

We attempted to supplement Orion, who tends to lose weight in the summer, with Evo dry food. It's about the only low-carbohydrate dry food out there and it's quite high-calorie. Unfortunately, it didn't agree with him at all so we had to abandon that strategy.. Interestingly, when we offered a couple of the Evo kibbles to Aisling, she wouldn't touch the stuff. She's totally into canned food now.

The once-a-week weigh-ins continued through August, when we moved to every two weeks.

Phase 4

Phase 4 will begin when the kittens (Sophia and Ceylon) are a bit older. It will involve more scheduled feedings in an effort to continue the weight loss trend for the kitties who still need to lose a bit. At this point, we're pretty much feeding on demand in the evenings when we're home. Some of the cats are still experiencing slow weight loss, but several have hit a plateau.


We were quite startled by the increase in activity level in all of the cats. This occurred before any of them had lost a significant amount of weight, so I attribute it to them getting the proper nutrients and not being bogged down with carbohydrates.

We've been quite pleased with the weight loss, also - especially since they are losing weight even though we aren't restricting their intake.

We haven't been doing this long enough to see any long-term effects, of course, but we're hoping that the change in diet reduces our guys' risk of diabetes and kidney failure at the least. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the elimination of the nasty preservatives used in Science Diet may decrease the incidence of cancer, also.


Feeding dry food takes less effort than feeding canned food. There is more cleanup involved with canned food and the food has to be opened and served, rather than just sitting in the bowl all day, available whenever the cats want it. Think of it this way, though: feeding yourself - or your children - fast food every day requires less effort than cooking decent, balanced meals. We all know that living on fast food is not a good idea. The same thing goes for canned food vs. dry food, and for some of the same reasons. It's worth expending a little more effort.


Click the Tamerlane and Aisling buttons below for more detailed information about the way the diet change helped these two kitties.