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Cat Food Types: What is a Novel Protein?

If kitty develops food sensitivities, it’s time to try something new


Why is my cat having a reaction to a food they’re always eaten?

Cats are carnivores, fueled by animal protein. But after eating the same protein for a long period of time, some cats can develop persistent tummy trouble or itchy skin.

Novelty to the rescue

A “novel” protein just means a “new” protein your pet hasn’t eaten before. Whitefish, chicken and turkey are all common protein sources in cat food. If your kitty has developed a reaction to one of these, you can substitute some less-common meat such as venison, sardines, salmon and trout.

You’re likely to find these novel proteins in high-quality cat food labeled limited ingredient, grain-free, natural, or for sensitive stomachs. In fact, when you’re researching possible replacement food, ingredient labels are your best friends. Double check that the new food doesn’t have any whitefish, chicken or turkey in it.

How to switch it up

To transition cats to a new diet, replace a small amount of their old food with the new food at their usual mealtime. If they tolerate the new stuff well, keep replacing a little more of the old food with the new at each meal for seven days, until you’ve switched completely over to the new food.

It can take up to three months for a replacement diet to work its magic. Give it time and record your kitty’s progress!

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