Do you have a cat who is very fussy about food?
Are you getting a new kitten and want to prevent this from happening?
In Raising Your Paws podcast, Episode 13, (segment two) I talked about a common method of feeding cats that can contribute to the finicky eater syndrome.
Getting into more detail about picky eaters, you may be surprised to read that there are things we unknowingly do, that contributes to your cat rejecting food.
Serving cold canned leftovers from the refrigerator.
Domestic cats, like just wild cats, are designed to eat live prey – which means food that is warm. They are not scavengers like dogs who will eat anything on the ground they find – hot, cold, wet, dry, rancid, moldy, for a dog – its whatever globs they think are edible.
Because felines are not like this, they may commonly turn down food that is cold. That means if you have canned cat food leftovers, your cat may refuse to eat it. Warm it up a bit. This also releases the aroma of the food which makes it smell more appetizing. Room temperature canned food is preferable.
Only feeding one flavor and type of food all the time.
If you have a new kitten, start right away and get them used to eating a variety of foods. Feed different proteins and flavors, both wet and dry cat foods from a few different high quality food manufacturers. Vary the proteins you serve by the meal or the day. You’d get bored eating only one meat every single meal. Don’t do that to your cat.
You may have already tried to get your adult cat to eat different brands, but she won’t. This can be frustrating – I know. My sister’s cat Amber prefers to eat one lower quality brand of dry food, turning down canned cat food, and better quality kibble. No matter what it is, Amber won’t eat healthier food on any consistent basis. She doesn’t even like human food that many other cats would beg, steal, murder or mortgage your home to get. She won’t eat tidbits of chicken, or turkey, or filet mignon. My sister tried these in an attempt to see if Amber would eat anything else. It took a number of years, but fortunately, she will now deign to dine on an occasional meal of wet food and, (this was a pleasant surprise) she’ll eat a bowl of our brand of Pure Vita grain free cat food now and then.
I’ve heard from our pet food store dealers, that Pure Vita works for picky eaters but as there is no pickier cat I know than Amber, I was really glad when my sister told me Amber will eat this one other kibble.
Amber is an extreme case. However, it is in a cat’s nature to be more particular about what they eat. They learn from their biological mothers (or you if you got your kitty very young) what is considered acceptable to eat. This means some cats will lock into eating the one specific food or the limited amount of foods that was first introduced to them.
This is most likely what happened with Amber – the one unnamed particular brand of kibble was the food that she was started on as a kitten, and for her, it was initially the only food she perceived as being okay to eat. My sister adopted her at about one year old and this eating habit was already formed.
A cat’s preference or rejection of a food can depend upon not only its taste, but also the smell, size, texture and even shape of a kibble. So keep trying.
As much as possible vary their diet and start doing this as soon as you can. You CAN switch your cat onto new foods –yes, it’s going to be a slow process and the transition needs to be very gradual to avoid digestive upset and rejection of the food by your cat.
Listen to How to switch pet foods in segment 3 of Raising Your Paws Podcast episode 4.
Very Important Caution to Know! With a cat you CAN’T play the game of standoff – putting out a food they don’t like and won’t eat – and not giving them anything else – figuring they’ll finally give in and eat it when they get hungry enough. A cat who refuses to eat for more than two days, can develop serious health issues. It’s called hepatic lipidosis. Your cat’s liver cannot deal with severe calorie restriction so if a number of meals are skipped in a row, fat gets deposited into the liver which causes liver failure. At anytime, if your cat stops eating for more than two days you need to take it to the vet.
Full Show Notes for Episode 13. Title: Why Dogs Rip their Plush Toys Apart & The Most Important Feeding Rule for Your Cat.
How to adopt that specific pet you are looking for: Petfinder.com.
Source for story about the Primary Feeding Rule: The Natural Cat by Anitra Frazier with Norma Eckroate.
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