my cat is a picky eater

Do you know that cats have higher standards than dogs? If your cat is a picky eater, you are aware of the difficulty in getting them to eat. Your cat may not be receiving the nutrients it requires, and there are worries that it may be gaining or losing too much weight, which could lead to health issues in the future.

But just because your cat regularly rejects the food you give it doesn’t mean they are necessarily picky. Dr. Carly Fox, a staff physician at the Animal Medical Center in NYC, advises people not to assume that their cat is a picky eater. To ensure that your cat doesn’t have a disease or condition that results in them being picky or having a decreased appetite, you should first have them examined by a veterinarian. Then you can go ahead and make some changes to your feline friend’s eating habits if it turns out that they are completely healthy but just have a picky palate.

Opt for a Wet Food Diet

Your picky cat should be fed a wet food diet or a mix of wet and dry food, according to Dr. Fox. She says that “wet food diets are usually more tasty.” She also adds “they contain more water, which is advantageous because older cats are more likely to develop kidney problems. Since wet food keeps them more hydrated than dry food does, it is good for their kidneys.”

Make Their Food More Appetizing

According to Dr. Fox, there are a few things you can try if your cat won’t eat its food as it is in the can. To improve the flavor of their canned wet food, first add chicken stock or tuna water. If they are having trouble staying hydrated, you can also add either liquid to their water. Second, considering that microwaving food makes it smellier, try doing so. Actually, cats are more drawn to smelly food.

Be Intentional About Feeding Time

Maintaining a regular eating schedule for your feline friends is essential, just as it is for humans. To teach your cat that it must eat at a certain time, Dr. Fox advises leaving its food out for a set amount of time, such as 20 minutes, and then taking it away. You can purchase a cat feeder to feed your cat if you aren’t home when it’s time for a meal. The Cat Mate C20 and the PetNet Smart Feeder, which have automatic feeding timers that only permit your cat’s food to be given at a specific time, are recommended by Dr. Fox.

Additionally, she cautions against leaving dry food out all day because excessive grazing can result in obesity, which can have negative health effects. Some cats are social eaters, just like how we like to eat as a family or group at the table. Try having your cat eat with another animal, or even try eating with your cat yourself, if it is picking at its food when it is by itself.

Switch Up the Diet

Every now and then, we all need a little variety in our diets. Dr. Fox advises varying the protein source you give your cat if they are picky eaters. She advises substituting duck, venison, or turkey for the typical chicken and tuna because “cats appreciate different flavors in their diets.”

She does, however, advise against feeding your cat too much variety in food. She supports a rotation for food, but you should be implementing the change gradually. Additionally, avoid providing your cat with a variety of brands to choose from all at once. While your natural inclination may be to buy as many as you can and let your cat make the decision, Dr. Fox warns that this could have the opposite effect of what you intend because it encourages your cat’s pickiness. It seems that allowing your picky cat to choose their food slowly can make them even pickier.

Take Your Cat’s Age and Health Into Account

Dr. Fox advises cat owners to make sure they buy kitten food rather than adult food. Since adult cats and kittens have different calcium and protein needs, kitten food will also contain nutrients to aid in growth in addition to calcium and protein for growth. Older cats “won’t want to jump on the counter that much because they likely have arthritis or orthopedic disease,” Dr. Fox notes, so you’ll want to make sure your cat’s food is accessible. Make sure their food and water bowls are accessible so they can actually eat by doing so.