What to Do to Help a Picky Cat Eat Better

Learn some techniques for helping a picky cat eat better.

Do you have a kitty that seems to like a specific type of food for a while but then turns up her nose to it? Or maybe she only picks at her food no matter what you give her, preferring to wait for treats or people food.

It's essential for a cat's good health that she eats a well-balanced diet primarily made up of cat food formulated for the life stage she's in. Follow these tips to help your cat eat better.

First, Visit a Vet if the Pickiness Is New

If your cat used to eat well but has suddenly become finicky, there may be a medical problem. Make an appointment for a thorough check-up before doing anything else. Once your vet clears your kitty's health, you can move on to using some of the other ideas presented here.

Your vet should also recommend a type of food suitable for your cat's life stage (kittenhood, adulthood, or senior) and lifestyle (sedentary or highly active).

Many Cats Like Wet or Moist Food

Because cats in the wild are carnivorous and live by eating prey, many of them prefer food with higher moisture content than plain dry kibble. Your cat may prefer canned food or dry food that's been moistened over plain dry food. To moisten your cat's food, add some warm water to the bowl and let it sit for five minutes before you serve it.

Remember that canned or moistened food must be picked up after a few hours, where dry food lasts longer in the bowl before becoming stale or rancid.

Many Cats Like Warmed Up Food

Warming up a cat's warm or moist food can help pique their appetite. This may be because wild cats eat their prey warm or because kittens drink warm mother's milk. It may also be because it increases the food's odor, and cats eat based on their sense of smell.

Try warming up your cat's food for a few seconds in the microwave (then stir and check for hot spots before serving) or using a warm liquid to moisten the food.

Avoid changing diets quickly in an attempt to get your cat to eat better. Fast diet changes in cats can lead to GI problems like vomiting and diarrhea. If you are going to make a diet change, do it slowly by mixing old and new food gradually.

Cats Like Yummy Juice

You can try adding a little bit of tuna juice or low sodium chicken broth to your cat's food. As in the above section, you may also try warming that juice before adding it. If possible, mix it into moist food or let it sit on dry food long enough so the kitty can't just lick off the yummy juice and leave the rest of the food.

Don't Leave Food Down at All Times

Meal feeding can help encourage a finicky cat to eat. If she knows the food won't be down for long, your cat may feel encouraged to eat more when the meal is available. Additionally, meal feeding will allow your cat time to get hungry, which may not be happening if there's food down all the time. Being hungry will decrease the kitty's resistance to eating and, thereby, her pickiness. Your vet can help you decide on a feeding schedule and let you know how much to feed your cat at each meal.

Give Your Cat Praise for Eating

Some cats are social eaters, preferring company while they eat. Giving your cat some praise and petting when she goes to the bowl or timing meals for when you're eating too can help some cats eat better.

Nix the Cat Treats

If you're having trouble getting your cat to eat proper meals, decrease or eliminate any cat treats you may be feeding. Some cats fill up on treats and then don't eat their meals. Not only can that lead to an overweight kitty, but it can also cause malnutrition because the cat doesn't get all the proper nutrients that would be present in their regular food.

Disclaimer: This website is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed veterinarian. If you require any veterinary related advice, contact your veterinarian promptly. Information at declawing.com is exclusively of a general reference nature. Do not disregard veterinary advice or delay treatment as a result of accessing information at this site.