Cats, like humans, can get quite used to junk food and getting them off such a diet is a well known challenge. It is important to understand why cats become finicky eaters and how to wean them over to a healthier diet, or how to encourage your fussy cat to eat, if you want to ensure that your feline friend stays healthy and your vet expenses are kept down to a minimum.
So Why Do Cats Become Finicky?
Most of the time the condition stems from medical reasons and the devil in the plot turns out to be an allergenic in the food. But there are other reasons too – some that appear to be really finicky. But do not ignore the fact that the cat may not be eating due to health issues. If you find that the cat has lost its appetite, more so if the condition is acute and if the cat has not eaten in the past 24to 48 hours, it indicates a serious medical issue. A vet will determine if the cat has a condition known as hepatic lipidosis – a life threatening fatty liver disease which requires prompt treatment. So, do not put loss of appetite down to a finicky nature – get it diagnosed.
The vet will also determine if some cat food is an allergenic and is causing the cat to lose its appetite. Kittens that are weaned from their mothers are usually fed a variety of foods. If the food is not changed all the time the cat will not eat unfamiliar food later. Cats must be fed a variety of foods to prevent them becoming allergic to any particular food while ensuring then an optimal nutritious diet.
Now for the Real Finicky Stuff
Ever noticed how often a cat will lick itself clean? That’s how they want their food, eating bowl and eating space to be. So, don’t go by what they eat even if it makes a Billy goat barf.
If a cat has become finicky and refuses to eat but you notice that the cat is hungry and wants food investigate the following:
Cats never like to eat from a narrow deep eating bowl – the reason being their sensitive whiskers which touch the sides of the eating bowl. If you observe the cat hesitating to dip into a bowl to eat try a wide mouth shallow bowl. In most cases it will solve the problem.
If the cat has been fed certain foods and the brand or type of food has suddenly changed, the cat is going to become finicky. This is why it is important to rotate the cat’s diet regularly so that it does not get used to any particular food or brand. If the brand is withdrawn or is recalled, you could be in big trouble getting your cat to eat anything different.
Cats have a very sensitive sense of smell and if your cat has stopped eating check if you have washed the eating bowl with a strong fragrant detergent. The fragrance left behind puts most cats off. Or perhaps the eating bowl is made of plastic. New plastic bowls give off smells so feed the cat out of a stainless steel bowl just to be safe. It’s not finicky, you would object too.
Never mix medication in the cat’s meal. Medications leave behind a strong odor and cats will refuse food that smells of medication. If you have to mix medication in a meal do so in a tasty morsel (that you seldom serve the cat) but served in another eating bowl.
Trick with a Treat
Cat food manufacturers do it all the time to trick cats into getting used to their particular brand. And this is why it is near impossible to wean your cat off packaged dry cat food and onto a healthier home-made diet. They spray cat food with a disgusting stuff called “animal digest”. This is un-decomposed animal tissue that has been treated with enzymatic hydrolysis. Cats go for the taste and even get addicted and fuss a great deal if their diet is changed anytime.
When Your Cat Becomes Finicky
Be patient and go slow. The secret to get a finicky eater to eat is to keep a few tricks up your sleeve. Some cats take a few months and some get over it in a few days. Never leave cat food out all the time. Feed the cat at fixed times twice a day and remove the eating bowl after some time whether the cat has eaten it all or not. Place raw food beside the dry food each day. One fine day the cat will gobble up the raw food too then wean it off the dry food slowly but surely.
Be prepared because the cat will bring on psychology and make you feel that you are starving the poor kitten. The human is affected much more than the cat – it is designed to be. Keep the cat a little hungry at meal times – it is a great motivator to get the cat to accept new food.
You will have to call on all your patience to deal with a finicky cat. But if you follow these tips you will get your feline friend to eat anything out of your hands – or eating bowl.