19/Mar/2013Is your cat a fussy eater?

When a cat is picky with his or her food it doesn’t necessarily mean that this is because he or she has serious health issues. There can be a variety of reasons why a cat is, or becomes, a fussy eater.

Health Issues

Health issues are obviously the most important as they can be a symptom of a more serious. Cats can be very sensitive to dental or throat problems which can stop them eating completely. Likewise stomach or digestive issues can also cause them to stop eating. Even stress can influence your cats appetite. If you are ever concerned about your cats eating we would strongly advise you consult your vet first prior to trying to deal with it yourself.

The Bowl

The bowl you use can be a big influence over how well you cat may eat. Stale food in the bowl or the residue from washing up liquid can both put a cat off their food. Always ensure you wash their bowl thoroughly and rinse any washing liquid off prior to using it (we would even give it a rinse if it has been in the dish washer).

The shape of the bowl can also cause a cat issues if it is the wrong shape and even the material made to make the bowl. We generally tend to recommend a shallow dish made from china or metal where we think the bowl may be an issue.

Behaviour

Like humans, not all cats will have similar tastes when it comes to food. Different cats will prefer different flavours of cat food, and some cats will prefer moist food to dry food, and vice versa. Some cats will even turn their noses up at expensive brands, and prefer cheaper food. Like people, cats can develop eating habits when they are young. Like children who have a varied diet, Kittens who eat a variety of foods or flavours will grow up with more varied tastes.

Because cats are known for being wilful they may deliberately not entertain the idea of eating a new flavour. If, in the past, food that it refuses to eat has quickly been replaced, then the cat will be more inclined to try similar behaviour in the future. It will realise that it will be ‘rewarded’ with a more appealing flavour, if it refuses to eat the food it’s not so keen on.

One way of combating this eating issue is to take the bowl of food away. If food you know your cat has eaten fine recently has been down for 20 or so minutes, if your cat has turned their nose up at it try removing the bowl. You may want to place it back again after half an hour or so and try again but if your cat still refuses to eat remove the food completely and let them go without until next meal time.

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