Whilst most cats eat almost anything, a fair few prefer only certain kinds of foods. More often than not we blame our cat's pickiness on their food, but food is only one of several reasons for them to not eat. If your cat is finicky about their food, it can be frustrating, expensive, and worrying, but don't worry, for even a picky cat bend to his/her favourite meal!
Here are the top 6 reasons for why your cat might be a picky eater!
In the wild, cats don't eat the same type of animal everyday - their diet depends on the day's hunt. However, there are cats who prefer only one kind of food everyday. In order to determine whether or not your cat's diet preference, allow them to taste a variety of foods, i.e. different types of meat, vegetables, fruits etc at first - if they enjoy only one type, then stick to that, otherwise ensure their diet is as varied as possible with no two foods of the same flavour in a week. Whilst drawing up their diet chart with a veterinarian, ensure you look for palatability and digestibility, along with several other factors such as nutrition, age, breed and so on. Moreover, you might want to consider wet food over dry food for such cats because of its enhanced flavour, easy digestibility, instinctive preference, and fewer artificial flavours/preservatives. Wet cat food is also fresh when fed because of its short shelf life.
2. Food isn't fresh
Fresh food ensures maximum absorption of nutrients alongside an impeccable flavour and an irresistible sense of smell. Cats in the wild do not feed on carcass, which means they don't touch anything that isn't fresh - meat or not. Instinctively, cats are aware that eating old food can lead to sickness, which is why they stray away from anything over a day old. Although your kitty doesn't eat carcass, his/her instincts remain the same - which means, anything that's over a day old, ain't being eaten! The best way to deal with this situation is to ensure your cat eats fresh food everyday - if you feed them dry food, ensure packets are tightly sealed in between mealtimes to ensure freshness; if you feed them wet food, ensure you do not use the food beyond the expiration date.
3. Incorrect feeding bowl
Yes, the bowl does matter. The 2 primary reasons for why feeding bowls are so important boils down to a cat's acute sense of smell and sensitivity of their whiskers. Bowls that hold smells of past meals/are too deep/are rough on the tongue are often rejected by cats. This is either because their whiskers touch the food while they eat or they dislike the smell of past meals masking the fresh taste/smell of their current meal. Cats with brachycephalic skulls, like Persians, prefer shallow bowls that ensure their whiskers remain dry while they eat/drink. This also prevents whisker fatigue.
4. Competition with other cats
Often faced by multi-cat households, food competition is when cats avoid eating altogether in the threat that they will be attacked by another cat when they eat. Eating places a cat in a very vulnerable position, i.e. they can neither attack nor flee when eating, hence they prefer eating only when they are free from all threats around them. if you live in a home with more than one cat, it is best to ensure food bowls aren't placed in close proximity and located in different places so as to allow all cats to eat without feeling threatened.
Cats prefer bowls to be in a set place, i.e. one that isn't a high-traffic area, near trashcans or litter boxes, near a water bowl, and/or in a dark place.
6. Underlying Medical Issue
If your cat stops eating or starts to be picky out of the blue, it could be an indication of an underlying medical issue. This, accompanied with stomach aches, vomiting, diarrhoea, lethargy, stiffness, foul odour, change in toileting habits, excessive meowing/yowling can signal a medical problem. Make an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as you see obvious signs of pickiness.
Now that you are aware of why your cat might be picky about their food, you make better informed choices when you shop!