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Why are Cats Finicky Eaters

By: Virginia Wells

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Some cats are downright finicky when it comes to eating. Aggravating as that may sometimes be for you, it is another marvelous aspect of your cat that assures he will not poison themselves in the wild. Cats are predators, and in the wild they prey on whatever is available. This may include birds, small animals, such as mice, rabbits, and opossums, grasshoppers and other insects, fish and, on occasion, reptiles. Because cats can make do with a variety of food sources, they can always find a new food supply if the old is suddenly no longer available.

But your cuddly little pet gets the same safe food he has always enjoyed, his being finicky can become somewhat annoying. Cats like to eat fresh food and often, though a little at a time. They prefer a clean environment – dining out of clean bowls – in a place that is quiet and safe. If things are not to your cat's liking, he may turn up his nose and pass on dinner.

Skipping a meal is fairly safe, but skipping more than one meal could spell trouble. If your cat continually avoids food, there may be a reason besides normal finickiness. Illness or other physical problems may cause a cat to stop eating. If your cat suddenly doesn't want to eat, have him checked by your veterinarian to make sure that nothing physical is causing a loss of appetite.

There are several other reasons why your cat may have a ho-hum attitude at mealtime:

  • Cats don't like to have their highly sensitive whiskers touched. If the bowl is too small or the wrong shape your kitty may shy away at mealtimes. Cat food bowls should be shallow and wide. The bowl should also be sturdy so that it doesn't slip around the surface as he eats.

  • Make sure you serve your cat's dinner away from the dog, the noisy kids, the washing machine, and the back door. Privacy is important to your cat, especially at meal times.

  • Make sure the food is fresh. Canned food should not be left out too long. It may become spoiled or covered with insects. Cats also prefer food that is room temperature to mimic the food obtained from a "fresh kill."

  • Make sure your cat isn't stressed out. Cats internalize their stress and sudden changes in the household or routine may affect your pet.

  • Examine his mouth and teeth. If he is continually pawing or rubbing his mouth, he may have bad gums or bad teeth. Soften his food in some water from a can of tuna or in some clam juice. Bouillon or chicken broth also makes dry food softer and tastier.

  • Make sure your cat isn't just plain bored with his food. If your kitty isn't interested in his meals, try providing a variety of foods to see if that helps. Try feeding your cat canned food or other novel food occasionally to entice her to eat. If your cat still refuses to eat well, offer cooked meats or cooked fish to stimulate her appetite. But, don't feed only cooked meat or fish. Fish-only meals do not constitute a balanced diet. Just use special foods to peak her appetite.

    A little creativity and patience will help you keep your cat interested in her meals and keep your stress level down while trying to get your finicky feline friend to eat.

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