Natural Appetite Stimulant for Cats

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Small cat eating from bowl
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Diminished appetite is a big health concern for cats. Even a day or two without eating can have life-threatening repercussions for your furry friend. You can naturally stimulate your pet's appetite if he's been avoiding meals, but you should get your cat checked by a vet before you try to boost your cat's appetite at home. The cat may have an illness or may be reaching the end of his life.


If your kitty is one of the many cats who are partial to a bit of catnip, you may be able to use it to boost his appetite. Sprinkle a pinch or two of dried leaves on the floor or put one of his toys in the bag for a few minutes to let the scent sink in. While the plant is an affordable and natural stimulant, not all cats react the same way. Some kitties become more lethargic after ingesting some, while around 20 percent of felines don't respond to catnip at all.

New Tastes and Smells

Fragrance is a big deal for cats, which is why they come running from far away as soon as you open a tin of tuna. If your kitty isn't too excited about her ordinary kibble, spice things up with a taste of wet food, tuna or simply the excess water squeezed from the can. You can add a little bit of cooked chicken, beef or meat broth to a portion of your cat's dry kernels to make them more desirable. Make sure you dispose of wet or cooked foods if your cat doesn't eat them within an hour or two.


Boosting Blood Flow

Getting your cat's heart rate up and encouraging active blood flow can also boost his appetite. Run your kitty around with her favorite toy for a few minutes or crack the window and let her peer into the great outdoors to get her heart pumping. Owners with sick or older cats can encourage blood flow with a massage. Press the tips of your fingers gently into the muscle along your pet's neck, back and legs. Many felines thoroughly enjoy a good back rub, but don't force your cat to cooperate if he's not in the mood.

An Appetizing Environment

Heat is a natural appetite stimulant that works great on some cats. Set up a heating pad or encourage your cat to relax in a sunbeam for a while to boost his body temperature. It's important to keep your cat calm and relaxed throughout the day. Stress can be a big appetite inhibitor, so give your cat space and freedom from loud noises, other animals, children and other sources of stress.


Hydration and Health

Keeping your cat in good health is necessary for maintaining a hearty appetite. Dehydration can suppress your cat's desire to eat and has many other implications on her health, so make sure she has access to clean water all the time. Excessive hairballs can also make your kitty avoid the food dish, so take some time to brush and groom your cat every week. Long-haired felines may need to be brushed every day to keep loose hair under control.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.