Why Are Cats Such Fussy Eaters?

Jay Matthews

Your cat used to give her meals five stars and now she gives just one. Cats are famously finicky when it comes to their meals. A food that they once loved can become a dish they refuse to touch. What causes a cat to suddenly turn up her nose at her food? Cats are very sensitive to adjustments to their routine, and their appetites and tastes can be affected by everything from a change to where they are fed to the introduction of a new pet in the household. Read on to see what might be stopping your cat from chowing down, and how you can get them to dig in once again.

Setting the Mood

Most dogs are able to eat whenever, wherever. Cats, on the other hand, like to be relaxed while they eat. You can help them relax, and get their appetite back, by encouraging them with some petting and praise. Cats prefer eating from their own bowl and they also appreciate having their own eating space, away from other animals (there may be bullying going on from other cats). And be sure to place your cat's bowl far from the litter box. Many cats don’t like their water and food right next to each other, so it’s best to separate them if possible.

The Right Temperature

Cats prefer their food at (mouse) body temperature, and food right from the fridge is usually unappealing to them. So simply let your cat’s food warm to room temperature – it will seem fresher and have more aromas. Bon appetit.

Keeping Medication and Dinner Time Separate

If cats need medication, never try to hide it in their food. They will most likely discover it and equate their food with a foreign element that stops them from eating. If you need to give your cat a pill, try using treats that are specially designed for hiding pills (available at most pet stores). And, as always, seek the help of your vet if you have any trouble.

Getting the Vet Involved

Cats should not go without eating for more than 24 hours. If your cat hasn’t eaten and she's showing any signs of illness, be sure to take her to a vet ASAP. Even if your cat is just on a hunger strike because you’ve had to make changes to her diet, it can be very dangerous for your pet. Cats can develop hepatic lipidosis, a fatty liver syndrome, which is caused by starvation. Obese cats are the most likely to get this disease so be careful if you’re putting a heavy cat on a diet – the disease can be fatal. Any changes to your cat’s diet should be done with guidance from your veterinarian.

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About the Author
Jay Matthews has been writing professionally for over a decade. He's been an animal lover for even longer. When he's not creating articles or copywriting, he's slowly chipping away at a science fiction novel. He lives with his family and their cat Koko in Los Angeles.