Most of us believe that if you provide the right kind of food and hygienic conditions, your cat won’t refuse to eat. However, trust me, sometimes it’s not the food or the environment, but your cat.
Just like humans, cats also have varying temperaments and behaviors. Some cats love to eat and will gobble everything you give them (obesity says hi, though!). On the contrary, some cats are picky eaters, and won’t eat 9 out of 10 cat meals!
In this guide, let’s talk about how you can make your picky cat eat, without forcing them.
• Don’t Give a Lot of Treats
It’s hard to resist the adorable eyes of a cat when it’s asking for treats. But, take my advice if you have a picky cat, and don’t offer them many treats.
When cats eat several treats, they might simply fill their tummy with it, and not eat their actual meals properly.
Most treats are also quite unhealthy for cats, as they contain high levels of sugar, carbohydrates, and harmful preservatives. Additionally, treats don’t provide a balanced diet and may cause obesity in your cat.
Instead of giving treats to your cat, try encouraging them with toys or affection. This way, they won’t feel full due to the treats, and you’ll also encourage positive reinforcement.
• Try Changing the Meal Bowl
If your cat isn’t eating, have you tried changing their meal bowl?
Sometimes, it’s not the food, but the bowl that might be putting them off. I remember that as a kid, I never liked eating in plastic utensils! So, your cat might also dislike eating from a specific type of food bowl.
I recommend trying out two to three meal bowls and checking if there’s any change in your cat’s dietary habits. If they start eating again, the problem is with the bowl. If not, well, there are other ways to try out.
Apart from changing the bowls, you can also try changing their locations. A cat may not like eating in a specific location due to unhygienic conditions, or simply because they don’t like that spot.
• Ensure that the Food is of the Right Type
Apart from the meal bowl, you also need to know if the food is up to your cat’s preferences. In my experience, some cats love to eat raw or dry food, whereas some prefer a wet diet.
If you’ve been giving your cat only dry or raw food, try changing it a little, and offering wet food instead. On the other hand, you can replace wet food with dry or raw cat food too.
However, I recommend giving them a combination of wet and dry cat food. This will ensure that the food isn’t too “mushy” for their liking or too dry. Also, a mix of dry and wet food will give your cat all the essential nutrients, and provide hydration.
• Eliminate Distractions
There are some cats who aren’t exactly picky, but they get distracted very easily. For instance, if there are other cats in the room, they may end up looking at them, or even playing with them.
In the above situation, I recommend keeping the food bowl in a separate room with no distractions and letting your cat eat there instead.
Similarly, if you also tend to turn on the television during their mealtime, don’t do it. Televisions and other forms of entertainment may also cause your cat to get distracted, and lose their focus.
In short, avoid all sorts of distractions - toys, other cats, TVs, etc., and let the cat concentrate on eating. • Establish a Routine
Cats also need a proper routine, like how we humans do. Without a routine, their bodies may start functioning improperly, and they might end up feeling hungry at weird times.
So, I recommend setting a meal time for your cat. Here’s the one rule that I tend to follow - give at least two meals a day to your cat, and ensure that they’re 12 hours apart.
For example, if you’re giving the first proper meal around 11 am, the next should be around 11 pm. Keep following this schedule until your cat starts feeling hungry at those specific times, and asks for food. • Take Your Cat to a Vet
If you’ve tried everything on this list, and your cat still won’t eat, you should take them to a vet.
A vet can gauge if there’s anything wrong with the cat, due to which it’s not feeding. They may also suggest medications or meals, to increase your cat’s appetite.
If your cat is a picky eater, and won’t eat food, no matter what, I hope these tips help you out! Always remember that cats prefer clean environments, and have their own preferences.
So, don’t force them to eat. Instead, stay patient, try out different foods and different types of bowls. If nothing works, a vet can definitely help in finding the issue!