Finickiness is a trait that most cat owners accept, understand, and even love about their feline companions. However, if your kitty is a bit too fussy about what she eats, you have to do something other than simply gushing over them more.
When your cat has a poor diet because she is a picky eater, she won’t get all the nutrients she needs to have a healthy body. This can cause your pet to develop certain conditions, including digestion issues and urinary-related problems.
When your feline friend suffers from pain and discomfort, she will be irritable and easily agitated, quickly becoming a pet that will require more care and attention.
Helping Your Cat Overcome Picky Eating
Having a good supply of your kitty’s favorite cat supplies is an excellent start in helping your furry friend maintain a healthy diet and minimizing their picky eating behaviour.
However, if the fussy eating habits continue, you need to get to the root of the problem if you want to help her correct this unhealthy eating behaviour and improve her diet.
Below are the best tips to follow for dealing with a feline picky eater:
1. Set a feeding schedule
Cats are often temperamental by nature. However, fussy eating is often a behaviour that they learn and develop and not something that they are born with.
If your cat is starting to show signs of becoming a picky eater, setting a fixed feeding routine is the first step in nipping this behaviour in the bud.
Cats can adapt to eating a number of small meals throughout the day to suit your routine, even if they are natural grazers. However, once you have established a feeding plan, it is crucial that you stick to it.
When you change the times and frequency with which you feed your cat, and the spot where she eats every now then, you will end up confusing your pet. And this will cause her to ignore her bowl and stop eating.
2. Change your cat’s feeding area
Most cats dislike eating in noisy, crowded places with plenty of people and other pets, including their fellow feline kind.
If you want your cat to start eating more, find a quiet space in your home and make this her feeding area. Make sure it is a place where your kitty can enjoy her dinner alone and in peace.
In case you have different pets and small kids, find an elevated area which you can designate as your kitty’s personal eating station. Aside from giving your cat a sense of security, this will also help keep the others out of her food dish.
Once your cat gets used to her new, quiet feeding area, she will learn to start enjoying her meals more.
3. Switch from one variety of cat food to another gradually
Giving your cat a mixed diet offers several advantages.
When your pet eats wet food, you ensure she stays hydrated even if she does not drink enough water. Dry varieties, on the other hand, have different textures that allow your cat to discover and get used to them. A change in your kitty’s diet can also stimulate her taste buds and appetite.
However, quickly switching from wet to dry and vice versa can pose some problems. Your cat may dislike these sudden changes in their food and stop eating. This can also upset your pet’s stomach.
To avoid any issues when making these switches, gradually transition from the old to the current food by mixing both wet and dry varieties until your cat is eating the new food.
As you start giving the new food on its own, offer only a small amount per meal four to five times a day to reduce waste. You can increase the quantity and reduce the frequency once your cat starts emptying her dish.
4. Ensure your cat is eating quality food
Sometimes, cats become fussy overnight because of a sudden change in the taste or texture of their food.
If your cat usually enjoys dry food but suddenly ignores her bowl, you may need to replace your stock. This is because dry food absorbs moisture, particularly when the weather is warm, thus causing your stocks to become stale.
If your pet refuses to eat her usual wet food abruptly, it could be because it’s too cold. Wet food often loses its flavourful and appetizing aroma when kept in the fridge for too long. And if your cat can’t smell what’s in her bowl, she won’t eat it.
To get your furry pet to start eating again, warm chilled wet food in the microwave for a few seconds before tipping it in her dish. Doing so will make the food release aroma and encourage your pet to taste and savor it.
5. Keep your cat’s feeding bowl and area clean
Lastly, cats have an innate passion for keeping themselves and things clean. If her feeding bowl is dirty, this may turn off your pet and cause her to avoid eating out of it.
If you want to encourage your cat to eat on a schedule, wash or rinse her feeding bowl after every meal.
Additionally, most cats dislike having their food and water dish near their litter box. As such, make sure your pet’s feeding area is far from the place where they eliminate since this could be the cause for their refusal to eat anything.
Always keep the feeding area clean as well. Sweep or vacuum food debris from the floor after meals.
Most of the time, picky eating is a phase that all cats go through and eventually overcome. However, make sure you still keep a close eye on your pet if she suddenly becomes fussy. If your feline friend has not eaten and refuses all food for 24 hours or more, it would be best to bring her to the vet.