Let’s face it, there are some cats out there that are just finicky eaters. This, of course, can hold a variety of problems for both you and your feline friend. For one thing, it is dangerous for your cat if they aren’t getting their meals in each day; Cats should not go more than 24 hours without eating, as it could pose major nutritional issues and other health related problems in the future. Having a finicky eater for a pet can also be very stressful for the owners and families, as it tests your patience and your wallets to no end. It can also be wasteful, depending on how many wet food cans you end up opening within a days time, and how it is not always the best idea to just put it back in the fridge until you try to feed your cat again.
In any case, it can be so tedious to make sure your cat is getting their meals and eating at appropriate times. Luckily, if you are in this type of a situation in your own home, we are here to help. We are going to count down our top twenty tips and tricks for getting your cat to eat their meals every single day, and to help you feel at ease about your cat’s health as well. So, with that said, let’s get started with our helpful and handy countdown.
Stick To A Schedule
This is probably the most important tip that we can give you when it comes to getting your cat to eat, which is why we have placed it at the very top of our list. We as humans have a basic routine for eating (breakfast, lunch, dinner, and maybe a few snacks in between). Why not have the same type of routine for your pet as well? By having a strict schedule for meal times, it can allow your cat to develop an instinct, or a natural hunger (as we will mention later) that will make them ready for food when it is given to them in their bowls.
Check With Your Vet
The second most important thing that you can do when it comes to getting your cat to eat on a more routine schedule is to consult with your local veterinarian. If your cat seems to be having a loss of appetite or is just no longer interested in eating in general, there could potentially be an underlying issue that is affecting your cat’s health and well being. Your vet will also be able to make accurate recommendation and possibly provide you with a prescription diet to help you cat get back on the right track and ready to get back to eating once again.
Sometimes all it takes to get your cat to eat is consistency. This goes hand in hand with following a routine and sticking to the regimen that a vet has laid out for you. It is also good to try and stick with one specific brand of food at a time, rather than trying different brands until you find the right one. Cats tend to like routine generally, and don’t like change, especially when it comes to their food, and the texture and taste of it. Just stick with a routine and a food that works best for you and your feline friend, and you should see positive results in no time.
Dry Food Is Enticing
You may not be aware, or maybe you have seen your cat go crazy for the stuff, but your friendly feline is able to smell their dry food from miles away it seems. So, if you are trying to switch your pet’s food from wet food to dry food, or if you are trying to switch the brand of dry food you are feeding your cat, they best place for you to store the dry food is away in the fridge or even out of the house. With it sealed in those places, they won’t be able to smell it, making the task of feeding much easier. If you cat is able to smell the dry food that they love in the kitchen cupboard or wherever you keep it in the house, they may wait and starve themselves until you cave in and give it to them to get them to eat.
Offer Food Only When They Are Hungry
This goes along with the concept of setting a specific schedule for your cat when it comes to their meal times, but it is important to only feed your cat when you know that they are hungry. Although it is so much easier for owners to just have the food set out in a dish for the day, and let their cat pick and choose when they want to eat, that may not be the best for their health. For cats that are strictly indoor pets, they don’t often need to each much to maintain their weight and keep up their energy. In this case, it may be best to speak with your vet once again to see when the best times are to feed your cat and get an appropriate schedule for them as well.
Moisten Your Cat’s Dry Food
This is a tip to be taken with reservations in mind, as it can potentially lead to some health concerns and safety issues if not done correctly. If your cat is not taking to their dry food that you give them, it is possible for you to wet it down just a touch to make it softer for them to chew. It is absolutely crucial that if you do decide to wet down your cat’s dry food that you only leave it out for them for about 20 to 30 minutes at the max. Leaving it out for too long can actually cause the dry food to mold and also develop bacteria that can become extremely harmful for both your cat and your household as well. While this is a tip that many cat owners take advantage of, it is important to remember the safety guidelines in order to keep you, your family, and your pet safe and sound.
Make Them Hungry
This sounds way harder than it actually is, but trust us, it is so crucial to have a routine when it comes to feeding. This is the same for all pet species; Having a routine instills a clock inside our pets (in this case, cats) and makes them have a natural hunger for their food. So, how do you set a strict routine? It all begins with having set times that you fill their food bowls, such as once in the morning, and once at night. Get right of the dish full of endless food, as it can lose its appeal after a while. The best time to let them “fast”, so to speak, is during those hours when you are busy at work or school. Keep their dish empty during those hours away, and eventually, they will develop that hunger needed to have strict and routine meals.
A Sprinkle Of A Treat On Top
If you cat loves to have tasty treats, such as chicken meat or tuna, on the nights when you make it for your own family, this may be just the trick you need to get your cat to eat their food on the daily. If you are feeding your cat wet food, just press some of the “treat meat” that you are using into the mix, and let them dive in. On the other hand, if you are feeding your cat dry food, and they just aren’t going for it, it may be helpful to either dip the dry food pieces into the tuna juice or chicken broth, or even just pour a little bit of the juice on top to see if that intrigues their appetite.
High In Moisture Foods
In case you aren’t already aware as a cat owner, cats require a ton of water with their food. This is why wet food can often be quite popular with your cat; However, cats can also be picky regarding the texture and the taste of the food that is presented in front of the. With that said, the majority of cats in the world tend to prefer foods that have high moisture content to them, with the exception of those that have been “trained”, in a sense, to lean toward dry foods and kibble. Either way, if your cat is struggling when it comes to eating dry food, it may be time to switch to wet food or foods with more moisture content to them to see if that makes a difference.
Some Cats Are Picky With Crunch
If you have a picky eater when it comes to your cat, it may just be that they don’t quite like the crunchiness or the sensation of the dry food when they are chewing on it. If this is the case in your home, it may be helpful to switch it up a little bit with your cat. You can allow them to have things such as baby food, deli meats, and even some raw meat as well. However, make sure that you follow the specific safety protocols as to not harm your cat in any way.
Warm It Up
Many kittens and cats are used to the warm temperature of their mother’s milk when it comes to their food, and they often find a distaste when it is too cold. Of course, make sure it is not too hot as to burn their mouth, but a lukewarm temperature or even a touch warmer could do wonders when it comes to getting your cat to eat. If you are dealing with a finicky kitten, this can also aid in transitioning them to solid food when they are quite young in age. It can, of course, work for cats of any age as well; It just depends on their preference when it comes to their food.
Play With Your Cat Before Meal Times
This may be a tricky thing to do, especially if your particular cat is not so keen on playing or being interactive the majority of the time. However, taking that extra few minutes or so to play with your cat can help to make them hungry. As you may be able to attest yourself, exercise can help to stimulate your appetite as your body wants to replenish what was burned away during your workout. Put the same concept toward your cat by playing with them, and you may just see some good results. All it takes is grabbing their favorite toy or even a small ball to grab their attention.
Cheaper Is Sometimes Better
Many cats seem to go for the wet food and dry food brands that are a little less expensive than some of the other brands on the market. This can help to aid you in getting your cat to eat if you seem to be struggling in that area. All you need to do is just mix a bit of the lower end wet food with some of the other food that you are wanting to switch them to, and it will make eating and meal time go much more smoothly for you and your pet.
Offer Small Meals Instead
Sometimes, your cat just doesn’t have as large of an appetite as you might think. If this is the case, giving them smaller meals during their scheduled and routine meal times may be more appealing to your pet than having a large bowl to eat out of that is full of food. If the loss of appetite is severe, it may be a good idea to space out small meals throughout the day, changing up your routine just a bit. This change can actually be beneficial and can potential fix your regular routine that you often stick to when it comes to feeding and eating times. Of course, it is a good idea to consult with your cat’s vet to see any recommendations they may have regarding feeding more frequent smaller meals as opposed to two or three large meals in a day.
Cats Prefer To Eat In Social Settings
This may seem silly, and maybe it is to some pet owners, but this has been known to work quite well. Cats actually prefer to be pet and loved while they are eating. That being said, if you take the time to sit with them and pay attention to them when it is time for them to eat their food, you might see your cat actually eating their food and getting the nutrition that they need. The positive reinforcement may just be the key that you need to get your cat eating and responding to meal times at a better pace.
Hand Feed Your Cat
This concept goes hand in hand with the previous tip we just mentioned in the list. Because that positive reinforcement works so well with cats while they are eating, it may also be beneficial to sit with them while they are eating and even hand feed them the kibble piece by piece. If you are feeding your cat wet food instead, you can use the same concept, but just place a small amount of the wet food on your finger and let the cat lick it off little by little. Eventually, this should help your cat to find more interest in their food, and will also allow you to have a bit of bonding time with your pet as well.
“Work For Food”
At some point, your patience is sure to be drained, especially if your cat just seems to be walking all over you when it comes to eating and meal time. If this is the case for you, it may be good to try to have them “work for their food”. By this, all it takes is just throwing a few dry pieces of food around the kitchen, letting your cat hunt for the pieces, and hopefully stimulate their hungry tummies. If this seems to be keeping a good pace with your feline, you can try tackling the same concept, only with a bit of wet food (although, don’t throw it, as it will be a mess you just don’t want to clean, but just place chunks of it in certain spots of the kitchen).
Feedings At The Same Time
This is a tip that is most helpful when you have more than one cat, or pet, in the house, but it has to do with social eating as well. Cats tend to prefer social settings when it comes to eating. That being said, if you have one finicky cat among the bunch, it can be helpful for them to see other cats getting their food and enjoying their food at the same time. This would mean that feeding times for all cats have to happen at the same time in the house, so that your finicky cat can see the others eating and feel their own hunger take over as well.
Sprinkle A Touch Of Parmesan Cheese
This may not be recommended to use for every single meal, but it can be helpful occasionally. If you are in desperate need to get your cat to eat their food in their dish, sprinkling on just a small amount of parmesan cheese can make them regain their appetite and eat their food. As we said, we probably wouldn’t recommend this tip for every single meal, as it could mess with their digestive systems if they have too much at a time. However, it can still be helpful for a couple of times when you are in need of desperate measures.
Try A Bit of FortiFlora
This, again, is a tip that is probably good for those time when you are completely desperate to get your cat to eat, but it should not be used frequently as it is not intentionally made for cats. That said, sprinkling even just 1/4 or less of a package of the probiotic FortiFlora can make your cat feel a little more intrigued with their food in their dish. Just be careful not to put on too much at a time, as it is a probiotic.
There you have it! We have officially concluded our list of the top twenty tips and tricks that can help you to get your cat to eat once again. Of course, always make sure to get professional advice regarding your cat, especially if you have any concerns as to why the loss of appetite or lack of interest in eating has occurred. We hope that you have found our list beneficial, and that your cat is back to eating and enjoying their meals as they once did before.