The Truth about “Finicky Eating” in Cats


“Finicky eating” is an informal term, meaning that there are no clear guidelines for when a cat can be considered a finicky eater or not. Instead, the more that a cat refuses to eat the food presented to it, the higher the chances of it being labelled a finicky eater, which is not a serious problem in isolated incidences but becomes one if the animal persists for a prolonged period of time because of the potential medical consequences.

What Causes Finicky Eating in Cats?

There are a number of potential reasons that a cat is being finicky when it comes to its food:

* It is possible that the cat has some sort of health problem that is hindering it in some manner. As a result, people who notice that their cats have gone 24 hours without eating should make sure to see their veterinarians as soon as possible to make sure that their pets are alright. If something is wrong, their veterinarians can inform them about their best course of action from that point on. In contrast, if nothing seems to be wrong, it is time to start exploring possibilities for the cat’s refusal to eat.

* Sometimes, cats are refusing to eat because their meal structure is unsuited for their natural habits. In brief, cats prefer to eat a small amount of food with each meal, resulting in multiple meals situated over the course of the day with periods of fasting between each of them. As a result, cats that are fed twice a day might have problems because they are not adapted for eating so well on each occasion.

* Even domesticated animals retain a fair amount of their natural instincts, with cats being no exception to this rule. In the wild, cats prefer not to eat their food in the same location on a regular basis. In part, this is because they want to avoid other animals that might want to steal their food. However, it should also be noted that eating in different places helped them avoid animals that might see them as potential food as well. As a result, it is possible that a cat has stopped eating because it feels unsafe from eating in the same location too often, particularly if that location happens to be exposed.

* Humans are social animals, meaning that we have no problems with eating our foods alongside one another. In fact, eating is one of the most important social activities for us as a species, so it can come as a surprise when other animals do not share the same tendencies. In brief, cats are not social animals, meaning that they become stressed when they are forced to eat their food in close vicinity to other animals, whether those happen to be their owners or other cats.

* On a related note, cats are natural hunters, meaning that they might have stopped eating because they find the experience to be too uninteresting, which is rather problematic but also convenient because this is a problem with a clear solution.

How Can You Cure Finicky Eating in Cats?

Since there is no single cause for finicky eating in cats, there is no single cure for finicky eating in cats. However, here are some potential solutions:

* One solution is to provide the cat with smaller meals but more meals situated throughout the day. For people who will find this difficult because of their full schedules, there is a simple and straightforward solution in the form of an automatic feeder, which can be set to dispense food at specific times. Some models even come with voice recording, meaning that they can provide pet owners with the option to call their cats when it is feeding time.

* Consider feeding the cat in a wide range of locations, which should make the experience more interesting for it while also serving to relieve some of its anxieties about being exposed to other animals. Generally speaking, the best places for feeding cats are not just quiet but also free from the presence of other animals, which translate to a sense of safety for them. If necessary, use the smell of the food to bring the cats to their new feeding locations since they have a fairly powerful sense of smell even if it is not as strong as that of dogs.

* Cats should not be forced to eat beside other cats. Never mind sharing the same food bowls as other cats, which can be even more stressful. As a result, make sure that their food bowls are placed with a fair amount of distance between them. Ideally, different cats should eat in different rooms altogether so as to minimize their sense of threat, though this will not be possible for all of the cat owners out there since there is the issue of limited living space for many of them.

* Cat owners with a lot of time to spare might be able to stimulate their cats’ appetite by playing games that emulate the hunt so as to make for a more interesting eating experience. One example is concealing food in puzzle feeders and similar devices to recreate the experience of hunting for hidden prey. Another example is to use a pole toy to provide the cat with some hunting-like diversion before leading it to the food.

* A change of food might stimulate a cat’s appetite enough so that it will start eating again. However, cat owners should not make the change all at once but instead mix in more and more of the new food with each meal until their cats have become used to the experience. Otherwise, too much change with too little time for adjustment could induct stress in their pets.

Further Considerations

With that said, it is important to note that there is no guarantee that the solutions listed here are going to be helpful for all of the people with cats who happen to be finicky eaters. As a result, those in need of a solution should not hesitate to seek out their veterinarians, who can provide them with the cat-related expertise and experience that they need to make sure that their pets are alright.

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