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Persnickety Kittens: Why cats are picky eaters

We’ve all got that friend (you know the one) who only eats cheese pizza, chicken fingers and breadsticks when going out. If you don’t, bad news: it’s you. In humans, this is usually the result of growing up on a diet of pop tarts and pizza-likes. But in cats, the reasons for picky eating are a little more complicated and passed on by their great, great cat-parents.

The Golden Ratio

Cats care far more about nutritional value than they do taste. Studies indicate that a ratio of 50 percent protein and 50 percent fat is ideal. They will even choose to eat types of foods with this high protein makeup if the flavor isn’t quite right as long as their body gives it the okay. How cats can discern what their food is made of without nutritional labels still remains a mystery (Purr-lock Holmes is on the case).

Feline Phobias

Another factor in your cat’s finicky eating could be attributed to neophobia, a cool word we just discovered which means the fear of trying new things. While there are rare cases of cats enjoying hang gliding or guitar lessons, the fact remains that they generally prefer what’s familiar. In fact, it’s a safety mechanism because trying new foods in the wild could be risky, like sushi at a gas station.

Naturally Cautious

It’s ingrained in your cat that it doesn't like grain, but cats are also conditioned by generations of feline ancestors (starting with Whiskers the XIII) to eat only where and when it’s safe. Unlike dogs who hunt in packs and scarf down food before the others get it first, a la family pizza night, cats hunt solo and only when it’s safe. So if your cat is poking at its food with a fork, first take a TikTok, and then consider moving the bowl to a more secluded place where they don’t sense danger.

Additional tips and tricks to get your cat to eat more include: a shallow bowl so their whiskers don’t touch the sides, heating their food to body temperature (it’s that carnivore thing) and avoiding human foods that can cause the cat to decide that what’s in the bowl is no longer good enough.

Sudden changes in diet

With all that said, if your cat's refusal to eat suddenly goes from indiscriminate indulger to crash dieter, there might be something more seriously wrong. Take them to a vet ASAP so they can get back to their ravenous ways.

Cat treats your cat is sure to eat

So what have we learned about cats being picky eaters? Namely, that Garfield is a liar. Lasagna is food for an omnivore. That’s why all of our Fruitables® Cat Treats feature meat flavors like Tuna, Chicken and Salmon. Give them a try. Your feline friend will thank you.

The Fun Side of Healthy

Our Dog & Cat Blog

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