Dear Green Gato #13 – Picky Kitty

Persian Cat Sitting Near The Bowl FoodDear Green Gato,

I’m coming to you with a culinary question. My cat, Whiskers, has recently picked up a new behavior that I’m not too pleased with. My veterinarian has recommended that I give Whiskers dry food and wet food, as opposed to just the dry food that I had been giving him. He has always been a voracious eater and chomps down on his kibble like it’s nobody’s business. However, he seems to be too picky to indulge in wet food. I’ve been trying to give him a variety of different cans to no avail. I find it odd that he wouldn’t eat the wet food, since it seems much more meaty and delicious in my opinion. Why won’t Whiskers eat the wet food, and how can I get it to seem more appealing to him?

-Carl F.

Dear Carl,

Figuring out why a cat isn’t eating is a tricky puzzle since cats can’t really tell us what’s wrong. Luckily, Whiskers hasn’t stopped eating completely, which could point to a much more serious medical condition. It sounds like Whiskers is having trouble accepting this new food, and it is likely because he is being picky as you guessed. Cats are creatures of habit, if you haven’t already noticed. They are especially habitual when it comes to food.

One reason that Whiskers might be rejecting the wet food is that it is simply too unfamiliar for him to tolerate. Cats choose their food based on the texture, the temperature, and the smell. Cats’ noses are stronger than that of most dogs, and therefore rely almost completely on their sense of smell to tell them what to eat, and when to eat. There are a few things that you can try:

Make sure that the cans are being stored at room temperature: It may seem like a good idea to store the cans of wet food in the fridge, but this is actually counter-intuitive. Cats prefer their meals at room temperature, and don’t take kindly to cold substances. Since cat food is canned, it isn’t perishable until after it’s been opened. If you need to store the second half of a can, you can put the remains in an airtight container in the fridge and then leave the container out to warm up before you feed it to your cat.

Find a wet food with similar ingredients to the dry food: Since your cat clearly enjoys his regular kibble, you can take a page out of the dry food’s book and find something with a similar makeup. Perhaps your cat’s food is a tuna blend, but the wet food you’ve been trying has been turkey or duck. Again, cats are creatures of habit and Whiskers may just be uncomfortable with a new protein on top of the fact that wet food has an entirely different texture than what he’s used to.

Introduce the wet food with the dry food: Once you’ve solved the temperature and ingredient situation, you can slowly introduce the wet food back to Whiskers. You can do this by spooning a little bit into his bowl along with his regular dry food. This will make it hard for him to choose between a meal and trying a new thing, and will likely end with Whiskers chowing down on some wet food. You can change the proportions until you’re able to feed him either wet food or dry food without the other.

There are many different brands of cat food out there, so Whiskers is bound to find one that he likes. It may seem silly to cater to your cat, but the most important thing is that he’s getting fed and is healthy. If you try all of the suggestions that we’ve listed and still can’t get him to eat the wet food, it may be time to talk to your veterinarian again. Wet food provides the texture that so many cats love along with tons of protein for a carnivorous kitty. Just keep trying, and don’t give up! Bon Appetit!

-Green Gato

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