Is your cat unwilling to try new food? Do you find it hard to get them to eat anything at all? If you answer yes to these questions, your cat is a picky eater. Cats can be notoriously challenging to feed, but a study has found that there’s a good reason why your fluffy friend is turning up their nose at their food bowl. According to a study published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, cats prefer to eat foods with a 1 to 0.4 ratio of protein to fat. It is unclear how the cats involved in the experiment were able to determine this ratio, but the research proved that adding more protein to a cat’s diet may encourage them to consume their food.
The research’s lead author, Adrian Hewson-Hughes, stresses the importance of giving cats balanced nutrition to maintain their health. While he admits that there are other factors that should be looked into to understand why certain foods are preferred by kitties, the researcher said that the ideal food “needs to be appealing to a cat in terms of flavour, aroma, and texture.” If your cat is a picky eater, here are some tips to feed your fussy fur baby.
Offer Wet Cat Food and Warm it Up
Most cats find wet food diets to be tastier than dry food, so consider adding some chicken broth or beef broth into their food. Heating up their meal can also help to entice your fur baby to eat up since warming up cat food can heighten its aroma. Cats have a strong sense of smell, and they have over 200 million odor sensors in their noses. Amplifying the smell and taste of their food may encourage your cat to eat.
However, make sure not to serve piping hot food as most cats don’t like it when their food is too hot. Instead, aim to heat cat food briefly until it’s close to the body temperature of fresh prey. Cats are predators by nature, and serving them food that’s been slightly warmed may remind them of eating something that they caught.
If you’re giving your pet instant cat food, go for wet single protein meals, such as canned Ziwi cat food made with beef, chicken, or lamb. Heat it up for about 30 seconds in the microwave, taking care not to overheat the food since that can dry it out. Serve this as a topper, or let your cat eat it by itself as a meal.
Keep Their Feeding Bowl Clean
As mentioned earlier, cats have such a strong sense of smell, and the scent of a dirty feeding bowl or dish can put them off their food. As such, make sure that their dishes are clean and free of dirt or food bits. Use steel or plastic bowls to keep bacteria at bay, and clean them every day with hot, soapy water and a soft sponge.
If you notice bad odours coming from the feeding bowls, sprinkle some baking soda on them, then scrub with a wet sponge. Baking soda is a mild cleaner that can safely deodorise your cat’s feeding bowls. Best of all, it’s unfragranced, so it won’t leave a scent that could make your cat lose their appetite.
Create a Feeding Schedule
Most pet owners dealing with a picky cat choose to free-feed their fur baby instead of feeding them on a schedule. However, this creates more problems since a cat that has been fed too many treats throughout the day may not want to have a proper meal. Experts recommend that cats should be fed twice a day, so plan on feeding your pet once sometime in the morning, then let them have their second meal in the evening.
You may also want to observe your cat to find out if there are other factors that’s affecting their appetite. For instance, some cats don’t want to be looked at when they’re eating, so put their dish in a place where they can have a bit of privacy while they’re eating, such as the area under the stairs.
Cats need to eat the right amount of healthy food to support their overall development. Consider these tips to improve your pet’s appetite and maintain their health.