Cats have a reputation of being fussy and, while this is a teeny bit true, it’s often more nuanced than that. Cats are connoisseurs of many things - beds, laps, toys, but most of all - food. So why don’t they seem interested in a more healthy, natural diet? And what can you do to encourage your ‘fussy’ feline to tuck in at dinner time? Introducing vet Bo, from natural pet food brand Edgard & Cooper, who is here to give her tips.
First up, why is it that your cat doesn’t seem interested in the healthier, more natural food you loving picked out for them and instead chooses a more processed, cheaper alternative? Well, let’s think of it a different way: if it’s all you were used to, and you didn’t have to think about your health, would you choose between a hamburger with fries or a healthy diet with all-natural ingredients? We know we have to look for healthy options to stay happy, but cats don’t. In reality, your cat will be eternally grateful for a well-balanced diet with high quality proteins, natural fats and healthy goodies such as berries and herbs. We have some top tips to help encourage your gorgeous (but ‘fussy’) furry friend to tuck in.
1. Make it safe
Perhaps surprisingly, your cat’s pickiness is probably more about the way their meal is served rather, than the food itself. That’s why our first - and most important - tip is to make sure your cat's environment, particularly its eating area, is always predictable, recognisable and safe.
2. Enough to go around?
Do you have enough eating places in your home for the number of cats you have? We generally recommend a rule of ‘n + 1’ eating locations (which also applies to drinking bowls and litter trays). So, if you have three cats at home, it’s a good idea to provide 3+1 = 4 different eating locations. Remember predictability is important to your cat, so stick to the same spots too!
3. To drink or to eat?
Unlike humans, cats don’t drink at the same time as eating - they prefer to do this at other times. Cats also instinctively feel their water could be polluted by their food, which means they’re less attracted to it. That’s why we recommend putting their food and water bowls in different locations. Cats are already difficult drinkers, so we need to give them all the help we can!
4. Little and often
Cats like to feel in control and that is true for when they eat too. Cats are tapas lovers – they like to eat little and often, sometimes up to 10 to 20 times a day! We recommend feeding as much or as often as necessary or desired. So long as you follow these steps, your cat will rarely overeat:
- you follow the n+1 eating location rule described above
- there’s enough entertainment for your cat - such as a slow feeder bowl (cats like to work for their food)
- they have a healthy, balanced diet
- they get enough exercise through daily play
Restricting your cat’s access to food might cause them to become fixated on food and end up eating too much! As always though, follow the advice of your vet and keep an eye on your cat’s physique.
5. Wet food vs. kibble
We always recommend feeding cats a bit of wet food every day. Not only do they love it, it helps them get enough moisture in their diets. However, they’re very sensitive to the freshness of their food and leaving wet food out for too long dries it out. That’s why we normally recommend offering dry food throughout the day plus some irresistibly tasty wet food when you’re around in the morning and/or evening.
6. The right temperature
Even the temperature of your cat’s food can make a difference. If you’re going to feed your cat food that’s been stored in the fridge (for example an open cup of wet food), make sure you bring the food to room temperature first. You could even warm your cat’s food slightly to make it even more tempting!
7. A whisker’s width
Are you sure your cat’s food and water bowls are big enough? When those whiskers touch something - like the edge of a bowl - it triggers lots of sensations. This can be a bit overwhelming when your cat is trying to eat or drink. So, instead of a deep or narrow bowl, a shallow dish is often a better option for a cat.
8. Be on the lookout
If your cat is still not eating well, even with the tips in this blog, it’s worth checking there isn’t a more specific problem. Stress, dental problems, gastrointestinal upset or, for example, kidney disease could all be contributing factors. If you notice anything suspicious - particularly if it’s a change in behaviour - never hesitate to contact your vet.
Edgard & Cooper make naturally tasty cat food that you, your pet and the planet can feel good about. Their food is packed with lots of fresh meat and fish (no dried meat, derivatives or meat meal) plus a botanical boost. It’s cooked with care to preserve the nutrients and irresistibly taste and packaged in 100% biodegradable materials or endlessly recyclable metals. Finally… cat food you can feel good about!
For more information, visit www.edgardcooper.com and follow them on social media @edgardcooper #FeedThemFeelGood