While some cats have healthy appetites, others don’t. And as owners, it’s upsetting to watch our beloved pets refuse to eat whatever foods we put in their bowls.
Often cats will go off their food because they are unwell. Your pet might not want to eat because she is experiencing mouth pain, nausea, has a virus or an upset stomach. Cats who have blocked noses will also often refuse to eat because they can’t smell their food. If you think this might be the cause, try heating the food a little to make it more appealing.
Cats might also have an aversion to food as a result of diet changes. Remember, cats are not adventurous eaters and will happily eat the same food every day of their lives. Their food preferences are usually set as small kittens (from an evolutionary perspective, this is because their mums taught them what foods were safe to eat). So, making changes to your cat’s diet can be tricky.
However, if your cat has a medical condition (such as she develops diabetes or a food allergy) you will need to make changes to her diet. When making changes you are going to have to get a bit tricky. Texture and appearance is important to cats, so try to make the new food look similar to the old. If she is used to hard cat food, for example, cut her new food into small pieces and sprinkle a few of those hard biscuity bits throughout. Remember, too, that a sudden change in diet can cause stomach upsets, so make these changes gradual, over a week or so. So for the first day, you might just make the new food a quarter of her diet, then increase over the course of several days. Remember, too, that many cats won’t eat cold food. If you have started to feed her fresh meat, take it out of the fridge and let it reach room temperature before offering it to her.
Another good way to encourage your cat to eat is to ensure she is happy and relaxed before offering her a food bowl. Play with her and encourage her to get some exercise, to help increase her appetite. Then take her to her food bowl and give her a nice pat to further stimulate her appetite. She might like licking food offer your hand, so pop some food on your finger and offer it to her.
Of course, it’s always a good idea to visit your vet to find out if her refusal to eat has a medical cause, especially if it has happened suddenly and without an apparent reason.
Good luck and bon appetite.