When a cat with a healthy appetite stops eating for a period of time, it may signal health problems. Cats can lose weight rapidly, so if your cat stops eating for more than 24 hours, consult your veterinarian.
If your cats seems more finicky than usual, here are some tips for enticing your cat to eat:
- Warm up canned food. Cats need to be able to smell their food before they’ll eat it. If you are serving canned food that’s been refrigerated, heat in the microwave for about 10 seconds (this heats the food enough to wake up the scent but doesn’t make the food too hot for your cat to eat) before serving to your cat. As an alternative, add a little hot water to the food to make it softer.
- Serve human baby food. The turkey or chicken flavors work well. Check ingredients to ensure the food does not contain onions (onions are toxic to cats). Do not feed human baby food exclusively for an extended time, though, because it does not contain all the nutrients cats need to stay healthy.
- Try a new food. We don’t eat the exact same foods for every meal, and our cats don’t like to either. Changing the protein source of food periodically gives your cat some variety in his diet and helps prevent food allergies from starting. If he normally eats chicken, try changing to fish, for example.
- Try add-ons. This is a twist on the tip above. Adding a little clam juice, tuna juice (from tuna packed in water, not oil), or some minced sardines will add some zest to your cat’s meal and make it more enticing.
- Add pumpkin. Pumpkin is full of vitamins and fiber and many cats really enjoy its flavor. Be sure to feed only pumpkin, not pumpkin pie mix (contains sugar, which cats do not need). Offer a small amount (no more than two teaspoons a day) to help with constipation or diarrhea.
Enticing your cat to eat can be tricky, you might have to try a few things to find what will work, but getting your cat to eat will help him maintain his overall health.