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Choosing cat food for very fussy cats
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Choosing cat food for very fussy cats

Are you struggling to find the perfect food for your fussy cat? Look no further! In this article, we will explain why your cat is fussy and provide tips on finding food they will like. Whether your cat’s pickiness comes from not liking particular flavours or textures, or whether they have sensitivities or specific dietary requirements, we’ve got you covered. 

Why is my cat fussy?

Cats are known for their discerning palates and can be quite finicky when it comes to their food. Understanding the reasons behind their fussiness can help you find the right food that your cat will enjoy. There are several factors that can contribute to a cat's picky eating habits.

Firstly, cats have a highly developed sense of taste, and their preferences can vary from one cat to another. Some cats may prefer certain flavours or proteins, while others may have aversions to certain textures or smells. Cats are also known to be creatures of habit, and any changes in their routine or environment can affect their appetite.

Another common reason for fussiness in cats is a sensitive stomach. Some cats may have digestive issues, such as food allergies or intolerances, that can make them picky eaters. It's important to identify any underlying health conditions that may be causing your cat's fussiness and address them accordingly.

Why doesn’t my cat like the food I give them?

Cats are like humans, they won’t eat something if they don’t like it unless they are starving. So if you are putting food down for them and they aren’t eating it, try to understand what is in it (or not in it) for them to be turning their noses up at it.

The top five reasons for a cat turning up their nose at food are:

1. The meat or fish content is very low 

You'll probably be surprised to learn that most cat foods that you can buy from a supermarket or Pets at Home have very low meat and fish content. Let’s look at the back of a pack of Go Cat Turkey & Chicken (Nestle):

Cereals, Meat and animal derivatives (10%*), Vegetable protein extracts, Oils and fats, Derivatives of vegetable origin, Minerals, Vegetables (0.6%**), Yeasts

As you can see here the meat content is very low, particularly compared to a food like Tippaws Delicious Dry Food that has 70% meat or fish content. Cats are obligate carnivores and so for them, this isn’t very appetising.

2. They don’t like a particular meat or fish

Your cat might not like a specific type of protein. Contrary to popular belief, a lot of cats don’t like fish for example. If your cat is rejected a food with a particular meat or fish in it, try them on other proteins, a combination of proteins or even a novel protein. This process will be trial and error.

3. The food is made with a significant amount of meat derivatives

If there isn't fresh meat or fish in a recipe, it’s unlikely it’s going to give off that delicious meaty or fishy smell to entice them (like us eating rice cakes!). Let’s look at the back of a pack of James Wellbeloved (Mars Petcare) dry cat food:

Turkey meal (27.5%), brown rice, turkey fat (13.9%), white rice, maize gluten, potato protein, turkey gravy (3.9%), tomato pomace, dried meat-free stock, potassium chloride, chicory pulp, fish oil, chicory extract (0.25%), calcium carbonate, carrot, sodium chloride, cranberry extract (0.05%), yucca extract (0.02%).

As all the meat here is meat meal and there is no fresh meat, cats won’t be drawn to it. The domestic cat’s ancestors ate meat while it was still warm (unlike their wolf counterparts) so they are attracted to the smell of fresh meat and fish in dry food such as Tippaws Delicious Dry Food

4. The recipe contains textures cats don't like

As we know cats are incredibly fussy and this applies to textures too. For example, they won’t like kibble that has any stringy bits in it, so ingredients like sweet potato or stringy carbohydrates or vegetables are generally a no go. Likewise, kibble that is made from animal bones such as fish bones are generally a no-go as cats can feel this in the kibble. Let’s look at Purina One (Nestle) for example:

Salmon (including head, bone, meat) (17%), Dried poultry protein, Wheat Corn, Corn protein meal, soya meal, Wheat gluten, Wheat middlings, Animal fats, Dried chicory root (2%), Minerals, Digest (with added heat treated Lactobacillus Delbrueckii and Fermenum powder 0.025%), Yeasts

5. They’re bored with the recipe

Just like humans, cats love variety and get bored with the same food everyday. Mix up recipes and keep them on rotation. Buying smaller 1.5kg or 2.5kg bags is great for this - especially if the bags are resealable as you can have 2-3 recipes on the go at once. You can even do Fish Fridays! Try our Taster Pack for 300g of all three of our recipes, for example.

Switching food when your cat is fussy

Introducing new food to a fussy cat can be a challenging task. However, with a few simple tips, you can make the transition smoother and increase the chances of your cat accepting the new food.

Firstly, it's important to introduce new food gradually. Start by mixing a small amount of the new food with your cat's current food and gradually increase the proportion over time. This will allow your cat to get used to the new flavours and textures without causing any digestive upset.

It's also important to offer a variety of recipes to cater to your cat's preferences. Just like humans, cats can get bored with the same food every day. By offering a rotation of different recipes, you can keep your cat interested and prevent them from becoming fussy eaters.

Finally, try to make mealtime a positive and stress-free experience for your cat. Set a consistent feeding schedule and create a calm and quiet environment. Avoid rushing your cat or forcing them to eat, as this can create negative associations with food.

Other considerations for fussy cats

When it comes to choosing the right food for your fussy cat, there are a few factors to consider. Firstly, it's important to look for high-quality cat food that is made with premium ingredients. Avoid foods that contain fillers, artificial additives, or excessive amounts of carbohydrates.

Next, consider your cat's specific dietary needs. If your cat has a sensitive stomach or food allergies, opt for hypoallergenic or limited ingredient diets. These diets are formulated to be gentle on the digestive system and are free from common allergens such as grains, dairy, and artificial preservatives.

It's also important to consider the age and life stage of your cat. Kittens have different nutritional needs compared to adult or senior cats. Look for cat food that is specifically formulated to meet the requirements of your cat's life stage.

Conclusion: Choosing the right food for your fussy cat can be a daunting task, but with the right knowledge and guidance, you can ensure that your cat receives a nutritious and delicious diet. By understanding your cat's preferences, introducing new food gradually, and considering their specific dietary needs, you can make mealtime a positive and enjoyable experience for both you and your cat.

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