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Cat doesn’t eat? 8 things to try when your cat isn’t eating

My cat Bella drove me crazy. She decided that “I won’t eat this!” is your new favorite game in the world. As for the food, Madame isn’t going to have the chicken – that would be the super premium raw organic frozen chicken she’s had gobbled up eating for months. Madame won’t have the duck either, because it’s too rich and she’ll throw up. Instead, Madame would prefer the rabbit (which costs about $ 8 more per bag than chicken or duck, of course) or, if you prefer, a low-carb, grain-free pie. Pooh. Is your cat not eating? I know that I am not the only cat parent who has seen a cat refuse to eat. Here are some things to try when your cat isn’t eating.

Is your cat not eating? She could be sick or in pain. Photography by Eugene03 / Thinkstock.

1. Make sure that your cat who is not eating is not a sign that she is sick

A cat that isn’t eating can be a sign that your cat is sick or in pain, especially if it stops longer than a meal. If so, take your cat to the veterinarian.

2. If you are committed to a particular brand of cat food, try other flavors

If you have an ethical or medical reason to stick with a particular brand of food, see if it is available in other flavors. Remember to try other brands that may offer the same medical or health benefits. Your cat may find the change refreshing.

3. Heat the cat food

If you’ve stored your cat’s food in the refrigerator, it will heat up to around body temperature in the microwave in five to 10 seconds and the smell will become attractive to your cat. If you don’t have a microwave, mix some warm water into the food instead.

A fluffy white cat eating wet food from a plate or bowl.

Cat won’t eat? Try adding a tempting treat to your pet bowl. Photography © RooIvan | Thinkstock.

4. Add something tasty to your cat’s food

Try sprinkling your fussy cat’s food with a tempting treat like bonito flakes or cat vitamin powder.

5. Keep your cat’s dishes and bowls clean

This is especially important if your cat eats canned or raw food, as germs grow in leftover food and can cause disease. A cat that doesn’t eat may hate the smell of its dishes or food. Cats are instinctively driven to avoid consuming foul smelling meat. If you’re using plastic trays, replace them with metal or ceramic as these are easier to keep clean.

6. Try different cat dishes

A cat that doesn’t eat just doesn’t like its bowl. Some cats do not like deep or narrow harnesses because they narrow their whiskers. Flat or brachycephalic cats like Persians, Himalayas, and exotic shorthairs shouldn’t eat from plates or shallow bowls anyway.

7. Do not hide medication in your cat’s food

Once upon a time, I ground a pill and put it in my cat’s food. What I didn’t know was that the medicine was really bitter. My cat refused to touch it and she never ate that particular brand and taste of food again. Some drugs are available in flavors that appeal to cats, but there are few. Check with your veterinarian before trying the powder pill trick.

8. Remember – choose your battles!

Is it really that important to you that your cat only eats one taste of one brand? Even if you love pizza, you would be sick of it if you had to eat it every day for the rest of your life. This is the approach I took with Bella and honestly, I should have done that from the start. Cats need and deserve variety in their diet, just like us.

Tell us: Is your cat not eating? What did you do when your cat didn’t eat? Please share your stories and tips for a cat that won’t eat in the comments!

Selected image: Photography by aleg baranau / Shutterstock.

This piece was originally released in 2015.

Continue reading: We’re feeding cats the wrong way – Throw away the cat food bowls and change the schedules

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