Hopefully you have already visited your vet to get assistance with the medical reasons for not wanting to eat (mouth pain, nausea, viruses and gastrointestinal issues). Cats are creatures of habit and in an evolutionary sense they had no need to be experimental and adventurous with their foods, unlike our scavenging friends, the dogs. For cats, variety is not the spice of life. They would be perfectly happy eating that same old mouse every single day, they have no need for change. Some other basic principles to keep in mind when changing their food:
- Cats who have a blocked nose will often refuse to eat because they can’t smell their food. Heating the food to body temperature can make it smell nicer.
- Cats basically develop dietary preferences by 7 weeks of age, after their mum taught them what is food, and what is safe to eat. This is why changing foods in an adult cat is problematic.
- Cats will develop a preference for texture and appearance, so trying to make the new food look and feel like the old food can help the transition. For example if you want to introduce raw chicken necks, first cut them up into biscuit-sized pieces and sprinkle them with some crushed biscuit ‘seasoning’, then gradually leave the pieces bigger and bigger over time.
- Food aversions can also develop to something your cat has been eating if your cat was feeling a little sick last time the food was presented. Many ladies who have suffered morning sickness have experienced the same phenomenon, or perhaps this is the reason you can’t face Malibu and lemonade anymore!