My Cat Has Become a Picky Eater

Your four-year-old tortoiseshell cat Missy has always been a proud member of the “clean bowl club.” Missy has been with your family since she was very young, and she has generally scarfed down her food shortly after you poured it into her bowl. Recently, though, Missy barely picks at her top-quality cat food, daintily nibbling a few kibbles and then turning away. She even leaves food in her bowl at night. You’re concerned that Missy isn’t getting the proper nutrition, so you’ve asked your veterinarian in Richmond to evaluate your picky little princess. You’d like him to develop a strategy to get Missy’s eating behavior back on track.

Unpleasant Dining Environment

Just like you, Missy wants to dine on the tastiest food, served on the finest serving ware that’s been scrubbed clean every day. Missy also wants to enjoy her delicious kibbles in a high-end restaurant that features just the right ambience. Unfortunately for her, Missy’s bowls are located in your crazy, hectic kitchen where your family often gathers to dine and chat. If your family can agree on a different meal schedule, Missy will get some welcome peace, and perhaps she’ll view her food more favorably.

Undesirable Food Choice

Maybe meticulous little Missy is disgusted with her food. If your home’s on the humid side, and Missy’s dry kibbles soak up the moisture, the food might taste a bit stale to your cat with the exquisite palate. If Missy prefers wet food, and the can goes straight from the fridge to her bowl, the clammy cold food has zero appeal. Warm up the food so it smells better (to Missy, anyway); but make sure the food won’t burn Missy’s sensitive mouth.

If Missy has eaten the same food for awhile, she might have gotten tired of encountering the same kibbles, week after week, month after month. Finally, since sweet little Missy sneaks out occasionally, perhaps she has been snacking on mice, and she doesn’t have much of an appetite.

Epic Battle of Wills

If you’re at your wit’s end, and Missy still won’t finish her food, buy her the best-quality dry or wet food you can find (whatever she prefers). Don’t put human food scraps in Missy’s bowl, as that sets a terrible precedent for future food-related battles. Eventually, Missy should be ravenous enough to eat the food in her bowl.

If Missy hasn’t eaten for a full day, get your Richmond vet involved, as he has some diagnostic work to do. He’ll test Missy for a dental problem, a food allergy, or even a hidden medical problem that could affect Missy’s desire to eat. Once your vet discovers what’s wrong, Missy’s healthy appetite should begin to return.

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