One of my friends came to me in frustration about her cat Hugo’s eating habits. No matter how companies touted their healthy cat food or bragged that their brand had the best cat food ingredients, Hugo would not eat the food. He would eat one brand for a short time, only to flick his tail dismissively at the food, making my friend scramble to find something else. She came to me to recount her story, saying the veterinarian said her cat was fine, just extremely finicky. Now what was she to do?
After quite a bit of research on cat food nutrition, we thought we had a plan to make Hugo the happiest cat when he approached his food bowl. We started by mixing dry kibble with wet cat food. This definitely got our feline diner’s interest. Following the recommendation to have water available as the cat ate also seemed to help. It’s easy to forget that cats need lots of fluids to encourage their appetites. Cats need more water to help their urinary tract systems, and dry food alone often leaves them lacking hydration. Plus, dry foods are often loaded with carbohydrates. Cats need protein to meet their nutritional needs, and animal based protein is best. Wet cat foods – or even just a can of tuna – provide the animal protein most appealing to cats. A great way to provide better nutrition for your cat is through making cat food at home. If you’d like to give it a try the way we did, here are some good websites to use for information: www.wikihow.com/Make-Raw-Cat-Food and feline-nutrition.org/nutrition.
As we became more cat health conscious, we also became more confused by labels. We knew that if we considered a cat’s natural diet, it would be high protein, high-moisture, and a meat-based diet. There would only be a moderate level of fat and approximately 3-5 percent of the diet would be carbohydrates. It’s difficult to discern from the pet food labels exactly what is in the food. Food types can vary from batch to batch, but it’s best to stick to this simple formula when looking for food - high protein (at least 50% of calories) moderate fat (less than 40% of calories), and low carbohydrate (less than 10% of calories). While many companies don’t provide full information on what is found in their foods, Feline's Pride, Hill's Pet, and Natura/Innova/EVO do provide a wealth of information on their websites.
So if your cat is being finicky at the food bowl, it’s most likely the cat is trying to send you a message. Add in more wet cat food, make water more available, and consider giving a try at making your cat food fresh to ensure your furry friend is getting all the correct nutrients.