Friday, April 11, 2008

my cat is a very fussy eater; what can I do?

First of all you need to find out why her choice of food has altered recently. It may be that she has a problem with her teeth, although that usually makes a cat reluctant to eat hard foods.

I would suggest that you make an appointment for your cat to see a vet, who will be able to check your cat over. They will also be able to advise you about the amount and type of food your cat is eating, and whether it is OK to carry on with the diet your cat obviously prefers.

The vet will be able to advise you as to whether it is worthwhile taking all the time and trouble getting your cat to change her diet at all!

As long the vet rules out any medical problem, it may simply be a dominance problem. Quite often cats like this have learnt that by refusing to eat they can force their owner into giving them a tastier snack.

The situation is the same as a child who refuses to eat anything other than pizzas, and the treatment is the same, too! You must stand your ground and remain firm.

Insisting that your cat changes her diet may be met with indignation, but you should persevere, knowing that you are doing the best for your cat.

Start off by mixing a little of any selected new food with the old, and alter this ratio over time. This allows your cat's digestive system to adjust to the new food as well as letting your cat to get used to the taste of the new food.

Don't expect your cat to take to the new diet immediately - it will take quite a long time.

With cats, food is generally best left there at all times, as they tend to be much better at regulating their appetite. However, the amount on offer should be measured out at the beginning of the day. This is to guard against obesity in those cats that are not so good at regulating their appetites or where high palatability overrides their fullness.

It may also be a good idea in a greedy cat to have the measured food divided up into two or more meals.

I would also suggest that you write to Pet Food manufacturers about the best diet for your cat's life stage. They can provide you with lots of information that you might find useful.

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