Cats are known for being picky eaters, but some of our feline friends take it to the next level. Wet cat food is full of nutrients cats need, and according to vets, it’s an important part of a domestic cat’s regular diet. But what happens if your finicky feline refuses to touch the wet food you so carefully dish out? We all want what’s best for our cats. And in some cases, that means convincing them that wet food is just as tasty as their preferred kibble.
Why is Wet Food Important?
As obligate carnivores, cats could never survive on a vegetarian or vegan diet. And while kibble is made with meat, it’s usually higher in carbs than what a cat’s ideal diet calls for. Carbs are okay, but studies show cats are better off with diets rich in proteins and even fats. Wet cat foods are typically higher in protein and line up better with what a cat’s ideal diet should be.
Another reason wet food is important has to do with hydration. In general, cats aren’t big drinkers. They take laps out of the water bowl, but Dr. J from Preventative Vet says most cats walk around at least semi-dehydrated. The extra moisture in wet food helps prevent serious health issues including urethral obstructions and bladder inflammation.
Why Would a Cat Refuse Wet Cat Food?
The most common reason why a cat refuses to eat wet food is because they’re simply not used to it. Texture, flavor, and smell are big factors for cats when it comes to what they put in their mouths. If they were never introduced to the wet stuff in the formative kitten stage, there’s a good chance they’ll choose to avoid the mystery meal in adulthood.
If your cat used to eat wet food but doesn’t anymore, they could be bored or uninterested in the specific type you’re offering. There are countless different kinds of wet cat food available. There are stews, patés, and shredded foods that come in any number of flavor combinations. You might need to switch it up to keep your cat interested.
How to Get Your Cat to Eat Wet Food
Start introducing your cat to wet cat food slowly. If you have scheduled meal times, spoon a small amount of the wet food into the bowl along with their normal kibble. Mix it together slightly so your cat can’t just eat around what she doesn’t want. If this works, add a little more wet food and a little less dry food every day. Keep doing this until your cat is eating a bowl of only wet food.
If your cat is still refusing the new food, there are a few more tricks you can try. Add a small amount of warm water to help bring out the tasty smell and change the consistency to something she can drink rather than bite.
You can also try putting a small bit of the wet cat food on your cat’s nose or paw. She’ll need to lick it off if she wants to be clean, and that little taste could be enough to convince her that wet food is delicious.
For the pickiest of eaters, you might need to give in and go shopping for different kinds of food. My mom’s cat, Jack, only eats one very specific kind of wet cat food. He likes his Frisky’s salmon paté, and that’s it. My mom has tried different brands, textures, and flavors, but Jack knows what he wants, and he won’t accept anything else. You might have to try several different kinds of food before finding one your cat will accept.
Throughout this process, you never want your cat to go more than 24 hours without eating. At that point, they develop a risk for fatty liver disease that could eventually turn fatal. A diet of all dry food is better than no food at all.
Remember, cats are stubborn. You’ll need to be patient and try different types of food to get your cat on the best diet possible.