How to get your finicky cat to eat

A picky palette may be to blame for your cats unusual eating habits.
Richard T. Nowitz/CORBIS |

If you've been free-feeding your cat, allowing him to nibble all day, schedule a specific mealtime instead. Offer him whatever food he seems to enjoy, and if he hasn't eaten after 30 minutes, remove it. Repeat at the next mealtime. Eventually, your cat's hunger will prevail. Because some cats don't like food from the refrigerator, warming it to room temperature may tempt his taste buds. A higher-quality food may be more appealing to the cat because it will taste better than a more generic variety. Most cats have preferences for canned (wet) food or for dry food, so if you're exchanging one for the other, do so over several days or a week, to prevent digestive distress. Combine some of the former food with the new choice, gradually reducing the amount.

Cats will sometimes refuse food if their dishes are dirty. So wash kitty's dish after every meal if it's canned food, or daily if he eats dry. His feeding spot should ideally be away from household traffic so he can eat without being disturbed.

Cats are sensitive to even small changes in their living environments. A move to a new home, the addition of another pet, a shift in your work schedule that results in a new mealtime, can all affect their eating habits. Calm your cat by establishing a comfortable routine that includes regular mealtimes and a clean, favorite feeding dish

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