Is Your Cat Becoming a Fussy Eater?
Change is an inevitable fact of life, even for cats. Take the first birthday for example. That's a real a milestone for a cat, marking the transition from kitten to adulthood. Food for adult cats can now be gradually mixed in with the kitten food over several days to allow her to become accustomed to the larger kibble and new nutritional formulation.
Simple stuff. But being an adult is also about being able to make choices and from now on cats may become less malleable or more fixed about their likes and dislikes. It need not cause you a lot of stress if your feline friend chooses to sleep on the sofa rather than in their expensive cat igloo but what if they get fussy about food? How long should you wait before pandering to every feline feeding whim?
Now, more than ever, you will start to see your cat as an individual. Some, like people, love to experience new things - a new variety, a change in texture, mixing wet food and dry food. This liking for new things is called neophilia and your cat may show this type of behaviour depending on their personality, early experiences, their environment and a wide variety of other influences.
Other cats can be neophobic and actively dislike new things. Such cats like set routines, rarely seek variety and often prefer to eat the same thing day in day out. If they have always had a feeding mat under their food bowl, taking it away can upset them so much that they won't eat. This is an important factor to consider if you take on a rescued or re-homed cat. Try and find out as much as possible about how the cat feeds, not just what they are fed, before bringing them home. But keep in mind they may be neophobic, not just about food but also in relation to toys or the outdoors.
Knowing how to present food can also be useful, especially if your cat is being a little picky over meals. Some cat prefer that any wet foods are offered at blood temperature and although it might not be a technique you use day to day, it can be handy to consider if your cat is feeling a little under the weather. Making a wet food into a gravy using warm water can also be a handy way of encouraging a timid cat to try dry food.
One surprising thing that you might not have considered is to be careful of your own body language. Your own perceptions about a particular cat food will be closely observed by your cat. If you simply don't like the latest pack design your cat could interpret your expression or stance as a signal that all is not well with the food. If you 'think positive', then there is a good chance that your cat will too!