5 Ways to Make Eating Enjoyable for Cats
Every cat owner would want his or her pet to be happy and feel right at home. As such, when the cat is not enjoying its meal, it is natural for its human parent to think of ways to make the cat relish its food. Here are 5 very simple yet effective ways to ensure that your pet kitty enjoys every meal that you give it.
Make Sure Your Kitty Does Not have Any Underlying Health Problem
Before you start thinking of ways to make mealtimes pleasurable for your kitty, it is best to check whether there is an underlying medical problem or not. Think about it: when we are sick, no matter how delicious the food is, we are never in the mood to eat. If we are sick, our taste buds tend to be off. We cannot appreciate the distinct flavors in our favorite food. The same is true with kitties and other pets. No matter how delicious and attractive the food is, a sick cat will focus more on what it is experiencing instead of the food.
One of the most common reasons why cats may not enjoy their meals is that they have dental problems. Seven out of 10 cats that are at least 2 years old already have some form of gum disease. This can lead to tooth loss and the erosion of the bone that supports the tooth. In cases where the gum disease is only starting, there will still be pain and inflammation. This can make chewing more difficult, if not cumbersome. How can you expect your pet cat to enjoy its meal if it has pain?
If you notice a sudden decrease in your cat’s appetite, it is best to have a veterinarian take a look. Periodontal disease in cats is very common, often secondary to poor dental hygiene. Other diseases such as infections and gastrointestinal diseases can also lead to a sudden change in the pet’s appetite. Addressing these health issues can help make your cat start enjoying its meals again.
Provide Your Cat with Wet or Canned Cat Food
Have you ever tried smelling the pet kibbles that you are giving to your cat? It is not that appealing. In most cases, it smells like the feed that farmers give to their livestock animals. While dry cat food can be very beneficial in keeping your cat’s teeth and gums healthy, it is not at all palatable. If you want to make mealtimes more enjoyable for your beloved cat, then you should invest in wet or canned cat food.
The reason why wet or canned pet food works so well among cats is that it mimics the composition of natural prey animals. Unlike dogs that can subsist on a diet of animal- and plant-foods, members of the feline kingdom are obligate carnivores. Their anatomy dictates that they should only eat meats. Of course, thousands of years of domestication have somehow allowed the cat to adapt. But its digestive system is still that of a carnivore.
The only issue with canned pet food is that they can be very pricey. If this is a major concern for you, then you can incorporate wet cat food into your pet’s kibbles. This will help improve the taste of your pet’s meal, allowing it to enjoy the flavor combination. If you are going to do this, it is important to keep track of the cumulative calories. Wet cat food contains more proteins on a dry weight basis than dry cat food. On the other hand, kibbles contain more calories. You will have to compute for the combined calories of these pet foods so that you do not overfeed your kitty.
A good alternative is to use semi-moist cat food. These products are like dry cat food except that they contain more moisture. It is like a cross between kibbles and wet cat food. Cats love the taste of semi-moist cat food a lot more than kibbles. It also costs less than wet cat food. The problem with this food is that they are often considered as treats. As such, they should never replace the main meal of your cat.
Get Creative in the Meals that You Serve Your Cat
There is another way you can make mealtimes more enjoyable for your cat. You can whip up some creative recipes to give to it. There are many pet-friendly recipes online. You can always try to follow these recipes or gain some insights on how you can make your own.
You can also try adding some baby food in your pet’s meal. Nobody can explain as to why cats love this kind of food. It does not matter. What is more important is that cats go crazy about the flavor and texture of this food item. When using baby food, pick one that contains meat. They love the bits of meat that they get to eat. And since baby food is moist, you also address a cat’s need for more water.
If you do not have baby food, you can open a can of anchovies or tuna. Do not give the fish, however. Use only the water or broth from these canned food items. Mix it in your pet’s kibbles and watch it empty its food bowl in a flash.
Another trick is to mix low-sodium chicken broth in their kibbles. Make sure to warm the broth first before adding into the kibble. This will help soften the dry cat food a lot faster while incorporating the flavor of the chicken broth into the kibbles. Do not use broth that contains ingredients like garlic, chives, onions, or onion powder. They are not safe for your kitty.
Get a block of parmesan cheese, grate some over the cat’s food. This will help “improve” the overall flavor profile of your cat’s meal. Make sure to give cheese in moderation, however. Some cats do not do well with dairy products. They can get tummy upsets. Some can also be lactose intolerant.
A good alternative to cheese is nutritional yeast powder. It has the same cheesy flavor but with a hint of nuttiness to it. What is great with nutritional yeast powder is that it contains B vitamins.
Integrate Fun Activities During Mealtimes
To make mealtimes more enjoyable for your pet cat, you may have to think of other ways to serve its meal. Most of us think that you should always feed a pet using its food bowl. While this is true, it will not hurt to modify your approach once in a while. As long as you stick to the calorie and nutrient requirements of your pet, it should be fine regardless of how you serve its meal.
A great tool for making mealtimes more fun is food dispensing toys. One example of these is the Kitty KONG. This is the kitty version of the Classic KONG that’s adored by dogs. This rubber toy has a very simple design that belies its usefulness. You can stuff it with delicious cat food in several layers. Your cat will lick through the opening like licking an ice cream. It learns that there is yummy food in the Kitty KONG. This will help entice it to eat some more.
If you do not like to buy a Kitty KONG, you can always improvise. Get a small ball and punch holes on its surface. These holes should be big enough to let food particles come out. Fill the ball with your pet’s favorite food or the one that you prepared. As the cat bats or plays with the ball, food will come out.
There are also food puzzle toys. You do not have to buy them. Look at how they’re designed and you can make your own. Fill the slots with food and watch your cat open the lids of these slots to get its food.
Watch Out for Toxic and Harmful Ingredients in Cat Food
Always be on the lookout for harmful ingredients in the food that you are giving to your pet. There are human foods that pet parents should never give to their beloved cats. In many instances, these ingredients are toxic and can lead to a variety of health problems. Some are mild, while others can be life threatening.
Because cats are intelligent, if they fell sick because of eating a particular food, they might not want to eat again. They will think that the food that you gave them made them sick. As such, they may not trust you anymore whenever you try to feed them.
Know the different ingredients that can make your cat sick. Grapes, raisins, garlic, coffee, onions, and avocados are some food items that you do not want to give to your pet. There are many more.
Making eating pleasant for cats should always start by determining any underlying condition that may affect their desire to eat. Once you’ve established that there is none, you can get as creative as you want in making feline mealtimes more enjoyable.