Your cat has turned her nose up yet again at the dry kibbles you placed on the bowl and you wonder why is she being so stubborn? Why does my cat refuse to eat dry food? Cats, in general, prefer to eat wet cat food over dry because the wet variety more closely approximates fresh meat which is supposed to be the primary diet of cats who, by nature, are obligate carnivores. Cats must eat meat protein as their main source of nutrients.
Dry Food Is Not All That Bad
Dry cat food has been described by some camps as a “species inappropriate” food because of its lower water and protein content and higher carbohydrates content. But it has been shown that dry cat food is not bad as long as the cat has access to and drinks enough water.
Dry cat food has its inherent advantages: (1) they can be kept longer after the pack is opened as long as they are placed in airtight containers, (2) they can be left longer in the bowl so the cat can have access to food even when the owner is away during the day, an advantage for busy cat parents and (3) they are cheaper than canned wet food for pet parents on a tight budget.
Why Some Cats Refuse To Eat Dry Food
The concern of owners whose cat refuses to eat dry food is how to encourage their cat to try it. If your cat persistently refuses to try dry food, first take her to the vet to rule out any problems especially painful dental conditions which may make your cat reluctant to eat the harder dry food. If she has been given a clean bill of health and she continues to reject dry food, consider it may be any of the following reasons:
(1) Some cats get imprinted on a particular food’s taste and texture and will be unwilling to try new food. It is therefore important to expose a kitten to a wide variety of food flavors and types while still young.
(2) The dry food kibble size, shape, hardness and texture may not be suited and age appropriate for your cat.
Studies have shown that these kibble characteristics can contribute to the overall palatability of a particular dry food to a cat. Kibble size and shape should be designed for the jaw of specific breeds of cats to make it easier for them to pick up the kibble. Kibble hardness should be such that cat will be able to chew it for a better digestion and texture is important to help accentuate flavor and enhance palatability.
(3) Some cats refuse to eat dry food simply because they do not have access to fresh clean water most of the time and are in a state of chronic dehydration which is a deterrent to eating.
Introducing Your Cat To Dry Food
The following tips may help you to introduce your cat to dry food:
(1) Try different brands of cat food that are age and breed appropriate for your cat in regards to kibble shape, size, hardness and texture as described above.
(2) Try to set the new dry food side by side with your cat’s usual wet food as eventually she may become curious enough to try the dry food.
(3) Try some tough love. Make kitty hungry for about 12 hours and she may choose to eat what you give her. But do not withhold food for too long because it can lead to health problems.
(4) Try to wet the kibbles at first but remember not to leave wetted kibbles beyond 20-30 minutes because it is a good medium for bacteria and molds to grow. Always remove leftovers immediately.
(5) Try to sprinkle food toppers to the dry food to entice the cat to try it.
(6) Try to appeal to the cat’s curious nature and make the dry food fun and interesting by placing it inside toys or containers with holes that cats play with and kibbles fall out.
(7) Make sure your cat always has free access to a fresh and clean drinking water supply. A well-hydrated cat is more inclined to eat dry food than a chronically dehydrated one. A water fountain is a good investment to provide a constant supply of filtered and well oxygenated water to your cat.
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