Is your cat a picky eater? Some cat owners struggle with what to feed their cats, especially when they stop eating their regular wet food and only eat treats. This can be alarming since treats do not provide balanced nutrition for kitties.
What You Should Do
Here are steps that you should do if your cat only eats treats:
Give your cat healthy food instead of treats.
Cut back on treats and give your cat tasty but healthy meal options. Your cat won’t have any choice but to eat what is offered to her if she is hungry. Gradually switch to only the better food choices. This could take time, and your cat may temporarily refuse to eat anything else.
Be firm and do not feed her treats as it can lead to abnormal eating practices. Only one family member should give her occasional treats. Discourage others from doing so to avoid health problems like obesity.
Entice your cat to eat her meals by offering various brands of canned food.
Your cat should eat her normal meals, but if she refuses, you can try offering her certain brands to figure out her preferences. Do not indulge her obsession with treats as it could lead to serious health issues like liver failure and stomach problems. Offer the canned food to her and observe. If she still won’t touch it, give her some time and place it in front of her again.
You need to be patient but firm in deciding not to give her treats. Hunger will take over and your cat will eventually eat the food offered to her. If she continues to refuse her meals, consult your vet for the proper treatment.
Serve her food fresh.
Your cat will be more inclined to eat her meals if they are served fresh and warm. The aroma of warm food is enticing and stimulates a cat’s appetite. Clean the food bowl daily and make sure it is grease and dirt-free.
Avoid abrupt changes in food brands to prevent stomach upset, or try adding chicken broth to your cat’s food for a richer aroma.
Reasons Why Treats Can Be Unhealthy
Here are the reasons why treats can be unhealthy and should not be given regularly:
- Treats contain excessive amounts of calories that are bad for cats.
- They contain high amounts of fats.
- Treats are considered junk food despite claims that they are complete and balanced food.
- Your cat could develop health problems like fatty liver, kidney problems, diabetes, weight issues, jaundice, inflammatory bowel disease, urinary tract infection, and liver failure if it is exclusively eating treats.
According to Dr. Marla McGeorge, an Oregon-based veterinarian, treats should only be a small part of a cat’s diet. They should make up no more than 10% of the total calories that a cat eats.
Treats are mainly to reinforce your cat’s good behavior and should never be given as a meal. The allowable limit for treats should only be around 10 to 15 calories daily. Overindulging your cat with treats can affect her eating habits.
Treats are loaded with pleasant-tasting additives and ingredients that can curb a cat’s appetite. A visit to your vet is essential for proper consultation on your cat’s diet and nutrition.
Types of Treats That Have Benefits for Your Cats
These are the types of treats that have benefits for felines:
- Denttal health treats– help reduce plaque and use chlorophyll to keep your cat’s breath fresh
- Dried tuna flakes treats- high in protein and low in fat content
- Hairball remedy treats- help prevent hairballs
- Joint health treats- ideal for senior cats that are prone to joint problems
- Homemade treats- frozen bone broth, frozen banana slices and dried sweet potatoes
Will cats starve themselves if they don’t like the food?
Yes, cats tend to starve themselves sometimes if they do not like the food. However, as a responsible cat owner, you should not allow this to happen. If a cat refuses to eat within a day or two she can develop hepatic lipidosis (liver failure) which is a deadly disease.
Liver failure can happen because when a cat does not eat, it will rely on fat reserves for energy and the protein supply becomes exhausted. Due to this, the liver becomes overwhelmed by all the fat.
What do you feed a cat that refuses to eat?
Encourage your cat to eat by heating her food and mixing it with broth, fish oil, or cooked egg. Try seafood varieties of canned or wet food. You can also add some water from canned tuna to her meal. You may also give her meat baby food or add warmed low-sodium chicken broth to her dry or canned food.
Some cats are picky eaters, but it can be alarming if they only eat treats instead of regular cat food. Cut back on the treats and entice the cat to eat regular meals by providing various brand options. Serve meals fresh and warm and add chicken broth to enhance the flavor and the aroma. Treats should only make up about 10% of a cat’s total calorie intake and are not meant to be fed as a meal.
Image: istockphoto.com / Nils Jacobi