Will A Finicky Cat Eventually Eat? | How To Feed A Cat That Won’t Eat?

Will a finicky cat eventually eat?

Why did my cat stop eating all of a sudden?

Should I have given her the same routine cat food that she is used to in lieu of the new brand that I felt she will like?

If your mind is currently racing with similar questions around the sudden change in your cat’s feeding behavior, do not worry.

I am making this guide potent enough so that once you have read it you will have a clear perception as to what action you need to take.

Will A Finicky Cat Eventually Eat – The Short Answer

Its not normal for cats to not eat.

If your cat is not eating but she seems playful, healthy and doing things that she normally does, then chances are she doesn’t like the food that you just served her.

In this case, you can either change the food that you served her or try and change the food gradually if the change essentially needs to happen because of certain health conditions.

I will talk about this in details in the subsequent sections.

On the other hand, if your cat is not eating and looks lethargic, sick or doesn’t exude her natural persona, I recommend you take her to the vet for immediate attention.

Now there are lot of factors that needs to be understood as far as a cat’s eating and diet behavior is concerned and what can you do if your cat is a picky eater.

Therefore, I recommend that you read on.

Because this is a subjective topic that requires a lot of attention and awareness and having little knowledge will not give you a comprehensive insight.

Understanding A Cat’s Dietary Requirements

Now I don’t need to tell you how strong a cat’s personality is. Cats have a very strong sense of likes and dislikes.

And there are a lot of things which if you are not conscious of may lead to them develop a dislike towards what they eat or they may stop eating altogether.

Here are a few pointers you need to know about cats and their diet patterns.

When compared with dogs cats have very unique diet requirements.

Cats have evolved from carnivorous environments where their diet strictly consisted of meat proteins.

Today of course cats live in a controlled domesticated environments where they can thrive on a variety of diets.

From nutritional perspective cats don’t necessarily need extra-high protein diet.

But what they do need is high requirements of amino acids from dietary proteins when compared with dogs.

Why Is My Cat Suddenly A Picky Eater?

A relationship between a cat owner and his or her cats is no less than a parent child relationship.

It’s incredible to see an innocent life evolve in front of you to become what nature truly intends them to become. A pet truly brings out the compassionate aspect from within us.

They invigorate kindness and sensitivity of being human from within us.

And therefore, if all of a sudden they decide to not eat or not to express their existence the way we know is their best self, it can cause some worry in us.

But with proper understanding, sufficient care and expert advice any problem can be caught from the roots and handled.

So the reasons why your cat may have suddenly become a picky eater can be divided into two broad categories.

1.Environmental Reasons

Cats resist changes. Cats do not like changes in their environment and consequently do not like change in their food.

Some even go to an extent and call it neophobia but since the existence of an animal is based on boundaries I don’t necessarily agree with that.

So a change in patterns that the cat is used to may very well trigger finickiness in cats.

Here is a list of various factors that you need to observe and be aware of that may possibly be one of the reasons why your cat stopped eating.

1. Cats are cleanliness freaks.

And I am sure as a cat owner you might have observed that.

They don’t clean themselves for nothing with so much attention. Its so cute.

Therefore, cats essentially need to have their food and water dishes away from their litter box.

They have a strong sense to eat in areas which is at a sufficient distance from where they eliminate.

So please check if during your latest furniture shift you shifted your cat’s feeding bowl close to the litter box by mistake.

You will be surprised how often that happens.

2. Keep Cleaning Station Clean Too.

For similar reasons, it is very important that you keep their food and water dishes clean.

Cats are very perceptive of contamination and therefore, they don’t like eating close to a water vessel or source.

You may have observed on occasions that if they observe that their food is close to the water dish, they will try and drag their food away from the water source.

So please check if that is the case.

3. Cats Are Not Social Eaters.

One very important thing that you need to understand is that cats are not social eaters. They don’t really cherish eating in packed and crowded spaces.

And therefore, it is important that their food stations must be in an area that doesn’t see a lot of movements, kitchen for example.

If your house has more than one cat, every cat needs to have her own feeding stations in places that is comfortable and doesn’t give them reason to panic when they are eating.

4. No Unfamiliar Food Items In The Routine Diet.

Adding foreign substances such as medications to their favorite food is also something that if done over time can turn your cat finicky towards her favorite food.

Medications are almost always bitter and eventually they will associate the food with the bad taste throwing them off their favorite food.

5. Use Treats Wisely

Using treats to feed your cat is one other way that makes your cat’s diet reward driven. They may refuse to eat the food altogether when you try to feed it to them normally.

So these were some such environmental changes that you need to be cautious of.

This isn’t of course an exhaustive list but should give you a fair bit of idea as to how environmental changes can trigger finickiness in cats.

So for the most part if your cat is acting finicky out of changes in her ecosystem, she will eventually eat when the factors are fixed.

Having said that another factor that needs to be considered is that she is happy, healthy and otherwise doing her normal personality that she does everday.

If she is not acting normal, seems lethargic or sick and has not eaten in 20 to 24 hours, you need to get her checked immediately.

Which brings us to the second reason,

2. Health Issues

As I have been mentioning, if your cat has not eaten in 20 – 24 hours and is not being her normal self.

You need to visit the vet immediately.

These are the situations where you need to be extra alert and ready.

I have seen many cat owners joke about their cat’s finicky nature and assuming that is how their cat is.

While yes cats have a strong persona that doesn’t necessarily translate to cats being natural finicky eaters.

And your cat not eating can actually be a very serious issue. This is not to create panic but to create awareness.

Loss of appetite is something that concerns all pets but the problem can be particularly serious in cats.

If cats go longer than 2 days without food they may develop what is known as feline hepatic lipidosis or  feline fatty liver syndrome.

A potentially FATAL disease.

There are other physical ailments that a cat that has suddenly stopped eating may be heading towards.

These include,

  • Urinary tract problems
  • Constipation
  • Digestive issues
  • Inflamed pancreas
  • Dental pain and discomfort
  • Kidney disease
  • Stress

Therefore, if you have the slightest doubt that your cat maybe expressing any of these symptoms in addition to not eating for more than 24 hours, you need to take her to the vet.

Will A Finicky Cat Eventually Eat If I Hold Out?

In ideal terms you should avoid doing drastic changes to your cat’s diet.

But realistically there may be certain situations wherein you may need to change the diet of your cat owing to health or age reasons.

Examples of these situations include diabetes or kidney-related diseases that require a diet change.

So if a diet change is inevitable, best do it such that the new food is similar to the old food in terms of taste, flavour, and ingredients.

An example of this would be if your cat has been on a chicken-flavoured diet, best keep your new dry food for cat made from chicken if possible.

In any case, you can be tempted to just wait it out and see will a finicky cat eventually eat when she is sufficiently hungry.

I once again need to point out that avoid doing that for more than 24 hours.

Without food in her system, your cat’s body starts metabolizing her body fat which can build up on her liver.

The excess buildup of these fat cells obstructs the proper organ function leading to your cat being sick and develop hepatic lipidosis.

How to Get Your Cat to Eat

You now have sufficient understanding behind what factors may possibly be behind your cat turning finicky. 

Here are a few tips that you can deploy to make your finicky cat eventually eat, provided you have established that your cat is just a picky eater and doesn’t have a medical condition that requires immediate attention.

1. Increasing Food’s Moisture Content.

As per veterinary nutritionist Jennifer Larsen, many cats prefer cat foods that have higher moisture content unless they have been only conditioned to eat dry food in the domesticated environment. So if your cat has been on a dry food streak try switching things up by introducing her to wet foods gradually.

2. Warm Up the Food.

For kittens that have been deriving nutrition from warm milk from their mother, cold food can be a very unwelcome change for them.

Therefore, warming up the kitten canned food can help ease that transition from milk to solid food.

However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that this applies to kittens only. Try and warm the food up for your finicky cat as well and see if she develops a liking for it

3. Adding Tuna Juice/Chicken Broth To Cat Food.

Research suggests cats like the flavour of proteins and amino acids. Therefore, in order to attract your cat towards the food, try and add some tuna juice to her new cat food. A little flavour might just be all she needs.

You can even try adding some low sodium chicken broth to her food.

4. Adopt A Feeding Schedule.

This is one very important thing to consider especially if you have new kittens. Try and put them on a varied diet from the beginning, plus, make sure you stick to a feeding schedule and feed your cat only when they are hungry.

There are cat owners who are ready to feed their cat anytime she shows up in the kitchen or does something she knows will relate to you feeding.

Be conscious of your behaviour around your cat so that she can’t use it to train you to get what she wants every time. That sure will develop finickiness and bad behaviour.

5. Make Mealtime Comfortable.

There are certain aspects that you essentially need to be aware of with respect to cat’s behaviour.

Make sure the environment where your cat or cats feed in is isolated, comfortable and secure.

Use clean dish bowls to feed different cats and use different bowls to feed different variety of cat food to clearly demarcate what food does your cat like.

Overly affectionate cats may leave out on eating if that means they will have to leave their human side for a moment. In such cases, try petting and gently stroking your cat till she starts to eat.

Best Cat Food For Picky Eaters

The first question that you need to ask here is is there anything special about cat foods manufactured for picky cats or fussy eaters?

Cat foods for picky cats come in a wide range of options to choose from with manufacturers and specialists offering canned foods, home cooked recipes, wet foods and veterinarian recommended products.

But how does one separate wheat from chaff so to speak?

How does one know whether he or she is paying for high quality ingredients or marketing fluff?

You will find the answer to that question looking at the ingredients of the food.

Typically you would want to look for high proportions of animal protein and a protein to fat ratio of 2 to 2.5.

And if you are looking for specific cat food that helps your finicky cat gain weight it is always good to consult your vet.

Here is my recommended list of best cat foods for fussy cats chosen on the basis of personal research, quality and popularity among cat parents.

Best Wet Food For Picky Cats

Purina Friskies Multiflavor Pack
  • Twenty-Four (24) 3 oz. Pouches - Purina Friskies Gravy Wet Cat Food Variety Pack, Gravy Sensations Farm and Fish Pouches
  • Variety pack features beef, seafood and poultry flavors for the tastes cats love, and each recipe is smothered in rich gravy for added flavor and moisture
  • Tender bites in wet cat food pouches offer a tempting texture and make a yummy topper for her favorite Friskies dry cat food
  • Purina wet cat food in gravy recipes provide 100 percent complete and balanced nutrition for adult cats and contain no artificial colors or preservatives
  • Six different Purina cat food recipes provide added variety to her meals

Purina Friskies come in six different flavors, all packed in one box.

This is ideal to test different flavors that your cat may like.

Instinct Grain Free Wet Cat Food Pate, Original Natural Canned Cat Food, Rabbit, 3 oz (Case of 24)
  • GRAIN FREE CAT FOOD WITH FARM RAISED RABBIT: Instinct Original is made with 95% rabbit & pork liver, 5% vegetables, fruits and other wholesome ingredients. This is high protein cat food with responsibly sourced farm raised rabbit as the #1 ingredient.
  • CANNED CAT FOOD WITH NO FILLERS: Instinct Original wet cat food is high protein cat food. Made without grain, potato, corn, wheat, soy, carrageenan, by-product meals, artificial colors or preservatives - ingredients known to trigger food sensitivities.
  • NATURAL CAT FOOD: Made from real meat & whole food ingredients, our grain free wet cat food is packed with animal protein for strong, lean muscles. Served as a meal or topper, this delicious pate texture is a taste that even picky kitties will love.
  • RAW INSPIRED WET CAT FOOD: Our canned cat food offers complete & balanced nutrition from real ingredients to support your cat's health from kitten to senior. Made in the USA with the finest ingredients from around the world.
  • INSTINCT, THE RAW BRAND: We craft wet & dry cat food from real ingredients. Compare Instinct to Blue Buffalo, Fancy Feast, Hills Science Diet, Royal Canin, Rachel Ray, Natural Balance, Merrick, Purina One, Friskies, Wellness, Iams, Purina Beyond & Weruva.

Pros include high quality ingredients coupled with high animal protein. This ensures your cat receives sufficient nutrition if she is picky with her choices.

Purina Fancy Feast Gravy Lovers Poultry and Beef Gourmet Wet Cat Food Variety Pack - (24) 3 oz. Cans
  • Cat food with gravy, made without artificial colors or preservatives
  • Purina Fancy Feast canned cat food variety pack crafted with real, high-quality ingredients, like real poultry or beef, to deliver 100 percent complete and balanced food for adult cats
  • An irresistible, protein-rich Fancy Feast Gravy Lovers cat food taste offering a gourmet turkey, chicken or beef cat food meal with an enticing aroma and a light, savory gravy
  • Developed in partnership with our expert nutritionists to create a unique and unforgettable Purina Fancy Feast wet cat food taste experience for your cat
  • Canned cat food crafted in our U.S. facilities and undergoes regular quality and safety checks

Purina is arguably one of the best brands of cat foods that you can get your hands on.

And they are one of the popular pick for best cat foods for picky eaters in the wet food area.

Hill's Science Diet Adult Wet Cat Food, Tender Tuna Dinner, 5.5 oz. Cans, 24-Pack
  • High-quality protein to help your grown cat maintain muscle
  • Made with purposeful, easily digestible ingredients mature cats enjoy
  • Delectable chunks with tender tuna with key nutrients to support your cat's adult stage of life
  • Heavenly wet food made with natural ingredients
  • Try all three flavors to give your furry feline the variety they crave

Another popular choice is the Hill’s Science Diet Wet Cat Food.

Particular beneficial for picky cats with small appetites since it is supplemented with extra vital amino acids to give good nutrition on small meal sizes.

Best Dry Food For Picky Cats

Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein, Natural Adult Dry Cat Food, Chicken 6-lb
  • PACKED WITH REAL CHICKEN: Made to feed your feline's wild side, this high protein cat food is packed with more of the chicken cats crave to help build and maintain lean muscle mass
  • GRAIN FREE CAT FOOD: BLUE Wilderness grain free adult cat food is made with healthy carbohydrates including sweet potatoes and peas to help fuel your cat's active lifestyle; Plus, it contains omega 3 & 6 fatty acids to support skin and coat health
  • WITH LIFESOURCE BITS: This formula contains BLUE's exclusive LifeSource Bits - a precise blend of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals carefully selected by holistic veterinarians and animal nutritionists, to support immune system health
  • NATURAL CAT FOOD: BLUE dry cat food is made with the finest natural ingredients enhanced with vitamins and minerals; It never contains chicken (or poultry) by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors or preservatives
  • Contains one (1) 6-lb bag of BLUE Wilderness High Protein, Natural Adult Dry Cat Food, Chicken

Recommended by a cat owners and loved by cats this dry food has everything you need.

Taste Of The Wild Canyon River Grain-Free Dry Cat Food With Trout & Smoke-Flavored Salmon 5lb
  • Taste of the Wild Canyon River with TROUT and SMOKE-FLAVORED SALMON dry cat food; high protein content (32%) helps support bones, joints and a LEAN, HEALTHY BODY CONDITION; fish is the only source of animal protein in this recipe
  • Nutrient-rich and provides the energy to thrive; vitamins and minerals from FRUITS and SUPERFOODS; omega fatty acids for healthy SKIN and COAT
  • Each serving includes species-specific Viables PROPRIETARY PROBIOTICS — plus antioxidants and prebiotics — to help support healthy digestion, IMMUNE system and overall health and wellness
  • FAMILY-OWNED and MADE in the USA using quality ingredients from trusted domestic and global sources

This grain-free natural dry cat food is delicious as much as it has balanced ingredients.

The preferred choice of many cat owners and cats alike.

Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Adult Grain-Free Dry Cat Food, Green Pea & Chicken Recipe, 10 Pound (Pack of 1)
  • CHICKEN IS THE SINGLE ANIMAL PROTEIN SOURCE providing essential protein and amino acids to help maintain strong muscles; Green peas are included as a grain-free source of fiber to help support digestive health; Contains (1) 10-Pound Bag
  • LIMITED INGREDIENT DIET PHILOSOPHY Formulated with a simplified list of premium ingredients; a single animal protein source, and no grain, soy, gluten, artificial colors or flavors; We use fewer ingredients so pets, and pet parents, can live healthy lives
  • NUTRIENTS FROM OUR GREEN PEA & CHICKEN CAT FOOD RECIPE crafted with nutritious ingredients such as green peas; Complete and balanced with essential nutrients to help maintain your cat's healthy immune system
  • NUTRITION FOR EVERY TYPE OF CAT Any cat can enjoy our delicious recipes, not just cats with sensitive stomachs, irritable skin or allergies; Our purposefully crafted formulas reduce the number of ingredients without sacrificing taste or nutrition
  • SAFETY & TRANSPARENCY Natural Balance's 'Feed with Confidence' program tests every batch of food from start to finish, ensuring safety with every bite; Validate bag on our site or call our Customer Care Team of Registered Veterinary Technicians

Natural balance dry cat food comes in six flavors which again is going to be very convenient if you are exploring different options that you cat may possibly like.

FAQs On Cats That Are Picky Eaters

1. How to keep my kitten from becoming a finicky eater?

Variety. Ensure that you feed your kitten different variety in flavours and food forms right from the start. Ensure the feeding station is the way I described above and the dishes are always clean.

2. Are Cats Finicky By Design/Nature?

No. In the wild, nature cats are vicious killers and opportunistic hunters. This basically means they will eat whenever they can. But there is a reason behind this. Most of the times they hunt small birds, rodents, bugs etc. which don’t offer a lot of calories so they have to eat as often as they do.

So if a cat is exuding a finicky nature, something is preventing her to express her natural behaviors. Check all the various factors that may cause this in the sections above.

3. How to Introduce new foods to cats?

The process has to essentially be gradual. As explained in the previous sections changes aren’t welcome by cats. A small change in their routine or food item can put them off.
So if for some reason you need to bring a change in their diet, do it slowly. Put some new food next to her regular diet during her mealtime.

Usually, cats will start eating their new food in a span of two days if they like it.
If they do happen to like it, gradually increase the quantity of new food until it completely replaces the old food.

4. Can illness be the cause behind my cat being finicky?

Most definitely. If you have established this pretty quickly that it isn’t environmental problems that are causing the finickiness and your cat hasn’t eaten in 20 hours. Don’t wait even a single moment. Take her to the vet immediately.

5. Can my behaviour cause my cats to be finicky?

You will never be able to pinpoint what is it in your behavior that is causing the finickiness. But the fact is pets are very very sensitive to your behaviour and what goes around them. In order for your cat to not emulate negative patterns and behavior you most definitely need to be conscious in your actions around them.


With that ladies and gentlemen we are at the conclusion of this comprehensive guide on will a finicky cat eventually eat and how does one go about feeding a picky eater.

I have ensured that every aspect of the topic is covered as comprehensively as possible.

As you might have noticed it takes a lot of work to research, collect and curate all the findings into one blog post. Therefore, I request you to share this post wherever you can on your social media profilesand subscribe to the blog by entering your email just below this post.

While the post is detailed and comprehensive, I understand that knowledge is limited and there is no limit to how much we can go into things including this topic.

So if you have any queries that you need clarity upon, do not hesitate to comment your question or appreciation in the comments below.

Take great care of yourselves and I will see you in the next one :).

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A Humble Parent To Two Cats, One Dog, One Turtle And One Indian Ringneck. Have Been With And Around Pets And Animals For My Entire Life. Everything You Read Here Is An Expression Of my Love Towards Animals And The Innocence They Embody.

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