Your cat won’t eat dry food. He or she turns up their nose at fresh kibble, flicks their tail, and saunters away. The worst part is, you have no idea why – but following these tips might help.
- Ensuring clean water and clean food bowl
- Making The Food Soft
- Reduce the number of treats
- Be wary of stale food
Read on as we elaborate more on how to get your cat to eat more dry food and also why they are not eating as much.
How to Get a Cat to Eat Dry Food
Having ruled out bad food, potential illness, or environmental stress as potential causes, the following tips on how to get a cat to eat dry food should help:
Ensuring clean water and clean food bowl
Simply cleaning your cat’s water bowl may be the only tip you’ll need. Dry food is, as the name suggests, very dry, and a lack of access to freshwater may make the dryness less appetizing than before.
Even if your cat is provided with clean water daily, bacteria still have the opportunity to build up inside the bowls themselves, affecting the taste and quality of your cat’s water.
It’s perfectly safe to clean a water bowl with diluted dish soap or detergent, as long as you thoroughly rinse the bowl afterward.
Non-plastic pet bowls can also be placed in the dishwasher without risk of damage. Scrubbies or steel wool aren’t recommended if washing by hand, however, as the material can create scratches in the bowl that harbors bacteria.
If your cat’s water bowl feels slimy, it contains what’s known as biofilm – a mixture of old saliva and bacteria that can make your cat ill or not want to eat.[Source]
It also smells bad to your cat, which has a sense of smell that is around twenty times stronger than yours.
Although food bowls aren’t as prone to biofilm build-ups, they still tend to collect bacteria that can harm your cat’s appetite over time and should be washed at least once a week.
Making The Food Soft Or Using Gravy
This tip is especially handy for older cats, who often have trouble eating or develop problems with their gums or teeth as they age. If your cat is old, the hard crunch of kibble may be hurting their mouths.
Luckily, transforming dry kibble into something that’s a bit softer isn’t difficult, and only requires a small amount of food to test.
It’s also much cheaper than running to the grocery store and immediately replacing all of the remains of your current bag of cat food with cans of wet food, which are more expensive and may be less appealing to a picky eater who’s content with consuming only one brand.
A ratio of 1:3 water and dry cat food should do the trick. Allow the dry kibble to soak in water for a minimum of five minutes.
If your cat sniffs in interest, but still doesn’t bite, attempt to change the consistency of their food by either adding or decreasing the amount of water or using a blender or fork to mash their food into a pate.
On the contrary, if your cat is accustomed to eating wet food and you would like to transition them to dry food, you can use a similar trick to accomplish this. In this scenario, you would start with a 1:4 ration of water to dry food, and gradually decrease the amount of water. Over time, your picky eater should graduate to dry food with no problem.
You can also consider using gravy for your cat food. Check out how you can make it easily at home here.
Reduce the number of treats
If you’ve recently started incorporating more treats in your cat’s diet, you may have accidentally turned them into a glutton. Have you ever spoiled your own dinner by eating dessert first, either as a child or an adult? The same thing can happen to cats.
In this situation, your cat has most likely observed that, by just waiting long enough, they may receive a tasty treat in place of dinner.
Table scraps are even worse at this than regular cat treats, as feeding your cat from your own plate is both more filling and worse for their health than veterinary-approved feline treats are – and spoils your cat into expecting shared meals with you more often than not.
Be wary of stale food
You’ve already checked the expiration date of your bag of cat food at this point, but none of the tips mentioned previously have worked yet. Did you accidentally leave the bag open on one or more occasions?
Is it being stored in a place where moisture tends to build up? Could a change in outdoor temperature or home heating have changed the quality of your cat’s kibble?
Even if there is nothing outwardly wrong with your cat’s kibble, you may notice a slightly off smell emitting from the bag. Or the bag doesn’t smell, but has already been opened and is now considered old, despite not having passed its “best buy” date yet.
If your cat bounds towards you with excitement whenever you pick up and refill his or her food bowl, but loses interest shortly afterward, try buying a fresh bag of food. If you keep your cat’s food in a sealed storage container instead of inside the store-bought bag, thoroughly inspect the container to ensure there are no cracks or gaps that may be allowing air to dry out the container’s contents.
If the mealtime excitement is still there, but the interest in eating just isn’t – a new bag of food is probably the only solution you need.
It’s important to address the question of why your cat isn’t eating. You should rule out the possibility that your cat’s food is spoiled by checking the expiration date on the bag, and that your feline friend isn’t feeling sick.
Other common causes for a sudden loss of appetite may include environmental stress, such as a recent move or a new addition to the family. Some cats may even lose their appetite based on the weather!
You know your kitty better than anyone else does, and if they haven’t seemed like themselves in more ways than one, it’s time to schedule a visit to the vet.