Why are pets so picky when it comes to food?

BY | June 14 | COMMENTS PUBLISHED BY
Why are pets so picky when it comes to food?

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Beneful Healthy Weight with Real Chicken Dry Dog Food

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Have you wondered why your pets are so picky regarding pet food? Well, it isn't just your little furry ones. As it happens, most pets are picky eaters, and we finally have an explanation as to why it is so. It does look like even they have their preferences.

Researches and Studies

Recent studies by the Oregon State University have shown that dogs are attracted to high-fat dog food while cats like their carbohydrates better. The research involved 17 healthy adult dogs and 27 cats for 28 days and used four different kinds of food. All of them were prepared in a way that tasted equally good, so that flavor was irrelevant. So, the animals could decide only based on their bodily needs.

The animals had choices among high-fat, high-carbohydrate, high-protein, and balanced diets. The dogs were given an hour to eat whatever they wanted, just enough to maintain weight. The cats were also not allowed to overeat. But even if given an unlimited supply of cat food, a cat eats only to maintain its weight and nothing extra. They occasionally changed the cat feeder containers' position to prevent any kind of bias.

Conclusions

While cats chose to consume 43 percent of their diet from carbs and 30 percent from proteins, dogs consumed 41 percent from fats and 36 percent from carbs. Conclusions were also drawn based on body mass and age. The statistics from the study showed that younger dogs with less body mass did not gravitate to high-protein food items; it was most popular with older dogs with greater body mass.

On the cat side of the study, younger cats wanted more protein than older cats. The study found that older cats have different gut microbiomes from younger cats, which results in differences in metabolic activities. The concentrations of sulfated microbial catabolic products – protein-breakdown leftovers were significantly higher. It is difficult for an older cat to dispose of the extra protein while a younger cat can do it efficiently. Now that you've surmised so much, the next time you put out a bowl of kitten food in front of your pet, he or she sniffs it and gives you a disappointed shrug (or worse, a scowl), you will know why!

There are a few tricks that you can keep under your sleeve to tackle such situations. Refer to the below section for the same.

How to Change Cat Food

Knowing how to successfully switch your cat to a new type of dry cat food without upsetting their tummy isn't just something that pet parents of picky eaters have to worry about. Tweaking what you feed your cat may be a necessary part of helping your pet age gracefully (transitioning from a kitten to an adult cat diet and then continuing to a senior cat diet later in life). In addition, a change in cat food may be needed to address weight gain or loss, or treat, manage, or eliminate certain health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, or cancer.

How Long Does it Take to Change Your Cat to a New Food?

The key to transitioning your cat to a new meal plan is avoiding sudden and drastic changes. Doing so could lead to gastrointestinal issues, including diarrhea. Your little guy may even boycott the new food. The following timeline offers a healthy game plan for helping your cat make the switch:

For cats with sensitive stomachs, you may need to spend a few more days on each stage, gradually introducing the new food. You can also opt for Purina Pro Plan cat food or Hill’s Science Diet for a sensitive stomach to give some relief to your pet cat.

Tips for Successfully Switching Foods

  • You might want to present the new food as an alternative to an existing food, offering up both foods simultaneously to tempt your pet to try the newer choice. For example, try giving both dry and wet cat food and notice your pet’s reaction to it.

  • Increasing the temperature of the food (so that it is equivalent to body temperature) and mixing in appetizing fish or clam juice may help attract more reluctant pets to try something new. Also, picking food that uses real seafood like the Purina Pro Plan Seafood Stew canned cat food can be easier than forcing a bland-tasting product.

  • If you've recently adopted an adult cat or are bringing a new kitten into your home, you can help your new cat adjust by continuing to offer the food they had been eating or even try giving them cat treats for at least the first few weeks in your home. Note: Your cat may not eat for the first day after being adopted or brought home, but if by the third day in your home, your new cat hasn't eaten, it's time to call your vet.

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment by, your veterinarian. It has, however, been reviewed for accuracy by Dr. Joe, a board-certified veterinary nutritionist and graduate of Cornell University's program for Veterinary Medicine.

More on Cat Health

How To Prevent Dental Health Problems In Cats
The Best Senior Cat Pet Supplies
5 Common Cat Problems and Health Issues

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis, or treatment by, your veterinarian. It has however been reviewed for accuracy by Dr. Joe, a board-certified veterinary nutritionist and graduate of Cornell University's program for Veterinary Medicine.

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