What is a fussy cat? – Changing human behaviour

Fussy. Cats. Those two fateful words that so very often meet. But is a fussy cat maybe just a misunderstood soul with high standards? Cats are notoriously labelled as fussy individuals, but is it really all that fussy to not want to eat the same old meat soup day in and day out for the rest of your 9 lives? Maybe it’s us humans that have it wrong, imagine labelling the most accomplished of food critics as just plain fussy. We think that it might be time to reevaluate the popular opinion that cats are fussy just to be difficult, and maybe look into some of the reasons they may turn their teeny noses up at what we deem the finest of dinners.

We totally understand that for the cat humans, having a picky eater can be super tough and another evening spent hand feeding Fluffy isn’t exactly ideal. But stopping to think about why this might be, especially when trying out new recipes, could be the trick to getting to the bottom of your fur child’s picky attitude and nipping it in the bud with a few subtle changes. Maybe it’s down to us mere humans to make some changes and get the fluffbags diving into their dinner on the daily.

Sensitive to smells
Our furry food connoisseurs are often super sensitive to anything new, especially scents. Trying out new food can be confusing for your cat, and although to us treating your cherubs to tasty new recipes in adorable packaging seems like it would be irresistible, new smells and flavours that your little one isn’t used to can throw them off. Some cats may even believe their food to actually be ‘off’ due to the change in smell. It might seem extreme, but these guys are sensitive to change, so it’s important to be patient, especially when switching to a new diet. A great tip we’ve discovered if your pussycat is picky is to warm up their meal. It may seem extra, but a lot of cats, just like humans, don’t particularly enjoy a cold meal. In the wild they would be used to catching and eating their prey whilst it’s still warm, so rather than fresh from the fridge or your cool, dark cupboard why not try adding a little hot water to their dish before serving up supper, releasing those tasty aromas and getting their taste buds tingling!

It really does come back to instincts, and even where you leave their water bowl could be enough to put them off their next meal. Back in the wild, cats would never choose to eat and drink in the same location. To us mere humans, this might seem a little over the top, but our little clean freaks’ instincts tell them their water could be contaminated by their food so will often walk away from bowls that are too close together. High maintenance we know, but cats will be cats, so try moving their food and water bowls into separate spaces and hopefully you will notice a difference.

Stick to the schedule
What’s pretty noticeable to most cat humans is their adorable little habits and daily routines. Cats are huge creatures of habit and this is especially true of meal times. We’re sure it isn’t just us who notice their cats patiently waiting by the bowl at 6pm on the dot, or the daily dose of zoomies exercised at exactly 4.04AM! Delightful. But sticking to their strict standards really will lead to success when it’s time for tea. Feeding your cat at the same time in the same place is super important for them to feel safe and relaxed at supper. Nothing out of the ordinary please, our furballs thrive on predictability, it reassures them they’ll be eating in peace with no threat from anyone or anything. Who really knows what they think might be lurking down the corridor of their plushy new-build millennial parents’ apartment when it’s time to tuck in, but our little scaredy cats require routine and stability to truly enjoy the contents of their bowl, and who are we to judge?

Room for whiskers 
Yep you read that right. Our final tip to those who turn up their nose is all to do with the size of their bowls… Our regal friends are blessed with a full glorious face of whiskers, and although they are just so adorably cute, they actually do serve a purpose. Whiskers are a finely tuned piece of equipment attached to your favourite’s fluffy face. They help your cat navigate around spaces, aid vision and kind of act like little kitty antennae. Amazing huh? So when we’re serving up their grub, it’s actually super important to consider your cat’s crockery. The edge of a bowl can trigger lots of sensations if it gets in the way of their whiskers, sometimes even associated with danger and can easily overwhelm your cat. Opting for a shallow and wide dish will eliminate this discomfort and allow your moggy to munch in peace.

 

Outdoor hunters
If you’ve been blessed with a fur pal who loves nothing more than to roam the roads and return home with ‘presents’ at your back door, this could be top of the list when it comes to why they deny their dinner. These feisty felines are a little more in touch with their roots and sometimes can’t fight the urge to hunt for their lunch like their big cat ancestors. So when it’s time to tuck into their homemade meal and they don’t seem so thrilled, who’s to say they haven’t already filled up on tasty ‘outside snacks’ and ruined their appetite? With outdoor cats, we will never truly know what they get up to and unfortunately what they choose to chomp out of sight.

And alongside their hunting instincts, cats in the wild would usually have around 10 – 12 small meals a day*. Those a little more in touch with their wild side might simply struggle with the ‘2 meal a day’ human ideal and go off hunting to find a fix, so mixing up the way you feed your friend might help them adjust to more formal meal times. If they don’t seem too enthusiastic about your current scheduled serving times (see above), why not switch it up feeding more ‘little and often’ style if it can fit with your daily routine, and see if you see a shift in attitude. 

This may seem like an awful lot of tick boxes to check, but owning a cat really is a full time job and their high maintenance approach to meal times (and life in general) is just another reason we love them more, as frustrating as it can be. You want to nail it for your housemate so they can enjoy their lunch just as much as you do, and when you get it right, the purring reward will be worth it.

 

If you’re still struggling with a feline fusspot, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our wonderful customer service team, who have plenty more tips and tricks up their sleeve to combat your tricky cat customers- [email protected] 

The Republic x

*{https://www.petplan.co.uk/pet-information/cat/advice/how-to-deal-with-a-fussy-cat/}

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By Lois Roberts

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