Ask A Vet: Why Does My Cat Seem To Get Bored With Certain Foods?


Cats are often called finicky. Owners report that their cat seemed to grow tired of a certain food and they had to switch around. All commercial cat foods are labeled balanced, so why would a cat suddenly decide that she no longer wants to eat a certain food?

The answer may lie in the very essence of being a cat. Experts believe that cats have evolved to be flexible in their feeding strategies so that they can meet their very specific nutritional requirements. Cats are obligate carnivores which means that they absolutely must consume a meat based diet. But meats can be harder to come by than plant material and it is not as easy to obtain a variety of other nutrients with a single meat source.

Nature seems to have provided for her feline friends by equipping them with a palate that drives them to seek variety and thereby have a better chance at finding the nutrients they need. For example, if your cat needed a nutrient that was provided by prey item A and he never deviated from hunting prey item B, he would not survive as well. If item B was readily available and sated his hunger, he might not feel motivated to hunt something else, unless he had this palate flexibility.

Your cat, in the wild, would be trying to balance meeting his energy needs with available food sources while still providing for his unique nutrient requirements. His changeable food cravings would be critical to his undomesticated survival. Aren’t cats amazing? His palate may be his defense against nutritional deficits, so be patient and behave like a good minion by patiently providing what your master seeks!

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  1. The Evolutionary Basis for the Feeding Behavior of Domestic Dogs (Canis familiaris) and Cats (Felis catus)J. Nutr. July 2006  vol. 136 no. 7 1927S-1931S

Written by Dr. Kathryn Primm
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