CattyCorner: What To Do When You Don’t Like Your Cat Food

Written by: Kelli Brinegar
For more than five years, Kelli Brinegar has been using her ability to write and her passion for research to tell the tale of what cats are thinking and why. She has provided care to more than 30 cats in her lifetime.Read more
| Published on July 1, 2020

Greetings, my pawsome human minions.

Food is glorious. I’m a serious fan of snacking and my mom says it’s making me chubby. That’s fine, I’ll happily be a chubby cat. I’ve known times when food is scarce so I’m going to eat what’s handed to me. And even a few things I’ve snagged from the counter when mom wasn’t looking.

And while I’m not a picky eater, I’ve known cats who were. In fact, a neighbor cat is having a problem with cat food dislike right now. He tells me his dad recently switched his food for some reason. The other food had been just fine though and, now, the pellets of gross his dad puts down just don’t taste good to his kitty tongue.


He also reported resorting to filling up on sky raisins, I believe your call them flies, and this is not acceptable for a house cat. Sky raisins are fun eats, yes, but meant for snacks, not sustenance. The tuxedo cat in question bemoaned this fact, asking, “Forrest, how do I tell my human I don’t like my food?”


Indulge an Old Cat for a Moment, Will You?

Okay cat lover, you’re willing to do anything for us right?

Good, that’s what I thought.

I want you to think about a food you love. I don’t care what you choose, but think about the delightful joy of eating it. The taste, the pleasure of the chewing and swallowing, the full belly that comes after a good feast. Mmm, amazing thoughts, right?

Yes, when thinking about a fresh flounder filet I get that happy feeling too.


Now, think about your least favorite food. Something you think more akin to garbage than food. Choking that stuff down is no treat, but you have the choice to shove your plate away and get something different.

Does your cat get that choice too?

If you notice your cat turning up their nose at their food, then its time to explore if your kitty dear needs something different.


Forrest’s Tips for Showing Out about Food Displeasure

For you queens and toms out there who want to let your humans know you don’t like your food, here are some tips I’ve picked up from the picky eaters I’ve known:

  • Make a show of walking away from the freshly-filled bowl. Sniff the offending food and turn away with a flourish of the tail.
  • If you’re starving and have to eat the vile blend before you, growl. Lash your tail back and forth, let your dad know how irked you are at eating the garbage offering.
  • Tipping the food bowl works too. It gets you a refill and if you keep knocking it over, you’re bound to get something different.
  • Steal food off the counter or unattended plates while your food bowl is still full.
  • Make a big deal of hunting and eating the bugs in your house.
  • Every time your human goes in the kitchen, twine through his legs so much he finds it impossible to function. Then, run to your full bowl and meow with a pleading tone to your voice.

So, what it shreds down to?

Cats love to eat. And yes, we have preferences and dislikes too.


Us family cats are lucky. We get to be choosy about food for whatever reason we want to be. Stray or feral cats don’t. They have to survive on what can be scavenged most of the time. I know, I lived that life.

When I first came in from the streets, I’d scarf anything put in front of me. Now, I have the luxury of a discerning palate. And believe me, some of those wet food cans my mom opens for me smell like the back-end of a rat. I could choose to turn my nose up if I wanted, but I eat it anyway.

Yet one of my buddies may not. And that’s okay. Cats are picky over much in our lives, so why would food be any different?

And on that note…don’t forget to feed the cat.


Feature Image: @cateneans/Instagram