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Cracking the Code on a Cat’s Enjoyment of Food

Are you one of those cat owners who sees mealtime as an opportunity to bond with your feline friend? If so, you’re not alone. You also want to see that your kitty enjoys the food being fed. But how do you know if your cat finds a particular food enjoyable or just tolerable? Is it even possible to know?

Our cats don’t use English to tell us what they think about their food. But they certainly will show us what they think of it if we pay attention to their behavior, according to Pam Johnson-Bennett, a certified cat behavior consultant.

While every cat is a unique individual and may not do all of the following, Johnson-Bennett says these behaviors are typical for cats who like and enjoy their food.

  1. Your kitty suddenly appears — as if out of nowhere — the instant you open a can, bag or pouch of food.
  2. Your cat weaves around your legs, reaches up and stretches against you or the cupboard, or even jumps on the kitchen counter as you’re getting food ready.
  3. Your feline friend purrs or meows as you’re putting food out.
  4. Your cat does a “happy walk” to the bowl with his or her tail upright.
  5. Kitty may chirp or meow while walking to the food bowl.
  6. Your cat doesn’t hesitate to eat. She or he may sniff the food for a second or two first, but then begins eating.
  7. Your furry friend doesn’t walk away after sniffing the food dish.
  8. Your kitty is relaxed while eating, and there is no growling or tail thrashing.
  9. Your cat leaves the food bowl clean, without eating around certain ingredients, if you’ve fed the appropriate amount of food.

Does your kitty demonstrate any of these behaviors at mealtime? If yes, great! You’re feeding a food that your cat likes and enjoys. If not, you may want to evaluate how much of the current food your kitty is eating, if symptoms such as vomiting or inactivity are present or if your cat has lost weight. If any of these symptoms — vomiting, lethargy, reduced appetite or weight loss — are present, you’ll want to have your cat evaluated by your veterinarian to rule out any health issues. Otherwise, if your cat is healthy, you may want to rethink what food you’re feeding. There just may be a flavor variety that your cat enjoys more. But that said, enjoyment isn’t the most important factor when selecting a cat food. What matters most is that your kitty eats a complete and balanced food, is healthy and is at an appropriate weight.

As always, if you have questions about your cat’s nutrition, food or feeding behaviors, please talk with your veterinarian.


RELATED POST: Meal Time Matters: How Often Should You Feed Your Pet?

The information in this blog has been developed with our veterinarian and is designed to help educate pet parents. If you have questions or concerns about your pet's health or nutrition, please talk with your veterinarian.


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