Lola and Lexy’s Top 5 Tips to Get Your Finicky Cat to Eat | Lola The Rescued Cat
Monday, October 26, 2020

Lola and Lexy’s Top 5 Tips to Get Your Finicky Cat to Eat

Hello, everyone. This is Lexy checking in, and Lola and I have another great topic for our new “Top Five” post. In our previous post gave you some great tips you can use to encourage your cat to drink more water. Today we have five tips to encourage your picky cat to eat.

5 tips to get your finicky cat to eat

Before we get into the nuts and bolts, we want to emphasize that the first, and most important, thing to do is to rule out any medical reasons for the change in your cat’s eating behaviors. It is possible that if your cat has lost interest in a diet they have been eating for a while, they may be having a problem digesting the food. Once any medical explanation has been eliminated, you can try other things. But always consult with your veterinarian first.

Lola and Lexy's Top Five Tips to Get Your Finicky Cat to Eat

1. Stick to a Texture Your Cat Likes

Cat foods come in so many textures and flavors these days! There is pate, chunk, grilled, flaked, semi-moist, dry … and the list can go on. According to Krista Williams, DVM, and Robin Downing, DVM, it’s very possible that your cat prefers one particular flavor or texture of food.

"It may be that the cat really does prefer a particular texture or flavor of food." - Doctors Williams and Downing

Doctors Williams and Downing also state that “pet owners can actually help to create a fussy eater by taking advantage of the huge variety among cat foods." So when you find a flavor and texture your cat loves, stick to it.

Here in the White house, there is no pate on the menu because both Lola and I do not like that texture. There is also no seafood on the menu. Our preference is a grilled variety in poultry flavors, with an occasional beef. Mother sticks to this so we both have a healthy diet. 

5 tips to get your finicky cat to eat

Note: Lola The Rescued Cat is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

2. Have a Regular Feeding Schedule

Cats need to be hungry to eat their food. If you are free-feeding or giving your cat many treats throughout the day, the problem could be that they are just not hungry at dinner time. 

Try to resist the temptation to leave a bowl full of kibble out for your cat to nibble on throughout the day. Instead, follow a regular schedule. This could be feeding twice a day at regular times or portioning out the food into several smaller meals.

Lola and I eat breakfast and dinner. Breakfast time usually depends on Mother’s schedule, but it’s usually between 7 am and 8 am. Dinner is promptly at 8 pm. We’ve meowed in the past about Lola being somewhat of a picky eater, but let me tell you… she’s chowing down on dinner after waiting 12 hours between meals.

If you’re not going to be home for many hours, you can still feed smaller portions with an automated feeder. The Cat Mate Bowl is battery operated, has two bowl sections, and comes with ice packs to help keep food fresh.

Jackson Galaxy makes a good point: if a human snacks all day, are they motivated to eat their dinner? The same goes for your cat.

"To put it in a human perspective: if you were snacking all day, would you be motivated to eat dinner when it was time? With that in mind, if your cat has food sitting out 24/7, do you think she is going to be that motivated to try something new?" - Jackson Galaxy

3. Remember, Location is Important

Take a look at where your cat’s food bowl is. Cats want to eat in a safe place where they don’t have to worry about other pets in the house sneaking up on them. We like to eat where we can see the goings-on in the house. (Your can may choose to go without their meal if they do not feel safe.) 

Lola likes to eat in the living room and prefers to be facing the room. She very rarely eats with her back to the room. Mother makes sure she has enough room behind the dish so she can sit and enjoy a relaxed meal.

You can also try feeding in different locations where your cat will feel safer. The cat tree, a shelf, inside a box, or in another room, are all places you can try. Lola wants to make sure we let you all know to listen to your cat. Lola will tell Mother where she wants to eat. Sometimes it’s in the kitchen, sometimes the living room, and often she wants her meals served on the window sill. Sometimes humans need to be a detective.

Another important tip about location; your cat’s food bowl should never be near the litter box. I mean, would you eat your lunch in the bathroom? I didn’t think so.

4. Make Mealtime Fun

Indoor cats still have a need to fulfill their natural instinct to hunt for their food. A great way to imitate hunting behavior is to use food puzzle toys. Your cat may get excited “catching” their own meal and gobble it up.

5 tips to get your finicky cat to eat

Another mealtime fun tip is to hide food in different places. A trackball toy or on their favorite perch are two places you could try. You can also play with your cat right before mealtime with a wand toy to mimic “the hunt.” After your cat captures the prey at the end of the wand, present her with a yummy meal.

5. Appeal to Your Cat's Sense of Smell

Your cat is better able to smell room temperature food better than refrigerated food. This is because refrigerated cat food loses its aroma.  If you have left-overs in the fridge, warm the food up before serving it. 

If you are serving room temperature food that your cat is turning their nose up at, try warming that as well. Warming the food releases the “meaty” smell, which could very well have something to do with your cat’s predatory nature.

Adding some chicken broth (no salt or spices added), a little tuna juice (packed in water, not oil), or a little sprinkle of parmesan cheese on the top of the food may appeal to your cat’s sense of smell and encourage them to eat.

A Word of Caution

Getting into a power struggle with your cat is not going to make them eat, and withholding food to try to spark their appetite or entice them to eat is not a good idea. Doctors Williams and Downing warn cat parents that “if a cat has any predisposition at all, just a few days of not eating can cause a potentially fatal condition called hepatic lipidosis.”

Always consult with your veterinarian anytime your cat refuses to eat or is exhibiting changes in their eating patterns. 

5 tips to get your finicky cat to eat
Pin Us!

We hope you found this information helpful. Join us next time when Lola and I bring you information on the top five household poisons for cats. 

Do you have any tips for tempting a finicky feline to eat? We’d love to read them in the comments. 

You can catch up on all our Top Five posts here

Lola and Lexy


Arnold, Brooke. “Tips & Tricks for Getting a Finicky Cat to Eat.” The Catington Post, 14 Sept. 2020,

Krieger, Marilyn. “What Some Call ‘Finicky Eating’ Could Be a Cat Behavioral Issue.” Catster, 16 Dec. 2016,

Williams, Krista, and Robin Downing. “My Cat Won't Eat: Feeding Picky Eaters.” VCA Hospitals,

“​Help for the Finicky Cat & the Exasperated Human.” Jackson Galaxy, 24 Dec. 2019,

Would you like to comment?

  1. We don't use parmesan cheese anymore; too salty.
    Instead, we use nutritional yeast, formerly called brewer's yeast.
    It's got a smell that mimics that of kibble.

  2. I've never had a cat not want to eat unless it is sick. Nevertheless, it could happen and these are some very good tips, thanks!

  3. We enjoyed those tips! The Dad figured out that we like our "main" meal late in the evening after our regular playtime!

  4. L & L.....say itz knot sew ~~~~~~~~

    " no seafood "


  5. Great tips. Sometimes I add a little baby food on top or chicken breast to entice Emmy to eat her pate. XO

  6. There is nothing as stressful as having a kitty who does not want to eat. Great post and full of good info

  7. This was a wonderpurr article. Earlier this summer our brofur Jesse had Stomititus and refused to eat. Thanks to Chinese Virus, he couldn't get surgery for 3 weeks, and could have died if he didn't eat. So Momma bought baby food. Jesse didn't like the turkey, but he enjoyed the beef and chimken, so at least he was getting noms in his belly. After surgery when he felt better, he went back to eating cat food, including kibble. Vet said he wouldn't eat the kibble cuz no teeth, but nobody told Jesse that!

  8. L & L

    we DUE !!

    noe chickn
    noe turkee
    noe liverz
    just fish

  9. These are really important tips! Cats eating habits can definitely be cause for frustration!

  10. Great tips, Lola and Lexi! Gracie and Ava are definitely pate lovers. :)

  11. So great that you found out your favorite texture.

  12. Great tips! I'm happy that all of my cats are good eaters at the moment.

  13. Great information ! We love your helpful tips ! Thank you


Thank you for your comment! We love meowing with you!