As much as we love our cats, there are times when their fussy eating habits can drive us crazy. Have you ever wondered why your cat is so finicky about its food?

Well, believe it or not, there is an evolutionary reason for this fussiness. That’s right, over years of evolution, cats have been made picky eaters. That said, when your cat stops eating a particular food or refuses to touch a certain type of meat, remember that your cat is not doing it simply to frustrate you ... although that is probably not an entirely unpleasant by-product for every feline!

So, how have cats evolved into fussy eaters? Historically, the main diet of cats has always been small prey, such as fish, birds and mice. Before domestication, cats were very solitary animals, as well as extremely opportunistic eaters. In other words, they would feast on small animals whenever and wherever they could be found.

Because cats in the wild are exclusively carnivorous, their taste buds have evolved to only appreciate meat. Therefore, cats are not interested in any flavor that is not meaty. However, because all animals need a variety of nutrients, cats had to find a variety of prey to fulfill their dietary needs.

Put simply, a cat will only get nutrients from the food that its prey has eaten. Subsequently, a wider range of small animals that eat a broader range of foods would provide a wild cat with all of the nutrients it needs.

This explains why some cats will go off a food that they have been eating for a few weeks or months. The cat's natural instinct tells it that it needs a new, fresh flavor in order to remain healthy.

Here’s how to cater for a fussy cat. Given the selective and picky nature of cats, it is recommended to provide your cat with a range of meat flavors, and rotate these flavors during the week. Of course, if you have just acquired a kitten or adopted an adult cat, it is wise to feed your cat the foods that they are familiar with for a few weeks before phasing in new flavors to avoid any stomach upsets or a complete refusal to eat.

We all have seen the huge range of canned cat foods available in every local supermarket and/or pet store. It is a good idea to ensure that your cat is getting enough canned (wet) food, as this will avoid problems with dehydration and urinary tract infections. Some cat owners like to feed their pets dry food in the morning and wet in the evening or vice versa.

When trying to decide which type of cat food to choose, it is essential that you always read the label. Make sure that meat is among the first three ingredients, because some of the cheaper cat foods only have meat flavoring, but very little actual meat. Cats may still enjoy these foods, but they offer very little nutrition, which could lead to health problems and obesity.

If you would like additional advice or need assistance in choosing food for your cat go to Dirty Dogs and Meow at and (858)437-0001; or go to a Dirty Dogs and Meow location in Carlsbad, Carmel Mountain Ranch, Del Mar Highlands, Hillcrest, Solana Beach, or Torrey Hills. Dirty Dogs and Meow offers a great range of pet and cat products, including top quality and healthy dehydrated, freeze dried, kibble, lightly cooked, raw, toppers and wet food varieties that will please even the finniest felines.

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