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Do Cats Get Bored Of Their Food

↯ Key takeaway points

  • Cats have far fewer taste buds than humans and lack taste receptors for sweetness.
  • A cat's focus is more on what they physically gain from eating rather than the flavor.
  • Cats prefer a variety of amino acids found in high-protein diets.
  • Indoor cats may get bored of their food due to an evolutionary anticipation of variety in their diet.
  • If you want to change your cat's diet, do so gradually and ensure the new food is nutritious. Provide variety in textures, consider healthy treats, and use interactive cat feeders to stimulate their natural instincts.
Written by Jay
BsC (Hons) Animal Behaviour & Welfare graduate with a passion for advocating for misunderstood animals.
Taimoor is a well-traveled practicing veterinarian performing duties related to pet care, staff supervision, laboratory work, and diagnoses.
Published on
Friday 8 December 2023
Last updated on
Monday 30 October 2023
Do Cats Get Bored Of Their Food
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Do cats get bored of their food? Many pet parents are concerned that their furry friends might become bored of eating the same food every day. After all, eating the same food every day does not sound appetizing to us. Unfortunately, cats don’t speak our language, so they cannot tell us when they are disinterested in their daily meals. However, we do know what cats prefer to eat and how this ties in with their instincts.

So, do cats get tired of the same food? Why might this happen? What foods do cats prefer to eat? And how do cats’ tastes differ from our own? Cuddle up with your cat, get comfortable, and read on with us for more details today!

Do Cats Get Bored Of Their Food?

Your cat has far fewer taste buds than you do. In fact, cats are thought to only have a few hundred, compared to the over 9,000 we have! As well as this, cats are among the very few mammals who lack taste receptors for sweetness. They do, however, have receptors for these flavors: sour, bitter, salty, umami, and adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Overall, this means that a cat’s sense of taste is weak.

Your cat’s focus is less on the flavor of its food and more on what they physically gain from eating it. As such, your cat makes up for this deficiency in taste with their superior sense of smell. To conclude, your cat’s boredom with its food is likely not rooted in its flavor. Instead, it reflects their expectance of a varied diet consisting of multiple prey items. Some studies suggest that cats appreciate the occasional “novel” prey item, however, cats are also instinctively wary of new foods. You know your cat best, so be sure to offer them only the healthiest and most nutritious foods and treats!

Why Do Cats Get Bored Of Their Food?

As with all animals, taste receptors often reflect the food choices of a species and may or may not affect taste preference. As such, our cats appear to prefer a selection of amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, and as such, cats have a preference for high-protein diets. A study on feral cats in Australia found that the diet of these colonies consisted of birds, mice, lizards, frogs, centipedes, grasshoppers, and more. The most important prey items found were 41% reptilian, 22% mammalian, and 20% avian. Just as humans enjoy seasonal menus, a wild cat’s diet may change throughout the year depending on the prey available to them.

Reflecting on this, it makes sense that our indoor cats would recoil at the lack of food diversity. This is likely not due to disinterest in flavor, but rather, an evolutionary anticipation of variety in their diet. Wild cats capture whole prey items which provides satisfaction for several instinctive needs. By actively hunting, a cat completes the hunting sequence, experiences a range of textures from bone, feathers, and meat, and can save the rest for later. So what can you do to replicate this instinctive need?

Do I Need To Change My Cat’s Diet?

If you wish to change your cat’s diet to give them more variety, be sure to proceed with caution. Firstly, your cat’s new diet should be nutritious above all else. It’s important to note that domestic cats likely aren’t able to digest the wide array of prey items that their feral siblings can. This means you do not need to find your cat whole birds or insects to eat to replicate the diet of their feral siblings. Instead, if your cat is struggling with their current diet, it is safe to take a few steps to make their mealtimes more interesting. This might include trying a gradual transition to a new brand, providing supplements, giving healthy treats, and considering interactive cat feeders.

Transition to a New Diet

Begin with a slow, gradual transition. Sudden changes to a cat’s diet, much like with dogs, can cause gastric upsets. This may include diarrhea, gas, and vomiting. A diet change should take place over the course of at least one week, adding portions of the new diet in increasing amounts until the old diet is over.

Wet and Dry Food

To supply a variety of textures, you may consider a mixture of dry and wet food. You can feed your feline friend both wet and dry food in even amounts, or supplement their diet with the occasional wet meal. To avoid stomach upsets, you can give your cat a special wet meal a couple of times a week rather than just once a month, for example.

Healthy Treats

It’s easy enough to sate your cat with commercial cat treats, but consider something healthy and instinct-sating for them instead. Your cat can safely eat pumpkin, peas, cucumber, and steamed broccoli for an extra crunch. The occasional sardine or salmon can also provide plenty of healthy fatty acids – just be sure not to give too many, as canned sardines may be high in sodium and polyunsaturated fats. Consider training your cat in basic obedience using treats.

Play Before Meals

Play with your cat before presenting their meal to them. Our indoor cats should have opportunities to “hunt”, so encouraging them to display a hunting sequence before feeding can help to stimulate and satisfy their natural instincts.

Interactive Cat Feeders

Interactive cat feeders can help to engage your cat’s interest and satisfy some of their instincts. Feeders that encourage your cat to work for their food can give a better sense of satisfaction once they have completed their “hunt” for their prey.

Do Not Let Your Cat Outside

Although literature reflects on a cat’s desire for a variety of prey items, it does not mean that you should suddenly allow your indoor cat to roam outside in search of prey. Domestic cats are at great risk of being their prey. As well as this, domestic cats can devastate local ecosystems by killing too many native animals.

Do Cats Get Bored Of Their Food: FAQs

Still wondering if cats get bored of their food? Feel free to check out our Frequently Asked Questions for more details. If in doubt about your cat’s diet, always ask your local vet for advice.

Do cats need variety in their diet?

A cat can safely eat the same food every day for most of their lives, as long as they remain healthy and active. However, many cats do appreciate a little variety in their meals. Whether this is providing wet food as well as dry food, providing wholesome and healthy treats, or using interactive cat feeders, some cats respond well to a little change. However, drastic changes should not be made to your feline friend’s diet as this can cause gastric upsets.

Can cats eat the same meal every day?

Your cat can safely eat the same meal every day with no repercussions, as long as their diet is complete, balanced, and nutritious. Your cat’s body requires many nutrients and amino acids from their food, so providing them with high-quality meals is essential. However, some cats may tire of eating the same food each day and might appreciate a little variety from time to time. Be sure to make any changes gradually and slowly to avoid gastric upsets in your cat.

Why does my cat never finish their food?

There are two main reasons why cats sometimes fail to finish a meal. Firstly, cats have small stomachs, so they fill up very quickly. Secondly, instinct may play a role. In the wild, cats will hunt and then save some food for later. Their eating patterns might involve several breaks rather than finishing a whole portion in one go. So, not finishing food from time to time is normal feline behavior. However, if your cat frequently refuses their food and they seem to be behaving out of sorts, always speak to your vet for advice.

Is it OK to change my cat’s food?

As long as your cat is healthy and active, there is no reason why you cannot change their food. However, this must be a gradual process. By changing your cat’s food too quickly, you risk causing them gastric upsets. This may include bloating, gas, vomiting, and diarrhea, all of which are uncomfortable for cats as they are for us.

So, do cats get tired of the same food? While a cat can safely eat the same food every day if it is wholesome and balanced, many cats appreciate some dietary variety. This comes from an array of natural behaviors that our domestic feline friends still have the desire to display.

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