Is Your Cat Picky or Sick?


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Is your cat picky or sick? This is an exceedingly common question, and probably how the notion of cats being finicky began.

In fact, when cats actually don’t eat for a long enough period of time – particularly overweight cats, it increases their chances of a potentially fatal fatty liver disease, called hepatic lipidosis.

While arguably not finicky, cats are more discerning about their food – in general – compared to dogs. They care greatly about texture and, of course, smell which intersects with taste. Cats are famously not so adaptable regarding change. So changes in diets can be a tough sell for cats.

Having said all this, when cats decline food or act finicky without apparent explanation, the concern is that there is illness. There’s a new great website to address this, called Picky or Sick?  

While there’s no substituting a veterinary visit, answering questions on this site offers some insight regarding “what’s up” with your cat.

I love this – because absolutely sometimes cats are only being picky or may be anxious about some sort of change in the household. That may be a change in diet, a change a change regarding who is feeding the cat, or some other sort of change in the household. Or the cat may be ill, and just not feeling well.

Figuring out what the cause of your cat’s not eating is very important. You can adjust depending on what the issue is. For example, if the cat is anxious about home construction going on or Uncle Billy paying a visit – plug in a Feliway pheromone diffuser to lower anxiety and help the cat to feel more comfortable. And have Uncle Billy play with kitty (if kitty is willing) using an interactive cat toy, such as a fishing pole type toy with feathers or fabric. Play is a great stress-buster. Also, for some cats, old school catnip can help.

However, if the website suggest your cat may be ill, definitely see your veterinarian.

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Steve Dale is a certified animal behavior specialist who has been a trusted voice in the world of pet health for over 20 years. You have likely heard him on the radio, read him in print and online, and seen him speaking at events all over the world. His contributions to advancing pet wellness have earned him many an award and recognition around the globe.

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