Does your cat like their food — or do they really like their food? Sure, they eat it, but do they really take pleasure in it, or do they eat it just because it’s there and they’re hungry?
Not surprisingly, cat food companies have studied how cats respond to food. And there are certain behaviors cats have that tell them their food has won a new feline fan. Or not. And a couple of these may surprise you!
Amount Eaten Isn’t Meaningful
Here’s the first surprise. If a cat eats the same amount of two different foods, it doesn’t mean much. While they appreciate taste (palatability), they mainly eat because they’re hungry, and when they are satisfied, they stop. There are other signs that tell you the difference between satisfactory and savory.
Focus Gives Clues
The first one is focus. If your cat is really focused on their food, with their nose in the bowl, chances are they are enjoying it a lot! It’s the same for humans, really — doesn’t the world go away when you’re indulging in a favorite treat? Cats are like that too. If they tend to get distracted during their meals, and don’t pay as much attention to their food, they probably don’t care for it so much.
Will They Work for It?
Another signal is how much a cat is willing to work for their food. Take a treat puzzle and note the difference between the times the puzzle is filled with everyday kibble, or their favorite treat! If your cat enjoys puzzles, you can easily tell which treats or food they favor this way.
Love the Food, Love the Feeder
And another clue is a cat’s willingness to interact with humans to get to the food. My human uses this with me all the time to see which treats are my current favorites for training. In fact, she created a fun experiment that used this. If you don’t practice tricks with your cat, it’s still easy to tell by their interactions with you both before and after they eat. If a cat comes up to you for more petting and attention even after eating, the food was a winner. I’ve been known to do this after an especially good meal.
A Big Clue to Disliking Food
Finally, here’s a way to tell if your cat dislikes their food, even if they are eating it. If your cat is chewing the food with their back teeth, or with closed eyes, they may not find their food all that appealing.
If the nutritional value is equal, always try to give your cat the food they enjoy the most! Because life is too short for boring food, whether you’re a cat or a human.
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BellaDharma an BellaSita Mum says
Mew mew mew this iss a furabuluss post Summer!
Mee sumtimess does close mee eyess…..BellaSita meowed you just tott her sumthin mew (new) an shee iss thanxfull….
Mee iss sorta finicky…inn fact, mee NOT like Fancy Feest or Whiskas or Friskiess!! Oh nose~~~mee eatss preemiyummy foodabulls like Natural Balance an Merrick’ss.
Mee iss goin to try sum Blue Buffylow Tuna Pate as wee can not get Merrick’ss Tuna Pate anymore.
An mee likess sirtain Weruva’ss fore snax….only snax!
Mee faverite Patess are askshully Salmon an Turkey two….mmmmm mee hungrey now!!!
Catherine A Lingg says
Well Summer, Princess makes smacking noises that humans would consider a bit rude mol. Even though I never used regular meals teaching her tricks, she stands on hind legs. Mol almost on tippy toes. Pretty sure she loves her food
Cathy Keisha says
With that criteria, I don’t like anything. I lick the gravy or moisture/water TW adds to pate and walk away. It’s not my teeth. The peeps have to chase me around with my food. After reading this, TW said maybe instead of healthier foods, she should just buy some Whiskers’ tubs or Friskies.
When Minko wasn’t eating on his own, but I was feeding him…he would get all sweet around me…even though he wouldn’t eat on his own…If I put some in a dish, he would sniff it and then try to cover it up, LOL!
He sure was strange, and we never really did find out the reason behind his not eating by himself, he certainly chewed a lot of other things…
Ernie the Island Cat says
Interesting! Sometimes I like my food and sometimes I don’t.
Brian Frum says
That was interesting sweet Summer, I guess the food must be okay here!
Melissa & Mudpie says
This is so interesting! I had no idea about the chewing with their back teeth/eyes closed!
Ellen Pilch says
I know my cats don’t like something when they try to cover it with anything near the dish. 🙂
Pat K says
Good information. I hope all cat friends think about
these points. We all enjoy a good meal.
Katie Isabella says
Summer, excellent blog, and mom read the actual article you provided the link to.
Mickeys Musings says
Very good points Summer!
Life IS too short for boring food!!!