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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