Cats only lick wet food at times or do this all the time. Is it bad when cats do not really eat wet food? Can they still do well with dry food? Cats owners want to know why their cats do not really eat their food and if this will create a problem for their health. We will go over all the aspects of this weird cats’ habit.
Cats lick wet food because they like its taste and flavor, but they are not really hungry or want to eat it. Wet food is tasty because of the smell; however, some cats prefer to eat dry food because they got used to it or because they like to eat crunchy food.
Let’s see what a cat owner can do to incentivize a cat to eat more wet food, and what are the reasons for cats only licking wet food.
WHY CATS ONLY LICK WET FOOD?
Cats owners may have experienced their cats only licking wet food and do not eat it. It is often frustrating because some cat food can go to waste, and the cats haven’t eaten enough. I can only imagine a proud cat owner who went to buy a nice can of the top quality cat food, to only see it going to the trash.
Not all cats are the same. Some cats would rather stay away from dry food and some other likes it a lot. For example, I have two cats, and they are the opposite in everything. One likes dry food and would only lick wet food, and the other would eat wet food and sometimes nibble dry food if he has to.
Cats would lick dry food for the following reasons:
- They like the smell
- They like the taste of the jelly, gravy and the moisure in it (usually filled with flavoring ingredients, and coloronts)
- They are not hungry, they just want to experience the taste
- They are not used to eat wet food from an early age
IS IT GOOD FOR CATS TO ONLY LICK WET FOOD?
It is good for cats to lick wet food and also eat it. However, only licking wet food may not give a cat all the nutrients and the protein needed. For sure, it is not bad for cats to lick wet food, but it is not good either if they do not eat the meat too.
It is not good for cats to eat only dry food, especially if they do not drink enough. Dry food, in the long run, can create a few health problems in cats. On the other side, Wet food contains more moisture, keeps cats hydrated, and provides additional nutrition.
Dry food can be ok if cats find a way to drink enough water. A combination of dry food and wet food can be the best solution for a more extended period. However, cats on a dry food diet can develop problems with their kidneys or even create a urinary tract infection and other issues.
Wet food resembles more the nutrition that cats would eat if they were to hunt themselves for their food. The best of cats is to get wet food as well, even if not every day. Cats could get some every other day.
But, how to deal with cats that do not want to eat wet food?
HOW TO MAKE YOUR CAT EAT WET FOOD?
If you want to improve your cat’s eating habits and want to get him into the routine of eating wet food, too, you can try a few tricks with them. For example, I have worked with my younger cat to get her used to eat wet food, at least once per day or once every two days.
I got her from the animal shelter, and she was four months old. When I got her, she was already used to dry food only. I tried to give her wet food, and she would not eat it. At the shelter, they had limited resources, and dry food was a more convenient option to feed many cats.
Therefore, I had to try many tricks to make her eat some wet food. Here are some tips to make your cat eat wet food:
1. LURE THEM WITH SOME TREATS
If you position a few treats near the bowl with wet food, some cats may smell it and at least eat some of it. I have done it successfully with one of my cats. First, I would lure him near the wet food with a treat. Once there, he would smell the food in the bowl and would eat part of it.
I would even place some small pieces of wet food on the floor near the bowl. Some cats like to eat on flat surfaces, and while they would not eat the wet food in the food bowl, they would eat it on a flat surface near it.
2. USE YOUR HANDS
You have to spend a few minutes with your cat. Sometimes, if you place a little wet food on your fingers and move it toward your cat’s face, he may come to smell it and eat from it. You will have to place cat food on your finger and have your cat lick it or eat it. You can do this with pate or small pieces of cat food.
3. FIND A BRAND YOUR CAT LIKE
Cats may like a particular brand of food, especially if they are picky about their food. You can try picking different types of foods and see which one works better. It is tricky to do this and still get the best quality brands.
Some types of food with colorants and additives may have a negative effect still. Reading the labels always is imperative to make sure the cat food one is buying is not just junk that will create an addition for the cat. They may lick it or eat it, but low-quality food is not going to be beneficial.
4. USE FOOD WITH A LOT OF MOISTURE OR EVEN GRAVY
You could search for food that has pieces of meat or chicken within the gravy or a soup. Although I managed to find cat soups with chunks of fish or chicken (cut in tiny pieces), my cat licking the soup ends up eating some meat or fish.
Once she gets used to eating some wet food in this way, she also starts to eat some pieces of regular wet food, not only soups.
Here are some ideas of soups for cats:
5. PREPARE OR COOK FOOD FOR YOUR CAT
I used to buy thin chicken slices, cook them, and cut them for my cats. They would eat it, licking their whiskers. You can try cooking some meat for your cats. Boil some chicken or fish, test what they may like or not. At some point, you can find some food that your cat is willing to eat.
6. USE TUNA
Even the hard-core dry food eaters are challenged by tuna. If you buy some natural tuna, the same that humans eat, your cat will find it difficult not to eat it—cats like tuna more than anything else. Give them a little every day, so they get used to eating something other than dry food.
Tuna is definitively something to try. When we open a can of tuna for ourselves, our cats can smell it and try to get to it by jumping on our table. Try this out, and let me know how your cat reacted.
IS IT BAD TO SWITCH CAT FOOD?
Generally, it is not harmful to switch cat food, however, sometimes when done too fast can create stomach problems in cat or diarrhea. Therefore, the best is to change cat food gradually and not do it suddenly.
If you are trying to transition your cat from dry food to wet food, you should try to do it in parallel, meaning try to offer wet food while your cat still has dry food available. Try using some of the tips given above.
Some people suggest starving a cat for several hours and then offer only wet food, so that a cat is forced to eat the wet food at the end. I would not go for something so drastic unless there are health reasons for a cat not eating dry food.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why does my cat only eat gravy?
Cats like to eat gravy because it contains a lot of flavors and it is tasty. Some cats foods contain additives, colorants, and added flavoring agents. Cats are greedy when it comes to eating such things. The excellent taste drives them to eat the gravy. It is not due to being hungry.
Is it OK for a cat to eat only wet food?
It is OK for cats to eat only wet food. In fact, it is very close to the food they would eat in the wild if they would hunt for their meals. Wet food contains all the proteins they need. It is low in starches and has a good level of moisture.
Do cats get bored of the same wet food?
Cats get bored when they eat the same wet food. After a while, they may decide not to eat it or eat less. Try to vary the wet food, giving them different meat and flavors. You can test which proteins your cat likes and change his diet from time to time.
Why is my cat only eating a little bit?
Your cat may only eat a little bit because he doesn’t like the food, he is not hungry, or because he is one of those cats that doesn’t want to finish all of his food ( he leaves it for later). In addition, some cats may not be comfortable eating all the food in the bowl because the food bowl is too small.