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5 Reasons Why A Cat Won’t Eat Wet Food And How To Help

5 Reasons Why A Cat Won’t Eat Wet Food And How To Help

Some cats are quite picky when it comes to their food. They’re even ready to go a couple of days without food, if you’re serving them a type of meal that they just don’t like.

Many cat owners will get worried about their cats refusing to eat wet food.

Well, cats might dislike certain foods. But, there are also some causes of their refusal to eat, even some underlying health problems.

Let’s take a look at the most common explanations for this type of behavior.

1. Diet Change

the cat is sitting next to the food, confused

If your cat is used to eating dry food, and now you have decided to introduce wet food to her diet, she might not be thrilled about this change.

Many cats are picky about their food, and they aren’t fans of change. However, felines can accept change – the key is just not to storm them with a sudden and too fast change.

Transitioning to a wet food diet might be quite challenging, so, don’t be surprised to see your cat being suspicious about new food. 

One thing to bear in mind is that you shouldn’t force your cat to eat the new food; give her some time to adjust to the changes.

2. The Food Bowl Isn’t Clean

We all know how clean felines are. They love to groom themselves; most of the time, you don’t even have to bathe your indoor cat, unless a health issue is involved, or if your cat is in advanced age.

Well, cats also like to have their surroundings clean. For example, a cat might refuse to use the litter box if you haven’t cleaned it previously.

It’s also possible for a cat to refuse to eat wet food just because her food bowl isn’t perfectly clean, or if there are some leftovers of the previous meal in it.

It’s actually adorable when you think of it – your cat is reminding you to take good care of her personal space’s hygiene!

3. Spoiled Food

black and white cat sniffs food

Cats can smell even the slightest change in their standard food. 

If your cat refuses to eat the meal she usually likes, there might be something wrong with the food. 

Maybe you had that food in your storage space for a longer period of time, and now it has passed its expiration date.

If you notice your cat smelling around the bowl and seems to be hungry, but doesn’t eat, you should check the food’s expiration date.

4. Getting Food In Other Places

If you let your cat go outside, there is a high chance she’s getting additional food in other places.

Maybe your neighbors can’t resist your cuddly kitten and they give her some treats every time she shows up in their yard!

For some cats, it will be enough to receive food from a neighbor only once – after this, they will expect to always get something tasty from them! Take a look at the funny video below showing that situation.

Also, don’t forget how good cats are at hunting. They are known to hunt mice, but they might also hunt and eat other animals, such as birds or rabbits

So, maybe your cat likes wet food, but she is refusing to eat because she got food in some other place.

5. Health Problems

Siamese cat vomited on the wooden floor

Unfortunately, some cats won’t eat wet food due to certain health issues, such as diabetes, pancreatitis, or even kidney disease.

According to Megan Conroy and her associates [1], kidney disease is the most frequent cause of death in felines aged over five years, so, you should definitely be very cautious about the potential symptoms of this disease.

If you notice any other symptoms in your cat, such as fever, diarrhea, vomiting, changes in urination, etc., you should contact your veterinarian right away.

See Also: Pancreatitis In Cats: When To Euthanize?

How To Encourage Your Cat To Eat Wet Food?

Make sure your cat’s food bowl is clean, and that food isn’t spoiled. 

If you just started giving your cat wet food, you’ll need to be patient. She will probably refuse to eat for some time in the beginning.

In this period, you can mix the wet food with some dry ingredients, such as biscuits, to make the food transition easier for your kitten.

Of course, if you have any doubts your cat is ill and this is why she’s refusing to eat, you should consult the veterinarian as soon as possible.

Cats can’t go without food for too long – even one day without eating can be dangerous for them, so you should react on time.

Why Should Your Cat Eat Wet Food?

I would recommend cat parents give their pets a combination of wet and dry food – this is the best way to balance the benefits of both options. 

This also will have a lot to do with each cat’s preferences, so, some of them might like dry food better, while some will prefer the wet food option.

In any case, wet food is very good for your cat’s health and well-being.

This food is high in protein, supporting cats’ muscles. 

Felines also seek variety in their diet, so eating dry food only might make them get bored soon. Therefore, wet food is a good option to make their diet more diverse!

Furthermore, wet cat food is highly digestible, and it will be beneficial for kittens with sensitive stomachs.

Most important of all, this kind of food will increase the water intake in your kitten. Catherine M. F. Buckley and her associates [2] have investigated the effect of dietary water intake on urinary output in felines.

Study results showed how cats fed a moisturized diet had a higher total daily fluid intake and showed a lower risk of calcium oxalate crystals in the urine, which can turn into bladder stones.

Therefore, wet food is definitely beneficial for cats’ health!

You should also check our list of automatic wet food feeders. This way, you can provide your cat with wet food even when you’re away from home.

Closing Thoughts

There are a few reasons why cats might refuse to eat wet food. Some are harmless and easy to solve, but, this might also happen due to health problems in felines. 

The most important thing is to recognize the cause of this behavior in your cat. Remember that you’re the one who knows her the best and who can help her!

What is the reason behind your cat’s refusal to eat wet food? Share your thoughts with us!


[1] Conroy M, Chronic kidney disease in cats attending primary care practice in the UK: a VetCompassTM study. Vet Rec. 2019 Apr 27;184(17):526. DOI, Retrieved May 12, 2023.
[2] Buckley, C., Hawthorne, A., Colyer, A., & Stevenson, A. (2011). Effect of dietary water intake on urinary output, specific gravity and relative supersaturation for calcium oxalate and struvite in the cat. British Journal of Nutrition, 106(S1), S128-S130. DOI, Retrieved May 12, 2023.

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