Cat Won't Eat Cat Food?

A cat ignoring his food bowl.
Cats can be fussy eaters and refuse to eat the pet food you are offering. There are a number of ways to handle this from cooking for your pet to adding meat to their kibbles or even improving on the canned food, if that is what you feed them. Several solutions can be seen below.

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Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 157 Feedbacks
June 26, 2020

I'm at my wits end with my cat, Raisin. He is so fussy with his food. He'd sooner die than eat mere cat food! The only thing I can get him to eat is the dog's raw food, but only the chicken and liver mince. Am I being had? He's perfectly fit, a fairly big cat (sorry I can't do photos). He's a big black longhair, very good tempered and loving, and seems perfectly healthy, with a lovely shiny coat. My other cats liked things like cheese, tinned fish, scrambled eggs etc., not Raisin! My question would be, has anyone any ideas of what I could get for him to try, please?



Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 140 Posts
June 26, 20201 found this helpful
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To start out, you could mix a little chicken or liver mince to regular cat food. Raisin is a little fussy, but you can mix in a small amount of cat food , to gradually just cat food only.


This may take a little time. Try not to give in! There eyes and little faces make you tempted to give in to the fussy!

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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 105 Posts
June 26, 20201 found this helpful
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I understand the stores carry special food for animals and most people buy this to feed their animals. There are some animals that just won't eat this food at all no matter what. After my dog got sick with Parvo my vet told me to feed the dog only white rice, pasta, and some boiled chicken or even beef when he first started to eat again. I took the advice from the vet and did this. I found in our stores here that they sell off packages of scraps that are cut from beef. I normally boil this up and cut it up and add rice or pasta to the beef to feed my 5 dogs. In the long run this is actually cheaper and better for the animals than buying the canned food they sell in stores.


I know that they sell cartons of liver or beef hearts that I have bought to boil and feed my dogs with. I would suggest that you just get the cat off the canned food because it is not so good for him and just start to get some really cheap meat scraps or boxes of heart or livers to boil and feed the cat. I know my cat will eat dry cat food but what he loves the most is fresh fish. Where I live it is easy to get fresh fish and I normally cook it 2 to 3 times a week and so I make a small container of the fresh fish and put it in the refrigerator to feed the cat. I still give him dry cat food which he will eat too.

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Gold Feedback Medal for All Time! 949 Feedbacks
June 27, 20200 found this helpful
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I think it's possible you are fretting over him more and he enjoys it but that's just my 87 year old thinking and may not have felt the same way several years ago.


My family has had many pets over the years and during that time there were several 'fussy' eaters so I do know that it can be very frustrating.
We also have a fussy eater in our home and she can be trying but I buy the best food that I can buy and have just resolved to let her be herself. I offer canned food every morning and evening and if she eats it - okay - but if she does not, I immediately move it away and feed it to our stray outdoor cat and she loves it!
She has excellent dry food in her dish all day and she eats when she is hungry but not a lot. Surprisingly, her vet says she is very healthy and perfect weight - so why should I let this worry me? (I definitely do not think she eats enough but this is just me - not her.

I agree with the previous answers but not everyone has the time (or inclination) to cook special food (if their pets are healthy) but I do think you should try to feed them the type of food they seem to like the best.


Since you have other cats I wonder if you try to feed Raisin in a spot by himself or does he eat with the other pets. Not really sure which is best as I've never had that problem but I do know they like being fussed over (begged) and are smart enough to know how to get that special attention.
Some may say that if you have animals it is your responsibility to take care of them properly - and, I agree; but I do not think they should require more than their share of attention (unless they are sick).
Dogs can eat all kinds of raw food that is not good for cats.
Does the vet say Raisin is healthy?
If so, try stopping all of the attention and feed him some of what he likes and then let it go - cats are too smart to starve when food is available.

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June 24, 2013

My kitty (Kiera) is about one year old and has been with me from about 5 weeks. When my granddaughter found her abandoned alone and crying in the woods I (wrongly) nursed her to health with a variety of people foods. Now she will eat nothing but real baked chicken. I tried all types of dry cat food even mixed it with chicken and or kitty treats. Nope, she'll scream and follow me for days till I must give in.

I live in a 2 room apt. and I can't get away from her so I go in the pouring rain to the store to buy her chicken, de-bone, de-skin, and cook it for her. Then she's back to her lovable sweet self. She's my baby, but I'm on a fixed income and I know she needs some food made for cats, but now I'm at my wits end. Any suggestions?


By Barbara P.


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 226 Feedbacks
June 25, 20130 found this helpful
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I hear your pain :) I am about to head out for the store for a fresh supply of chicken for my kitty who eats only food I prepare. He has a special diet because of his epilepsy. Cats can do very well without commercial cat food. Dr. Lisa Pierson at gives a great overview of cat nutrition. I use her recipe, which is a raw food recipe. But her recipe can be cooked if necessary.

I also use the feline vitamins from Only Natural Pets (online). I felt a bit nervous when I started feeding this way, but am completely over it now. My cat is bursting with health (other than epilepsy). Not all Vets will support you but they are becoming the majority as they see the successes. And dont throw away the chicken skin....cats need over 30% of their calories to come from fat. I have been feeding this way for 4 years now and would never go back. Good luck to you and Kiera

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December 6, 2016

This is a page about getting a kitten to eat dry cat food. If your kitten doesn't like dry food, it may be difficult to get them to eat it.

Two kittens eating from a bowl of dry food.

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