A cat's love for organ meats - does it represent a dietary deficiency?
December 9, 2017 10:50 AM   Subscribe

My cat is increasingly snooting food she used to like, but never will she reject canned food that contains organ meats. Preference only, or indication of a deficiency?

If she gets wet food, say, chicken mousse ("classic" on the can) she may eat it, and she may not. During the following 12 - 24 hour period she may be a bit less lively than is usual. Substitute a similar, same producer Fancy Feast, can of chicken + giblets mousse and she polishes her dish in a few minutes. During the period following that, she will bounce all over, playing with her people and her toys. It is clear by her behavior there is something valuable about the cans of food with organ meats in them. Is this evidence of a trace element deficiency, a picky cat, or what?

She doesn't care for people foods like chicken livers or minced gizzards. Now and then she will ask for some people food (like crab) and other times she will not. That runs in cycles. There are times when she will eat e.g. six small chunks of people ham, then stop; there are times when she will eat none of what looks to me like the same ham.

Her weight is fine - 12.5 lb. She's part Maine Coon at least, that's small for a MC. She gets a lot of brushing so she has few problems with furballs, she's mostly lively, active and engaging. She visits the vet regularly; her weight varies plus or minus three per cent. Her habits of playing with toys follow a slow (months-long) oscillation: a neglected toy in August gets all kinds of attention in December.

"Cats are weird" explanation is still very much on the table.
posted by jet_silver to Pets & Animals (4 answers total)
Despite everything I'd read about how you're supposed to feed cats a very consistent diet, apparently they'll just get bored with their food and go off it. The jerks. Ours each had dropped about two pounds off their peak weight simply as a result of that, but since we'd been under vet's orders to reduce their weight we didn't notice a problem until about two or three weeks of "hey, they didn't finish again." On vet advice we've introduced a much more complicated food rotation so they can't get bored with anything and they clean their bowls every damn time now (and they've put most of the weight back on). This is third (3rd) time we've had to switch up their diet because they stopped eating. They will not eat chicken of any brand, and they mostly lost interest in their favorite tuna this time around, but they'll eat it if it's in a big enough rotation with other food.

We order enough canned food we get handwritten Christmas cards from Chewy, is what I'm saying.
posted by fedward at 11:47 AM on December 9, 2017 [4 favorites]

Yup, cats are jerks who will decide to snub their food. Texture might be a factor; my two mostly snub pate style food in favor of anything with chunks or shreds. Keep two or three flavors in rotation, and don’t stress as long as there is something they’ll eat.

If a possible explanation helps, I saw a cat documentary a while back that looked at the behavior of feral cats and found that feral cats seem to make a point of seeking variety even if they have plenty of a previous kill left. They theorized that there’s some level of hardwired variety seeking to ensure they get a balanced diet in the wild, and some of that might be built into our home bound cats too. Sometimes they may not want something just because it’s like something else they’ve had lately.
posted by Stacey at 3:16 PM on December 9, 2017 [2 favorites]

Cats are weird is indeed the correct answer here. I spend a lot of time looking at cat food (check my profile for links) and i highly, highly doubt here’s a noticeable difference in different varieties of Fancy Feast. If you were comparing feeding raw vs FF, maybe, but Fancy Feast is just Fancy Feast. Cats in general are just picky, lovable assholes who can get bored eating the same thing just like we can.
posted by cgg at 3:56 PM on December 9, 2017

I have a cat who got sick (possibly off of tainted food from China) when he was about 2. He had urinary issues, he pulled through. Only...he wouldn't eat the food we had at home. He also wouldn't eat the Science Diet, or canned food. Or food with tuna juice or even tuna. Sometimes that DOES happen when they are sick.

The feed store found me some food that he would eat. Which was fine. Until...the company changed the composition of the food and he wouldn't eat it. I have since found another brand, but he lived on mostly mice for a week until I found something that he would eat. It may be that something you don't know about changed in the food you were feeding your cat...and the cat can tell and the cat doesn't like it.
posted by 101cats at 9:16 PM on December 9, 2017

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