Convincing the Stubborn


Cats don’t always do what we want them to. Actually, they rarely do what we want them to, especially when it comes to their food. Many times, introducing a new food becomes a frustrating battle-of-wills, with the finicky cat often coming out on top. We seem to be always at the whim of whatever our cats decide they want to eat at the moment, trying to keep up with their changing tastes and preferences. It can definitely be a frustrating challenge. But, as it turns out, cats aren’t purposely being difficult—it’s more or less built into their nature.

Cats are what we call “imprint eaters”. This means that whatever the first kinds of food the cat ate after nursing are “imprinted” in the cat’s brain as something that is appropriate to eat. This includes things like taste, temperature, smell, and even shape of the food. It originally was an evolutionary mechanism to protect the cat from unknown, spoiled, or harmful foods. Now it means that if we try to introduce our cats to a new food with a different smell/flavor, texture, temperature, or shape, they may be wary of it because it doesn’t fit into their own personal definition of food (know any children who have the same tendencies?). This instinct is stronger in some cats than others and can be mitigated by offering a large variety of foods to our cats when they are still young.

Tips and Tricks

Okay, now we understand why cats are so weird about their food, but how does that apply to giving our cats raw food for the first time? It means that it may or may not go smoothly at first and that we might have to get creative. Luckily, we have a few tricks up our metaphorical sleeve:

  1. First of all, make sure the raw food is completely thawed before offering it to your cat. Cats don’t tend to enjoy even slightly frozen foods. Even better, leave it (covered) on the counter for a little while to warm it closer to room temperature.
  2. Try putting a small amount of raw food on the bottom of their food bowl, beneath their regular food. Sometimes the smell and little taste of the raw food mixed with their regular stuff can be enough to convince them to give it a chance.
  3. You can also try putting a little of the raw food on a plate and setting it next to their regular food bowl at meal times.
  4. If the two above strategies haven’t worked, try par-boiling the raw food. Bring a pot of water up to boil, drop a couple of nuggets in and immediately scoop them back out. That thin outer layer of cooked food, or the change in temperature, can sometimes be enough to convince the finicky feline.
  5. Taking some defrosted food and putting a little on their paw may also get them trying the food. They don’t like dirty paws so they will want it off.
  6. This one may sound weird, but give it a try if the other methods haven’t worked: try placing a small amount of the raw food in their bowl in an area of the house where your cat isn’t normally fed. The hope is that the cat stumbles upon it during its daytime adventures and is tempted into “hunting” for the food. Really, it works!

Whatever you do though, be sure to never get into a standoff with your cat over food. Cats are stubborn little fluffers and they are unlikely to give in and eat the food when “they are hungry enough”. What’s more likely to happen is the cat will skip a couple of meals. This can be very harmful to the health of the cat because, being the great hunters they are, cats are not used to going long stretches without meals. After skipping multiple meals over a few days, cats can easily go into liver or renal failure, often with irreversible effects. So if your cat absolutely won’t eat the new food you’re introducing, give in and feed their old food, and try again in a few days.

Google Review

  • My dogs LOVE their new food!! I used to feed them dry kibble and they would leave their food in the bowls for 2 days before they would eat. Now they wake me up in the morning ready to eat. They also have so much more energy, they act like they are puppies again. The customer service is awesome! Too bad all companies don't have this kind of service. I will continue to buy Steve's Real Food for my dogs.

    Kelley Dillon Avatar
    Kelley Dillon
  • CONVENIENT, RELIABLE, DOGS LOVE THE FOOD I switched my dogs to a raw diet about 2 months ago. My older dog was panting a lot and he had a potato sized growth on his shoulder. The growth is now the size of an egg and his excessive panting has stopped. My younger dog was overweight despite the fact that she was very active and on a strict low calorie diet. She has slimmed down quite a bit.

    Trish C Avatar
    Trish C
  • We were skeptical of feeding raw. Finally we decided to take the plunge. The first surprise was, my dogs loved it. And the goat milk yogurt is a complete hit! They all love it. We had one small issue with the shipping and after one email everything was taken care of. But now that it's been several months we have noticed many other things. None of my dogs chew on their feet anymore. None of my dogs have itchy flaky skin anymore. And they are all pretty and shiny with tons of energy.

    Denise Moitoza Avatar
    Denise Moitoza
  • My dog was a picky eater and overweight. After 4 months of eating this raw diet he is almost at his recommended weight. I no longer have to coax him to eat by doctoring up his kibble. He eats the food as is and empties his bowl right away.

    Carrie Thompson Avatar
    Carrie Thompson
  • I wanted to give a shout out to Tara at the corporate office. She really went above and beyond! I had several questions about switching my dog over to raw food and the transition that's involved. She met with me in person and took the time to listen and gave me some great suggestions/feedback to my questions. She shared what her own dog went through and how raw dog food helped. Tara made me feel comfortable and was so kind and thoughtful to take the time out of her busy day to be so helpful. My dog is LOVING the food and has been transitioning very smoothly. Thanks so much for being so awesome, Tara. It meant a lot to me and because of the experience I had and the kindness you showed to me, I will continue to be a grateful customer and will recommend Steve's to all my fellow dog moms and dads.

    Susan Romney Avatar
    Susan Romney

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