It’s natural to get worried when your cat wont eat wet food. For every pet owner, the pet’s health is the most important thing, and wet food contains a lot of important nutrition for our feline friends.
If you are concerned about your cat’s appetite, you are in the best place to get some answers to your questions.
Cats refuse to consume wet food when they dislike the flavor. Other reasons include a lack of hunger (or loss of appetite), a failure to recognize the meal, or a recent switch from dry pet food.
In cats, a loss of appetite can be an indication of a number of health problems. Before you start worrying that your cat isn’t ingesting the right amount of food, or planning to take them to the veterinary clinic, it’s a good idea to identify some of the different reasons that might be behind it.
Take a look at the following reasons and explanations listed for why your cat wont eat wet food, and what you can do to help.
10 Reasons Why Your Cat Wont Eat Wet Food
There are different reasons why your cat wont eat wet food, and every cat is different and has its own preferences.
It is very concerning when cats refuse to eat wet food, but it’s even more concerning if your cat is not eating at all.
If your cat hasn’t eaten in 2 days (or more), you should take them to the vet clinic as soon as possible. Cats must eat regularly or they can get fatty liver disease (hepatic lipidosis), which is serious and must be treated urgently.
Check out the ten most common reasons why cats avoid wet food, and seem to prefer dry food.
1. Taste Of Wet Food Changed
The temperature of a cat’s meals is quite important, as cats are descended from wild animals, and their ancestors hunt and eat their prey while it is still warm. Our domestic felines don’t appreciate cold wet foods.
Everything, including the smell and the taste, changes when you put canned food or sachets of wet food in the fridge.
Many cat owners claim that this is the cause of the issue for them; when they’d put wet food in the fridge, their cat didn’t want to eat it.
This is actually quite easy to understand, our own meals don’t smell as enticing when they are cold. Temperature also affects the texture of the food; gravy can change from liquid to a thicker sauce.
You can use a microwave to warm the wet food for a few seconds, usually as few as 5 seconds is enough (I tried it, and it was enough for me), and it gets to its intended state without getting hot.
Another tip for storing open containers of wet cat food, would be to keep it in a bowl with water, maybe put some ice cubes in the water to keep it cool on a warmer day.
You can do this for any wet food, canned food, pates, etc. This way, you don’t need the fridge to keep your cat’s wet food fresh.
2. Your Cat Doesn’t Consider Wet Food As Food
This usually happens when cats, especially kittens, encounter wet food for the first time and they don’t realize that it is actually their food.
However, most cats, with little or no support from you, will soon realize that wet food is their meal just as dry food is, and will begin eating it normally.
If you feel like this is the case with your cat, you can mix some kibble or some treats that your cat likes, into the wet food, so your cat recognizes the familiar types of food and hopefully eats the whole lot.
3. Repeating The Same Boring Wet Food
I’m not saying that your choice of wet food is boring, but cats tend to get bored of the same food again and again. Cats, just like people, get bored if they eat the same food over a long period of time. If you consistently offer the same variety of wet food to your cat, they may become bored with it.
Not all cats become bored, but when they do, they may refuse to eat their meals. Typically, it is the pickiest cats who become tired of repetitive meals.
Cats require changes in their diet every now and then. Once a year should be enough, but again, every cat is different. If you’ve been bringing home the same type of food for about a year or so, and now your cat wont eat wet food any more, you might want to try out other brands and flavors of wet food.
4. Your Cat Dislikes The Flavor
Cats can be very picky eaters. When it comes to food flavors, choosy cats are the most common reason why your cat wont eat wet food.
If your cat dislikes the flavor of a particular type of wet food, you should try different flavors, varieties, types, or different brands, and see whether your cat starts gobbling it up.
If you’re looking for some new ideas on what to feed your feline friend, I suggest reading Happy Whisker’s Article on healthy and delicious cat breakfast ideas!
5. Your Cat Is Full Of Kibble
This may be the case if you include both wet and dry food in your cat’s diet, which by the way, is the perfect combo. If your cat has eaten enough (or too much) dry food, then it wont eat wet food when you give it to them.
Most cats don’t tend to overeat, so they probably wont eat too much at once; they might lick it a bit, but they won’t eat it.
All that can be done here is to pay attention to your cat’s eating habits, and serve them wet food at the next meal time when you know your cat is hungry. This usually does the trick!
6. Your Cat Has Dental Issues
Another reason why a cat wont eat wet food, is that they are experiencing dental issues. If your cat happens to have some dental issues, for example loose tooth, tooth abscess, or something stuck between their teeth, it will be fussy about food.
If your cat’s teeth hurt, they will avoid eating as much as possible, which is not good for them. Problems with teeth are more common in old cats, or cats that mostly eat dry food as dry food puts more pressure on the cat’s teeth and jaws.
If your cat wont eat wet food or goes off all food for a longer period, or it happens often, this is probably due to dental problems. This is when you need to consult your vet who will further instruct you how to deal with the problem.
7. Your Cat Is Feeling Unwell
Your cat might have an upset stomach, or suffer from digestive issues, and will therefore refuse to eat.
They may also feel unwell due to a virus or some other health issue, and will usually refuse to eat because of it. This will usually mean they avoid all kinds of food, not just wet food.
This can go on for a couple of days, and if it does you should go to the vet. Remember that finding a bit of cat food left in your cat’s bowl is okay from time to time, but not eating at all needs to be investigated by a vet.
8. Your Cat Dislikes The Texture
Just as with food flavor, cats might dislike the texture of a certain food. Some cats prefer pates over shredded food covered in gravy.
You should try foods of different texture, and different varieties, until you find the one that makes your cat happy.
9. Your Cat Only Eats The Gravy
Perhaps you served your cat a can of wet food, and your cat just licked the gravy off the top and left the chunks of meat in the bowl?
This can be caused by dental problems, however, if your vet has checked your cat’s mouth and everything seems to be fine, then what’s the deal?
Your cat might dislike its food bowl. Some foods do not go well with certain food dishes, and this can make your cat refuse to eat certain foods.
For example, shredded cat food can slide across your cat’s bowl and make it harder for it to catch it. The emptier the bowl gets, the harder it is to eat the food, as the bowl is moving.
You should pay attention to your cat while it’s eating, and if something like this happens, consider buying a new food bowl. Consider wider bowls that stick to the ground and don’t move, so your cat can eat peacefully without struggling.
10. Different Batch, Different Preference
Sometimes, the batches change in between shopping trips, and when you come home and open a new can of wet food, your cat wont eat it. You’re thinking, well yesterday you ate it, what‘s the matter now?! Your cat might have noticed that there’s been some alterations.
Sometimes the manufacturers change the formula or the consistency of wet food, you can try opening a new can to see if it’s any different but it may be only noticeable to your cat.
Better yet, if you happen to have one packet of the old batch of the same wet food, you can compare it with the packet from the new batch, even serve it to your cat and see which one it chooses for a fun little experiment!
This doesn’t happen that often, but it could. If you have more than one cat, and all of them suddenly won’t eat wet food, then it’s most likely the food company changed the formula of the wet food without notifying anyone about it.
You may also want to see: Is Blue Buffalo Good For Cats? Unbiased Cat Food Review
The Benefits Of Wet Cat Food
There are many benefits when it comes to feeding your cat wet food. The most important benefit of wet food is, precisely, hydration.
Wet foods are usually meat-based and grain-free, and this allows for higher moisture content.
Cats generally don’t drink much water, and hydration is very important. Looking back at our domestic cats’ wild ancestors, they got the majority of their hydration from the prey they caught.
Old cats are even less keen on drinking water and often don’t drink as much as they should. For a cat that lacks hydration, wet food can really help!
UTIs and FLUTD, urinary stones, and general problems with the urinary tract are quite common in cats.
Lack of hydration will contribute to these health issues, and no cat owner wants that to happen. This is why you should plan a healthy food diet, containing both wet food and dry food, in a perfect balance.
Wet food can help with hydration, reducing the risk of urinary tract diseases and kidney diseases. Old cats, or cats that have lost teeth (or had their teeth taken out), can eat wet food without a problem, whereas dry kibble can be difficult to chew.
Wet food is also easier to digest, so cats with digestive issues can benefit from it as well.
Transitioning From Dry Food To Wet Food
So now we know that the perfect feline food diet is a mixture of dry food and wet cat food. Maybe your cat’s been eating dry food for a long time, and you are wondering if you can now include dry food or transition to wet cat food?
Read on to learn some tips and tricks for when you want to change your cat’s diet plan from dry food to wet food, so you can change “my cat wont eat wet food” into “my cat loves eating wet food”.
Some cats can be stubborn, while others will switch more easily. Let’s see what you can do to encourage your cat to eat both wet food and dry food.
🐾 If your cat’s been eating dry food only, and you haven’t had a regular scheduled meal time, you can try switching this to 3 or 4 meals a day, depending on the requirements for your cat.
You can do this by putting your cat’s food down at the scheduled time, and then taking it away again after 25-30 minutes.
Your cat will quickly learn their meal time schedule and stop free-feeding, and once they do, you can include some wet food in some of the meals. Most cats eat it right away, while others need a bit more time to get used to the change.
We rely mostly on the cat’s hunger, after all. Hungry cats will usually eat anything. However, if you see that nothing is changing, don’t starve your cat. Feed them their preferred food; you can always try again and perhaps succeed another time.
🐾 Patience is key. My cat, for example, refused dry food (not the case here, but to briefly mention), so I first started to include some in his last meal of the day. I would leave it in the food bowl, and once he realized that he wasn’t getting anything else, he would gobble it up.
In any case, another tip for you is playing with your cat right before meal time. Activity and exercise will stimulate your cat’s appetite, and your cat will probably eat any kind of food you give them.
🐾 Another thing that might make your cat refuse wet food is if they can smell dry food somewhere.
If your dry food is stored close to your cat’s food bowl, this will make your cat stop and wait for it, and refuse the wet food you’re offering.
If your cat is a dry food lover, find another place to store the dry food, and conceal it well, so your cat can’t smell it before they go to eat.
🐾 You can add a bit of tuna, if your cat likes it of course, or put your cat’s favorite treat in the wet food in the bowl, and when your cat comes to eat, they will most likely eat the whole lot.
Note: if you do use tuna, or other fish, be careful. You don‘t want your cat to eat too much fish because it can contribute to some health issues, because fish contains a lot of enzymes and is low in calcium.
🐾 As already mentioned, you can warm up the wet food so it smells tempting and the sauce is nice and liquid, since cats don’t like cold food.
🐾 If your cat’s been eating only dry kibble, try giving it some cooked meat (chicken or fish), just so your cat sees a different type of meal. Then, introduce wet cat food.
🐾 You can try adding a bit of parmesan cheese on top of the cat’s wet food, since a lot of cats love parmesan cheese. However, this is not a good idea for older cats, as cheese can cause digestive issues (e.g. constipation).
🐾 You might have also thought about getting the dry food wet. This is not advisable, but it can be done with great caution. Bacteria and mold can be present, and that is quite dangerous for cats.
If you do wet the dry food, only leave it in the bowl for 20 minutes or so. If your cat doesn’t eat it at that time, throw it away.
🐾 You can pour some sauce from the wet food on top of some dry food, so your cat gets the taste. If this goes well, you can introduce wet food into your cat’s next meal.
🐾 You can also mix a bit of wet food content into a bit of dry food. Your cat might sniff around and only eat the kibble, but most cats just eat whichever part they get to first. In any case, it will be familiar to your cat the next time it gets wet food.
🐾 Another thing you can do is crush up some dry food and put bits of it on top of the wet food.
🐾 You can rub a bit of gravy or canned food sauce onto your cat’s gums, or on the cat’s paw, so it licks it and gets to know how it tastes, even for a bit. Of course, you should only do this if your cat will allow it.
🐾 Try different varieties, brands, and types of wet food. Even try low-quality wet foods, just so your cat starts eating it, and then find and introduce high-quality, meat-based, wet foods.
🐾 You can grind and mix the wet food, and then feed your cat through a syringe. This is usually done with kittens. Learning at an early age is great.
Most importantly, don’t stop trying! Be patient, and you’ll get there. These are just some tips and tricks on what to do, but always remember that all cats are different, and every cat will have different reasons why they wont eat wet food.
Some cats take longer to transition from dry food, or to start eating both types of food. However, some cats start eating it right away, after some changes are made.
In any case, I hope you’ll discover why your cat wont eat wet food, and that some of these tips & tricks will help with your issue.
Suggested Read: Best Cat Food For Older Cats That Vomit: Top 18 Choices (2023)
How can I get my cat to eat wet food?
There are different tricks you can try out. The most effective tricks include mixing your cat’s preferred dry food into the wet food. You can also try putting your cat’s favorite treat in the wet food, or slowly transition from dry cat food to wet food by setting a schedule, switching meals, and eventually trying out different types of wet food until you succeed.
Why is my cat so picky about wet food?
There are various reasons why your cat might be picky about wet food. However, the most typical reason is that your cat might not like the taste, the flavor, or the texture of the wet food you’re giving them.
Is it OK for my cat to only eat dry food?
It can be ok, as long as the dry food is fresh and balanced, and as long as your cat’s diet plan is consistent and planned. Dry food can stay fresh longer, but you need to provide a lot of fresh water for your cat so they don’t develop UTIs, suffer from dehydration, or develop other health issues.
What can I do to make my cat eat wet food?
There are different tricks you can try out. You can try mixing your cat’s preferred dry food in the same bowl with wet food. You can also try putting your cat’s favorite treat in the wet food, or slowly transition from dry cat food to wet food, by setting a schedule, switching meals, and eventually trying out different types of wet food until you find the right one.
What are the benefits of wet food for cats?
Wet foods contribute to a cat’s hydration, are full of proteins, and lower in carbohydrates, and they contribute to a cat’s digestion, since wet food is easier to digest than dry food. So, a healthy balance and mix of dry food and wet cat food is the best solution.
Should I be worried about my cat not eating wet food?
No, but it is advisable that you consult the vet for possible advice and diet plans. The healthiest diet for cats includes both dry food and wet food. If your cat wont eat any food, then you should be concerned and go to the vet as soon as possible.
Why does my cat refuse wet food?
Different reasons can stand behind the question of why your cat wont eat wet food. The most common reason for many cat owners is that the cat doesn’t like the taste and/or texture of the wet food. You can try different flavors, varieties, and types of wet cat food until you find the one that makes your cat long for mealtimes.
How can I make my cat’s dry food more appetizing?
To make your cat’s dry food yummier, you can add bits of cooked meat (chicken, fish, etc.), since cats are obligate carnivores after all, or mix in bits of your cat’s favorite treat, or a bit of sauce from a tuna can, and then warm it up for a couple of seconds so all the mixed smells get more intense.
All concerns are understandable when your cat refuses to eat wet food. Wet food has a lot of nutritious qualities for our feline companions, and it’s good to seek assistance in managing this issue.
Cats frequently refuse to eat wet food because they don’t prefer its flavor. Other possible explanations include a lack of appetite, a failure to identify wet food as a meal, or a recent transition from dry food to wet cat food.
Loss of appetite in cats might also indicate some health issues. Different reasons can cause your cat to refuse wet food.
The taste and flavors of wet food might have changed, or your cat is bored with the same food brand, or there might be some dental issues involved.
I hope that you find the cause for your problem soon and that some of these tips and tricks help deal with it.
Finally, I hope that you solve this issue and that instead: my cat wont eat wet food, you start saying: my cat loooves eating wet food!