You are here:

Ask the Veterinarian/Dental/feeding care of cat


Hello Jana,
We have 2 Russian Blue cats – a male (Bruno) who is 3 years old, and a female (Saffi) who’s 2 years old. Saffi is the one I’m writing to you about. She’s usually nuts about food. Pesters my daughter and me for food all the time and will practically push Bruno out of the way to eat. He, the gentleman that he is, will stand back until she finishes. They are ‘best friends’ though and spend most of the day and night together. They play fight and chase each other around, getting quite a bit of exercise. They both refuse to use the cat litter tray and prefer to go outside in the garden.

Saffi has never been keen on dry food. Once she ate it for a month or so until I changed the flavour (unfortunately) and she won’t touch it since, despite me changing flavours and shapes from time to time. She was always interested in eating chicken necks. She and Bruno eat defrosted (fresh) sardines.

I thought that seeing she wasn’t getting the dental cleaning from dry food, at least she was getting it with the chicken necks. Now she won’t touch them. She will eat sardines from time to time, which requires some chewing through the backbones, so I guess that’s something, even though infrequently.

Now she’s become very picky about food. I give them fresh diced beef in the mornings. Sometimes she’ll eat it, sometimes not. She seems to be hungry all the time, but turns her nose up at most things I put in front of her. I worry that she’s not getting enough nutrition. Sometimes I just leave out what I gave them in the morning and don’t give them anything else until it’s gone. If Bruno doesn’t like what’s on offer, he goes for the dry food which is good quality especially for dental treatment. After the fresh meat in the mornings, I usually top up with wet food sachets.

I’ve had cats before, but never as changeable as Saffi. I know they like to show who’s boss and annoy the living daylights out of you turning up their noses at food they ate the day before – and with gusto – but she’s got me flummoxed.

Can you suggest what I should do next to get her back on track? I would especially like to have her eating dry food but can’t get her interested. Have changed flavours, shapes, served it dry, served it wet. All to no avail.

Many thanks,

Hi Lyn,
I understand your frustration here but I have to tell you, cats are not born picky eaters, they are created by owners.
Your statement here-->"Saffi has never been keen on dry food. Once she ate it for a month or so until I changed the flavour (unfortunately) and she won’t touch it since, despite me changing flavours and shapes from time to time."

Is one of the reasons she is the way she is. She ate her food for a month or so. Why did you change it? She liked it just the way it was. She didn't require a change. WE humans are the ones that "think" our cats want something new, but that isn't true. If a cat had to eat nothing but mice for it's entire life, do you think it wants rats instead? No...

Our pets are domesticated animals. They are not wild. While cats still hunt and dogs aren't very good at it, they are still domesticated animals and as a result, they have developed digestive systems that are geared toward eating the same thing day in and day out. Wild animals are actually the same way, they just cant' catch the same thing each time. But their systems are still geared to eat the same thing- just in different forms, rats, mice, rabbits, etc. are all still just different forms of the same thing.

So when a cat eats a certain kind of food and likes it, that's all they need as long as it is meeting their nutritional and energy needs. Low nutrient foods are another cause for picky eaters.

Cats only want their needs met- their need for resting energy and for playing energy. They need nutrients that will give them that in a form that will not cause harm.

Giving cats fish has long been a battle on whether or not it causes urinary or kidney problems. It's a lot of protein, sometimes more than they need and that can cause kidney issues down the road.

The key here to to slowly get her onto some high nutrient dense food and leave her on it. She is still young so a high quality food that will give her optimal nutrition is Science Diet all natural formulas. They have taken the corn and wheat out of some of their foods but left in the nutrition that Hills is famous for.

My pets only eat Science Diet and they live longer than most pets I know and -- without illnesses. They are on the new Healthy Advantage Senior right now as one cat is 10. The one year old is on the new kitten formula and she has grown strong with a coat so soft it's unreal.

You need to start her back onto a good diet little by little but most of all, you need to cut out the sardines and stick to the dry or get her the wet food. Nothing wrong with them eating wet food.

So get her a bag of the Adult Formula Healthy Advantage from Hills and leave a bowl of it out. Once she decides it's there to stay she will start eating it. DO NOT change the flavor or formula once she does.

The beef, sardines, and chicken necks are throwing her nutrient levels way out of whack and she might not even be feeling that well as a result. This will also put her off her feed.

So clean up her diet- no more raw anything- and get her on the Science Diet Healthy Advantage. I have seen what it does for so many cats so I know it's a great food.

or this one which is wheat and corn free:

Hills has a 100% money back guarantee. If your cat doesn't like it after one bag- take the empty bag back to where you bought it and get a refund.

In my 30 yrs of feeding and selling this food, I have only seen two people ever bring it back...

So that is what I would do. Let me know how it goes in about three weeks. :-)


Just wanted to add in that ALL of Hill's foods are made with Dental Health in mind. They also have some diets geared toward Dental health as the focal point but are still complete diets that provide optimal nutrition.  There are a large variety of formulas to choose from- look them over (online if need be) and order according to her needs.

Please let me know how it goes with her. :-)

Ask the Veterinarian

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Jana Connell RVT, CVT


PLEASE READ BEFORE SUBMITTING TO ME: I am NOT a vet and do NOT diagnose diseases. That is only for a licensed Veterinarian to do. I will give you suggestions and steer you toward calling your vet for help. You can call the vet's office and talk to the technician there or the vet at times. Don't be afraid to call them! If you have a serious issue with your pet please post it to one of the veterinarians in here- I will tell you the same thing in my answer. IF your pet is injured or in an emergency situation, CALL YOUR VET- Do not wait and post in here. Just call the vet's office and get them in to see the vet right away. Critical treatment time is lost if you seek answers here when you should have your precious pet at the vets!! Don't sit at home waiting for an answer when your pet is critically ill or injured!! I can answer most questions about small animal and wildlife care as well as small animal nutrition. I can also answer questions about all phases of dental care for small animals. I DO NOT answer questions about birds (unless it is wildlife or songbirds) or HAMSTERS/GERBILS/CHINS/GUINEA PIGS/REPTILES/FROGS/RABBITS/PET BIRDS OF ANY KIND so please submit these questions to the appropriate sections. I, as well as other experts in here, do NOT do homework questions- that is for YOU to do! Please respect these rules for all of us. Thanks!


I have over 35 years experience in the field of veterinary medicine. I specialized in small animals and did wildlife rehab for over 25 years, mostly raptors, squirrels and opossums. I am a Small Animal Nutritional Consultant with 6 certificates from Hills Pet Foods, CNM and Purina. I also specialized in Small Animal Dentistry which is a field I truly love.

Audubon,World Wildlife Federation, American Society of Veterinary Dental Technicians.

Licensed with California and Oregon, RVT and CVT. Certified Veterinary Dental Technician Have over 550 logged hours of Continuing Education Credits(that means I keep up to date!).

Awards and Honors
Nominated for Expert of the Month for the last 5 years.

©2016 All rights reserved.