Do Cats Get Sick of the Same Old Kibble?


Does your cat seem uninterested in eating their usual food? Have you wondered if cats can actually get bored with the same old kibble or wet food every day? This is an important question for cat owners because a cat’s diet directly impacts their health and happiness. Loss of appetite in cats can be a sign of boredom but also potential medical issues. Understanding the reasons behind your cat’s eating habits is the first step to ensuring they get the proper nutrition.

Cats’ Taste Preferences

Cats have far fewer taste buds compared to humans, with around 470 versus our 9,000 (Li, 2013). Despite this, they have a strong sense of taste that drives their preferences, especially for flavors like proteins and fats. Studies show domestic cats are highly attracted to animal-based proteins and fats, likely an evolutionary remnant of their ancestral wild cat origins as obligate carnivores (Alegría-Morán et al., 2019). Cats also appreciate variety in textures of their foods.

Research on cat taste has found their preferences align with their nutritional needs. Cats have a fondness for umami flavors that indicate meat-based protein sources (McGrane et al., 2023). Their Drawn to aroma compounds like aldehydes, amines and thiazoles associated with meat and fish, cats favor these tastes over sweeter flavors. Their tastes lean heavily toward their ancestral carnivorous diet.

Instinct to Hunt

Cats originally evolved as solitary hunters in the wild, relying on their instincts and abilities to find different types of prey for survival. According to Purina, cats are hardwired to use their extraordinary senses – sight, sound, and smell – to locate, pursue and kill their prey. Their ancestors survived by hunting various small animals and seeking different flavors for proper nutrition.

Today’s domestic cats still possess this strong natural drive and ability to hunt, even though they do not need to catch food. Indoor cats especially still feel internally motivated to exhibit hunting behaviors, such as stalking, pouncing and biting. Cat behaviorists explain that these instincts are so ingrained in felines that they are not something cats can unlearn or be trained not to do.

Signs Your Cat is Bored

One indicator that your cat may be bored with their food is if they start leaving more uneaten or only eating a portion of their meals. As stated in this article, cats are instinctual hunters and enjoy the process of seeking out food. If their meals are always served up conveniently in the same bowl, it can become monotonous for them over time. A bored cat may start begging more persistently or meowing loudly near their food bowl in hopes of something more exciting.

Cats who are bored with their diet may also begin losing interest in eating altogether, which can lead to weight loss if it continues. According to PetCubes, another sign is if your cat starts searching for other food sources around the house while ignoring their own full food bowl. This indicates they’re craving more variety and mental stimulation during mealtimes to pique their interest in eating again.

Risks of a Bored Cat

If your cat loses interest in their usual food, this can lead to some concerning health and behavioral issues. One major risk is malnourishment from not eating enough. Cats require balanced daily nutrition to stay healthy. A picky, bored cat may start eating less of their food, which can cause deficiencies, lethargy, and weight loss over time. According to veterinarians at Burns Pet Nutrition, “When cats get bored with their food, it can cause them to consume less than their required amount. This can lead to a lack of energy and loss of muscle mass.”

Boredom and disinterest in food can also cause stress and anxiety in cats. As natural hunters, cats enjoy the mental stimulation of seeking out and catching prey. Without this enrichment, they may experience restlessness, agitation, and other signs of stress. These behaviors can manifest as destructive actions like knocking things over or aggression. Per Cat In a Flat, “Your cat may feel bored with their food because there’s no fun in it!” This lack of stimulation can lead to stress.

In summary, cat food boredom poses risks like malnourishment, weight loss, stress, anxiety, and destructive behaviors. It’s important to pay attention if your cat loses interest in their normal food, as this change in behavior signifies an unmet need.

Solutions for a Picky Cat

Sometimes becoming a picky eater can simply be a cat expressing its natural behavior. Since cats are predators by nature, their instincts tell them to hunt for different types of food. Their sense of smell is very strong, so eating the same food day after day can become unappealing. There are some solutions to help entice your cat to eat a more varied diet:

Rotate multiple flavors/textures – Offering your cat a rotation of different flavors, textures, and styles of food can help keep their interest at mealtimes. Switch between pates, gravies, chunks in sauce, morsels in jelly, etc. Gradually incorporate new textures and flavors into their usual foods.

Warm up refrigerated foods to bring out aromas – Cold food from the refrigerator has less aroma. Gently warming wet or canned foods to room temperature or slightly above can make the smells more inviting. Be sure not to microwave, as this can create hot spots.

Add broths or topper to dry food – Adding a bit of low-sodium broth or gravy can make dry kibble more aromatic and appealing. You can also find commercial cat food toppers that provide extra taste. Introduce new toppers gradually mixed in with their usual food.

By making small changes to their typical diet, you can stimulate your cat’s appetite and interest in mealtime. Having a variety of foods on rotation will help satisfy their natural hunting instincts. If your cat still refuses most foods, be sure to consult your veterinarian.

Wet vs Dry Food

Cats tend to enjoy having a variety of textures in their food, so providing both wet and dry options can help prevent boredom. As obligate carnivores, cats have a strong sense of taste and smell, so varying flavors and textures keeps things interesting at mealtimes.

Wet or canned cat food has a few advantages over dry kibble. The primary benefit is that canned food has much higher moisture content, which is important for keeping cats hydrated. Dry food only contains around 10% water, while canned food can have up to 78% moisture. This helps replicate the natural diet cats would get in the wild from eating prey animals.

According to, wet food is also often easier for cats to digest than dry kibble. The moisture softens the food, making it a good choice for senior cats or those with dental issues. Mixing wet and dry food provides texture variety to make meals more interesting.

Homemade Cat Food

Homemade cat food lets you control the ingredients to add variety to your cat’s diet.1 You can use recipes with different proteins, vegetables, and supplements to provide variety and prevent boredom. For example, you could make chicken, beef, or fish based recipes. You can also switch up ingredients like sweet potatoes, carrots, or green beans.2

However, it’s important to consult your vet and ensure homemade food provides balanced nutrition. Cats require certain levels of nutrients like protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals. Homemade recipes need to be formulated carefully to meet your cat’s needs. You may need to add a supplement powder to balance the recipe. It’s recommended to start with vet-approved recipes and adjust as needed based on your individual cat’s health.

When to Seek Help

Cats refusing food for extended periods is a serious health concern and needs to be addressed by a veterinarian. According to Purina, if your cat does not eat anything for more than 24 hours, or if their food intake has decreased significantly, it’s important to take them to the vet.

Some key signs that indicate it’s time to seek veterinary care include:

  • Picky eating that persists for more than 2 weeks
  • Significant weight loss or failure to gain weight
  • Lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, or other concerning symptoms

Cats depend on food for their health and metabolism. Prolonged lack of appetite can lead to complications like fatty liver disease or malnutrition. It’s crucial to identify and treat the underlying cause of your cat’s fussiness under the guidance of a vet.


In summary, cats can indeed get bored of eating the same food every day. While they are creatures of habit, their natural hunting instincts mean they crave variety. Signs your cat is bored of their food include lack of interest, picky eating, and behavioral issues like aggression or inappropriate elimination. Switching up food textures, flavors, brands, and even making homemade cat food can provide mental stimulation. Just be sure to transition their diet gradually. With some creativity and patience finding foods your cat loves, you can keep their tastebuds excited and avoid boredom.

The key takeaway is that providing some dietary variety is important for your cat’s enrichment. But consult your vet if your cat refuses food altogether or loses weight, as that could signal an underlying health issue. By making mealtimes fun for your feline and engaging their senses, you can maintain a healthy, happy cat.

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