How to Get a Picky Cat to Eat Canned Food

Try these tips if your picky cat turns away from canned food.

Try these tips if your picky cat turns away from canned food.

Canned cat food is great for your kitty’s health because it provides more protein and hydration than dry food. But cats have a reputation for being picky eaters and they may turn down canned food at first. Try these simple tips to help add canned food to your cat’s diet.

Look for the same flavors as your cat’s favorite dry food. If the cat always eats salmon-flavored food from a particular brand, start with that brand’s salmon-flavored canned food.

Mix some canned food with the dry food that your cat enjoys. Having a familiar flavor in his dish might help the kitty get used to trying something new.

Try a new flavor. If your cat used to eat wet food but is turning away from it, she may have just gotten bored. Switching up the flavors, brands or textures will give her something new.

Take away the dry food. If you leave dry food out for your cat to free-feed, there is no reason for her to try wet food if she doesn’t want to.

Use a different food bowl. A cat’s whiskers are very sensitive, so a wide, shallow bowl will work best for letting them get to the food without bumping their whiskers on the sides. You can even try serving the wet food on a small plate or saucer.

Heat up the food for a few seconds in the microwave. You don’t want it to be hot, but you can bring it up to about body temperature. This will enhance the smell for your kitty, which is a big part of what drives them to eat.

Items you will need

  • Canned food
  • Wide, shallow bowl
  • Microwave


  • Look for a high-quality wet food. It may cost a few cents more per can, but in the end will be better for your cat's health.


  • Take your cat to the vet if his appetite has significantly decreased. Not wanting to eat can be the sign of a health issue, so it is a good idea to have your cat checked out to make sure everything is OK.

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About the Author

Kimberly A. Smith has been a freelance writer for two years. She graduated from the University of California at Davis and the California Culinary Academy, then pursued a career baking wedding cakes. During her time at CCA, she received certification in nutrition and food safety. She currently attends the University of Oregon School of Law.

Photo Credits

  • white angora cat turning away from food bowl image by Stephen Orsillo from