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The Best Cat Meal Toppers for Finicky Eaters

Tips for improving your cat’s appetite through add ons.

by Avery Felman
February 16, 2022
A cat eating wet food from a dish in the kitchen.
Rob and Julia Campbell / Stocksy

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If you’ve experienced the frustrating process of feeding a finicky eater, you know that finding something they’re excited to consume is no easy feat. Fortunately, there are tons of ways to ensure your cat is getting the nutrition that they need without having to spoon feed them every meal. One of the most convenient ways to do this is by providing them with tasty meal toppers that create a sense of intrigue towards their food and will, hopefully, whet their appetite enough that they’ll be inspired to finish off their plate.

Just as we wouldn’t enjoy eating a salad without any of its accouterments (at that point, it’s basically just a bowl of lettuce), our cats aren’t naturally drawn to bowls of dry kibble. The best way to boost your cat’s appetite, cover up the unpleasant taste of medicine, and keep them interested in the same food they’ve likely been chowing down on for years, is to give your cat new and interesting meal toppers to refresh their palate. While they certainly aren’t as discerning about their food as humans, cats enjoy having a variety of flavors and textures, which makes trying new things exciting for them.

The best way to ensure your cat is getting their fill of their favorite meals is to learn about their preferences early on. “It’s best to introduce cats to multiple kinds of foods when they’re young,” says board-certified veterinary nutritionist Dr. Lindsey Bullen. “As carnivores, they will develop a preference for flavor and form, and it’s harder to get them to change later in life. So while I don’t recommend rotational feeding forever, offering them canned food, kibble, chicken, and fish when they’re kittens can be helpful in preventing finicky habits in the future.” It will also save you tons of time and money in their adult age trying to decipher why they’re suddenly turning their nose up at their regular meals.

Another excellent way to engage your cat’s appetite is to heat their food. This is especially true of senior cats who typically don’t enjoy eating food colder than room temperature. “Warming up canned food will release flavors and aromas,” says Dr. Bullen. “You can accomplish the same effect with dry food by mixing in a little warm water.” Fortunately, almost all of these tips for generating new interest in your cat’s diet can be accomplished at home either as a DIY or just by popping your cat’s dinner in the microwave. Other options include chopping up a sardine, using drained water from a can of tuna, and shredding a bit of leftover chicken into your cat’s bowl. However, if you’re looking for a tasty treat for your kitty that doesn’t involve more time in the kitchen, here’s the scoop on what we should be scooping into our cats’ bowls.

Btw, our editors (and their pets) picked out these products. They’re always in stock at the time we publish, but there’s a chance they’ll sell out. If you do buy through our links, we may earn a commission. (We’ve got a lot of toys to buy over here, you know?)

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Avery, editor at The Wildest, and her cat, Chicken

Avery Felman

Avery is an editor at The Wildest. She has written for numerous publications, including Refinery29, BuzzFeed, and V Magazine. She lives in Brooklyn, New York with her fiancé and cat, Chicken, and has high hopes that one of them will let her adopt a dog.