Purrfectly perfect advice for finicky felines (and their families)

Many people see me walking with my pack of Corgis and they’re like, oh, you’re absolutely a dog person.

I’ll let you all in on a little secret though. I’m absolutely a cat person through and through. My family has always had cats. I grew up surrounded by cats, and according to my parents my first word was hot. Then pot. Then cat. I’m not sure that those three words should be strung together in any way, shape or form, but give me a tiny bit of slack, I was little.

However, my family was an oddity at the time. We took our cats to a whole lot of places with us. Hiked on trails with our cats on leashes and harnesses. The cats slept on the top of my parent’s packs as we walked along, or they trotted in front of us, tails waving like happy plumes. We biked places and had bike baskets on the back of our bikes, with our cats inside and happily watching the scenery roll on past.

Growing up, I just figured everyone did this sort of thing with their cats.

Forty-plus years ago, cats were never seen as the sort of pet that you took with you places and included in the day-to-day activities. That’s changing and it’s changing in an incredibly rapid way.

It’s not uncommon to see people now going places with their cats on harnesses, carriers or even strollers. It’s been such a switch in my lifetime to see folks recognizing that some cats love going with their owners on adventures. As a huge cat advocate with a few adventure cats? I’m thrilled.

That said, if I could I could pick the question I’ve been asked the most times during my ownership of Paws and Fins? It’s absolutely about cat behavior.

People ask, “why is my cat so picky about food?” This question is usually either followed by a burst of laughter, or a heavy sigh… which means the poor customer has probably bought half a dozen cans of cat food and the cat has taken one bite out of each one and then promptly decided they hated it.

A lot of things that cats are picky about are surprisingly for the same exact reason.

You might not think that cat food, cat litter and cat scratching posts all have something in common for a cat to like them and use them consistently, but they absolutely do. It’s all about texture. This is incredibly important to cats, even more so than dogs. Cats often choose to use or like a product by the way it feels in their mouth or under their paws.

That’s why canned cat food is actually made in so many different textures. The most common ones are pate-style foods, which have a smooth, blended texture. It’s what most people think of when they think of canned cat food.

Most cats seem to readily accept and eat these style foods, and it’s often the one that we recommend if you’re just starting your cat on a canned diet.

Minced, cubed, sliced and shredded foods have a more solid texture, and are chopped up in varying degrees and sizes of pieces. These foods are usually mixed with a gravy or broth that your cat can lick up. Gravy or broth is wonderful for providing your cat with extra moisture and can be an excellent enticement for getting your cat to try something new.

Many premium foods are hand packed and flaked, like so many human foods – and if your cat would rather steal your tuna than eat their own food, these are worth trying!

Cat litter also relies on a cat’s personal preference of texture. Some cats aren’t that concerned about the way their litter feels when they dig in the litter box, but I would say most cats do.

I get people all the time who come in to ask for advice when their cat has started eliminating inappropriately around the house. They’ve gone to the vet and checked the cat out, but can’t find anything wrong. I would say about 50 percent of the time the person has changed the litter and gone to a different one and the cat simply refuses to use it.

Change the litter back to either texture the cat is used to or if you need to change types, pick a texture close to what the cat was using before and often the litter issues are solved, to both the cat’s and the human’s delight.

In the end, yes, cats can have exact tastes and habits (and we as the people who love them wouldn’t have it any other way) but understanding one of the reasons why they’re that way can help you and your cat’s relationship be perfect.

Or purrfect, because us cat folks also love silly cat humor!

Bio / Paws and Fins Pet Shop, Bainbridge Island

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