Skip to main navigation Skip to main content

Uniquely Cats Veterinary Center
Uniquely Cats Veterinary Center Uniquely Cats Veterinary Center Uniquely Cats Veterinary Center Uniquely Cats Veterinary Center Request an Appointment

Phone: (303) 500‑5158
Address: 1915 28th Street, Boulder, CO 80301

Myth #11: “Cats Are “Finicky” Eaters"

Cats Are NEOPHOBIC (and may be addicts!)

The Truth:

Cats Are NEOPHOBIC (and may be addicts!)

Morris the Cat, “The World’s Most Finicky Cat.” That ad campaign created one of the most harmful cat myths around — the Myth of the "Finicky" Cat.

You may have seen this behavior. Cats offered an unfamiliar food often react with apparent disgust. They cover it up or refuse to eat it, and beg for the old stuff with pitiful mews and huge eyes. Because of this behavior (and Morris!), cats are now commonly viewed as being “finicky.”

Cats are not “finicky.” They ARE naturally leery of unfamiliar foods. And they should be. In the wild, an unfamiliar food might kill you. So you avoid it until you have no other choice, then eat as little of it as possible. This is normal cat behavior, a positive survival trait, called “neophobia.”

Neophobia keeps cats alive in the wild, but it can make your parenting job tough. Especially when a diet change is needed. As a cat parent feeding a new diet, you need a saintly level of patience and perseverance. Most of all, it helps to understand why your cat acts as he does.

Cats are wild animals. The love and trust your cat feels for you does not extend to any new food you offer him. He may eat it right off the bat, if you’re lucky… chances are better that he won’t. Neophobia is NOT being “finicky.” It’s being a cat.

A neophobic response doesn’t mean your cat will never accept a new food. It DOES mean you’ll need a plan (and possibly moral support.) It generally takes around 3 weeks to get past neophobia, as long as you never give in to the begging. You can do it and so will your cat. If you are moving to a carnivore-appropriate diet, the benefits will be WAY worth it.

Cats coming off kibble may have a harder time. Dry food is actually addictive for many cats. Don’t let that stop you – dry food is always bad for cats!

Getting your cat on a species-appropriate diet is the best healthcare decision you can make. Don’t let Morris The Cat’s “finicky” myth keep you from success!

Return to previous tab to continue quiz!