When it comes to getting our cats to eat their food, there are many things to consider. Texture, smell, location – all will affect the way our kitties eat their meals. But does the temperature of cat food matter too?
I have been working with pets for many years. I was a pet sitter for over 16 years back in Illinois. When I would go over to meet a new cat client, one thing so many of the cat parents would tell me is their cat would only eat their food at room temperature or warmed up. I used to think cold food should be refreshing especially on a hot day – but that just isn’t the case.
Warming Up Your Cat’s Food
Most cats prefer what I like to call “mouse temperature” food. As we know, cats are predators and they may prefer warm food because it’s closer to the body temperature of the fresh prey they would be hunting in the wild. Warm food also lets off more aroma which entices your cats to eat better. Food temperature is something to think about especially if you have a picky eater. Cats like routine with their feeding times, they tend to like certain bowls or dishes more than others, they even like to pick a quiet place to eat – but let’s not forget they also like their food warm. In fact, The Journal of Veterinary Behavior even did a study that shows that “Aging cats prefer warm food”.
But how do we warm up our cat’s food safely? Most people would just pop it in the microwave but PLEASE reconsider heating it up this way. Microwaving can change the fat molecules and make them harder for your cat to digest. Microwaving food also decreases the nutrients available to the cat. Better options for heating up your cat’s food would be to let the bowl float in warm/hot water until it’s warm. You might need to stir it a few times to get the entire meal heated. You can always just simply let it sit out for a bit while it warms up but be sure to put the uneaten food back in the fridge.
So if you have a picky eater – or just want to make your cat’s food more inviting – try warming it up to “mouse temperature” before serving!