Elderly cats and those with kidney disease or diabetes may be slow to eat the foods they need, especially if they are on a prescription diet. Since techniques such as waiting until they are hungry enough to eat the food may further damage their health, adding a flavor enhancer can be a lifesaver for these cats.
Reasons Flavor Enhancers Might Be Necessary For Cats
Cats can be very particular about what they eat. Sometimes, a cat that is not eating well may be sick or have a medical problem. Once the problem has been determined, flavor enhancers can help a cat get proper nourishment until its appetite returns. For some chronic problems, such as CRF (chronic renal failure) or feline diabetes, appetite problems may be a persistent concern. In the case of diabetes, one challenge is getting the cat to eat at the time of an insulin injection to prevent low blood sugar episodes.
Ways to Help Reluctant or Fussy Cats to Eat
In addition to flavor enhancers, there are other ways to help a cat eat. In many situations, owners may be tempted to use food that is not on their vet-approved diet to "jump start" the cat's appetite. Better approaches are to spend some time with the cat to help it relax at mealtime and pet and talking calmly to it. If the cat cannot easily feed itself, placing the food near it and even holding it near the cat's mouth and nose to make sure it can smell and taste it may help.
Commercial Flavor Enhancers
Commercial flavor enhancers are available in spray or powder form to add to food to make sure it has a strong enough taste for ill, elderly or fussy cats. Stewart's, a powder, is a popular brand, as is Bon Appetite spray. Flavor enhancers such as these are carefully designed to ensure that they fit feline diets. Commercial flavor enhancers that are high in sodium or contain monosodium glutamate (MSG) are not recommended by veterinarians.
Natural Flavor Enhancers
Most pet owners know that the smell of food for humans such as tuna and chicken can make even a lethargic pet alert. The key to using these natural flavor enhancers is to make sure that they are not prepackaged products with high sodium or monosodium glutamate and they do not contain onion products in broth or any other form, as onions are not healthy for cats.