What is Taste and Why Does it Matter?

Do you know how your cat defines taste? For her, it’s more than just flavor. She’s evaluating all the aspects of her food!

So what makes up taste?

Taste is more than just flavor! It’s comprised of several factors that help the cat determine how appealing the food is. Some of these factors include:

  • Aroma: What does the food smell like? You want to make sure the food is fresh and not past its “best by” date!
  • Kibble shape and size: How big are the kibble pieces? Are they too small, and your cat just swallows them whole? Or are they too big, and thus too hard to chew? Check to see if your cat can pick up and chew kibble easily.
  • Texture: How do the kibble pieces feel in her mouth and while she’s chewing?
  • Flavor: Does your cat seem to enjoy eating it?
  • The right nutrients: Food with nutrients like protein are going to be more instinctively appealing to her.
  • How your cat feels after she eats it: Does the food make your cat feel uncomfortable after she eats it? Or does she seem satisfied?

How to Find Food Your Cat Will Enjoy Eating

First, eliminate any possibility that the environment is creating a finicky feline. Some cats will refuse to eat if the litter box and the food source are too close together. Finding different spots to place the food or slightly tweaking your cat’s environment might help quickly solve any potential problems.

If environmental tweaks don’t seem to help, it may be worth considering a new feeding schedule. If given the opportunity, cats will choose to eat multiple small meals per day.1 Trying a new feeding schedule, where your cat is getting a small, fresh meal several times a day, may help stimulate her appetite. It also might help to put meals in food puzzles for your cat. This will stimulate her natural hunting behaviors and keep her active and entertained.

Another option to help your cat is conducting your very own taste test. Pick three foods that fit the individual needs of your cat. Leave them out for your cat to try, and weigh them at the beginning of the day and at the end of the day for an entire week. By comparing the weights of each food, you can find out if your cat consistently ate more of one than the others.  

Visit Your Vet

Your veterinarian can always help you find the right food for your cat. Consult with him or her to help develop a nutrition plan for your cat.


1.  Ipsos 2016 Veterinarian Survey