Why Has My Cat Stopped Eating Dry Food But Still Eats Treats?

Cats are known for being picky eaters, and it’s not uncommon for them to refuse food on occasion. However, your cat may quit eating one type of food but continue to prefer others, which can be confusing. Why does your cat quit eating dry food but continue to eat treats, for example?

Much like junk food tastes better than the healthy food we know we should eat, junk food tastes better than the healthy food we know we should eat. Cat treats are frequently preferable to cat food in terms of taste. Whether your cat’s appetite is changing due to a medical condition or anything else, they may continue to consume treats just because they are tasty!

We’ll look at several probable particular causes for your cat’s change in appetite in this post, as well as why it’s significant to get to the bottom of the problem as soon as possible.

Decreased Appetite

Your cat may reject dry food but take treats because their appetite is waning, causing them to be enticed solely by the most delicious foods, such as treats.

Loss of appetite in cats is a non-specific symptom that can be a sign of a variety of medical issues. Other symptoms such as weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, or tiredness may also appear. It’s also possible that your cat seems and behaves normally, with the exception of their disinterest in all foods save treats.

Dry Food Dislike

Your cat may quit eating dry food if they develop a dislike to it. This could be due to a change in the texture, smell, or taste of the food. The kibble will most likely appear similar to you, but your cat’s better developed senses will tell them other!

Preference in Treatment

Your cat may only consume treats since that’s what they want to do in some cases. Perhaps you’ve recently increased your treat offerings, and they’ve developed a taste for them. Alternatively, you may have switched to a new brand that is extremely addictive.

For whatever reason, your cat may decide to forego his regular food in the hopes of receiving treats instead. The thing is, they’re usually correct, because cats who don’t eat for several days are at risk of developing a hazardous health condition. We’ll go into this a little more later.

Why Is It a Problem If My Cat Only Eats Treats?

It Isn’t a Well-Balanced Diet

Cats need certain important nutrients in their diets, as well as the appropriate balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates, to keep healthy. Commercial cat diets were created to provide balanced nutrition for your cat, with even the most basic minimal standards being met.

Treats, on the other hand, are meant to be used in conjunction with your cat’s regular food and do not constitute a complete meal in and of themselves. Many are heavy in fat and calories as well. Again, it would be as if we exclusively ate chips and candy–delicious but unhealthful.

Hepatic Lipidosis

Hepatic lipidosis is a disorder that can occur when a cat does not eat or eats only modest amounts of food for even a few days. This condition only affects cats, and it is particularly common in those who are overweight. This illness, also known as fatty liver syndrome, occurs when the cat’s body tries to digest its own fat to compensate for the lack of food.

When this happens, the cat’s liver gets overburdened with attempting to digest all of the fat and instead begins to store it, resulting in decreased liver function and, without treatment, liver failure and death.

Hepatic lipidosis is difficult to treat and frequently necessitates prolonged hospitalization. Because of the seriousness of this disease, your cat’s preference for treats over dry food should not be dismissed. So, what are your options for resolving the issue?

What To Do If Your Cat Will Only Eat Treats

The first step in figuring out why your cat only eats treats is to rule out any underlying medical issues that may be affecting their appetite. To aid in the diagnosis, your veterinarian may suggest blood testing or other procedures.

After you’ve checked out any medical issues, look into your cat’s dry food. Is it no longer valid? Does it have an unusual odor? Is the bag stale since it’s been open for too long?

To see how your cat reacts, try buying a new bag of your cat’s favorite brand. If your cat is still not interested in the food, try a different flavor or brand of dry food, or switch your cat to wet food to see if they enhance their appetite.

To tempt your cat, mix in a small quantity of wet food, tuna, cooked meat, or any delectable item with the dry food. Of course, you run the risk of your cat only eating the food garnish rather than the actual meal!

If everything else fails, your veterinarian may suggest taking additional measures, such as using an appetite stimulant.


It’s not time to panic if your cat is only eating treats and not dry food, but you can’t ignore the situation either. As we’ve seen, your cat’s unusual appetite could be due to a variety of factors, and you may need the assistance of your veterinarian to figure out what’s causing it. Cats can’t go for lengthy periods of time without eating, so don’t hesitate to contact your veterinarian if your cat refuses to eat anything but treats.

Read Also:

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