Why cats are picky eaters

Cats are not simply obligate carnivores, meaning that they must have meat in their diet. They’re hypercarnivores, requiring a 1:1 ratio of energy from protein to energy from fat. When given a choice, cats choose foods with an appropriate balance, even if that food choice doesn’t smell or taste as good as others. They need meat protein because they’re unable to process plant proteins for energy. A 2016 study found that cats instinctively avoid new foods to lessen their risk of stomach upset. So your finicky cat is just being careful.

Stop your dog from wolfing

Does your dog wolf his food? Eating too quickly is a common canine problem, especially among Labrador retrievers, beagles, basset hounds, cocker spaniels, corgis, dachshunds and pugs. It can lead to gassiness and may even contribute to the development of gastric torsion, or bloat. To encourage your dog to eat at a more moderate pace, place some clean, smooth stones —too large for it to swallow — in its food dish so it has to eat around them. You can also purchase food bowls with built-in obstacles that will force it to eat more slowly.

Pet estate planning

Don’t forget to include your dog, cat, bird or other pet in your estate plan. A pet trust — legal in all 50 states — allows you to set aside funds for an animal’s care, administered by a trustee. Pet trusts can take effect during the owner’s lifetime — if he or she becomes incapacitated or moves into a nursing home, for instance — or on the owner’s death. The trustee disburses payments to a designated caregiver on a regular basis. In most cases, a pet trust ends when the pet dies or after 21 years, but pet trusts can be set up for longer periods for animals with long life expectancies, such as parrots or tortoises.

Pet connection