How to make supplements tasty for cats With Chloe White RVN

How to make supplements tasty for cats With Chloe White RVN

Certain cats can be very selective about what they will and won’t eat. Our resident veterinary nurse Chloe White RVN shares her tips and and tricks on how to help you and your cat succeed when introducing a new supplement.

By Chloe White

Certain cats can be very selective about what they will and won’t eat.  It’s a frustration and pain point felt by many cat owners, and a major consideration when it comes to introducing something new to a cat’s diet.  Our resident veterinary nurse Chloe White RVN has helped many owners with the challenges of owning a fussy feeder, and is here today to share her tips and and tricks on how to help you and your cat succeed when introducing a new supplement.

So you’ve done all the research to find the right supplement for your cat which meets all of their requirements - and yours. It has no doubt taken literally hours of your life!  It finally arrives and you run excitedly to your feline lord or lady of the house with said capsule in your hand, you pop it in front of them expectantly, and… you watch as they beat a hasty retreat or reward you with a death stare!

In that moment, it’s perfectly normal to feel frustrated, heartbroken or both. If you do, fear not, because you are not alone!  Did you know cat owners are much more likely to take their pet’s capriciousness to heart than dog owners.  It’s a fact.  

So, I want to take this opportunity to reassure you that you are doing a great job (even if Their Majesty doesn't always convey this) and to say DON’T WORRY - I have a lot of hacks up my sleeve for getting cats to love their new supplement.  I’m here to help. Before we get started, there are two important things to remember:

  1. Cats are wary of anything new.  Your cat is nutritionally neophobic (has a wariness of new foods).  All cats are nutritionally neophobic once they have been weaned from their mothers.  It’s a safety strategy that keeps them safe from unfamiliar things. “If I don’t know what it is, is it safe, could it poison me” - is the feline food mindset. Cats are far more sensible in this regard than dogs, although I have known the odd cat to catch a toad and foam at the mouth after chomping down
  2. Texture beats taste. Your cat is highly motivated by mouth, feel and texture rather than taste. Cats have far fewer taste buds than humans or dogs and so it is really important to ensure they love the feel of the food item they are eating otherwise they just won’t eat it. 
These two facts of life can create  quite significant problems for cat owners when introducing a new diet,a new supplement, or even trying to medicate them.
So what advice do I have for you?
  1. Don’t give up. I know this one feels like it should be at the end but trust me, I need to set you up for success at the beginning and manage your expectations at the start.
  2. Expect it to take time. Cats on average take 7-14 days to trust a new food item.  Willingness to adapt to something new worsens as they age, so if you are trying to support a golden oldie, know this process may take a bit longer than 2 weeks. Think of an elderly relative and their face when you insisted that sushi is actually quite lovely! 
  3. Start slowly and separately. Don’t add the new food item into their food bowl with the rest of their usual food before they have a chance to get used to it. Imagine for a moment you are eating your dinner and someone insists you have to have your new supplement right now in your food. Your spaghetti bolognese suddenly has a fishy oily capsule in it, changing the look, smell and taste of one of your favourite meals - yum! This is the situation many cats face when owners are in a hurry to introduce the new supplement, and it’s fair to say that many e cats will not entertain anything new in their food. In their opinion you have ruined it!   And ruining their favourite food could also cause them to no longer want to eat the food you currently feed (something we call food aversion). If you have a very sensitive cat, I’d advise you to even avoid mixing food items. I suggest starting off by placing the new supplement in a separate bowl away from their established feeding station and allow them to check it out in their own time, on their own terms. This may also take a while and potentially waste a few capsules but sometimes they just need an opportunity to sniff, taste and smack it with a paw!
  4. Make it easier to eat. If you think the form of the supplement is the issue (let’s face it, cats aren’t big fans of tablets or capsules),in the case of Antinol you can open the capsule and mix the contents with a liquid treat, some wet food, or even just put the oil on it’s own where they can lick it if they want. I have attached a video of how to open the capsule to try this method, using a safety needle and as you can see it’s quite quick and easy.  This is what I have to do with my boy and I use a cocktail stick, which works really well too.

Capsule Piercing Video 

If the piercing of the capsule is not working out for you or your cat, don’t worry,  there are many more things you can try.  Below is a selection of ideas and products that have worked for feline patients and for my own cats.  They’ve also been given the thumbs up by many of our Antinol Cat Parents who’ve tried them when they discovered their cat was in the ‘highly selective’ group! 

NOTE: there is no commercial partnership between Antinol and any of the brands or retailers featured below.

  1. Greenies Pill Pockets - Place the capsule into the pill pocket and then squeeze around the capsule and ta dah, your capsule is now disguised as a kibble. These come in chicken and salmon flavour so you can pick which one your cat will find most preferable

  2. Easypill Cat Putty - Coat the capsule with a thin layer of pill putty and ta dah, your capsule is now disguised as a soft chicken treat.

  3. Low Sodium Marmite - other yeast extract products are available of course but because in my household we are definitely of the “Love” variety, we always have a jar of this on hand for humans and cats. Dab a tiny bit of the yeast extract onto the end of the spoon, dip the capsule in it and hold it out for your cat to enjoy. Here is a video of one of our Antinol Ambassadors, Obie, who loves to eat his Antinol capsules this way and has done for three years. Obie eating capsule video  

  4. Yogurt Paste - using the oil extraction method as above and then mixing it with a yogurt paste like this, can be quite an exciting treat for a cat and gets round the mouth feel and texture issue, because pastes are generally quite acceptable for most cats! 

  5. Cheese - yes before I hear you shouting about lactose not really being suitable for cats, it’s worth noting that some cats are more tolerant of a bit of dairy than others.   So if you have one of these gastrically robust individuals, a little cube of cheese (you can buy ones in snack bags for kids that are already diced) can help disguise a capsule and have it gobbled up quickly and easily. It's also a pretty inexpensive option that doesn’t warrant a trip to a specialist pet food supplier/store.

  6. Paté - now whether it be the actual cat food variety (or the human version if you happen to be a pate lover) , a tiny amount of strong smelling meat/fish paste can help disguise either the whole capsule or the loose oil.  Try whichever you think will be the most successful.

I hope the above is helpful and gives you enough tricks to successfully win your cat over to their new supplement, and eat it every day without a fuss.  But, don't forget that even if after all my tips, you have a cat that just will not cooperate with you,  Antinol comes with a 100% Happiness Guarantee.  A full money back guarantee, no questions asked.  And if you want to talk anything through, I’m always here to support you and your cat, at - just ask for Chloe!

NOTE: if your cat has gone off food in general to get them checked as there are a variety of reasons for feline inappetance and your veterinary team are best placed to give your cat the best care, apart from you of course. Best of luck and shout if you need us.

Chloe White is the UK&EU Partnerships Manager at Vetz Petz and is a highly experienced Registered Veterinary Nurse focusing on nutrition and musculoskeletal health. 

Related stories

View all