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Ask a Vet: Cats, dogs have personal food, water preferences
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Have you ever had a cold Coke from a glass bottle? If not, go get one. It will change your life.

Something about that particular packaging makes it so much better for me and lots of people. But if you don’t like it, it doesn’t mean anything bad about you. Probably.

The same is true for your pets. If your cats want their water a certain way, it may only be a personal preference. I live with three cats and one dog, and the cats refuse to drink from their bowl. Frequently, they bully our poor pooch away from her own water source to lap away.

True, certain behaviors toward drinking may be the early signs of something scary. Markedly increased thirst can be a harbinger of diabetes mellitus or kidney disease. Some older pets can drink as a nervous habit when showing changes in brain function, similar to senility or Alzheimer’s disease in humans.

But a cat that mews until you turn on the faucet to a thin stream may only be a sink-drinking fan.

Food preference is much the same.

If I offered you steak or dog food, which would you choose? Your dog is no dummy. The easiest way to avoid your dog refusing his dog food until you feed him part of your dinner is to never let him know what you’re eating.

My rule of thumb for human foods and pets is as follows: If you have a thumb, you can have human food.

And if I offered you a food rich in fat, protein and sodium — like cat food, relative to dog food — would you refuse it? Dogs eat cat food because it tastes better. I assume. But the same is true for puppy or kitten diets relative to their respective adult foods. And especially for human foods relative to pet foods. They’re all rich in nutrients, but some are a little too rich for the animal’s own good.

So the next time your cat or dog asks for something weird, look at it relatively. Sometimes it is a concern, but often, it’s just personal taste.

Matthew Sisk is a practicing veterinarian from Habersham County. Have questions about your pet? He can be reached at

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