This information is provided by Provet for educational purposes only.

You should seek the advice of your veterinarian if your pet is ill as only he or she can correctly advise on the diagnosis and recommend the treatment that is most appropriate for your pet.


The palatability of a ration it's acceptability to an animal. Most animals do not have a choice of food and so accept whatever the owner provides for them. Some formulations of ration, however, have been shown in feeding trials to be preferred by an animal to other formulations. The properties of a ration that have been shown to affect it's palatability are :

  • Smell
  • Taste
  • Texture
  • Temperature
  • Water content
  • Acidity
  • Appearance
  • Presence of specific nutrients - especially fat, and in cats protein


Feeding a highly palatable ration is especially important in the management of animals with depressed appetites or anorexia and animals with increased nutrient or energy requirements.

Animals fed a highly palatable ration may eat more than they need to meet their maintenance requirements, thereby ingesting excess calories leading to obesity.

Animals fed a poorly palatable ration may refuse to eat it altogether leading to weight loss. This condition has been called food aversion and can be seen when animals are fed different foods (for example during a stay in a cattery or kennels) or if they are forced to change their normal ration for medical reasons.

However, if presented with only one ration, most animals with food aversion will succumb and eat it within 3 days. If an animal refuses to take a special diet which is essential for medical reasons, the new formulation should be introduced gradually over a 5-7 day period by mixing it with the animals preferred ration, and increasing the amount of new food each day.


Last updated : October 2013