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Cat Troubleshooting Guide

When a cat seems hungry but refuses to eat.  By Michelle Kandiliotis

A cat can show clear signs of hunger, approach all the yummy food you offer, and yet not eat. There can be several reasons why your cat won’t eat but appears to be hungry. It can be as simple as a cut or wound in the mouth. It could be caused by stress, but there could be more serious reasons ranging from blockages to nausea which could indicate disease. In all cases you can try to offer your cats favourite foods, liver, tinned tuna in Springwater – anything in very small doses that will get him to eat. Keep the special food amounts small to ensure you don’t overload his system with a specific vitamin or mineral (especially true of liver).

 

Things you can do:

 

  • Check your cats mouth to eliminate any ulcer or wound. If this is the case look to finding a way of healing the wound and finding a bland food or using bone broth to ensure your cat eats.

  • Toothache, check for mouth odour. See your vet if this seems likely.

  • Consider whether stress could be the cause. Cats can be stressed by moving house, changes in the household, death of a fellow pet or family member, unclean litter boxes, stress experienced by members of the household. If this is the cause, consider using pheromones or pet calming natural remedies to sooth your cat.

  • If your cat has had a long car journey, this could have induced nausea. Make sure he has lots of water available and tempt him with his favourite foods in very small portions, aim to get him to take just a few mouthfuls.

  • If your cat has recently been vaccinated and suddenly lost his appetite it could indicate an adverse response to the vaccination. See your vet immediately.

  • If there is a blockage it could be caused by a fur ball, which the cat may eventually vomit up, or it could be a more serious blockage. If you think this may be the case see your vet as soon as possible.

  • Sometimes cats don't like eating out of anything that touches their whiskers, especially with raw. Low sided dishes or plates work can work well

  • Beyond all the above there is the possibility of disease being the underlying cause. See your vet as soon as possible.

See your vet as soon as possible if you can find no clear reason for lack of appetite and if your cat does not eat for 24 hours.

Bribing your cat to try new proteins

Add a bribe until your cat imprints on the new food. Some bribe ideas are:

  • Catnip

  • Kefir probiotics

  • Sprinkle a little brewer’s yeast

  • Crumbled up freeze-dried meat treats

  • Sprinkle with tinned sardines  

  • Drench in bone broth

  • Mix new protein with your cat’s favourite old food (e.g. I introduced turkey by adding slivers of the favourite (liver) on top of the small turkey chunk)                                                                                                                                     

Getting your cat onto bone

Some cats will take to bone with ease but some will take longer to adapt. Some troubleshooting ideas with bone.  

  • Hold bone and see if kitty will eat it from your hand.  

  • Smash the bone with a mallet to make it easier for kitty to chomp through  

  • Cut the bone up into smaller chunks (easy to do with soft bone like chicken necks)

  • Make into a mince and balance it out to have 90/10 ratio, use a blender to mash it with some mince if you don’t have a grinder. If kitty doesn’t like the texture of ground up (pate) then cut chunks of the boneless chicken thigh and mix into the pate. Slowly decrease the chunks until they’re eating the pate on their own.

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