Feeding a picky senior cat - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 03-08-2010, 01:11 PM
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Does anyone have any tips for getting a picky senior cat to eat? Is there anything you're cats have found irresistable that is still healthy?



My maincoon, who used to vacuum up anything that wasn't tied down, has gotten quite picky in his old age. (he's either 14 or 15 - which is old for his breed) I tried outwaiting him hoping he would get hungry enough, but that really didn't work and he lost weight. It's not that he's not hungry, he just doesn't want most of anything I offer him.



Currently the only thing I have been able to get him to really chow down on is the really cheap garbage in a can variety of food. While I'm happy he's eating in general - and happier still to get some weight back on to him- it's really not what I want to be feeding him. He's still generally healthy, and I'd like to keep it that way. His former food was Evo. He's also turned down Royal Canin and Eukanuba. I tried my hand at homemade, but he didn't want that either.



Currently he is eating Meow Mix wet for a main and Friskies dry any time he wants a snack. I've tried mixing in with better food, but he either will pick out the garbage while leaving the good behind or completely turn his nose up at the whole deal. This from a cat who used to be locked up at dinner time to keep him from eating everyone else's food after he scarfed his down.



Does anybody have some advice?
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#2 Old 03-08-2010, 01:38 PM
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Have you had senior blood work done to make sure there's not a physical problem? Are his gums, teeth, tongue and jaw healthy? (Often mouth pain of some kind leads to changes in eating habits - they find certain foods easier to chew and swallow.)



If he is healthy, age may just have made him a picky eater, although IME 14-15 isn't that old. Mine have generally been 17-18 before I have problems getting them to eat.



As the veterinary specialist who has treated a number of my animals who've had chronic conditions once told me - keeping them eating is job one. If you have to give them less than optimally healthy food to keep them eating, so be it.



The things that have worked best for me with my very senior citizens is mixing in baby food (stage one, any of the meats). All of mine have turned up their noses at Beechnut, and have insisted on Gerber. Some of mine have had their appetites piqued by mixing clam juice into their food. Several of mine have spent the last year or so of their lives just on baby food.



Also, with my older ones, I've found that they just need more variety to keep their appetites stimulated.
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#3 Old 03-08-2010, 01:59 PM
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babyfood is a good one.



also, cats are rather texturally picky sometimes- so you could try mixing a bit of warm water into the food and squishing it into a sorta thick sloppy soup- thats the only way my cat will eat wet catfood. he also goes mental for BG (before grains) quail- its not supposed to be used as an all in one food cos its just quail 100% meat and no swanky vitamins, but it gets something decent into him. he'll eat wellness wet food too if he's in the mood.



i know you've tried making proper catfood, but have you tried stinky people-food like canned sardines, or even soft things like scrambled eggs (maybe his teeth aren't feeling too great- have you had them checked?)- just to get something decent into him? thats what we had to do with our cat when he got really old.
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#4 Old 03-08-2010, 02:00 PM
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Yep, he's still generally healthy. 14-15 may not be old for a normal cat, but an average maincoon lifespan is 13 years, so he's old for what he is. I guess large breed cats are like large breed dogs in that they don't live quite as long.



I'll have to try some baby food, thanks!



Quote:
If you have to give them less than optimally healthy food to keep them eating, so be it.



I have thought of that. I guess it's like when my diabetic grandmother got old. Part of me was upset she was sneaking candy, the other part said that she might as well at her age.





Quote:
have you tried stinky people-food like canned sardines, or even soft things like scrambled eggs



He'll pick at scrambled eggs, but he's not crazy about them. I never even considered sardines. Being that he likes tuna (but never gets it as it's a no-no) it might be worth a try.



I'll also look into the BG stuff. He doesn't like having regular food wet down. Sometimes he'll suck up the "gravy" it makes, but he'll always leave the dish of wet mush behind.
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#5 Old 03-08-2010, 08:27 PM
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The other thing you might want to try is heating his food just a little. Animals tend to like their food body temperature or a bit warmer. Cats seem to not like microwaved food (although neither dogs nor birds seem to care whether food is microwaved or heated on the stove), so I generally heat it on the stove when I have a picky eater, to see whether that makes a difference.



I didn't know that about Maine Coones, but it makes sense. They're wonderful cats, from everything I've heard.
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#6 Old 03-08-2010, 09:16 PM
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^^^ i use hot water when i'm making little soup his soupy dinners.
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#7 Old 03-08-2010, 11:05 PM
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You might try Wellness chicken formula wet food, which is well-liked by many finicky cats. Also, in rescue, Gerber Chicken & Chicken Gravy #2 baby food is considered crack for cats by many, although I think that's an overstatement. It's often used for taming feral kittens (i.e. put on your finger and the kitten may be so attracted to it they come to you).



Like the others said, I assume you've had blood work done. Things like kidney failure cause lack of appetite, and weight loss and there are things you can do about it.



[And yeah, I really hate that cats likely need animal flesh (at least at this point), and people need to stop breeding and get their cats fixed and put an end to humans killing other animals for companion animals].

"If you want to know where you would have stood on slavery before the civil war, don't look at where you stand on slavery today, look at where you stand on animal rights." - Paul Watson.

 

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#8 Old 03-09-2010, 05:16 AM
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Thanks for the Gerber thought. I'll give that a try at some point.



He hasn't lost his appetite; he just doesn't want what I offer. In fact, as soon as he turns up his nose at his dish he'll come and sit at my feet licking his lips while trying to lead me back to the kitchen. God forbid I open the fridge: he turns into insta-cat.



Truthfully, I don't think it's his teeth, I think his sense of smell has declined. I mean, he still eats the cheap dry kibble, and the biggest difference I can think of is that it smells stronger. Cats do rely very strongly on their noses for food. I'm thinking the heating tip may help that.
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#9 Old 03-09-2010, 06:40 AM
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Older cats start losing their sense of smell. I would try some really stinky wet food warmed up, which makes it even more stinky.

http://megatarian.blogspot.com
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#10 Old 03-09-2010, 12:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jikin View Post

I'm thinking the heating tip may help that.



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