adopted a cat from a hoarding situation

Timmer

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Hi everyone. Two months ago I adopted a 5 year old female cat (Fiona) from the shelter who came from a cat hoarding situation. She had been at the shelter for five months before she could be adopted out. She is one of the most loving cats I've ever had. The problem is I'm not feeling confident about how I'm feeding her. Maybe she is fine with it and it's ME that has the issue. When I first brought her home with the Hills Science Diet food the shelter gave me, that was OK but her stomach was digesting so loud I got her something else. She isn't used to canned food, but I and our vet felt she should try to get on that. He told me go slow. It's been two months and she still isn't really getting the hang of it with the canned food. She won't even eat a tablespoon of it. Doesn't matter what flavor. Doesn't matter if it's gravy or not. She nibbles at it, paws at it, eats a little, and leaves it.

I'm thinking:
She probably never had canned food.
She was probably never fed consistently. Rather than wolf it down, she picks at it.
She likes to graze or free feed, and has no concept of "meal time". I don't think that's necessarily bad. However, whatever wet food she doesn't eat, the other cat I have does eat and now she's getting fat.

I guess what I want is some kind of reassurance that if she isn't going to eat the canned food, to just forget it, and feed her dry. She gets a good quality, sensitive stomach dry food. She is not throwing it up. I guess I would just feel guilty for some reason if I didn't give her canned. But if she's not eating it...what's the point?
And if you have any experience with cats that came from a hoarding background, please share with me what you are doing.
Thank you.
 

Babypaws

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Lol….aren’t they all? I would rather have my cats eat mainly wet food but there are a few that meow for the dry….but I do mix in some wet with the dry….they are very picky, don’t like pate or shreds.
have you tried to see if she’ll eat baby food? Sometimes when my oldest cat won’t eat I give her a small jar of beef, ham or chicken baby food. Maybe that might her get use to the different texture from dry?? Sometimes I cook chicken or scrambled egg for my cat. Does she drink much?
maybe you shouldn’t let her free feed? I’ve stopped leaving a bowl of dry out all day, I just leave a couple of scoops out at bedtime (after they’ve eaten their supper meal).
 
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Timmer

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She is very good about drinking water but sometimes fills up on dry and water and then urps it up.
That's a good idea with the baby food.
I don't know if I have the courage to not leave food out all day for her. I just worry about her so much. LOL. I'm just wondering am I worrying for nothing? Should I just let her go ahead and eat the dry and stop freaking out?
 

Babypaws

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I know how you feel, when I stopped leaving a dish of dry out during the day I felt so guilty but they have adjusted. I would still try to get her to eat “some” wet food, I know there’s no good dry food out there, at least not that I’ve found.
How about trying the “Delectables” pouch? They have different consistencies and flavors. They run about $1-$1.08 each for 1.4 oz. A little expensive but again it would give her something a little different than dry. My cats love them but I only give it as a treat.
 

lisahe

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Yes. She's smart. She picks out the dry.
It can help to crush the dry food and sprinkle it on the wet food. It's definitely worth trying to taper her off the dry food so she'll at least eat some wet food. Rescue cats do tend to be very particular about certain aspects of their meal plans. We've had our cats for more than eight years now (they came from a household with too many cats and were seriously underfed when we adopted them) and one still has food insecurity. She gets anxious about how much and how often she's fed.

I would still try to get her to eat “some” wet food, I know there’s no good dry food out there, at least not that I’ve found.
There's one that we use as for treat, nighttime snacks, and toppers: Dr. Elseys' Clean Protein, chicken. Anything but the chicken has chickpeas, which I wouldn't feed! But the chicken flavor doesn't have any fillers. It's great food but there's one catch, that it's mostly sold through Chewy and Amazon and tends to go out of stock fairly often.
 

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I can speak from experience. My cat Sango was also from a hoarding situation when I adopted her nearly 2 years ago. She’s about 5 now. She won’t really eat wet food. Since hoarder cats can have food insecurity issues, I would be careful about taking away the dry food and/or trying set meal times. Sango freaked out and paced around the house and would refuse food during meal times - I think she was afraid she wouldn’t have food later.

As far as wet food goes, I eventually gave up and put her on Dr. Elsey’s dry chicken kibble and have 2 fountains.

I did recently adopt a second cat, Kirby, and he loves wet food. I have found she has a renewed interest in wet food, at least for now. Maybe because he eats it, she thinks it must be good stuff? I feed Kirby 2 cans a day of Fancy Feast pates (and occasionally gravy lovers and savory centers). I feed her in a separate room and give her first dibs on his meal - she usually eats around 1 oz. at one time and when Kirby doesn’t finish all his food at once, she will occasionally go and eat some.

Since you did go to a vet, was Fiona‘s teeth checked? During my initial visit at my vet, it was curbside service and they assured me Sango’s teeth were fine. Then the following year, the same vet office said she had really bad dental disease, something that the first vet should have caught. She had to have a cleaning and extraction. I think that’s part of the reason she doesn’t naturally care for wet - it’s probably easier just to swallow dry food. Just something to look out for.
 

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I will also add if you do want to try wet foods - foods with a lot of gravy were the only foods Sango would initially touch. I started her on Friskies Lil Soups (it’s not a complete meal, but a good starter), Weruva Stews and Fancy Feast Gravy Lovers (though she tends to leave some meat behind). She’s more of a gravy sucker than anything. Pure broth based foods never work, because she‘ll just suck the broth up and won’t touch even a piece of meat.
 
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Timmer

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Thanks for the advice (Tardis and everyone else). She has had a few incisors removed before I got her.
Right now I'm feeding her a sensitive stomach food and she seems to like it, the kibble pieces are small, and she tolerates it well. I also felt she was not pooping enough so I have some gastro intestinal food that I give her as a treat and she loves it. I don't want her to have too much, for obvious reasons, but I did start to sprinkle it in with some canned food. She still picks the kibble out. I think this is probably going to be a process.
I did give her some brothy stuff and she drinks the broth and leaves the solids.
She seems to like Fancy Feast flaked tuna and she tolerates it well. Still doesn't eat a lot of it, but more than the other flavors.

TardisDance TardisDance I am glad you said Kirby eats two cans of Fancy Feast a day. My other cat, Razzle, gets about that much and a friend told me she thinks that's too much food. I looked it up and found out an 8 lb. cat can have 200 calories a day. The FF cans average 70-90 calories a can. Plus, I take out a tablespoon for Fiona, so I feel it's OK.
 

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Have you tried frozen raw or freeze dried raw? My cat has no interest in canned food, and won’t eat the frozen raw anymore either, but she likes rehydrated freeze dried raw.
 

lisahe

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Have you tried frozen raw or freeze dried raw? My cat has no interest in canned food, and won’t eat the frozen raw anymore either, but she likes rehydrated freeze dried raw.
Our cats also especially love freeze-dried raw foods!
 

TardisDance

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lisahe lisahe and waddle waddle what brands do you use? I always have a difficult time wanting to try a brand like Stella and Chewy if my cats outright reject it . . .their bags aren’t exactly cheap. I’d love to get a small sample size if possible.
 

lisahe

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lisahe lisahe and waddle waddle what brands do you use? I always have a difficult time wanting to try a brand like Stella and Chewy if my cats outright reject it . . .their bags aren’t exactly cheap. I’d love to get a small sample size if possible.
The cats love Primal (two kinds: pork and turkey), Purpose (two kinds: chicken and turkey), and Nulo duck/turkey. None of these are cheap either but the cats love them and eat them, which is the best start. I think Primal will send samples, though that may not really be enough to get your cats accustomed to the food.
 
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Timmer

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I haven't tried the freeze dried stuff but I will look into it. I noticed she does like beef pate and will eat that. The other day I had a scrambled egg and left some on the plate and she came by and ate it. I'd like to see her gain a bit of weight so some egg now and then would be great for her.
 

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I have a cat who doesn't like wet food. I tried about everthing from expensive to grocery store. I finally found she likes 2 flavors of Weruva cats in the kitchen pouches, both that have mackeral. Maybe you just haven't found something that appeals to her yet?
 

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I don't know if this helps with your anxiety at all, but this is my journey so far:

We used to have a BIG metal bowl of Iams that was available 24/7 to our 2 cats.
Loki (ginger boy) would nibble on them if he was hungry before mealtimes.
Moxxi (tortie girl) was a dry food fiend.

Then (for health reasons covered in other threads) I totally removed the bowl of Iams and stopped feeding them any Iams at all. They were both put on 100% commercial wet food.
Moxxi was not impressed in the least.
Now I would like to state here that what I did was totally the wrong way to do it, and if I had to do it again would definitely make the change a gradual one, but what's done is done and she still loves me.
Moxxi lost her excess chub (I didn't even realise that she was overweight) and is happily eating wet food and is chock full of energy. She is 9 years old and 2 nights ago had an hour long zoomies session all over the house. Nutty girl.

If you have a read of Catinfo.org there's a section about transitioning dry food addict to wet food.
All I would like to add is that it was right thing to do for my 2 cats. We all know our own cats best and only you know your own situation and what you can do.
 
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