affection eating tips

FeebysOwner

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Hi. I think some cats are just more easily distracted than others. I also think that sometimes a cat might take a tiny 'break' while eating, just to look around, and then go back to eating. Feeby is distracted like this, sometimes more so than other times. She also does the little 'break' thing as well, even if she is - like your cat - an all-day grazer and only eats a small amount at one time, she still manages to want to stop for a second or two and then resume eating before she leaves the dish for that 'round'. She does this when I am near her, but she also does this when I take sneak peeks at her where she can't see me while she is eating.

If your cat is doing well otherwise, I don't think it is anything to be concerned about.
 

game misconduct

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my guess is its probably just an instinctive thing since if her eyes/attention is on eating she is vulnerable to attack by another predator graycie doest it to few bites then takes a look around etc.
 

susanm9006

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It does sound like a bit of anxiety or nervousness to me. She just may have felt safer in the house when her buddy was present. But as other have said I wouldn’t be concerned about it as long as she is eating. As far as her needing you present, I would try to wean her off of that by spending less and less time with her while she eats but staying somewhere in the room where she can see you.
 
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louisstools

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It does sound like a bit of anxiety or nervousness to me. She just may have felt safer in the house when her buddy was present. But as other have said I wouldn’t be concerned about it as long as she is eating. As far as her needing you present, I would try to wean her off of that by spending less and less time with her while she eats but staying somewhere in the room where she can see you.
Yep, that's the plan to wean her off. It was going ok until she had a tummy problem on Sat and then the fireworks and all that kinda ramped up the anxiety. I didn't want to progress until I felt the tummy problems were sorted. Once she's back to normal routine for a few days we'll pick it back up and keep progressing. fingers crossed!
 

susanm9006

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Yep, that's the plan to wean her off. It was going ok until she had a tummy problem on Sat and then the fireworks and all that kinda ramped up the anxiety. I didn't want to progress until I felt the tummy problems were sorted. Once she's back to normal routine for a few days we'll pick it back up and keep progressing. fingers crossed!
One of mine is an anxious cat. The most important thing for keeping her calm is structure and routine because anything out of the ordinary sends her into a spin of anxiety. I also find she does better when I just ignore her anxiety behavior and go about my normal activities.
 
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louisstools

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As I work through this, it seems reasonable and responsible that I should monitor the cat in some manner. Perhaps weekly weigh-ins? Perhaps weighing the bowl in the AM and PM to get an idea on how much she is actually eating vs what is offered?

I ask this b/c she's not very food motivated and with me not longer being in the routine she's not going to eat more and will certainly eat less. She has free range right now and doesn't eat everything. She eats about 1/2 cup of kibble A DAY. This workes out to 1.6oz (by weight) and this is with lots of coaxing by me. This is roughly 175kcal which is a calorie deficit;190kcal was on the border of weight gain and maintain. She averaged 1.65oz in June and went from 12.4lbs to 12lbs.

Again, clean bill of health. But the wrinkle in this is that for me to wean myself off of her eating routine, I have to really be intentional about just not monitoring or paying attention to her eating habits because I'll get sucked right back in. It's PTSD from her brother's cancer b/c he couldn't eat on his own and I had to hand feed him.

So I ask this question to get some input on how I should monitor this -- given my limitations -- and at what point should I be concerned and call the vet? Perhaps a vet visit is triggered when her weight dips below what her weight was before her brother got cancer?
 

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Keep at it for sure. There will be regression sometimes. Start over.

If she misses her brother she might also have some depression/mourning from his passing. Did they used to eat together? I think I might have mentioned already, but just bring the food into the room you are in, place her at it. Especially after anxiety, this just tells her "okay things are normal now."

Don't be afraid to be a 'bit weird' and tall to your cat. They understand. When fireworks are going off, we keep the TV/radio on. I say, "Wow fireworks. Loud sound." To Magnus. Year 2 he's still nervous/wont eat but he's not fully hiding either and recovers faster. I try to tell him during the day, "Fireworks later."

Cats can understand so many words. There's less studies than dogs, and most cats don't like to be responsive except on their own schedules so they get a bad rep for not being able to understand.
 

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Did you talk to your vet about that? What happens if you need to go somewhere and leave her with someone else? Will she eat? Does that means you can't go anywhere now without her? Make sure she doesn't stay without food for too long if you do need to go somewhere https://www.catfoodpoint.com/how-lоng-can-cats-go-without-food/. It is a little unusual situation in my opinion and i think you should start slowly breaking this habit of hers.
 
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louisstools

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Did you talk to your vet about that? What happens if you need to go somewhere and leave her with someone else? Will she eat? Does that means you can't go anywhere now without her? Make sure she doesn't stay without food for too long if you do need to go somewhere https://www.catfoodpoint.com/how-lоng-can-cats-go-without-food/. It is a little unusual situation in my opinion and i think you should start slowly breaking this habit of hers.
Yeah, I've spoken to the vet about this behavior. And yes, me going somewhere was one of the driving reasons to work on de-attaching me from the eating process. As much as I like my house I would like to leave it :D We're in-sync that this habit needs to get broken...it's not sustainable nor is it safe.

As far as I can tell, she's just got a strong preference for me being with her when she eats. She'll eat if I'm gone for a few hours and she's hungry and she's been eating more and more overnight while I'm sleeping. So I would say she's totally ok eating if I'm not there. But if I'm awake...yeah she wants me there. She gets a bit of attention during "scoop times" and if I'm walking into the kitchen for myself and she follows I'll do what I've always done and walk her over to her bowl and then leave her. It's going slow but it's working.
 
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louisstools

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Bit of an update: still struggling but there is slight progress. Due to fireworks I didn't feel it was safe to start this earnestly until this week when they finally stopped and I felt ok to de-attach more and more. (She's skittish). I'm mostly focusing on me not "re-starting" her when she stops eating and by just doing other things. I'll feed her and then go into another room for example.

It's hard b/c in general the cat just won't eat much at all. She really just won't eat much. 0.6oz from when I woke up until dinner today and she probably had 6 feeding trips or so...some didn't even move the scale. Overall she's eating a bit less than she was before we started this, from ~1.8oz to ~1.5oz on average. Calorie wise that is 195 to 162. Even when I was coaxing and petting her she still wasn't eating enough to maintain weight, and she's still a bit on her heavy side of her historical weight, so not in panic mode just yet. Vet and I are hoping the weight loss slows down as she normalizes a bit closer to her old weight.

She'll eat alone if I'm asleep or out of the house (I'm only gone 3 hours a week or so). But if I'm awake she has yet to go to her bowl on her own if I'm not near the bowl. Most of her feedings are I'm walking to the kitchen (where her bowl is) and she'll tag along and want me to walk her to the bowl, so I do, and then I walk away. I also no longer make up trips near the bowl to encourage her to eat like I was doing to coax her. Sometimes she keeps eating a bit and usually she stops immediately. I'm just letting her self regulate and ignoring this as best I can. She's gotta eat on her own as me being with her for ~15 feeding trips a day isn't sustainable for me.

A concerning part is I got word Purina has re-formulated the only food she's really eaten in her life starting next week. Change in flavor and a reduction in calories by 1/3. FML. She's just about only eaten this food her life b/c she's always had to be on RX. Not looking forward to another diet transition but luckily I got a bag of the old stuff yesterday so we're good for about 2 months before we have to start the transition. (Mods, please don't merge this thread with the thread I had where I just wanted to disseminate that Purina was re-formulating things) Here's hoping she'll start to eat a bit more b/c she'll need those calories.

As far as her behavior, seems happy and content. When she's hungry she'll meow at me to take her to the bowl OR if I'm walking around she'll try and guide me to the bowl. Both of those are things she has done historically and she's not doing them any more or less. Can't say she is any different behavior wise though her litters aren't quite as scheduled as they were, there's more variance in the time between but still producing the same amount.
 

Furballsmom

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What if you started some clicker training, just for the "whatevers" of it and to give her mind something else to work with. Also, when she meows at you or tries to guide you, what about throwing a toy or using a feather wand toy? Maybe you're already doing these things, but partly to disengage her from "come to the food bowl with me" and partly to help her use more of her mind for other things play and training could be useful :)
 
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louisstools

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What if you started some clicker training, just for the "whatevers" of it and to give her mind something else to work with. Also, when she meows at you or tries to guide you, what about throwing a toy or using a feather wand toy? Maybe you're already doing these things, but partly to disengage her from "come to the food bowl with me" and partly to help her use more of her mind for other things play and training could be useful :)
Very interesting suggestions! Thank you.
 
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louisstools

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We've had a bit more progress. Since she started eating only dry food her weight was in a bit of a free fall until it stabilized last week right within her historically weight range. The amount she is eating per day and when she is eating has become more stable too. She's less of a grazer and seems to have 3 two-hour blocks she wants to eat and largely doesn't eat outside of those blocks.

She's also been eating more on her own. She still does try and get me to eat with her but I've been consistent about backing away. She's also been going to her bowl on her own a couple times w/o me when I'm around but isn't quite there yet. Even historically she always wanted someone to take her to the bowl.

Still working through this and posting updates to encourage others who are dealing with this b/c it's not easy or quick to change cat behavior. Just gotta go slow sometimes.
 

Alldara

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Wonderful news L louisstools !

You might also be comforted to know that Magnus likes being 'air lifted' to his food, but that he eats just fine on his own now without it if he's very hungry.

Baby steps with cats 😁 Keep at it. You've got this 💪
 
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louisstools

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Thought I'd provide an update since it's been awhile. So we haven't made much/any progress on the affection eating part. Partly because when I created this post she just started re-eating her old RX kibble after six months of repeated sudden diet refusal and also because Purina reformulated the only food (the RX urinary kibble) she's eaten for all but 5 months of her life. One lesson I've learned with cats is only fight one battle at a time and I decided to focus on getting her to eat the new formula.

I'm happy to report that she's still eating the kibble easy and she's also on the new formula. So big yay there. I don't really have any fear of her suddenly rejecting the food given she's been on it exclusively for four months and she's shown zero disinterest in it. Talk about a sigh of relief. The other issues she had while off the RX kibble - constipation, pee problems - have not returned. Another sigh of relief.

She's still in the routine where she needs ~14 feedings a day where she averages between 0.1 and 0.2 oz eaten at each feeding and that's usually with me giving her a few restarts (bowl shakes) when she gets distracted. As far as I can see there isn't any way for me to get her to eat MORE per feeding. With this amount of feedings and energy on my part she is maintaining weight...so its this involved for her just to maintain weight.

I'm at a bit of a loss in how to get her to eat more on her own. I work from home and am only gone one time a week for 3-4 hours. She'll normally eat during that absence and she'll eat after I go to bed. Rarely, 1-2 times a week, has she gone to her bowl on her own and ate alone. Usually she'll meow at me to go with her.

The goal is to get down to me just being involved with her eating 2-3 times a day for when she gets scoops and for her to eat on her own. I haven't been able to come up with a good plan to do this in a gradual manner. Should I just try cold turkey? And if she doesn't eat then she goes hungry until she eats on her own? This is the advice I originally got here (but never got to implement) and before I try that wanted to see if there were any other thoughts.
 
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louisstools

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Bit of an update and a bump. Still the same ~14 feedings (each feeding requires 10 minutes of my time). After the morning rush (4 feedings in 2 hours) she wants to eat about every 2 hours or so. She had her yearly senior bloodwork done and everything was fine. She is a perfectly healthy 10 year old cat.

Over Thanksgiving week I was off and I worked on walking away while she was eating and that did ok for two days but then on day four she refused to eat breakfast. She had eaten over the night so not sure what was up. So far it's been 3 days trying to get her back to routine and that's obviously abandoning the notion of walking away. That morning she just wouldn't eat.

I'm hesitant to go back to more walking away b/c of that refusal to eat. She's done that several times this year and it's a nightmare to get her back on track. I'm hoping this refusal was due to the weather or something specific to that day b/c she has been willing to keep eating the food where in the past when she did it she would no longer touch that food.

I just can't be involved in her every feeding. But that's the only thing I can think of is to keep working on walking away and hoping that encourages her to just eat on her own. But there is a 100% risk she will eat considerably less and an unknown risk she'll just refuse to eat like she already has. But maybe it's ok if she eats less as she is about a pound heavier at 12.4 than she was back before this mess started.

I would appreciate any more insight because I'm just at a complete loss on what to do to get some relief. This is negatively impacting my physical and mental health and my work. She's been my baby for 10 years and I love her but I don't want to spend my days just feeding her.

Another question is do some cats just not want to eat? And when they do it's literally just 10 kibble and they're done?
 

Furballsmom

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Another question is do some cats just not want to eat? And when they do it's literally just 10 kibble and they're done?
I think the answer to this is sometimes.

I'm thinking out loud here, but what if on those occasions where she doesn't eat her meal that you don't do anything? In other words, leave her to become hungry enough later to eat.

And, weigh her every week or so if you aren't already, to make sure you know what's happening with her weight :)
 
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louisstools

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I think the answer to this is sometimes.

I'm thinking out loud here, but what if on those occasions where she doesn't eat her meal that you don't do anything? In other words, leave her to become hungry enough later to eat. That experience took a week to get her back under control.

And, weigh her every week or so if you aren't already, to make sure you know what's happening with her weight :)
I can certainly attempt to not do anything in the hopes she will eat later. Hopefully the stress won't cripple me bc she's just been so difficult to get food into.

Two weeks ago she did go 30 hours without much/any food or water at the kennel when I had to go away for one day...was starving and thirsty when we got home. Had her stay been longer the vet would have intervened with mirataz or something.

Weighing her, yep I do this twice a week.
 
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