affection eating tips

Robyn5678

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My cat is 18 and she will eat her dry food when she wants it. Sometimes it’s 2 or 3 and she’s done and other times it’s 20. I just leave it out for her All day and when she wants to eat she will.

I could never sit there and watch her eat to make sure she’s eating. It sounds like you’re causing yourself more stress and anxiety and that may be passing on to her. Cats really can be affected by humans emotions and activities.

I know this is a long thread and I know there is some history with another cat - but refresh my memory, why can’t you just give her a bowl of food and leave her be?
 
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louisstools

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I could never sit there and watch her eat to make sure she’s eating. It sounds like you’re causing yourself more stress and anxiety and that may be passing on to her. Cats really can be affected by humans emotions and activities.

I know this is a long thread and I know there is some history with another cat - but refresh my memory, why can’t you just give her a bowl of food and leave her be?
You may be correct that I'm causing myself stress. In the past year she's flip-flopped several times on diet (kibble only, then wet only, then kibble only) it's got me nervous. Though perhaps this is no longer a concern b/c there's no wet food in the house to confuse her.

To your question about giving her a bowl and letting her be...since she decided she wanted to resume her kibble diet I haven't been able to get her to eat alone on her own very well. I initially tried it for a few days and she was eating half of the kibble she is eating now (so about 1 oz by weight). She dropped weight fast so I made effort to be with her when she was eating to get calories in her. She was also recently kenneled and didn't eat or drink for 30 hours...which might be normal but didn't give me confidence in her eating solo.

She'll eat when I'm asleep or gone for more than 3 hours but if I'm walking around, especially near the kitchen (bowl room), she'll try and herd me to it and if I step away she stops and walks away to me. Even before the events with the other cat she behaved like this but it wasn't quite this bad and I could count on her to eat on her own.

Edit: In the wet food days, she'd just suddenly refuse a flavor and we never found something she consistently liked. When she no longer wanted to eat kibble it was like that, just sudden and no amount of coaxing could get her to eat it. She pulled a stunt like this a few days ago but I stood firm and she eventually relented and ate her kibble a few hours later. Prior to the event with the other cat she had never done any of this...she just ate happily.
 
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louisstools

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This makes me wonder if she'd benefit from a cat buddy? Or even just Cat Music with purrs in it and a heartbeat toy?
I can try the music and heart beat toy! I don't have the stomach for another cat. I'm pretty bonded to my girl but after she passes I doubt I'll get another pet.
 

Robyn5678

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Not to be a smart ass but how does she herd you to the bowl? Is she just rubbing up against you? Maybe she just wants play time/love.
 
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louisstools

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Not to be a smart ass but how does she herd you to the bowl? Is she just rubbing up against you? Maybe she just wants play time/love.
Depends..say she's sleeping on the couch next to me and she will wake up, stretch, meow at me and when I get up she'll start walking to the bowl.

If I'm in my office she'll come near me and meow and when I get up she'll walk to the bowl.

Sometimes she does this but wants attention and I figure out what she wants bc she will stop in our play area instead of going to the bowl.
 
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louisstools

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I wonder if the problem with my girl isn't that she won't (necessarily) eat alone but rather that she's still in scheduled meals mode?

Before we switched back to kibble, she was eating 6:00, 12:00, 4:00, 8:30. As this was wet food I couldn't just leave it out b/c it would dry out so she had no available food unless it was meal time. And being wet food and I had to dish it up, me being around her was a fixture of what a meal was.

When we introduced the kibble she then got 6:00 and 4:00 pm meals with kibble free range. She never ate the kibble during the day but did eat while I slept. When she went all kibble I had to coax her a bit and that's when the meal times "exploded". Currently she eats at 6-8, 10, 12, 2, 4, 6, 8...basically every two hours or so and can flex a bit depending on her interest.

I've been focusing on walking away while eating and I wonder if just cutting a meal time out would be better instead...and then cut out another meal time...and another until its just 6:00, 4:00, 8:00. hmm.....

When we last tried cutting meals out she didn't really eat MORE at each meal to make up for the lost meal. So a little apprehensive to try this... hmm...
 

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Is there any chance that this could be a late developed food allergy? The foods not making her feel well so she doesn't want to eat it?

I used to have to push Magnus to eat. Once we discovered a beef allergy (beef fat in many foods) and removed beef from the diet he began to eat very well.
 
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louisstools

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Is there any chance that this could be a late developed food allergy? The foods not making her feel well so she doesn't want to eat it?

I used to have to push Magnus to eat. Once we discovered a beef allergy (beef fat in many foods) and removed beef from the diet he began to eat very well.
She eats readily and will eat on her own alone. How would we rule allergy out? Vet test?
 

Alldara

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She eats readily and will eat on her own alone. How would we rule allergy out? Vet test?
Putting her on a novel protein diet for 6-8 weeks and seeing if there's any improvement. We did the digestive prescription of chicken and rice from the vet, as we were quite sure chicken wasn't the issue. You can get LIDs (limited ingredient diets) at the store.
 
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louisstools

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Had a call with the vet today and she agreed this feeding schedule isn't practical for both of us (no kidding!) and was shocked it was this crazy. Guess I wasn't explaining it well in the last few vet visits? The vet is leaning towards this being just a learned behavior and wants to do a three day trial on just the "old" feeding routine. So scoop 6:00am, 4:00pm, and 9:00pm with the cat essentially required to eat on her own. If she's not eating good after 3 days then we can re-evaluate and there's some medication that may help with this adjustment.
 
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louisstools

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Still haven't given this a real try. I had 3 weeks of PTO shortly after my last post and that was when I planned to do the switch. She ended up having two small bouts of mild constipation a few weeks apart that freaked me out so I just postponed things until she was regular. After that my pto was over.

What we have been doing is being less focused on letting the clock dictate when she eats (every 2 hours) and being more keyed in on when she's acting hungry and just walking over with her instead of trying to coax her. Maybe that is an improvement? I don't know. The only benefit is it's "teaching" me to care less about how much she eats and to stop being hyper-focused on it.

She's just so not motivated or interested in food, not like she was in 2020. She will consistently eat this RX kibble (and probably any kibble) so that is what she gets. And I tried all the wet food brands and flavors and textures but she didn't really like it. Required WAY more fighting her to get food into her; damn near force feeding her.

I know her appetite will vary a bit from day to day and that's to be expected. It's just so frustrating. How I long for the days when I could just dump a scoop and she'd eat it. I spend about 2 hours of time standing with her at her bowl...plus the stress on the days when she's behind her eating amount.

I think we're going to try a cold turkey deal tomorrow where I just dump the scoop and she will have to eat on her own. The vet says her survival mechanism will kick in and prevent her from outright starving. She does eat on her own, so she should be fine -- at least for a few days. Wish us luck!
 
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louisstools

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Every Sunday and Wednesday evening. Though I don't know if using weight will be a good indicator of if she is doing ok. She will eat less which will cause her weight to drop. My hope is that whatever she decides to eat her weight will adjust to it and stop falling. I don't see her eating as much as she currently is or more on her own.

I could see her eating maybe 1.3-1.6oz on her own (115-142kcal) and hopefully that would be enough for her to maintain in the 11 pound range. At 2.4oz she's in the 12.4-12.5 range.
 
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