Dealing with dry-food addiction

cmshap

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I posted this as an update in an older thread I started, but it hasn't seen any attention yet, so I decided to start a dedicated thread on the new situation.

Willy needs to eat both wet and dry food to keep his digestive system happy. I settled on a ratio of 75% wet, 25% dry, and I described how I figured that out in the previous thread. With that ratio, all was well and everything was good... minimal vomiting, and perfectly normal, regular poops.

Unfortunately, Willy has a dry food addiction that gives me trouble every now and then. I believe this mainly comes from being raised on dry food over the first few years in my care. Also, before he was rescued, he had been starving, so his first set of regular, reliable meals was dry kibble. Dry food may have imprinted on him as a very positive experience at that stage.

I just bought a new bag of dry food (Hill's Science Diet Light). I think when a bag of dry food is new, it has a stronger smell and is more attractive to him. Even though I keep dry food in an air-tight container, as it gets older and smaller in quantity, it loses its smell strength (even I can tell). When I get a new bag delivered, even before I open the bag, he sniffs it constantly and rubs his body all over the outside of the bag.

He is currently back to leaving most of his wet food, and sitting by his dish, staring at me and waiting for a dry food replacement... it's so frustrating. :disappointed:

I want to try more of the "game" angle with dry food, by tossing kibble around for him to hunt (he actually likes that, and it's stimulating for him when he has to hunt for pieces on my living room rug)... but only as a reward after eating a wet meal. I don't want to give him this reward unless he makes an attempt to eat his wet food again.

I am trying a multitude of brands, flavors, and textures of wet food, all of which are winners in terms of his past preferences and his ability to tolerate them (he is very sensitive to foods, so it took a lot of trial and error to find the right selections). But he only has a mind for his dry food right now.

Should I try just getting rid of the dry altogether, temporarily, until he gets hungry enough to eat at least part of a wet meal? Then reward him with some dry?

Also, before anyone makes the suggestion, mixing dry with wet has never worked. He won't touch any of the food at all if it is mixed together. Believe me, I have tried this every which way over the years.
 

Alldara

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Sometimes when Cal holds out, I can toss two kibbles for him and then walk off and he gets the picture. Cal was raised on wet; didn't have dry until he got here. It just happens with some cats.

I view it as him wanting a side of garlic bread or some crackers with his meal. Yeah sometime he will bug for more, especially when I first started this allotment, but now he usually will just eat his wet.

I would never recommend cutting dry food out completely for a dry addict. I had to for a a week post surgery for Nobel and he legitimately starved himself.
 

Kris107

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What about wetting some of his dry food? Is the wet bc he needs more moisture in his diet?
 

mrsgreenjeens

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What if you crushed up some of the dry and sprinkle a tiny bit on top of the wet food, Then once he has a few bites of it, or when he starts slowing down with the wet, toss one or two pieces of the kibble to him as a reward, then sprinkle a tiny bit more of the crushed kibble on the remaining kibble, and if he eats a little more, reward him again with a couple of pieces of kibble tossed about the room. You might need to do this for several meals until he gets the hint.
 
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cmshap

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I would never recommend cutting dry food out completely for a dry addict. I had to for a a week post surgery for Nobel and he legitimately starved himself.
I know it's dangerous when a cat doesn't eat for too long, which is why I have been reluctant to try something like that.

I just want him to make an attempt... that's why I'm giving him a smaller portion of wet lately, like I'm just scooping a spoonful out of a package at a time, so that if he just eats a few bites, I can reward him right away. But he is in a stubborn phase.

Part of the problem, I think, is that he can see me from his food/water dish area. My apartment has an open-design, so I literally cannot move it anywhere else where he would not be able to see me (except the bedroom). He sits by his dish and stares at me, and when I ignore and don't respond, he approaches and meows in my face.

I have the willpower to ignore him, but he will repeat this process until his wet food has sat out too long, and then I have a dilemma. Do I try again, or feed him kibble so he will eat something? I'm trying to make sure he eats, and at the same time I don't want to waste wet food, because it's expensive for me.

I like the idea of tossing a few pieces of kibble his way and walking away... however I can't really walk away, from his perspective.

What about wetting some of his dry food? Is the wet bc he needs more moisture in his diet?
The wet food is because he is just healthier on it in general. He's always been a frequent vomiter on dry-only, but wet food drastically reduced it. So, for a while, I had him on 100% wet and he was eating it just fine.

But then he was getting constipated, until I added some dry back into his diet. This is all explained in the thread I linked in my first post. He actually drinks more water when on some dry food (I measured it), so I think he's getting more water intake on 75% wet/25% dry than on 100% wet.

And no, he won't eat wet kibble. That's why mixing the foods never works. He won't touch kibble that's moist or on top of wet food.

What if you crushed up some of the dry and sprinkle a tiny bit on top of the wet food
I've tried this. In my original post, when I said I tried mixing wet and dry together "every which way," I meant it. I did try the exact method you described. Not only is crushing kibble painstaking, but it never worked. It's a good idea, though.
 

heatherwillard0614

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Is there anyway you would be able to have the kibble put up in your room I know it would be a bit of an inconvenience but maybe if he can't see it then maybe just maybe it would help??

I like the idea of tossing a few pieces of kibble his way and walking away... however I can't really walk away, from his perspective.
Maybe after tossing the kibble you could walk straight to your room and shut the door? If this is an option for you?
 

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Ignoring Magnus doesn't work so I took up the position that if he is screaming at me, that it's obvious he lost where the couch is. I pick him up and take him to the couch and set him on top.

It's drastically lowered the screaming within a few days. And when the screaming has reappeared for whatever reason (routine off or something), it works quickly. He's stubborn and nothing else worked. Shutting the door just made him frantic. He was confused at first.

As for leaving the wet out, everyone has a different idea (and rightly so considering we are all in different climates) on what is too long. I have air conditioning and leave it in a cool area and they eat it sometime between 22:00 or 23:00 and 8 am. No idea when. Breakfast is left out at 8 and picked up between 12 and 13 if there's leftovers. Lunch is out until dinner at 17:00. I've seen them eat lunch when I get home from work sometimes.

Also, I do hand feed the wet food sometimes for Magnus. He will resist eating if he's had separation anxiety and hand feeding him a meal or part of resolves that.
 

Ivy204

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I think the dry vs wet food is overblown. A lot of cats have lived long lives on dry food. I do give mine one of those half portion packs of wet food in the morning (nutro or Sheba), and then free feed Merrick dry food.
He hates leftovers, which is kind of funny. If he leaves his dry food out all day, he wants more so I dump the leftovers back in the bag and scoop out “new”.
There aren’t any studies that show that dry food or wet food is better for kidney health or diabetes. Some do and some don’t. What does matter is weight.
 

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I think the dry vs wet food is overblown. A lot of cats have lived long lives on dry food. I do give mine one of those half portion packs of wet food in the morning (nutro or Sheba), and then free feed Merrick dry food.
He hates leftovers, which is kind of funny. If he leaves his dry food out all day, he wants more so I dump the leftovers back in the bag and scoop out “new”.
There aren’t any studies that show that dry food or wet food is better for kidney health or diabetes. Some do and some don’t. What does matter is weight.
The trick to make the food "new" again is golden.

Most of the studies are on cats with pre-existing conditions. I'm looking forward to the studies the vet says will be out in the next years.
 
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cmshap

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I found a workaround!

My mom has a cat who is a picky eater, and she gave me leftover food her cat won't eat. One of them was Sheba beef pate.

Willy had never had beef before, so it was new and interesting. He has been gobbling it up. I give him just a spoonful at a time, and then after he finishes it, I toss him some kibble. I am going to repeat that for a while.

His normal wet food rotation includes a variety. Chicken, turkey, duck, and salmon, in both pate and cuts textures. I've been rotating them consistently so he won't get bored. But maybe he did. Or he just really loves beef.

Is there anyway you would be able to have the kibble put up in your room I know it would be a bit of an inconvenience but maybe if he can't see it then maybe just maybe it would help??
Yeah, maybe if the problem continues, I will have to try feeding him in the bedroom where he can't see me. Or I will go in there during feeding time.

I think the dry vs wet food is overblown. A lot of cats have lived long lives on dry food.
I switched from pure dry for health reasons for my particular cat. He vomits a lot when he eats 100% dry... like several times a week. This has been a problem for years, and started to get worse as he aged. At his worst, he was vomiting every day.

After switching to 100% wet, his vomiting was nearly eliminated completely; however, he started getting constipated (which sounds counterintuitive, but I observed he drinks noticeably less water with no dry in his diet, which could be one explanation). So I played around with a mostly-wet-with-some-dry formula, and settled on 75% wet, 25% dry.

This works great until he periodically decides not to eat his wet food.
 
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neely

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This TCS Article may have some good tips and advice for you to try with Willy: Transitioning Your Cat From Kibble To A New Type Of Food - TheCatSite One in particular is warming up his wet food. I do this with a teaspoon or two of warm water. This may also help increase his water intake.

Carleton came from a hoarder and when a shelter was called in the cats were found with no food. After being rescued the shelter fed the cats dry food so of course when we adopted him that was all he ate. My first thought was to get him on a better quality dry food and then try to transition him to wet. I admit it wasn't easy but I persisted. I put the wed food out along with the dry. Sometimes he would take a bite or two of the wet but the bowl with the dry would always be empty. I tried numerous varieties of wet food and one day I hit on a winner. Then he stopped eating it and I was back to square one. Fast forward to today and I leave dry out but only as a snack and he finishes his wet food completely. It didn't happen overnight though. Stick with it, don't give up and fingers crossed Willy will acquire a taste for his canned food.
 
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cmshap

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One in particular is warming up his wet food.
I actually do this already... I just use the microwave. If it's a gravy-heavy food, I leave it as-is, otherwise I add a few drops of water before microwaving. Usually 5-8 seconds is plenty of time for the portions I am heating up (just a spoonful at a time, right now). But I never do more than 5-second intervals, testing the temperature with my fingers each time.

Stick with it, don't give up and fingers crossed Willy will acquire a taste for his canned food.
I don't know if you saw my post above yet, but he is currently eating beef wet food. It's totally new, so this all might just be a flavor/newness thing.

I am giving him a very small amount at a time, so after he finishes it, I can reward him with a bit of kibble, and hopefully he will make that connection. And hopefully I can reintroduce his usual rotation (chicken, turkey, duck, and salmon).
 

neely

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I don't know if you saw my post above yet, but he is currently eating beef wet food. It's totally new, so this all might just be a flavor/newness thing. I am giving him a very small amount at a time, so after he finishes it, I can reward him with a bit of kibble, and hopefully he will make that connection. And hopefully I can reintroduce his usual rotation (chicken, turkey, duck, and salmon).
Sorry I must have overlooked that Willy is eating beef wet food. Carleton will only eat chicken, he turns his nose up at everything else. But I always try to find a new combination of something he might accept. I lucked into one, only one variety of chicken and beef called Meal or No Deal by Weruva. I hope he doesn't get tired of it. Good idea to reward Willy with a little kibble after eating his beef wet food. I hope it continues. :crossfingers:
 

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Mine won’t eat fish and almost everything has fish in it. Very frustrating.
 
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