Extreme pickiness is driving me insane!

jersharocks

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Juliet has been picky about food pretty much the entire 2 years I've had her but lately her pickiness is off the charts and driving me absolutely insane. There are days where I just want to throw in the towel and exclusively feed her the dry food that I know she'll eat but I'm trying so hard not to be a terrible cat parent who feeds their cat junk food (the dry food is Purina Pro Plan, for the record).

I've tried probably 2-3 dozen different canned foods (everything ranging from ~50 cents a can to $4/can) and there is not a single one that she will eat reliably. She might pick at something a bit and then walk away or she might lick up the gravy and walk away. I can't think of any food that she's gobbled up. She does have a vet appointment on January 3rd (her yearly wellness exam) so we'll check to see if anything is wrong but other than extreme pickiness she seems fine. She's peeing, pooping, sleeping, playing, and drinking water (but not too much) and she's not getting too skinny.

She used to reliably eat Friskies prime filets but both she and Contessa were having digestive problems so we started feeding them a prescription diet (Hill's i/d). We were giving part dry and part canned. Juliet wasn't a fan of the i/d canned so eventually I just gave in and fed her only dry. Then Contessa was diagnosed with diabetes and that was my wakeup call that I HAD to stop feeding dry food and I've desperately been trying to get Juliet transitioned back to canned. Now Juliet doesn't even reliably eat the Hill's i/d dry anymore (I think it's getting stale) but she'll gobble up the Purina Pro Plan dry food.

I've tried crushed Temptations treats and Fortiflora on the wet food. I've tried several different meats, different textures, different brands, warmed food, adding water, blending, adding extra gravy, etc. She's just so picky and stubborn and I don't know what to do anymore. Should I just give in and give her the stupid dry food?
 
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Furballsmom

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Hi
I had something similar with my angel boy Poppy. It took years, and I had to keep a log of what I'd tried, what I wanted to try and the results in case he was briefly interested or not at all.

Eventually I was actually able to find two brands he'd eat which turned out to be a lifesaver towards the end of his life, so the effort was worth it.

Hang in there, and keep trying. Those brands where she likes the gravy might be ones to keep on the list.
 

Arya Underfoot

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I have a similar problem with Stimpy, she loves dry food but I can't get her to eat wet food consistently, sometimes she'll have a nibble but never eats a whole wet meal, she'd rather starve. I've been buying a lot of freeze dried meats lately, which she seems to like and I give her a tablespoon of wet food with some of her meals, sometimes she eats it, other times she leaves it. She tends to get diarrhea when she eats wet foods, so maybe her stomach just cant handle it. She drinks lots of water from the fountain and is a healthy weight plus I've never had any dental issues with her, my other two cats both have gingivitis. Keep experimenting but if dry food is what she wants don't feel so bad about giving it her, as long as she's healthy and happy, that's the most important thing.
 

lisahe

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If all Juliet will eat at this point is dry food, I'd highly recommend trying Dr. Elsey's Clean Protein dry food with chicken. (Chewy carries it.) It doesn't have any fillers and is extremely low-carb. Watch out, though: Dr. E's other dry foods have chickpeas, which wouldn't be good for either carbs or digestive issues!

If Juliet accepts Dr. E's and will eat it consistently, then you could try gradually -- very gradually, planning on a month or two -- lessening the amount of dry food she eats. If you haven't already tried feeding a mixed plate of food, with some wet food topped by the dry food, I might suggest that method. It worked really well when we switched our cats over to wet food after we adopted them. We use Dr. E's as a treat and a topper: our pickier cat loves it so I put a few pieces (they're small) on each meal, adding extra water.

Our cats get bored if we feed them too much of any one food... so we feed them a rotation. That means they don't have to eat any one thing reliably (you used the perfect word for this!) and I don't worry if they eat lightly at one meal. There's always something else on the way!

Good luck!
 

Babypaws

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Hi
I had something similar with my angel boy Poppy. It took years, and I had to keep a log of what I'd tried, what I wanted to try and the results in case he was briefly interested or not at all.

Eventually I was actually able to find two brands he'd eat which turned out to be a lifesaver towards the end of his life, so the effort was worth it.

Hang in there, and keep trying. Those brands where she likes the gravy might be ones to keep on the list.
I’m going thru the same problem….I have one cat that just wants the dry. I’ve been getting can Friskies filets but lately the beef flavor looks different, sometimes the cats won’t eat it or very little. I’ve always mixed it with some dry.
i have 12 cats so it gets expensive and I waste a lot. I’ve tried different brands but if they eat…it’s Friskies which I know isn’t that great.
if I were to buy fancy feast, one 3 oz can costs as much as a 5 oz can of Friskies
im getting frustrated also.
 

Astragal14

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I'll add the chorus of those saying don't give up! One of our cats is extremely picky and was completely addicted to dry food when we adopted her. It took YEARS of experimentation and incremental progress to transition her from a diet of nearly 100% dry food to now about 60-70% wet food.

One resource I recommend is Dr. Lisa Pierson's blog, catinfo.org. There is a very very long section about food; you've tried many tactics already but there are so many transitioning tips that hopefully you'll find some new ideas. The section with transitioning is available as separate pdf and the transitioning tips start on page 5:
https://catinfo.org/docs/TipsForTransitioning1-14-11.pdf

The entirety can be found here (it's long but very informative):
Feeding Your Cat: Know the Basics of Feline Nutrition – Common Sense. Healthy Cats.

Another recommendation is to offer her the opposite of the variety you've been giving her - stick with one wet food for a while and see if she starts to accept it. This was our vet's advice a few months after we adopted our picky girl. We had been giving her every type of wet food available with no success, so we picked one variety to offer on a regular basis. She started nibbling it after about 6 weeks. Two methods that can help increase your likelihood of success (and may be in Dr. Pierson's info, I don't recall where I learned these) are 1) consistently offer a small amount of the wet food right next to her serving of dry food; you'll be giving her two bowls side by side with the hope that she'll eventually accept the wet food as a normal part of her meal, and 2) leave a serving of wet food out and available for a long time just to see if anyone eventually decides to try it.

Choosing to offer a single food and making it part of our normal mealtime routine is what finally helped our picky cat to accept wet food. You may also find that some tactics she previously rejected can work later on, once she is more willing to try new and different wet foods. You just have to find a way to get your foot in the door first!
 
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jersharocks

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Thank you all so much for all the suggestions! I wrote this thread and then broke down and cried for a good long bit. I think I'm just really overwhelmed because of Contessa's recent diabetes diagnosis and now Juliet is making my life difficult. Buying all of these different foods is also emptying my wallet at the worst possible time. I've spent hundreds of dollars on food, vet visits, medical supplies, etc. in just a few short weeks.

I'm going to keep trying because I know that dry food isn't good for her and I'm so angry with myself that I ever let the vet talk me into it in the first place.
 

Tobermory

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Have you tried freeze-dried raw? Mocha is getting very picky about canned food, but she loves Northwest Naturals freeze-dried (but not the frozen). I picked that one instead of others because the bone content is a more reasonable level. I re-hydrate it with plenty of water, and she dances around squeaking while I’m fixing it and then plunges in when I put it down. :)
 

Alldara

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jersharocks jersharocks I'm so sorry you're going through this it's so hard!

I had really good luck with FreshPet "kibbles" and Stella and Chewys freeze dried raw with my late cat.

One question: has picky cat been tested recently for hyperthyroid? Lily got hyper-picky when she developed that.

I want to second giving the same food every day.

Then, when you give the dry Purina Pro Plan, let it soak with water first. That might make her a litte more tolerable to the Purina Pro Plan wet food, which is recommend. Also, she's eating up the dry so you already know that the equivalent wet food will be tolerated by her digestive system (in most cases).


Consistency doesn't have to look like 1 specific food either if switching helps her eat more. For example, my boys get chunks in the morning, Wureva or something similar for lunch (lately it's been this 2 ingredient chicken and rice thing, not fully balanced but they split only the one can at lunch between them all) and then pate at night. This has been enough to keep them feeling like they aren't eating the same thing when in reality, Magnus is eating chicken and rice, Nobel's eating Purina Pro Plan urinary and Calcifer is eating chicken and turkey. Wureva has some fish, duck or lamb added to give them really that desired change. With my late cat Lily, I used to add boiled water to the Stella and Chewys and "drop" it on the floor. She thought she was getting people food at lunch. (She wanted dry in her last days but didn't have any teeth left to bite it).
 
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