Finicky eater won't eat

Susanna72

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The little stinker in my pic, Oliver, has decided he doesn't like his Hills Digestive food anymore. He went a few days without eating anything but treats, so I looked on here and someone recommended Hill's Prescription Diet a/d Urgent Care, so I called my vet and picked up a few cans. He's eating maybe half a can a day. (As a sidenote, I tried putting Fortiflora on it since that was a recommendation, too, but he immediately said no to that, too.) They also gave me some Hills Biome to try since he's decided he doesn't like Hills Digestive. He's not eating that. He was on Digestive because he's prone to tummy upset and diarrhea. We have tried so many foods.

My question is: I can't keep him on Urgent Care forever, so what do I feed him? Should I try Friskees or Fancy Feast Gravy Lovers? Is it worse to keep throwing different food at him? He is so odd because he does this with treats, too. He will beg for and devour a treat and then one day he decides he doesn't like them anymore and won't eat them. He is not lethargic and his eyes are bright, but he's starting to get skinny and I'm worried. He still eats treats, so I give him those every day. He can't live on that, though.

The vet also gave me a probiotic to give him for a few days to help with diarrhea. That did help, but he's not into the Fortiflora sprinkles on his food.
 

Furballsmom

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Hi
Have they tested for ibd or anything like that?

I personally would try the fancy feast, and you could look into Mouser food, or possibly venison or other novel protein if you haven't already.

There might be something here, both to entice him but also ti try and help getting some of that weight back;
 
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Susanna72

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Hi
Have they tested for ibd or anything like that?

I personally would try the fancy feast, and you could look into Mouser food, or possibly venison or other novel protein if you haven't already.

There might be something here, both to entice him but also ti try and help getting some of that weight back;
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How do they test for IBD? There are two vets in the practice and he's seen both. One seemed to think it was a food allergy and the other is saying it could be IBD. I don't think they did a test, though.

Thanks for these suggestions!
 

Furballsmom

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They look for inflammation, I believe, but I don't know what's involved for them to get a definitive diagnosis, or whether it's a sensitive gi tract ...
 

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IBD is nearly impossible to diagnose on an absolute basis, but it seems a big determinant that is used is an abdominal ultrasound to look for inflammation and thickening of the intestinal wall - that along with various symptoms, the most common being diarrhea.

There are other digestive care foods besides Hill's. So, maybe you could find some with similar ingredients to the Hill's one and try those. If you can find a few, perhaps switching them out occasionally will help reduce the odds of him tiring of any of them.

A more inclusive probiotic that many on this site use is Saccharomyces boulardii. FortiFlora isn't much of a probiotic and is really more of a flavor enhancer - obviously not in the case of your cat though!

The benefits of using S. Boulardii for cats– FullBucket Health
Inflammatory Bowel Disease | Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine
11 Best (Highly Digestible) Cat Foods for Sensitive Stomachs in 2023 (pet.reviews)
Best Cat Foods for Sensitive Stomachs | PetMD
 
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Susanna72

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IBD is nearly impossible to diagnose on an absolute basis, but it seems a big determinant that is used is an abdominal ultrasound to look for inflammation and thickening of the intestinal wall - that along with various symptoms, the most common being diarrhea.

There are other digestive care foods besides Hill's. So, maybe you could find some with similar ingredients to the Hill's one and try those. If you can find a few, perhaps switching them out occasionally will help reduce the odds of him tiring of any of them.

A more inclusive probiotic that many on this site use is Saccharomyces boulardii. FortiFlora isn't much of a probiotic and is really more of a flavor enhancer - obviously not in the case of your cat though!

The benefits of using S. Boulardii for cats– FullBucket Health
Inflammatory Bowel Disease | Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine
11 Best (Highly Digestible) Cat Foods for Sensitive Stomachs in 2023 (pet.reviews)
Best Cat Foods for Sensitive Stomachs | PetMD
Is there a particular brand of Saccharomyces boulardii that you recommend?
 

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I find that A/D is too rich to be given alone for very long. I/D comes in three forms: dry, stew cans, and pate. I won't allow my Betty to have dry once we got the IBD diagnosis. She's not interested in the pate. But she eats the stew cans. If Oliver isn't eating one, you may try the other with him. I would also try mixing it with A/D. While we were stabilizing Betty's IBD, she ate as much as a 50/50 mix. But more often it was 1 part A/D to two or three parts I/D. Now she gets A/D to coat her meds and a little starter strip on top of her food like cake frosting. But the bulk of her diet is I/D in the stew cans.

IBD is a diagnosis of exclusion. That means he should at least have blood and urine workups and an ultrasound. The combination of inflammation in the ultrasound and no other incriminating results in the lab work is how they say, "we tested for everything else, and this looks like IBD." It is difficult to say conclusively that it is IBD without a biopsy sample of the inflamed tissue. This is most often done via an endoscopy. IBD looks very similar to small cell lymphoma in the ultrasound. The biopsy will determine one from another. Sometimes a vet can be convinced to skip the endo and try an A-B treatment: since it can't be determined without the endo whether it is IBD (A) or SCL (B), try the treatment for one and then add in the treatment for the other if it proves ineffective.

Practically speaking for your boy, I would recommend the lab work and the ultrasound. You can discuss with your vet after the ultrasound if you need or desire any further testing. Often vets like to go with an assumed IBD diagnosis and revisit that if it doesn't respond adequately to steroids and diet modification.
 

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Practically speaking for your boy, I would recommend the lab work and the ultrasound. You can discuss with your vet after the ultrasound if you need or desire any further testing. Often vets like to go with an assumed IBD diagnosis and revisit that if it doesn't respond adequately to steroids and diet modification.
I agree about getting lab work and an ultrasound. Ultrasounds show some things but not others... and that sometimes means further tests, as daftcat75 daftcat75 mentioned. But you may get some sort of look at what's happening, particularly if a good specialist reviews the images. (We were very lucky on that score with our cat last year!)
 

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If you're not ready or you cannot afford an ultrasound at this time, you could ask the vet for a prescription for anti-nausea medicine. If Cerenia or ondansetron helps him eat again, then you can use that as a likely indication that more tests will be needed when you can get to them.
 

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I have a very picky eater who hates A/D, hates FortiFlora, hates just about everything, including treats half the time. I always keep Mirataz (appetite enhancer) on hand to use when it gets too bad. He has been this way ever since he was a kitten and now he's 14 years old. Today has been one of those days where I've been threatening him with the Mirataz, so finally he deemed to take a few bites of his lunch, but it's infuriating, and nerve wracking at the same time. He always gets a perfect bill of health at the Vet, but I demanded they do an Ultrasound for my benefit a year or two ago, and it came back perfect. I was almost hoping they would find something so we could work on fixing it

Anyway, I just have to keep trying new things. New foods, new toppers, different ways of presenting it, different places to feed him. Every once in awhile I'll hit on something that works great for awhile until it doesn't, and then we start all over again. Last time it was freeze dried salmon as a topper. Worked well for awhile, and still does every so often. I just can't use it for every meal. And he won't eat any food with salmon in it, so go figure :dunno: . And he doesn't like canned salmon for humans either. Just telling you this to let you know with a picky cat, nothing is off the table.
 

lisahe

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I have a very picky eater who hates A/D, hates FortiFlora, hates just about everything, including treats half the time. I always keep Mirataz (appetite enhancer) on hand to use when it gets too bad. He has been this way ever since he was a kitten and now he's 14 years old. Today has been one of those days where I've been threatening him with the Mirataz, so finally he deemed to take a few bites of his lunch, but it's infuriating, and nerve wracking at the same time. He always gets a perfect bill of health at the Vet, but I demanded they do an Ultrasound for my benefit a year or two ago, and it came back perfect. I was almost hoping they would find something so we could work on fixing it

Anyway, I just have to keep trying new things. New foods, new toppers, different ways of presenting it, different places to feed him. Every once in awhile I'll hit on something that works great for awhile until it doesn't, and then we start all over again. Last time it was freeze dried salmon as a topper. Worked well for awhile, and still does every so often. I just can't use it for every meal. And he won't eat any food with salmon in it, so go figure :dunno: . And he doesn't like canned salmon for humans either. Just telling you this to let you know with a picky cat, nothing is off the table.
You are so patient, mrsgreenjeens mrsgreenjeens ! This little guy sounds like Ireland, our cat who sometimes doesn't eat much because she gets a little constipated... but, as it turns out, probably wasn't eating much most of the time because she'd been mourning her dry food for almost nine years! So we finally just decided to let her eat Dr. Elsey's (chicken) dry food. I hated to do it, particularly after we went to the effort of taking both cats off dry food all those years ago... but the food's good (very low carbs!), she eats occasional wet meals, and she drinks plenty of water. The best thing is that she's a much happier cat now. I'm happier, too, since I know exactly what you mean about "infuriating" and "nerve wracking." It's really, really hard -- not to mention very time-consuming! -- when a cat won't eat.
 
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Susanna72

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I have a very picky eater who hates A/D, hates FortiFlora, hates just about everything, including treats half the time. I always keep Mirataz (appetite enhancer) on hand to use when it gets too bad. He has been this way ever since he was a kitten and now he's 14 years old. Today has been one of those days where I've been threatening him with the Mirataz, so finally he deemed to take a few bites of his lunch, but it's infuriating, and nerve wracking at the same time. He always gets a perfect bill of health at the Vet, but I demanded they do an Ultrasound for my benefit a year or two ago, and it came back perfect. I was almost hoping they would find something so we could work on fixing it

Anyway, I just have to keep trying new things. New foods, new toppers, different ways of presenting it, different places to feed him. Every once in awhile I'll hit on something that works great for awhile until it doesn't, and then we start all over again. Last time it was freeze dried salmon as a topper. Worked well for awhile, and still does every so often. I just can't use it for every meal. And he won't eat any food with salmon in it, so go figure :dunno: . And he doesn't like canned salmon for humans either. Just telling you this to let you know with a picky cat, nothing is off the table.
OMG our cats are twins! Oliver is the same! Tonight he licked the urgent care food and I even microwaved it for a few seconds. I put it in his microchip feeder in case he wants it later. (The other two will happily eat it.) So I gave him some Greenies and he ate those. Then I tried a Churu and he ate that. I have leftover Mirataz from Mama Dear (she was old and didn’t always eat enough.) so I’ll try that. I forgot I had it. Thanks!

What do ultrasounds run? Might have to do one on Timothy too because of this thyroid business. He just started meds and in 3 weeks we will test him again. Vet mentioned having an abdominal ultrasound.
 

lisahe

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What do ultrasounds run? Might have to do one on Timothy too because of this thyroid business. He just started meds and in 3 weeks we will test him again. Vet mentioned having an abdominal ultrasound.
I think they vary a lot, from around $250ish to several times more. Our vet brings in an ultrasound guy (to her
office) regularly and we paid a reasonable fee for Edwina's. (She didn't need anesthesia.) But if you have to have it done at an emergency clinic it will likely cost a lot more. If you haven't already asked the vet if Oliver is constipated it might be worth checking into that, too. That can make cats seem picky because they don't feel quite right so don't want to eat much.

Have you tried freeze-dried chicken treats? Our cats love those.
 
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Susanna72

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I think they vary a lot, from around $250ish to several times more. Our vet brings in an ultrasound guy (to her
office) regularly and we paid a reasonable fee for Edwina's. (She didn't need anesthesia.) But if you have to have it done at an emergency clinic it will likely cost a lot more. If you haven't already asked the vet if Oliver is constipated it might be worth checking into that, too. That can make cats seem picky because they don't feel quite right so don't want to eat much.

Have you tried freeze-dried chicken treats? Our cats love those.
No! Where do I buy those?
 

lisahe

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Pet stores often carry freeze-dried treats. Chewy.com too - Freeze-Dried & Dehydrated Cat Treats - Free shipping | Chewy
I usually buy them from Chewy... though if I need them fast, I get them at PetSmart, the house brand, labeled for dogs.

Susanna72 Susanna72 , very often (but not always!) bags of chicken treats labeled for dogs are much cheaper per ounce than treats labeled for cats. We've found lately that treat quality varies a fair bit from bag to bag. Sometimes there are gobs of fat, sometimes there's tough stuff that's hard to crumble over food... Chewy's American Journey treats are consistently pretty decent but lately I've been buying PureSnacks (from Chewy).

We use lots of freeze-dried chicken so I could go on and on about this but I'll stop there! The important thing is to crumble some chicken on top of the food.
 

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Oliver, has decided he doesn't like his Hills Digestive food anymore. He went a few days without eating anything but treats... They also gave me some Hills Biome to try since he's decided he doesn't like Hills Digestive. He's not eating that. He was on Digestive because he's prone to tummy upset and diarrhea. We have tried so many foods.Is it worse to keep throwing different food at him? He is so odd because he does this with treats, too. He will beg for and devour a treat and then one day he decides he doesn't like them anymore and won't eat them.
It's very common for cats to develop an avoidance to specific foods when they're not feeling well, regardless of the actual cause. They blame the food because they eat it and then feel unwell, so they think it must be caused by the food.

Our feline friends can develop a food aversion after just once smelling or tasting a food while they are nauseous
Cat won’t eat? Check this out… | Corvallis Cat Care

The actual cause could be anything: constipation, IBD, pancreatitis... given that one of your vets already suspects IBD, I recommend asking them about a B12 injection. They're inexpensive and have virtually no side effects or contraindications. You may also want to discuss antiemetics or antacids, too; B12 deficiencies can cause nausea but he may need a little extra help from something like Cerenia, Pepcid/Prilosec or something else.

The Importance of B12 – IBDKitties
A B12 deficiency can cause poor cell formation in the digestive tract and lead to nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, poor absorption of food (malabsorption syndrome), constipation, gas, weight loss, fatigue, lethargy, abdominal pain, and/or diarrhea. Absorption of B12 requires normal function of the stomach, pancreas and small intestine... Because a healthy liver is able to store many years worth of B12, signs of deficiency may not be obvious for a long time.
 
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Susanna72

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I cannot believe this cat. He’s been eating the Fancy Feast I’ve been giving him the past day or two. So I put it in his microchip feeder tonight and he doesn’t want it. Goes to the spot I’ve been feeding him and begs. So I move the feeder over there. No interest. I take the bowl out of the feeder and on the floor. Nope. So I put it on a plate. He starts to eat it. He didn’t eat all of it, but it’s the dish he objects to? I also put freeze fried chicken on it and he’s not interested. Now he stopped eating it again. He wants Greenies.
 

Astragal14

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I cannot believe this cat. He’s been eating the Fancy Feast I’ve been giving him the past day or two. So I put it in his microchip feeder tonight and he doesn’t want it. Goes to the spot I’ve been feeding him and begs. So I move the feeder over there. No interest. I take the bowl out of the feeder and on the floor. Nope. So I put it on a plate. He starts to eat it. He didn’t eat all of it, but it’s the dish he objects to? I also put freeze fried chicken on it and he’s not interested. Now he stopped eating it again. He wants Greenies.
This isn't just pickiness. The two most likely situations are nausea (that could have various causes) or whisker fatigue, and I think it's most likely nausea. The fact that he's begging for food means that he is hungry and he is interested.

Other posters have also mentioned Cerenia and other anti nausea/anti emetic options - I think you should definitely contact your vet to ask about these. It's possible they may even be able to prescribe something over the phone and save you the time and expense of an appointment.

You could also try either alternating the Fancy Feast and the A/D, or try mixing them. But it's common to have nauseated cats reject new foods after just a few days, so you may want to try other foods that are completely new. The goal is to keep him eating enough on a daily basis until he can either be seen by a vet or be given some anti nausea meds.
 
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