Getting cat to eat (8 months BSH) by himself

kbc2021

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Hello. I think we may have brought this on ourselves. But it has been getting quite difficult to get my cat (BSH - 8 months) to eat by himself without us hand-feeding him. Though this only applies to wet food.
With dry food, he would quite happily go and graze on it from a raised bowl.

For a good few months we've kinda nurtured the habit of hand feeding him with spoon due to the difficulty of getting him to eat on his own and we are now trying to do the strict thing of putting wet food in a bowl in a designated area and remove it after 1-2 hours without giving in to feeding him.

This is probably the 3rd series of attempt because his characteristics seems to prefer sleep and play over eat. It's like he would sleep off the hunger rather than touch the wet food. Hence the first few tries led to us giving in and just placing dry food down.

Any advise?
 

ArtNJ

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Yes, you brought it at least partially on. Cats are very ritual based, and you've created a ritual. Its going to have to be a combination solution of finding a wet food he likes better (or mixing as suggested above) and going cold turkey on the ritual.

My suggestion is that once you find a wet food he likes (or mixture), stop feeing dry, at least for a bit. As long as your cat is eating at least something in a 24 hour period, he will not starve and the problem won't last more than 2-3 days max. Cats do not like moist food much once it sits out long enough to brown, but they *will* eat it when they get hungry enough. Indeed, my current two cats have their own weird ritual. They don't eat all of their moist food during the day. I add more for a final meal when I put them to bed, and overnight they eat all of it, including the browned food. I've tried to varying feeding times and portion sizes, and they just won't eat it all during the day. Ultimately, I'm ok with it. Browned food is not as tasty, but it will not actually hurt them as long as they eat it overnight (any left over will be completely inedible the next day).

But to start, you might need to mix it with the dry, gradually reducing it. Cats sometimes need some time with a new food to get used to it, and mixing it with the familiar liked food helps, gradually reducing the old food in the mixture.
 
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kbc2021

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One morning I tried to give him 20g of wet (which isn't a lot) and put in some of his usual cooked chicken (which he'd be ok with though he still prefers dry) Didn't take a sniff at it... And after 3 hours still no luck.

I will try adding just some of his usual dry and try.

Typically we have been doing this.
Morning and afternoon is wet food but have to hand feed and chase him. Then at night, leave out dry which similar to ArtNJ, he would eat it all along with some chicken soup in a separate bowl. But during the day it's really difficult.

Trying to solve 2 things, get out of our brought on habit of chasing him and hand feeding him wet and then the other is making him self-eat wet food.

Just a reflection on past, is it ok for him to really be so stubborn and just reject and sleep through day to avoid the wet then wait for his dry when we are all about to sleep? My partner has been getting all stressed out and worrying about him not eating.

Sorry for such long post.
 

ArtNJ

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Ok, we do need to pay some attention to how much our cats eat, and to changes, since eating less all of a sudden can be a mark of illness. HOWEVER, it will drive you CRAZY if you worry to much about random day to day fluctuations and/or reactions to a particular food. I would move to 3 meals at consistent times, with one right before bed. Then just don't worry about what is eaten, beyond the overall strategy of mixing the food they like with what they don't at the start.

A part of this may be that your feeding real chicken and chicken soup a bit. Cats love love love freshly cooked chicken. You'd probably go on a hunger strike too if you got one 4 star restaurant quality meal a day and for your other two meals got a PB&J and a hot dog. So that isn't helping. More simplicity in feeding will be your friend.
 
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kbc2021

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Thanks ArtNJ, so for today, we put down 20g of wet and I put in a few pieces of dry. He still didn't touch it, so after 1-2 hours, take it away and move onto the next feeding time with wet food again?

For the evening, should I be removing the pure dry so he doesn't think he can starve till bed time?
 

ArtNJ

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I'd suggest just leaving it out. It will brown, and be less apetizing, but its there if he gets hungry. If its all still there at the next meal time, throw it out, but if its 1/2 there, you can stir it in with the new food. He will eat once he is hungry enough and realizes that fresh chicken isn't around the corner.

If its totally driving you crazy, you could just back off and measure a portion of dry for 3 meals, leaving it out until eaten. Even many of the cat lovers on this forum feed all dry; it isn't a sin. If it leads to weight problems or hunger at 3 am thats another thing, but if you are measuring the portions it should hopefully be ok.
 

verna davies

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The important thing is that he's eating even if it's only dry although wet is better for them. If it's only dry make sure he drinks lo of water. Try warming the wet in the microwave for a couple of seconds to bring out the smell, try using paper plates, put the food in different places. I know how frustrating and stressful it can be but said, as long as he is eating and drinking.
 

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Any update about your cat? I have a very similar experience. However, my cat used to love wet food when she was a kitten. She just turned one year old and she suddenly refuse to eat wet food in a bowl or a dish. She will eat wet food hand feI tried mixing dry and wet food with no success. I tried different brand, flavors, and textures. But she just sniff and walk away. She eats a few bites of dry food though. I’m worried she might lose a lot of weight and get sick. We already went to the vet twice and all her bloodwork and X-ray came back normal.

I can’t leave the wet food out for too long because my other cat is an overeater!

Any advise?
 

vansX2

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Hello. I think we may have brought this on ourselves. But it has been getting quite difficult to get my cat (BSH - 8 months) to eat by himself without us hand-feeding him. Though this only applies to wet food.
With dry food, he would quite happily go and graze on it from a raised bowl.

For a good few months we've kinda nurtured the habit of hand feeding him with spoon due to the difficulty of getting him to eat on his own and we are now trying to do the strict thing of putting wet food in a bowl in a designated area and remove it after 1-2 hours without giving in to feeding him.

This is probably the 3rd series of attempt because his characteristics seems to prefer sleep and play over eat. It's like he would sleep off the hunger rather than touch the wet food. Hence the first few tries led to us giving in and just placing dry food down.

Any advise?
Why not alternate feeding wet one day and dry the next. Add a water fountain too ensure he receives a ample amount of moisture. I feed both wet and dry "Blue Buffalo Wilderness. Plus I have a water fountain that runs 24/7. For the dry I'm using chicken with hairball control and I mix it with the Rocky Mountain receipe dry food. I tried the dry fish, but they didn't seem to interested.
 
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