Help with Cat Not Eating - What to Try Before Making Vet Appointment

chris87

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I'm trying to figure out what the best strategy is when you have a cat who isn't eating (prior to going to the vet). What I mean by this is whether it's best to put out a few different foods and leave them or if I should try them one at a time. I know sometimes they can get food aversion, and I don't want to aggravate the issue.

I had posted last month. My cat (16 female) had stopped eating on a Wednesday, and I took her to the vet on Friday afternoon. By the time of her appointment, she had started eating a bit again. They gave her fluids, Maropitant/Cerenia, and Elura. She seemed to be doing fine over the past few weeks. Everything was okay on the bloodwork, except her creatinine was slightly raised. He kind of thought it was a blip because her BUN and other markers were fine (he said maybe it's from the vomiting/dehydration). I was supposed to make an appointment for last week to have it retested, and I just forgot to do it. That was really stupid on my part.

This morning, she didn't eat her normal food. I stopped home at lunch to check on her, and she was walking around but still not eating. I tried giving her a packet of chicken/broth, but she wouldn't go for that either. I also tried the freeze dried. She smelled each multiple times but then walked away. I left everything down for her in case her appetite improved while I was at work. I'm praying that when I get home, she'll have eaten something. In the past, she has liked the Applaws brand chicken/broth, so I'm going to pick that up. Lately, I've been giving her the Weruva chicken, and she really enjoys it. I was surprised to see her not eat it this morning. She had been eating Tiki Chicken for a couple of weeks but doesn't seem to like it as much. I do have the Elura and Maropitant from the last appointment, and I'm wondering if it would be worth trying them tonight. Is it bad to leave several different foods out through the night? I'm not sure if all the different scents may make the problem worse, or if I have nothing to lose by doing so. I appreciate any advice, suggestions, etc.
 

mrsgreenjeens

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I don't think there is a right or wrong in this case. If it's a persistent issue, like she is just being picky, I would NOT leave out a buffet for her, but in this case, I don't see any issue in leaving out a few different foods for her, especially if you give her the Elura and Maropitant because by tonight she may be especially hungry.
 

FeebysOwner

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I guess I would call the vet, tell them what is going on, and see if they think it would be OK to restart the Elura and Maropitant to see how she responds. If you can't reach them, then I think I would still try, and leave a message telling them what you are doing. I also wouldn't be all that hesitant to try leaving at least a couple of foods out for her - at least the ones you think she would best respond to.

Can you check to see if she is dehydrated? Sometimes, that will affect a cat's interest in food as they just don't feel as well. She is 16, so another vet visit, as they suggested, is probably warranted.
 

Astragal14

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Definitely ask your vet about using the Elura and Maropitant, and also ask them if there are any situations where it is okay to just go ahead and give her one or both of those meds without waiting to hear back from the vet - that way you may not have to wait up to a full day before you can help increase her appetite.

Also ask you vet about giving her a B12 injection, this can help when nausea is a cause of inappetence. It would be very easy to add to her creatinine re-check appointment.

Another thing you can try at home is sprinkling Forti Flora on her food. This is a mild probiotic that is frequently used as an appetite stimulant due to the animal digest. Many cats love the smell and taste of it.
PURINA PRO PLAN VETERINARY DIETS FortiFlora Powder Digestive Supplement for Cats, 30 count - Chewy.com

There is a wide variety of suggestions in this article, from raising food bowls to warming food to pretending to eat it yourself!
Tanya's Comprehensive Guide to Feline Chronic Kidney Disease - Persuading Your Cat to Eat
 
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chris87

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I am so sorry for the delay in posting an update. I ended up not being able to get an appointment with my normal vet. I was able to find another vet who could see her. They asked if the fluids she received the prior month had helped her. I said that they made a big difference. They said there is no harm in giving them to her, and they also offered to show me how to administer them and sent me home with supplies. They gave me transdermal mirtazapine (Mirataz), which they thought may be easier for me than the Elura. They also gave her an injection of Cerenia. I noticed a big improvement that evening. She seemed very hungry, and I hadn't even given her the appetite stimulant. I put maybe 10-15 different foods in front of her, but she wouldn't eat any of them. I finally had success with Weruva Paw Lickin' Chicken. She ate all of it, and I fed that throughout the next day. I've also been able to get her to eat Weruva Truluxe Quick 'N Quirky Chicken & Turkey, which she liked in the past. For whatever reason, she will not eat Tiki Chicken Consomme, which used to be her favorite.

On a whim, I bought a bag of Northwest Naturals freeze dried raw. I hadn't seen this particular one before, and I don't know if it's considered a good food. The reason I purchased it is that I noticed the morsels are smaller than the Stella & Chewy's that she used to eat, and I thought the texture might appeal to her. I gave her some as a treat, and yesterday, I fed it to her as a meal. She seems to like it, maybe not as much as the Weruva, but at least it gives me another option.

She's supposed to go back to the vet on Friday (this is the one who she saw last week). I really liked them, and I'm thinking about switching there permanently. They even texted me this morning to see how everything was going and if I needed anything. Mine would never do that. Their focus seemed to be on getting her stabilized, and I think they assumed I would resume care at my normal vet.

I have to say that I have been very stressed out. I find myself constantly worried about her, whether she's going to eat that day, whether she'll be okay, etc. I know she can't live forever, but I just want to keep her healthy for as long as possible. I'm constantly worried about what to feed her and how much to give her. I don't know if I should rotate or just stick with one or two things that work. The Weruva cans say 1 oz per pound, so I've been feeding her three 3 oz cans per day. That's 153 kcal, and I'm not sure if I should give her more. She does seem like she wants to eat again at night, and I'm concerned about either overfeeding or underfeeding. Yesterday, I gave her two 3 oz cans and a 1/2 cup of the Northwest Naturals freeze dried. I'm not quite sure how many calories that is, but it is probably slightly higher than the 3 cans of Weruva. I have this constant fear that I'm going to do something that will jeopardize her health, but I'm trying to do the best I can.

When I go back on Saturday, my thought is that I should ask them to recheck her creatinine and see how it is. She had bloodwork in April 2021, and it was all normal. My worry is that something is in fact going on since she needed fluids again within 45 days of her last appointment. I am amazed at what a remarkable difference they've made. They didn't really tell me if/when to administer the fluids, but I'm assuming that can be determine based on how the labs look. I also will ask about a B12 injection, as one of the posts recommended. Is there anything else that I should do/mention?

If anyone has any suggestions or advice, I would definitely appreciate it. I'm trying to do as much as possible to keep her healthy. Sorry again for the late response.
 

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I'm glad to hear you've been able to get your cat to eat! What is her name, by the way?

Northwest Naturals is good food. It does, however, have bone in it so I'd be cautious about feeding her a lot of it. When I checked phosphorus levels with the company in 2016, they said the turkey had 1.7 dry matter phosphorus and the chicken had 1.2 dry matter phosphorus. That may have changed so if you plan to continue feeding NW, I'd suggest contacting the company to get updated numbers. Given that you're using fluids, if you're not adding water to the freeze-dried food, which is intended to be rehydrated, you may need to use more fluids if you're feeding a lot of dry freeze-dried food. You could try slowly introducing water to the NW meals. We've had success with that by just putting a few pieces of the crumbled food on a plate of water! Freeze-dried food also makes a good topper for canned food. Adding a little extra water to the canned food and then sprinkling it with crumbs of freeze-dried is a good meal! One other thing about freeze-dried food and hydration: as I mentioned, NW contains bone, which can constipate some cats. And constipation can make a cat less hungry. We've been through that with one of our cats.

It is very, very stressful to go through these sorts of feeding problems. I agree with Furballsmom Furballsmom about letting your cat decide what to feed her. Sometimes just altering the proportions of what's on the plate can make a big difference. So maybe at one meal there's more NW and less Weruva. And then vice versa for the next meal. If it's feasible and sustainable to feed her more meals a day (it sounds like she might want that?) I'd suggest trying that and feeding different foods (or "variations on a theme"!) at each one. That approach works well with our cats.
 
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chris87

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chris87

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I'm glad to hear you've been able to get your cat to eat! What is her name, by the way?

Northwest Naturals is good food. It does, however, have bone in it so I'd be cautious about feeding her a lot of it. When I checked phosphorus levels with the company in 2016, they said the turkey had 1.7 dry matter phosphorus and the chicken had 1.2 dry matter phosphorus. That may have changed so if you plan to continue feeding NW, I'd suggest contacting the company to get updated numbers. Given that you're using fluids, if you're not adding water to the freeze-dried food, which is intended to be rehydrated, you may need to use more fluids if you're feeding a lot of dry freeze-dried food. You could try slowly introducing water to the NW meals. We've had success with that by just putting a few pieces of the crumbled food on a plate of water! Freeze-dried food also makes a good topper for canned food. Adding a little extra water to the canned food and then sprinkling it with crumbs of freeze-dried is a good meal! One other thing about freeze-dried food and hydration: as I mentioned, NW contains bone, which can constipate some cats. And constipation can make a cat less hungry. We've been through that with one of our cats.

It is very, very stressful to go through these sorts of feeding problems. I agree with Furballsmom Furballsmom about letting your cat decide what to feed her. Sometimes just altering the proportions of what's on the plate can make a big difference. So maybe at one meal there's more NW and less Weruva. And then vice versa for the next meal. If it's feasible and sustainable to feed her more meals a day (it sounds like she might want that?) I'd suggest trying that and feeding different foods (or "variations on a theme"!) at each one. That approach works well with our cats.
Her name is Bella. Thanks for the information on Northwest Naturals. At least I know it's a good quality food. I am actually feeding it to her rehydrated. I did give it to her dry a couple of times when I was using it as a treat (just to introduce it). I put a bit more water than they recommend, because I feel like the extra fluid is beneficial for her. Unfortunately, I hadn't thought about the phosphorus content, so I will contact them to ask. I'm not sure if I should stop feeding this. I definitely am going to ask them to do bloodwork on Saturday, so I have a better idea of where she stands.

I used to feed her 2x a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. I'm now doing 3x a day. I feel like she prefers that, and it helps me monitor her more closely. I work right near my house, so I run home at lunchtime to feed and check on her. I wish she would start eating the Tiki again, but I've had no luck.

One thing that I've noticed is that she does not seem to like cold/refrigerated food. I've been buying the small 3 oz cans instead of the 5.5 oz, even though it's not as cost effective. I seem to have more difficulty when I feed her a second serving from an open can. I do wish I could find one or two more foods to add to the rotation. Thank you everyone for all of the suggestions, encouragement, etc. I'm just hoping everything goes well on Saturday.
 

lisahe

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Her name is Bella. Thanks for the information on Northwest Naturals. At least I know it's a good quality food. I am actually feeding it to her rehydrated. I did give it to her dry a couple of times when I was using it as a treat (just to introduce it). I put a bit more water than they recommend, because I feel like the extra fluid is beneficial for her. Unfortunately, I hadn't thought about the phosphorus content, so I will contact them to ask. I'm not sure if I should stop feeding this. I definitely am going to ask them to do bloodwork on Saturday, so I have a better idea of where she stands.

I used to feed her 2x a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. I'm now doing 3x a day. I feel like she prefers that, and it helps me monitor her more closely. I work right near my house, so I run home at lunchtime to feed and check on her. I wish she would start eating the Tiki again, but I've had no luck.

One thing that I've noticed is that she does not seem to like cold/refrigerated food. I've been buying the small 3 oz cans instead of the 5.5 oz, even though it's not as cost effective. I seem to have more difficulty when I feed her a second serving from an open can. I do wish I could find one or two more foods to add to the rotation. Thank you everyone for all of the suggestions, encouragement, etc. I'm just hoping everything goes well on Saturday.
Yes, I think Northwest Naturals is excellent food. I took our cats off raw food a few months ago and it's one of the ones I kind of miss feeding them. I'm glad Bella like it dehydrated and that you use extra water -- we did the same. I'd also suggest contacting Stella & Chewy's if you decide to return to their freeze-dried food. Their Stella's Selects (frozen patties) are made with egg shell calcium instead of bone but many of their FD foods have (at least in the past) had a lot of bone and so had high phosphorus. That may have changed since I contacted them for numbers and did calculations some 5-10 years ago! I hope it's changed.

As for the blood work, you mentioned that Bella's creatinine is slightly raised... Just in case your vet hasn't mentioned this (or you haven't seen this in other Cat Site threads!), a diet that's high in protein and very low in carbs can result in elevated creatinine. We've been through that when our cats had to have dental surgery: the vet ran a second test (I don't remember what, unfortunately) on them. Everything was fine. There's more about this issue here.

I think a lot of us have the same problem feeding leftovers to our cats! One food that our cats seem to lap up on the second and even third day is Mouser. I order Mouser from Incredible Pets. I can't say the cats are absoltuely in love with Mouser but they've been eating three kinds very consistently. Incredible Pets also sells Rawz pates, which our cats used to go back and forth on but now seem to enjoy; the cats have been enjoying those, too. Both those brands have good ingredients.

Anyway, good luck with the feeding and Bella's upcoming appointment!
 
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