New Cat Not Eating

Danneq

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I know that it's not uncommon for a new cat to stop eating. I am especially concerned, however, because this is Lexi's third home in about as many weeks. Her owner had to go into assisted living and asked her neighbor to take Lexi in and find her a good home. The neighbor is an acquaintance of my mom's, had her a little less than two weeks, and now Lexi is here with me. She apparently spent most of her time at the neighbor's house hiding under her son's bed; she free feeds dry food in her home, so there's no way to know what Lexi was eating or not eating while she was there.

We're on day three here. I've been trying several different types of food. She seems eager when I put food down, but usually sniffs it and walks away. She ate a couple of mouthfuls of wet food on Sunday, and nothing much on Monday. I even tried some dry food, in case she's never had wet food before and really wanted kibble, but she didn't touch it. The only thing she's reliably eating is Temptations cat treats and Delectables Squeeze Ups. (She turned her nose up at a Tiki Cat Squeeze Up, though that was immediately after the Delectables one, so I'll try again later.)

We have a vet appointment on Friday for a checkup. I'm sure everything will be fine, but also I have anxiety, so I'm just looking for advice in the meantime. Should I just keep feeding her the equivalent of cat candy (the treats) since that's what she's reliably eating, just to get some calories into her? Should I keep trying different foods until I find one she likes? Or would some consistency be better, ie keep giving her the same type of food even if she wasn't interested in it the previous time, so that she can get used to something? Am I freaking out about nothing? Should I call the vet and see if we can get in sooner?

Thanks!
 

fionasmom

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She is a very pretty girl and very lucky to have found someone to take her. That is certainly not the fate of a lot of cats who lose their elderly owner.

Lexi must have eaten something in the last two weeks or she would be in much worse shape. Do you know the brand of dry food that your mom's friend fed, just in case that was her favorite?

The fact that she is eating two cat products which are known for being extremely appealing to cats is both the good news...that she is eating...and the bad news....that their extreme appeal and flavor might be all that are enticing her to eat. Does she eat these, forgetting for a minute that she can't live on them, with a good appetite or do you feel that she only takes small portions even at that?

Some cat like Gerber's baby food meats, the stage 2 sitter food. I have even fed the ham flavor in a pinch.

It is good that you have the appointment lined up for Friday. Is she drinking water? If not, this might be somewhat more crucial. Can you call the vet and describe what is going on and see if they want to see her sooner? Not eating from Tuesday to Friday, or eating little, is in a gray area of comfort for me. Do you think that she got into anything, ate anything that she should not have? Using the litter box and it looks normal?
 
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Danneq

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I have asked my mom to try and get the brand of food; the person who took her in is a busy single mom (hence why she didn't want to keep her permanently) so contact isn't always reliable, but Ma's going to ask.

I would say that she eats the Temptations and the Squeeze Ups with a gusto! I would be even more worried otherwise. I set up a cat fountain and saw her drink from it once, so probably she's had more to drink that I didn't see (can't confirm that, but it seems likely).

I can head to the store and pick up some baby food. Are there any other foods that are known to be super enticing? I've heard of bonito flakes but I haven't used them before. I wonder if I could hide a little bit of wet food in a plate of Squeeze Up, maybe sneak some real food into her that way.

I do not think that she got into anything she shouldn't have. If she'd eaten something bad at the last house, I think she'd be showing more symptoms by now, and I cat-proofed here pretty thoroughly. No vomiting. She is not acting listless or weak. We even played with a wand toy earlier today and she jumped up into the air. She goes back and forth between wanting to hide and wanting attention, which seems very normal.

And like I said, she acts eager when I put food down; I feel like she's waiting for me to put down the food she's used to, that her original owner fed her, and I just have no way of knowing what that was. It's just too much change, too fast. She's hungry, but she wants her food, and she's worked up enough to ignore anything else except the treats. I'm just worried about getting enough nutrition into her until she feels more comfortable, especially since she probably had a poor appetite at the last place, too.

There wasn't much in the litterbox yesterday. I will check today asap.
 

fionasmom

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Bonito flakes
Any Good Tips To Get Your Cats To Eat? Share Them Here!

I do combine any toppers with food in order to encourage eating the entire meal, so that is probably a great idea. Since she is eating those treats with enthusiasm, you are probably okay to wait for the vet appointment unless you see something over the next two days that is worrisome like a refusal of food or water. I wonder if the person who originally owned Lexi might have mentioned to the neighbor what she was being fed....hard to tell, especially if moving into assisted living was urgent and sudden. It well could be a case of wanting her own food. I have pet cats who are the same way and who are inflexible if their food is not available and there have been no upheavals in their lives for years.

The two links above might give you some ideas about food that she will eat until you settle this with her. The first is about bonito flakes, which you may not need to read, and the second is all sorts of ideas for enticing a cat to eat.
 
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Danneq

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Thank you for the link!

Litterbox had no scat, but several clumps, so that's good, it means she is drinking.
 
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Danneq

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Aaaaand the Squeeze Up with food hidden in it didn't work... I did about a teaspoon, maybe that was too much? Or maybe she doesn't like my plates or something. Though I did try offering it to her by hand (since that's how Squeeze Ups usually work) but that was after she'd turned her nose up the first time. She definitely tasted it, at least.

New plan, I'm going to the store tomorrow to get her a bowl and pick up some things from those links, and I'll start out with literally just Squeeze Up in the bowl and will add in actual food in teeny tiny amounts. That'll get us through to the vet appointment, at least.

Are there cat vitamins that I can pick up? Like a flavorless powder that I could add to her "candy" to give it a little nutritional boost?
 

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If you can afford it I would buy one can of chicken/beef/fish in each of the supermarket brands and offer them to her, one at each meal. Start with wet because she wasn't all that interested in food at rescue house, and people with just one cat are more likely to buy wet. There is a good chance that her original person was buying her food at the grocery, at least, enough of a chance to give you decent odds.

I know that's a lot of food, but there's really no other way to figure out what she used to eat than to keep offering different foods.
 

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I commend you for taking in this lovebug. It is such a kind thing to do.

Have you tried Fancy Feast or Frisies. They seem to be almost like kitty crack. If her previous owner was a senior, most likely these would be the foods your baby was being fed.

Or stinky people tuna fish? or even sardines, just to get her to eat.

She is really traumatized. Being in 3 homes in 2 weeks, losing her beloved owner is quite traumatic. My guy had that happen, and hid under my bed for a very long time.

Doe she llke to play? This can be a way to get her out of her depression.

So glad you are going to the Vet.

It is a good thing she is out, on top of the bed, and not hiding. Spend time, cuddling with her.. allowing her to get to know you and feel safe, secure.
The securness will be more evident to her, when you return home from the Vet.

(((hugs))))
 
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Danneq

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YOU GUYS, I was too lazy to pick up the plate right away LEFT THE PLATE WITH THE SQUEEZE UP + TEASPOON OF WETFOOD OUT LONGER THAN USUAL AND WHEN I CAME BACK TO IT SHE HAD EATEN IT!!! :yess: That was about an hour after I posted that it hadn't worked, so it took her maybe two hours to get to it. It's still not a lot, but it's something.

Good points about store brands and Fancy Feast/Friskies. I'll get some of those, too.

We've done a little bit of playing, and I've seen her play by herself a little bit, too. We are fortunate enough to have some of her toys from her original house, and I think that helps. Right now her safe place is on top of a tall bookcase, looking out the window, but she's spending more time down on the floor so far today! *knocks wood* She hopped up on the couch to say hi, and now she's lying on the floor about ten feet away from me. (And literally as I wrote that, the air conditioner made a funny noise and she went back to the bookcase. Baby steps. We'll get there.)
 

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I'm glad to hear she's started eating!

Either way, definitely try the Friskies! When we adopted our cats, they immediately got respiratory infections... and Friskies was what they'd eat. (The shelter had even sent us home with a few cans of Friskies since that's what they fed there.) Smelly foods are usually the best. Those and (for our cats) PureBites freeze-dried chicken treats. They love love love love them.

Fingers crossed that it will continue to get better.
 

artiemom

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She may also be accustomed to free feeding. If it were me, I would leave the food out for her to nibble on.

She sounds as if she is progressing very well.

There may be a setback after the Vet visit.

Play is great therapy for kitties.
Glad you have some of her old toys. Great idea.

Are you running Feliway? Some people swear by it. My guy seems to have a positive response to it.

((( hugs))))
 
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Danneq

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I think it has more to do with being a Squeeze Up. I left her breakfast out and she hasn't touched it. I'm getting more Squeeze Ups after work.

Feliway, yes! My previous experiences with it have been middling, but they certainly don't hurt and I wanted all of my bases covered. There's on in the bedroom (coincidentally?) right by the bookcase she likes. I ordered a second one for the living room.
 

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free feeding is good. Some cats want you to stay with them while they eat, others really like eating by themselves if possible. Since her owner was older, I suspect she wasn't up to standing there waiting as kit ate her meals, so she's probably used to you put the plate down and leave. She might well have been wondering what you were going to do when you stayed by the plate. Not in a bad way, just waiting to see before she made herself vulnerable enough to eat. Eating position is vulnerable.
 
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Danneq

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Oh, to be clear, I wasn't putting the food down and then immediately picking it back up when she walked away. I would put it down, watch her for a couple minutes, and then leave it, hoping she'd go back to it. She just never did go back to anything until last night.
 
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Danneq

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We're not there yet, but we had a bit of a breakthrough last night. She sat on my lap for at least an hour! Then, a few days ago, I left a bowl of dry food out, and she never touched it. It's my brother's cat's urinary health food, though, so I figured she just didn't like it, like, eh, who wants to eat someone else's weird diet? But when I woke up this morning the bowl was empty. 😍

I put out more of the dry food, though I don't think she's had any. When I put down a plate of canned food this morning, she ate at least five bites! The most she'd done before was lick it once or twice. I left that plate out while I went to my riding lesson and I'm pretty sure she ate a little bit more while I was gone.

Her vet appointment is this afternoon. I am very eager to hear what the vet has to say, but I'm so relieved that she's making progress!
 

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Regarding the wet food, I just wanted to note that she might take better to one texture over another (e.g., mushy pate style vs. chunks of meat).
 
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Danneq

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Yeah, I've tried pate, shredded, grilled (whatever that means), and flaked.

I was finally, at the last minute, able to get the name of her previous vet, and they faxed her new vet her records. She is 1.7 years old (so her birthday would be sometime in November, if I'm math-ing correctly). The records stated that she'd been fed "3 oz cans" of cat food, so, you know, I just need to narrow my search down to every kind that comes in 3 oz cans. Thanks, absolutely nobody, that's not helpful. Except in that it means that she did eat wet food, so I can stop fretting that she's waiting for me to put kibble down.

Whatever, I think at this point it's probably best to pick one food (or a couple different kinds, for options) and try to settle her into it, rather that jumping around trying to find the "right" one. Her appetite has improved enough that I'm not worried so much as trying to problem solve. Her weight was just fine, too.

She flipped out when I carried her out the door, though. Which, I don't blame her, all the times she's been put in a carrier and taken somewhere recently have been upsetting changes. She cried the whole way there and the whole way back, but she seemed okay once we got back here. She's forgiven me, at least, even though they had to take blood from three different legs because her veins were not forthcoming.
 
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