please help save my cat - picky eater

gaogier

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Hello

Just a brief info, I am autistic and my cats are my life, without them I won't be here...

So, in March, 2021, my 10 year old cat, died, with no symptoms or cause.

In 2017 my dog died, who basically was my oldest cats best friend. My cat was 7KG when my dog died, and this hit him harder than I thought, as the last 4 years my cat has slowly lost weight. With the fact his food he eat changed the recipe, my cat has never eaten cat food, except this dry food. So I have been feeding him home prepared and home cooked meals.

MY cat is now 4KG and is now skin and bones. I have tried every single cat food brand out there, he will not touch any of it. My vet said that nothing is physically making him like this, but said, if he is hungry enough he will eat what I cook and gave me some good ideas. However he would eat what I have cooked for him that day or 2 worth of meals. However he must of gotten bored or something as after eating say the chicken meal, for 2 days he would refuse to eat that again for a while.

The vet and people who have "given advise" have all basically said that he will eat it if he is hungry enough. Well, he has lost 3KG, and has always been looking for food. The last 3 months, has been a really big pain for me, and for bubbles, lets say, I cook him chicken, he would eat it, but after a couple of meals he would stop eating it, I would then cook him a fish meal, he would eat that, and so on so forth.

This is where I need your help/advise
Say I have cooked him chicken meal, he doesn't want that, so I cook him say salmon meal, he doesn't want that either, so I try a beef meal, not interested, so I cook him a pork meal and he would eat loads of it. The last 3 months this has been getting worse and worse, he would eat the second meal, then would eat the 3rd meal, then the 2nd meal, but closer to now, I am having to cook several meals for him, which is a waste really of meat and that animals life as he won't eat it.

I have cooked for the past 5 hours or so, different meals hoping he would eat one, but as far more days like this, he ends up eating nothing that day. I really need to find out what's going on in his head and get him to eat the meals I give him first, eat enough so he can start to regain weight, but I have no idea where to start.
 

GustifursMom

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Get him a friend, this seems like loneliness. I had this same experience and getting the cat who is grieving another friend might help.
 

susanm9006

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I would be very concerned if your cat continued to lose weight. Has your vet done a full blood panel and has your cat had his teeth cleaned lately? I would first be persistent in looking for a physical reason for his lack of appetite. I would also ask your vet if he can prescribe something that increases his appetite. As far as food, I think he would do better on a commercial high quality wet food supplemented with kibble. Your home cooked food may not have the nutrients in it that he needs. You may have to try quite a few to find one he likes but having a variety of different flavors for his daily meal may make him more interested in eating it.
 
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gaogier

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Get him a friend, this seems like loneliness. I had this same experience and getting the cat who is grieving another friend might help.
I have 3 other cats, 2 are from his biological mother and father, but different litter. we also look after my sisters dog, when she is at work (paramedic), so its almost random when we get the dog, but bubbles does cuddle up with my niece who was born about 10 days before we lost our dog. When she is here (quite often) he loves her and is always around her, my niece will be 4 on thursday,
I would be very concerned if your cat continued to lose weight. Has your vet done a full blood panel and has your cat had his teeth cleaned lately? I would first be persistent in looking for a physical reason for his lack of appetite. I would also ask your vet if he can prescribe something that increases his appetite. As far as food, I think he would do better on a commercial high quality wet food supplemented with kibble. Your home cooked food may not have the nutrients in it that he needs. You may have to try quite a few to find one he likes but having a variety of different flavors for his daily meal may make him more interested in eating it.
I have literally tried every cat food I can get here in the UK, even ordered from abroad. I have spoken/taken him to about 6 vets regarding this and other than him having a mouth ulcer about 11 years ago, the vets have provided me with like some sort of supplements for my cat, which I put with his food. (another reason why I can't keep wasting food), Bollo would eat what bubbles left behind when he had finished what he wanted, However Bollo has gotten too chunky now, over eating, so the food is wasted.
In 2019, in the summer, I have my sofa under the main window in the living room, where I keep my drink, I am able to open the window, and my cats use the window (well not all my cats use it), so, picture this, I am thirsty so I go and grab my drink which is on the window sill I pickup the drink, and at the same time, bubbles jumps though the window and head first straight into my hand/fist type grip and didn't really think anything off it, about 2 hours earlier he had all his teeth, about 10mins after accidently hitting my cat, I noticed that he has lost the bottom fang on the left side (I think). due to this, he does find picking up meat with a fang missing, and needs "more room" to eat, so he will eat off the floor, or we have got him a wide bowl, else he will use his paw and take the food out of the bowl. He can eat biscuits but wont eat anything premade from the shops. I have to make that at home, and someone has given me a recipe to use up the left over tuna and make it into a biscuit treat.

Yes the vet said that his remaining teeth are in good condition after what he had gone through. I feel extremely bad regarding the tooth loose.
 

FeebysOwner

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I have literally tried every cat food I can get here in the UK, even ordered from abroad. I have spoken/taken him to about 6 vets regarding this and other than him having a mouth ulcer about 11 years ago, the vets have provided me with like some sort of supplements for my cat, which I put with his food. (another reason why I can't keep wasting food)
I understand you've seen or talked to 6 vets, but did any of them run any tests? That is crucial in trying to determine what might be the issue. If none of them have run at least blood tests, then they are just not doing the very basic due diligence for Bubbles. He has got a health issue that is not being addressed. You said he is always looking for food, but doesn't eat much if anything - that can be a sign of nausea or an upset stomach. If he gets feeling bad after eating, he correlates feeling bad to that food - that might be why he will eat something initially and then stop.

Also, do you know what is in the supplement the vet is selling you? There are OTC supplements to add to home made foods that you can get that are probably cheaper, and may be better in terms of content.

You also said something about some dry food that he will eat - if that is still the case, until you find out what is going on - feed it to him.
 
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gaogier

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The dry food he used to eat, no longer exists. I am going to try and make some homemade though, saves wasting the meat that I have been cooking,

I never thought about if the foods is making him feel unwell, to be fair, last week, he was sick... I as normal was cooking 4-5 different meals for him, and then I cooked a steak, and he loved it so much he over eat and was sick.
The vet has not found anything to be concerned about. 3 different online vets said its most likely a behaviour problem as he can eat it, does eat it but being picky... One tried to explain that if you feed a child who normally likes chicken nuggets, is given chicken nuggets but wants pizza, the child wont want to eat the chicken nuggets, and its down to me to get him to eat it as would a parent, who wouldn't give in and feed the child pizza, which is what I am doing to bubbles.

This is why I am here, how can I get him to eat what I provide him?


oh, I am not sure of the current supplements, not brought from a vet, but got what they told me to via online and in stores, I think the first few months I used something by Vet-IQ, I then tried the kitten milk formula but he didn't like that so much, I think that is from royal canin...

I have just came across this,
Powdered Bovine Fat
Sorry for the bigger text there, but I have read some reviews, this can put weight back on a cat. Any reviews and shouldn't I at least try it?
 

ArtNJ

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Now I don't think you mentioned the cats age. As gets get older, they sometimes do lose their sense of smell, which affects their willingness to eat. If its that, then yes, tinkering with foods and adding things to get it to smell more might help! I hope its normal aging and by tinking/adding things you can solve this!

However, I have to be blunt. Twice now you have not answered the question about what tests were done. The basic blood panel is rather expensive, and you would likely know if it was done. If it wasn't done, the vet is talking out of his butt. It was either done, or not, and that is the most single and critical fact in evaluating where to go from here. If you don't know, then you need to stop tinkering with foods and find out.
 
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gaogier

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my main vet is the PDSA, where I am autistic I am also disabled and I know this may sound strange to you...

I tend to worry, i mean extreme levels here, and I go over every outcome, this is until I find out the news/results and then it goes completely out of my head.

I can't take any of my cats to the vets, both physically and I can't deal with it mentally. My sister takes them for me on my behalf - hence why I am unsure of exactly what was said or what was tested for.
Here in the UK our main vet is PDSA, which is a vet charity. They did wonders for my dog, who ripped and damaged his ligaments in his knee and had a major surgery and then didn't heal, he was in a lot of pain and towards the end he ended up having tumours over his body. So, my cat has had some tests done, I have no idea what they tested him for, they obviously checked him over. All I was told there wasn't anything abnormal that was found.

I wouldn't of thought that the PDSA would not do tests on a cat that has lost the weight to check to see if he is okay or sick just because its a charity. My dogs surgery surgery would of cost some £10,000 + extras for medications, all the scans/x-rays...


Only reason why I didn't give a straight answer really is embarrassment, of both not knowing what tests were ordered on my cat and the fact we have to use a charity to do my own pets medical care.
 

FeebysOwner

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Only reason why I didn't give a straight answer really is embarrassment, of both not knowing what tests were ordered on my cat and the fact we have to use a charity to do my own pets medical care...I can't take any of my cats to the vets, both physically and I can't deal with it mentally. My sister takes them for me on my behalf - hence why I am unsure of exactly what was said or what was tested for.
Bless you! Please ask your sister to explain what has been done, and perhaps - if you are comfortable with it - ask her to review the comments here on this site. You are concerned and I would hope your sister would help navigate with you through your concerns and talk with you about them to see what else can be done.

We can try to help much more if we know more details. I am personally asking your sister to help, if that matters any to her.
 
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gaogier

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The other vets I have spoken too are online only due to money and coronavirus, however I believe that he may of been seen by my sisters vet, who looked after my other cat when he became blind... we had to use them as PDSA were literary only seeing pets who were at critical life threatening cases.

Bubbles and his younger brothers (taffy and bollo) (same parents 2 litters) somehow had a problem with all their eyes, Buttons (our boy who was really close to taffy, (passed away in march)) and nala our girl cat who are not related didn't have any eye issues.
It started with Bubbles, he had suddenly had cloudy eyes, then taffy had cloudy eyes and then they went red and really irritated, and bollo who had a cloudy eye. My sisters vet only saw Taffy as he was completely blind, and the other 2 could see but the vet wanted to see what would happen,
The vet didn't know what the problem was with my cats eyes, and gave us some eye drops to help reduce any problems with taffys eye, however he found his way under my bed, and refused to come out for about 1 week. However when he did come out, his eye looked better, (the vet said he has lost vision completely and said he wont get it back), He said this was an extremely rare case and had to speak to specialists... thinking I was going to have 3 blind cats, however at the same time, bollos eyes were back to normal, Bubbles eye cleared up but one is damaged to the lens and is slightly cloudy. Taffys eyes though were too far gone really, they were badly damaged, and he spent another 2 weeks mostly under my bed, however day by day his vision improved and can see very well, his eyes look almost normal (the pupil is jagged)


So, we and my sisters vet have no idea what caused the problems, if it was a virus, why did it only effect the 3 that were related, but then if it was due to genetics, why did it come on at the same time, and clear up about the same time... if you google "ruptured eye" thats kind of what taffys eyes looked liked. He had no vision at all, now I don't think he has any problems seeing.
 

ArtNJ

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Ok, we understand now! I agree that the first step is to talk with your sister. There is a bit of a disconnect here, because if its true that nothing medical was found, and the cat is older, then any good vet would talk to your about loss of smell and how to combat that. Its a common problem in older cats, and it causes loss of appettite! Here is an article that has some stuff on the issue: Do Older Cats Lose Their Sense of Smell? — Senior Cat Wellness

This outlines the basic strategies you can try as well:
  • Offer wet food, or a different type of wet food
  • Mix wet food through kibble
  • Add specially formulated cats treats and/or sauces to its usual food
  • Heat the food (although not too hot) to make it smell stronger
  • A vet may suggest medications/supplements that trigger a hunger response.
I have seen good advice from folks here on the types of sauces that one can use. You can do a post asking about that, and I'm sure you'll get good tips. However, the first step is to understand if there is truly no medical issue and we are truly likely dealing with the routine loss of smell of an older cat.

I hope you are right that all the tests were done and came back negative, as loss of smell is something you can really help your cat deal with.
 

GustifursMom

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Have you tried Stella & Chewy? Their food is pretty much irresistable to cats. You can buy it online, at Amazon.
 

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There is a lot of good advice here which I will not repeat. I did look up PDSA as I was unfamiliar with it and it seems to be a very well run organization.

The only point I would like to emphasize/restate is bullet 5 of A ArtNJ 's post. I had wondered if you had ever been offered an appetite stimulant such as mirtazapine. It is often a go to response for a cat or dog who will not eat. It does not solve the underlying problem but would encourage eating and probably in an easier way than you are doing now with the attempts at many main courses for your cat.
 

Tik cat's mum

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The only thing I can think of surgesting is different food textures which you've probably tried already. I have a boy who loves pate types the other likes chunks. And another trip to the vet for something to stimulate his appetite. My daughter is autistic and has EDS we use the RSPCA vets when her boy needed the vet I called in advance and explained her situation. Even with covid they allowed both of us into the room with him. Maybe your sister could do the same for you. Or she could ask the vets to email you what has been tested for and results. Also you mentioned the cat's eye problems. Yes only 3 kittens can be affected my daughter has the litter mate of one of mine. He is blind in one eye. She took him in when a neighbour didn't seem interested in him and saw his eye needed treatment. My boy had problems but was fine with treatment. We've been told everything from injury to viral infection, the last vet thinks he was probably born that way because his eye is a odd shape. The other kitties have had no problems. Good luck hope he starts eating soon.
 
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gaogier

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Okay, I am angry and upset...

I spoke to my mum yesterday, regarding all the info you have given, my mum said she will ask my sister results of tests etc. The vet they saw didn't really care, he was from another country and his english was bad. My sister said he checked only the tooth I knocked out, not to see if he had any other problems with his teeth. She phoned and said about the results of blood tests etc, and the lady said that the only tests the vet requested was for an infection. No other underline causes, no other infections, just that one.

She has now at this very minute taken him to the PDSA again, but this time hoping to see the lady who done everything humanly possible for my dog. They asked about putting him to sleep, and this is not really an option for today. We/I hope they will reweigh him, give him something to help eat, check ALL of his teeth, and hopefully see him in a week or 2 and see if his weight has gained, see if he will eat more etc.

I do now think the smell maybe something to do with it, thinking about it, he would eat my pork sunday night off my plate, where it was still warm. I gave him the leftovers and didn't eat it. When I cook his beef, I give it to him after its rested, and still worm, however I gave it to him last time about 30mins after I cooked it, which he normally eats a 180g (about 6oz) steak, he only eat about 10%

She is due home in about 10-15 mins I will post an update soon.
 

ArtNJ

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Fingers crossed! Just like any other profession, not all vets are good unfortunately.

I think I've heard people drizzle tuna sauce over food? Anyway, once your sister gets back, if thats the issue, you can do a separate post to ask for more tips.

The teeth could be the issue too. Thats super easy for a vet to check, but if you had a bad vet, who knows?
 
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gaogier

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okay... bad news - I can't deal with this...

So, the vet checked his teeth, they seem normal for a cat of 14. They think he has Maine coon DNA as he is a big boy, which would explain why his brothers are big too, Bollo, who has eaten about 30% of bubbles food has gained weight, he is now about 8.5kg, Taffy is 7kg. Bubbles is now 3.2kg so in 2-3 months he has lost about 800g, and over the last 4 years he has lost nearly 4kg, mostly due to loosing his best friend, bubbles has no tail btw. He dislocated it when a (we think) a door slammed on the tip of his tail, took him to a bad vet who was just going to do an x-ray. When we went to pick him up they said the dislocation was 2 inches from the tip. They said that it would need a splint and then they went and got him... He came into the room as you would expect, but only has a 3 inch tail. When asked why, the vet said that the splint would of worked but when he was under for the x-ray, they decided to remove his tail, as you can expect, we were furious, we asked why and he said he might of had balance issues.

What made me and my sister very angry, was not only the cost, but they didn't even ask or suggest this was going to happen, They were just going to examine him, via x-ray. When they found out the results, while not wanting to put him under twice, they could of phoned, and explained the options, and at least ask what we wanted to do, go over the risks, etc. This was not covered by insurance (due to something the vets did) - still unsure what, sadly and my older sister who was only one in a job at the time, had to pay for it. My other sister who took him to the vet today, was still at school. I had left school and due to my physical disabilities I had started my first of a long decade+ worth of operations.

Anyway, when bubbles is in any sort of pain, he lashes out with violence, when he hurt his tail, my sister couldn't go to bed due to him being too vicious. So, they shaved him, and went to draw blood for tests, they were unable to due to this issue, they didn't want to sedate him today to do this. So, they examined him and they said that they think they know why he has lost the weight in the last 3 months. They think he has lymphoma, due to his weight, we have decided not to try and cure it, but to try and give him a happy ending. They have given us some drugs to help with any issues that he will face.
 

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I don't know that this could be more than a guess. Some disease processes leave pretty clear signs. Like if a vet says kidney disease, well, they are probably right even though you still want the bloodwork. However, I don't know that Lymphoma can be diagnosed without bloodwork (or a needle biopsy sometimes). For example, if your vet observed swollen lymph nodes, well, can't that be dozens of things?

With a 14 year old cat with this level of weight loss it unfortunately would not surprise me if it was something at this level of seriousness, but it seems very weird to say awe shucks, he is too agitated, we'll just give some pills for pain and appetite (or whatever they gave).

All of that said, you don't want to torment your cat with endless tests and treatment, and maybe pills for appetite and whatever else is not an unreasonable thing. The sad truth is that a cat of this age with this level of weight loss probably does not have long left even with the absolute best care.

I'm so sorry, this sucks. But I do think you did what you could for a cat you obviously loved! Hopefully the medicine helps make him comfortable and eat better, maybe giving him some additional quality time with you!
 
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gaogier

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Yeah, without a blood test the answer is not set in stone, I should of mentioned that he is going back in a week or so to weigh him, and they are going to give him something that will allow them to take a blood test to confirm or deny their main theory.

We don't have any medication (yet) as the vet didn't have it from what I understand. He has been given some medication that will help aid him. He isn't in pain but is frail, but my sister who is a paramedic who is at work now, should of been able to pick the medication just before her shift started (I mean 5mins before) so she was unable to come home to drop/give him the medication.
 
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