Strange Food Insecurities?

TardisDance

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So my cat is from a hoarding situation. I‘ve had her since March 2020. I had tried to get her to eat wet for about 6 months. I would either see her either 1) take a sniff and scratch around her food in displeasure or 2) She eats maybe about 50% or so maybe 70% of it. I tried either feeding her a half or 1/3 of a 3 oz. and she always scratches around it to save it for later, I guess? Sometimes she will eat the food hours later if I forget about it and don’t pit it in the fridge. If I try to refrigerate and give it to her again the next day, she just won’t eat it, even if I warm it up in the microwave. Do I have a super picky cat or does she have food insecurity issues? She never does this with her dry food. I’m currently trying a different approach based on a Jackson Galaxy video in which he said to try out food complement/toppers and then introduce to “real“ wet food. A few days ago, I tried Friskies Lil Soups Salmon flavor and she ate about half and scratched around it and ate the rest after I went to bed. I tried again tonight with the Shrimp flavor of this variety and she ate about half to 70%, but she keeps scratching at it like crazy every time she walks by it and chooses to eat her dry food instead. Does she deem it unworthy? LOL I don’t know what my weirdo wants. Does anyone else have a cat who does this?
 

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If Mingo doesn't like something, he will scratch around it like he's covering it up with litter. He isn't saving it for later. He's saying it smells like s**t.

It sounds like your cat isn't used to eating large meals, perhaps even snacking all day on dry food. You can try chopping up the wet food and mix in a small amount of the dry she likes. She may also like Sheba, which comes in smaller portions.
 
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TardisDance

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Ha I tried Sheba and she did the same exact thing. I’ve tried mixing in dry food, treats, nutritional yeast, etc. I’ve divided it into small portions too and she always just eats 50 to 70% and ”buries” it. Sometimes she may just eat the rest while I’m sleeping, otherwise, she just leaves it to dry out if I don’t put it in the fridge. I thought I’d try the lickable food complements thinking that maybe she likes something very wet.
 
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TardisDance

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I forgot to mention, I’ve been trying since I adopted her to get her on scheduled feeds with her dry food. I have a timed feeder. She still always saves some food for later. If I take the food away, she paces around and acts a bit crazy.
 

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Hi. I don't know if it is exactly the same thing, but Feeby (16+ yo) will generally NOT eat the rest of her food once it gets down to a certain amount. She did that with dry as well when she was free fed years ago. Always had to have some 'left over/saved for later'. She never tried to 'bury' it, just would walk away when only so much was left. And, there were times she would just sit at her bowl when she thought it was not filled up enough. If I added more, sometimes she would eat some and other times she was happy with the amount I put in her bowl and would walk away without touching it.

Now that she is fed canned food only, she's changed her MO just a tad bit. She flattens out the canned food when she eats, and when that happens I have to re-scoop it back into a pile for her to resume eating any of it. Even then, once it is down to a certain amount she will generally stop eating it - that same 'save for later' concept, I guess. Sometimes, she will go back later and eat more, and other times not. She does this same thing with any of the perfect portion food as well. So, for her it isn't the amount of food given to her, it is the amount of food she thinks needs to be 'left over'.

I haven't found a solution. Some foods she is better at eating more of than others, but many of the ones I have tried with her end up with the same 'left over' result in some capacity. She has been known to go back to her dish at bedtime and eat some more, even finishing it then (rarely) - I think she has learned that at bedtime the food is put away or thrown out and if she wants any before breakfast she needs to eat it then. She is also not a fan of foods that have been left out, then refrigerated, even if I try to warm them back up. So, for the most part what is left at the end of day gets tossed out.

I am not sure based on my experience with Feeby that you will find a solution. But, if by chance, your cat flattens out her wet food, you could at least try to re-scoop it back into a pile to see if she might eat a bit more of it that way.

Btw - Feeby was found as a stray at about 2 yo, so her food insecurity never left her - or just became a habit somewhere in the past 14 years.

Sorry for the long post!
 
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TardisDance

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I actually did the same thing you described. I tried to push the leftover food into a pile and left it for her overnight because she came up to eat as I was going to bed. Nope, she just ate her dry food only. I guess she’s not a fan of shrimp because mostly ate most of the creamy broth and in the pile was a bunch of shrimp pieces. The only thing I have learned is that she likes creamy broth (well I think so?).

I used to try to ”refresh” the food by adding crushed treats or dry food on the leftover food and pile it up, but it has never really worked on her. She might take a bite or two just to eat the dry food and treats, but she usually wastes it. If I try the same flavor on her again, she’ll just scratch around it and leave it. So I guess it’s that she wants to give something a chance just once, but she has decided that it’s s**t now.

When I first adopted her, she used to eat American Journey minced wet food without issue and then suddenly, she just hates most wet food now. She only really likes salmon flavored stuff now but even then, she’ll get sick of a brand. I’m hoping I’ll find some other flavor she likes. She’s very picky and it’s frustrating. It’s why I’ve mostly given up on wet food and have her on high quality dry food and she drinks from a fountain for hydration.
 

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I guess she’s not a fan of shrimp because mostly ate most of the creamy broth and in the pile was a bunch of shrimp pieces. The only thing I have learned is that she likes creamy broth (well I think so?)...When I first adopted her, she used to eat American Journey minced wet food without issue and then suddenly, she just hates most wet food now.
Feeby will eat/lick the gravy or broth off of canned foods, but won't eat the 'meat'. I am not sure if that would be part of your problem since she used to eat minced wet food before. But, you could try the pates I feed Feeby to see if she might like them. I have also found that Feeby is not a fan of any fish - go figure. Anyway, Feeby eats Fancy Feast pates, including the Gourmet Natural ones, She also will eat Purina True Nature pates, as well as Wellness Core pates. I am not as big of a fan of the Wellness because it has some unnecessary ingredients (like cranberries), but I needed to find something 'different' to give her once or twice a week. She is now on 7 different foods/brands/flavors - one a day for a week, along with various Sheba and Nutro Perfect Portion pates as supplements to her 'main' meal.

Did you say you tried to crush up her dry food to put on top of the wet - or take mostly dry and mix a bit of wet food with it? You could even try to crush up the dry and mix it with water, or perhaps bone broth, to see if she might eat it that way.
 
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TardisDance

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I tried Fancy Feast Gourmet Naturals/Classic/Creamy Delights, Purina Beyond, Sheba Perfect Portions, and Wellness Complete/Core lines for a while. I tried both minced and pates and she tends go back to eat more of the minced style, albeit mostly the gravy in the minced. The pate usually gets left to dry like cement after she takes a few bites. The only exception was is that she was hooked on Turkey Salmon pate flavor of the Wellness Complete for a while but then one day she hated it. It’s always about salmon with her, although the Sheba Salmon Pate was like the worst thing on Earth to her . . she scratched around her food tray for like 2 minutes straight LOL

I bought every flavor of the Lil Soups so I’m going to try something else tonight. I’m trying to rule out if I could get her on something like Tiki Cat or Weruva B.F.F. OMG lines since those are low in carbs. Those are typically recommended if your cat is a fan of the Lil Soups.
 

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So my cat is from a hoarding situation. I‘ve had her since March 2020. I had tried to get her to eat wet for about 6 months. I would either see her either 1) take a sniff and scratch around her food in displeasure or 2) She eats maybe about 50% or so maybe 70% of it. I tried either feeding her a half or 1/3 of a 3 oz. and she always scratches around it to save it for later, I guess? Sometimes she will eat the food hours later if I forget about it and don’t pit it in the fridge. If I try to refrigerate and give it to her again the next day, she just won’t eat it, even if I warm it up in the microwave. Do I have a super picky cat or does she have food insecurity issues? She never does this with her dry food. I’m currently trying a different approach based on a Jackson Galaxy video in which he said to try out food complement/toppers and then introduce to “real“ wet food. A few days ago, I tried Friskies Lil Soups Salmon flavor and she ate about half and scratched around it and ate the rest after I went to bed. I tried again tonight with the Shrimp flavor of this variety and she ate about half to 70%, but she keeps scratching at it like crazy every time she walks by it and chooses to eat her dry food instead. Does she deem it unworthy? LOL I don’t know what my weirdo wants. Does anyone else have a cat who does this?
I have the same ongoing problem with my cat Maggie. She is not interested in eating. It is not time,does she want to play firsr,need attention, eat somewhere else,etc. Usually she wants to play first. Eats some then comes back
2 more times for more. Sometimes she stares at her bowl and looks up because she wants freeze dried chicken crushed in her food or she won't eat. . She likes any thing with a strong scent so I will stop feeding her fancy feast and sheba. Then that's the only food she will eat. It takes 1/2 hour to feed her in the morning. Wow! I've never written so much! Deep breath. Feeding my cats is done this morning
 

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I tried Fancy Feast Gourmet Naturals/Classic/Creamy Delights, Purina Beyond, Sheba Perfect Portions, and Wellness Complete/Core lines for a while. I tried both minced and pates and she tends go back to eat more of the minced style, albeit mostly the gravy in the minced. The pate usually gets left to dry like cement after she takes a few bites. The only exception was is that she was hooked on Turkey Salmon pate flavor of the Wellness Complete for a while but then one day she hated it. It’s always about salmon with her, although the Sheba Salmon Pate was like the worst thing on Earth to her . . she scratched around her food tray for like 2 minutes straight LOL

I bought every flavor of the Lil Soups so I’m going to try something else tonight. I’m trying to rule out if I could get her on something like Tiki Cat or Weruva B.F.F. OMG lines since those are low in carbs. Those are typically recommended if your cat is a fan of the Lil Soups.
Is there a certain time shes hard to feed? For Maggie its mornings. She love this expensive food I bought with weird ingredients a cat normally does not eat. high in protein,fat,low carb
Farmina venison and pumpkin. First 3 ingredints are venison,chicken,and herring I think what she likes is pate with chunks of meat. Peaches licks her food so pate. Coco also pate. She has a small mouth and has trouble eating shredded chicken. She does not like tiki after dark but does like tiki with shredded chicken. Which I grind
 
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TardisDance

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Well, I thought my cat Sango liked the Salmon flavor, so I bought 2 more. Well, I gave her one to her last night and she incessantly scratched at her food mat and started having zoomies and crying around the house . .I tried playing with her multiple times but she wasn’t having it. Then I gave her more kibble (I’ve been giving a couple tablespoons less to encourage some wet food eating), then she ate the kibble and maybe half of the 1.2 oz. of the salmon. Ugh she just frustrating!

I’ve been trying to get her on timed feeds with an automatic dry feeder and she never follows the schedule. She just always wants to graze. If I take the dry away, she runs around frantic and drives me and my husband bonkers LOL

She’s not overweight and weighs about 8 or 9 lbs and always drinks plenty of water from her fountain. She’s on Instinct Ultimate Protein because I wanted to ensure she eats something that high protein, low carbs. I was really hoping wet treats would at least encourage her to like some wet food. I know wet it’s the best but she’s so darn picky!
 

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Her treats are American journey or pure bites freeze dried chicken. Every day is a different meat: chicken,turkey,beef,lamb.duck,tiki. So wish cats could talk to you! Some times she does not want to eat her food at night. Or walks around first then starts eating most of it. Then in the living room to play
 
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TardisDance

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The best food for your cat is the one she will eat. So don't feel guilty about what you are feeding.
I suspect it’s because she‘s from a hoarding situation and never grew up with wet food. At least she was easy to transition to better dry food. The shelter had her on Purina Cat Chow Indoor. I had her on American Journey for a while and then switched her to Instinct Ultimate Protein once I realized I wasn’t winning the wet food battle with her.
 

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I don't want to be discouraging, but it literally took me years to get my previously kibble-only cat to eat wet food. It took a lot of persistence and patience (and sometimes I admit not so much), a lot of wasted wet food that went untouched or rejected, and a lot of experimenting! I will say keep trying but don't push it too much. I do agree the best food for a cat is the food they will eat. But at the same time, its not a bad idea to get her at least partially eating wet food. I hope your cat is easier to introduce to wet food than mine was!

I tried tons of flavors, textures, brands, etc. Eventually I found she would only eat fish wet food so that's where we started but I know it is not usually recommended for cats to eat only/mostly fish-based food. Some of the only wet food I had success with is Fancy Feast, which is what she eats now.

Have you tried the old tricks of putting enticing treats (usual treats if she gets them, bonito flakes) on top of the wet, or kibble on top, or mixing wet in with kibble (my cat hated that and would not touch it but it works for some)? I put my cat's treats in the food processor and blend it into a fine powder to sprinkle on top of her wet food.
 

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Like others have said, I assumed my cat would love fancy feast but it turned out he only mildly tolerated the chicken pate, lol. Because I'm adamant about giving wet food in some capacity, I started giving him snack tubes instead.
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< like these, I live in Korea so these are a local brand.
I mix up the flavors (as well as what they contain, like he gets a "stress reliever" at nighttime, but I've also gotten him hairball formulas, etc.) and usually give two at breakfast and dinner (after vigorous play sessions). I also mix a little water and sometimes a probiotic powder. He free feeds with kibble, with absolutely no problems. I think the play sessions and the fact that it only happens twice a day keeps my cat relatively excited for it.
 
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TardisDance

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I may give something like Weruva BFF OMG or even Tiki Cat Stix a try the next time I feel like attempting wet food again. The Pet Supplies Plus store near me has low stock in most everything lately so it's tough finding a good selection (Petco and Petsmart are in the area too but a 30 min drive). I tried for nearly 6 months straight with mixing in treats, dry food, even nutritional yeast. I ended up giving a lot of wet food to my sister-in-law's cats (they are like trash compactors and will eat anything).

Now I'm at a point where I'm on and off trying foods with her. The difficult part is that I think she'll maybe like flavor/texture and then I give it again a week later and it's s**t to her. Cats.. *sigh*
 

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It's so difficult when a cat won't eat the way we want them to! Our two cats are both from a hoarding household (too many but apparently not dozens and dozens and dozens) and came to us horribly underfed. Learning how to feed them has been quite a project.

One, Edwina, has a tendency to scarf and barf: she'll eat anything and everything, really fast, so we feed the cats five or six small meals a day. She's very easy to feed! (Other than the fact that we have to feed her so many times a day.) She's a "trash compactor." (I love that, TardisDance TardisDance , thank you!)

The other cat, Ireland, isn't as food-centered. She also has a tendency to get mildly constipated, which causes a decrease in appetite. It looks like pickiness but isn't. She has no obvious symptoms, like straining in the litterbox. It's hard to know she has a problem because the cats eat a very meaty, high-protein diet so they don't poop out a whole lot.

The cats eat a high-protein, low-carb, wet diet with dry treats/snacks/toppers. It took us about a month to take them off dry food after we adopted them. I think it went that quickly because they were still pretty hungry then: we adopted them at ten months so they were growing kittens, plus they were still trying to get caught up on their eating. We did the transition slowly: first we just left out a bowl of dry food at night. Then we started leaving out less dry food. And less. And then just putting a little out with a wet meal. And so on, until the day we all forgot about the dry food. I now use Dr. Elsey's chicken dry food as a snack and a topper; it has no fillers and is very decent stuff.

A few thoughts:
-Cats are generally thought to prefer to eat lots of small meals a day, as they would if they were hunting. Small meals work really well for both our cats and seem to keep Ireland more interested in eating. She was never one to eat large meals.
-If you suspect your cat (what's her name, by the way?) is constipated, you could try adding tiny amounts of pureed pumpkin and/or egg yolk to her food. Ireland gets those in two meals a day and it makes a huge difference. Weruva (and its sister company Soulistic) make a few foods with chicken shreds and pumpkin; they also sell pouches of pumpkin. (One lasts us a long time!)
-Edwina's food insecurity has lasted for seven years now. 🙀 It is finally easing up some. Oddly (oddly since she tends to eat fast and barf) she sometimes caches food.
-If your cat's a gravy licker, you could try mashing or pureeing the food: Ireland loves "lappable" foods. Drier pates seem to become more appealing to her if I add water to them. Since you mentioned it: she especially likes the BFF OMG food (chicken and turkey) for some reason.
-Variety is really important for all cats but especially for picky ones: we have a rotation of seven canned/pouch foods. The majority of the cats' diet is commercial raw and homemade cooked foods. Which they do like better than canned, maybe because they're more like fresh meat?
-We put some crumbled chicken Pure Bites on most of the cats' meals. And some get Dr. Elsey's, too, whole and/or crushed. Ireland gets a tablespoon or two of that on her bedtime snack canned food with extra water added.

It's taken us a long time to get to this arrangement and it changes constantly, depending on the cats, food availability, and all sorts of other things. The big thing is to not give up. Good luck!
 

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Can you show us the bowls/feeders you use? If a cat only gets down to a certain point each time, I'm wondering if it's whisker fatigue.
One of my cats gets it really easy and I only figured it out because she would leave her wet food to go eat one of the other cat's wet food, even though it was from the exact same can. As soon as I started feeding her on a wider, but lower rimmed bowl, sometimes even a flat plate, she started to finish all of her own food.

Food covering is called “caching” and wild cats do it. It's a behavior that's engrained in our domesticated cats. Caching is a way of saving leftovers for later. Hiding the food protects it from scavengers, and might help keep the meat cool and fresh. It's also a way to hide their presence from predators. But, if a cat tries to cover up food BEFORE eating any, they don't like the smell.
 
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