Stressful situation when my cat only eats during the night

CandyCandy

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Hello, new here

my lady cat is very picky with her food, VERY. She only accepts the most expensive brands (I don't live in the states, but here one of the most expensive brands is Hills), but lately she only eats at night her dry food (Hills), but more worryingly she seems to have lost appetite for all the Hills variants while otherwise, being hungry all the time during the day, trying to eat anything she encounters on the floor, and even trying to eat what her human eats.

Its particularly bad when we open a can or we get some delivery meals, she smells those and goes crazy. At that point, I always try to feed her some dry food, but she never eats them. She does eat treats from another brand, but those aren't healthy for her at all.

We arrived to Hills after trying so many brands, including the most expensive ones, and she only seems to like Hills, but seems she's getting tired of those too. She has lost a lot of weight and we're worried because where I live the city is almost closed because of the covid and no veterinaries would come here. Plus I have persons at risk at home that I don't want to expose.

TL;DR:
My cat will eat at night, but not a lot, would leave some dry food, and when we wake up, she's clearly very hungry but will never eat the Hills food and instead search for leftovers or bread crumbs or anything really. Every time we're about to eat she goes crazy with hunger but still won't eat her usual food. We're at a loss as to what to do. Can't call the vet either because of covid, plus she hasn't been very helpful in the past regarding this situation. . Help!
 

FeebysOwner

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Hi. What is the some of the background with her - e.g.; how old is she, how long has she been losing weight and could that weight loss be caused by more than just her dislike for Hills (possible illness)?

Tbh, Hills may be expensive, but that doesn't necessarily make it great food. I can only suggest that you continue to try other foods with her. Some cats will refuse to eat - even if they are hungry - if they don't like the food. It seems to me that is what is happening with her. She sounds like she eats some of the dry at night out of hunger desperation.

What other foods have you already tried with her? That might help members on this site come up with other suggestions.
 
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CandyCandy

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Hi

She's 10, she's been losing weight since this issue with her food started, like a month ago. I've tried pretty much every high priced food I can find here, she would eat a couple of times and then not even touch them ever again.

The problem with her is that sometimes I find food that she likes, but she grows tired of it pretty soon, with Hill's exception, even though now it looks like she's tired of Hills too.

also with the covid my finances aren't what they used to be and I don't have the luxury of buying foods for her only to see them discarded after a couple of samples.

there are a couple of hills variants that I haven't tried, but there are pretty expensive. Any recommendations from your cats or general knowledge about the best type of Hill's dry food? I could risk 1 big bag if enough of you recommended it
 

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If I’m reading correctly, you’re only offering dry food and never wet? That may be the problem here if she doesn’t like it. Does she have access to fresh water at all times? Do you know any other cat guardians who could give you small samples of their food to try? My cat will fixate on a particular food for a while, refusing anything else, until she grows tired of it. That’s not unusual.
 

FeebysOwner

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I personally cannot recommend any Hills - as the only one I ever used was Hill's C/D (urinary care). But, again, Hill's isn't as wonderful as you seem to think it is, especially the dry food. In fact, most dry foods contain a lot of fillers that serve no purpose in a cat's diet. Please keep in mind it is the ingredients in a cat food that determines its 'value', not the price.

Do you ever feed her anything but dry food? If not, I would recommend trying some canned food to see if she might eat them. Again, you didn't mention what all you have tried with her, so I wouldn't know what to suggest as alternatives. The other thing to consider is trying some of the foods you've fed her before - again. Sometimes, cats will tend to eat better if they have a wide variety of foods - so that they are not eating the same thing day in and day out. While I don't feed Feeby dry food anymore (because she started to reject it), she has a variety of canned foods that she eats that is expansive enough that she doesn't eat the same food for at least a week.

I know you are not in a position to get her to see a vet, but there is a strong possibility there is a health issue causing her lack of appetite. She is old enough, she falls into the senior category, which is when health can start to become compromised.
 

arr

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Also, you say you have tried so many of the expensive foods and she doesn’t like them. How about trying some cheaper canned foods? Cats don’t always like what’s expensive. Long term, you can work on switching her to a food you are more comfortable with but the important thing right now is that she eats. How about some canned Friskies or Fancy Feast?
 

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Yeah, she has to eat, whether it's cheap food or not. The fact that she's hungry for people food and not cat food seems to indicate that she doesn't like the cat food. I would try some canned Fancy Feast, as there are very few cats who don't like FF.

I also wonder about her dental situation, maybe dry food hurts her teeth?

What did she eat when she was younger?
 

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I sometimes use the online site “justanswer.com” to ask a veterinarian a question. It doesn’t replace a vet in real life but I have found it helpful before. If you are not happy with the answer you can have other vets answer it. They will have a chat with you until you are happy with the answers.
 

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Could you try meat only baby food as a temporary way to get her to eat? It can’t have extra ingredients. I’ve done that before with a very sick cat and she did eat some. Maybe as suggested try less expensive wet food? Sometimes I put warm water on my cats wet food and he eats more of it. Pâtés seem easiest to eat in my experience.
 
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CandyCandy

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thanks for all your answers gals and guys.

I've heard from previous vets that feeding cats canned food regularly is pretty bad for them. My previous cat grew so used to canned food, it was the only thing she ate, and her health was awful and had all kind of stomach problems that didn't have when she ate dry foods. So my personal experience with canned food makes me wary of giving her too much-wet food, though she loves fancy feast cans. When she eats dry food she very rarely has any stomach issues, but canned food, fancy feast, and even brands like Hills, seem to cause her to throw up.

I don't know if any of you have experienced this "addiction" from your cats once they eat too much wet food, but they don't seem capable of ever returning to dry food. That's my issue, but occasionally I do feed her fancy food cans, even though afterwards it's kind of difficult for her to come back to dry food, that's why I only feed her wet food from time to time.

BTW, I don't think Hills is wonderful or anything of that sort, it's just the only brand my cat seems to like. I've tried cat chow, several Canadian brands, and many others that I cannot remember right now.

She's in no danger right now, I mean if I notice she doesn't eat anything at all, I will give her wet food, so that's always an option. During the day I give her from time to time dry food treats that she loves so she doesn't go completely hungry.

Following your advice, I think I'm going to try another Hills variant and also I'm going to buy her a couple of Hill's cans to cover all angles, and when the city is open again, I will call the vet because she hasn't been checked in a year.
 

zoes

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thanks for all your answers gals and guys.

I've heard from previous vets that feeding cats canned food regularly is pretty bad for them. My previous cat grew so used to canned food, it was the only thing she ate, and her health was awful and had all kind of stomach problems that didn't have when she ate dry foods. So my personal experience with canned food makes me wary of giving her too much-wet food, though she loves fancy feast cans. When she eats dry food she very rarely has any stomach issues, but canned food, fancy feast, and even brands like Hills, seem to cause her to throw up.
I'm sorry your vet told you that, because it isn't true as a general statement. Canned food is vastly superior to kibble. Hills and Fancy Feast are both relatively low quality even though the former is expensive, so there may be a filler ingredient she is allergic to that is causing her stomach issues when she eats it (expensive/high quality can also have allergens - cats can be allergic to even very healthy foods.)

I wish my cats were addicted to wet food! If she prefers wet food to dry food, I would try to switch over to wet food and experiment until you find something she likes that her stomach agrees with. Or do one meal wet, one dry, if you don't feel ready to give up on kibble entirely. That way you know she's eating at least one solid meal every day.
 
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CandyCandy

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I'm sorry your vet told you that, because it isn't true as a general statement. Canned food is vastly superior to kibble. Hills and Fancy Feast are both relatively low quality even though the former is expensive, so there may be a filler ingredient she is allergic to that is causing her stomach issues when she eats it (expensive/high quality can also have allergens - cats can be allergic to even very healthy foods.)
which brands would you recommend as high quality canned food?
 

zoes

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which brands would you recommend as high quality canned food?
I don't have any specific recommendations, and I'm not sure if you'd have the same brands as I have in my country.

I'm not brand loyal, I just go into the boutiquey section of the pet store and read the back of cans to find the ones with ingredients I like. I get all sorts of flavours. I try to get the large cans to save a bit of money as they are better value. I don't mind cheaper wet food either but one of my cats is allergic to one of the fillers that seems to be in most cheap wet foods, so it's just easier to get the more expensive stuff.

You might want to try looking for labels that say "limited ingredients" which may help with her stomach sensitivities.
 

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Fancy Feast pate flavors are actually fairly decent. No artificial colors, no plant ingredients, etc. If you can find Pro Plan that's pretty good too. Can you think of any other brands you can find in your area?

Canned food is more species-appropriate for cats, as they're naturally desert animals who get most of their moisture from their prey, not drinking water.

Anyway, yeah, if she prefers canned food and really doesn't like the dry, there's no reason she shouldn't have only canned food. Most average-sized cats will need about 2 cans of Fancy Feast a day. That's assuming the pate formulas---the chunky kinds are lower in calories so you'd have to feed more of those. But they often have a lot of wheat gluten in then which many cats are sensitive to, so do try to get her to eat the pate kind if possible.

Cats can go into liver failure if they don't eat enough, so if she's actually losing weight from not eating enough you want to do something about that quickly.
 

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which brands would you recommend as high quality canned food?
It's possible your cat has an allergy? There's so many different reasons this could be happening, even a vet would need to do a process of elimination if there's nothing obvious coming back in your kittie's blood tests.

I've found the best food to rule out allergy is Ziwi Peak Venison. Since it's a 'novel protein' which your cat has very likely never been exposed to before, you can see if she starts improving. The only downside is it's one of the most expensive wet foods, but you could just try it initially to rule out allergy before then moving to more affordable options. Some cats become allergic to certain proteins when they've been eating them too much, like chicken, beef and tuna.

Unfortuantely with cheaper wet food they often have a mix of different meats even if the can says 'turkey', you'll find the ingredients like beef, pork and chicken, for example.

I don't know where you live, and most of these aren't even available here but they might give you some ideas: 11 Best Novel Protein Cat Food, Meaning, and Sources | Pet Care Advisors

By the way, is your cat drinking more water than usual and urinating large quantities? The loss of apetite and fussy eating could be related to kidney disease, but you would need to go to a vet to run the tests.
 
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