Sudden Weird, Annoying Food Behaviors

ObeseChess

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Hi Folks,

it pains me to say this, but my beloved Sassy (14) is really starting to get on my nerves.

First, the important stuff: she’s got a checkup coming in a few days, she gets them every six months, and at her last one she was “as strong and healthy as any cat her age I’ve ever seen,” per the vet, with no issues that couldn’t be explained by her being a fourteen year old rescue. Her behavior has other than what I’m about to describe not changed at all - she remains friendly, playful, inquisitive, and energetic. Litter box habits haven’t changed. Everything else is the same as it’s always been.

except:

Sassy gets wet and dry food measured out twice a day. This has not changed for years, the bowls are always in the same place in the kitchen. She has suddenly decided that she does not like the location of her dry food bowl. If I move the bowl to a different room, she will eat it like normal for a few days, and then turn her nose up at it, until I move the bowl to a different room and we repeat the process. However, because she can never remember where the bowl is (since I keep moving it) and rarely finishes it in one sitting, she then goes back to where the bowl has been for the past two years and shrieks at me. However, she WILL NOT EAT her dry food if the bowl is in that specific location. She completely ignores it. It’s like it’s not there. Won’t even sniff it. She eats the wet food in the bowl next to it just fine, but will not touch her dry food unless I move the bowl somewhere else.

This started about two to three weeks ago, and nothing has changed in her diet or our routines. Her appetite is otherwise healthy - she eats wet food, treats, pill pockets, and occasionally human food (ie, a small piece of unseasoned chicken, fish, or beef if I “accidentally” drop one while cooking) and clearly wants more to eat or she wouldn’t be screaming at me. But she will not eat her dry food unless I do this whole song and dance.

At this point, she is constantly whining very loudly in front of a full bowl of food that she won’t touch until I move it somewhere else and then carry her towards it and put her in front of it. It is relentless. I can’t get anything done because she won’t stop whining. I can’t watch a movie or listen to music or call a friend because she is just screaming the whole time.

Can anyone think of what’s going on other than “boy, cats sure are weird?” I’ll call the vet Monday of course, but this is just bizarre. And unbelievably annoying.

thanks!
 

Norachan

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14 is quite old for a cat and cats, just like humans, can develop age related health problems as they get older.

It could be signs of feline dementia.
It could be her eye sight fading.

One of my friend's elderly cats refused to eat anywhere but the center of the kitchen, because the sides of the kitchen where he'd always been fed were too dark for him.

I know it's annoying, but just humor her and ask your vet about this.
 

Kflowers

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Lighting is a really good thought.

My thought was do you have those small lizards in your area? Could one be taking a few pieces of her dry food? They eat insects so they are helpful, but she might object to them being in her bowl. I can't think of why they would leave the wet food alone, so it's just a thought. The lizards are silent and Sassy may no longer be into chasing them. I've noticed our cat will chase them, but not with the enthusiasm she has for chasing mice. (So far she hasn't caught anything, and the mice now avoid the house, but not the lizards)
 

FeebysOwner

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The first things that cross my mind is that the food is getting old/stale, and/or the dry food bowl is 'dirty' or otherwise unpleasant to her for some reason. You move it and she thinks whatever is wrong with the food or bowl has been corrected, only to realize it has not.

Aside from that, you could try placing a bowl of dry food in multiple locations and see how she reacts to that. Or, when she cries in front of her bowl, you could also try picking up the bowl and placing it on the counter, pick her up, set the bowl back down in its normal location, and then put her in front of it to see what she does.

I can't imagine the other locations you've tried are in locations with a vent or other structure that would bother her over time, but I know that I went through a similar experience with my cat. In her case, there was a food dish placed in front of an air vent on the wall, the water dish was a few inches away, but not directly in front of that vent. It took me a while to realize what was going on, but I figured out she did not want to eat from the dish if the AC/heat was running but would easily drink from the water dish which was in close proximity. So, think about if there is any possibility of something like that going on with where you place the dry food bowl when you move it.
 
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ObeseChess

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Hi everyone -

just to be clear, she always gets food in clean bowls, and the food is measured out fresh daily from a Tupperware container.

However, I appear to have solved the problem. I absent-mindedly put a plate under the bowl the other night, and it was like a lightbulb went off for her - since he had been eating elsewhere, it didn’t occur to me that her bowl was perhaps too low, causing her discomfort. I’ll report back and still plan to call the vet before her checkup, but the bowl a half inch off the ground (on a plate) has completely solved the issue so far as of last night’s dinner and all of today’s meals.

Thanks for letting me vent.

now, if only she would learn whose dinner is whose…
IMG_4533.jpeg
 

heatherwillard0614

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Hi everyone -

just to be clear, she always gets food in clean bowls, and the food is measured out fresh daily from a Tupperware container.

However, I appear to have solved the problem. I absent-mindedly put a plate under the bowl the other night, and it was like a lightbulb went off for her - since he had been eating elsewhere, it didn’t occur to me that her bowl was perhaps too low, causing her discomfort. I’ll report back and still plan to call the vet before her checkup, but the bowl a half inch off the ground (on a plate) has completely solved the issue so far as of last night’s dinner and all of today’s meals.

Thanks for letting me vent.

now, if only she would learn whose dinner is whose…View attachment 455986
It looks like she "knows" you have "her" dinner hahaha

All jokes aside I hope that was all that was bothering her and if so it is resolved.
 
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