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Getting my cat to try new foods?

Discussion in 'Cat Health and Nutrition' started by SammieJane, May 13, 2017.

  1. SammieJane

    SammieJane Guest

    Hi all,

    It's been a little while since I've been on here but I could do with some advice to help me cat out. Bear has always been a fussy eater as lots of cats are, but for his sake I'd really like to try and get him to eat a wider variety of food brands!

    Currently, the only wet food he will eat is Royal Canin Instinctive in gravy. He has 1 pouch in a morning, 1 when I get home from work and 1 before I go to bed. He also gets 2 tablespoons of dry food in a treat ball during the day when I'm out at work. (I make a point that if he doesn't eat hi wet food, he won't get extra dry in its place so he doesn't just sit and wait for that!).

    All well and good but the stock of RC at my local shop and P@H has been intermittent at best so I'd love to be able to feed him a variety of foods, in case there's a time when I can't get hold of it. Also please do correct me if I'm wrong but I was under the impression that RC isn't exactly an amazing food?

    So over the past 18 months or so I've tried him on a selection of brands, none of which he'll eat. If I'm lucky, he licks the gravy/jelly. Usually he smells it and walks away. As soon as I try mixing a bit of the new food into the RC, he ignores it as well.

    My question I guess, is how can I entice him to try some new foods, as I assume I've been going about it wrong to be honest if here's that many he won't try?

    For the sake of completeness I've added a list of foods under the spoiler that I've tried:

    Royal Canin instinctive (Jelly/gravy)
    Animonda Carny
    Zooplus zoo love
    Applaws (pouches/tins/pate)
    Thrive complete
    Smilla (small tins)
    Cosma Thai (small tins)
    Felix Chicken and Liver (gravy)
    Felix AGAIL
    Whiskas (in gravy/jelly)
    Whiskas creamy soups
    Iams deights
    Sheba (flakes/pate/in sauce/mousse/pate/fresh choice)
    Hey Diddle diddle
    Tesco (value/own/finest)
    Sainsburys (finest)
    Waitrose own brand (jelly/gravy)
    P@H own
    P@H seriously good
    Lily's kitchen
    Gourmet (Gold/Solitaire/soups)
    Wainwrights complete pate
    Evolution (pate/pouches)
    James Wellbelloved grain free
    Almo nature rouge label
    Hi-Life tempt me
    Butchers classic

    Of these, he'll eat the RC in gravy and will sometimes entertain licking the gravy from JW or waitrose own. He really used to like Butchers, but now won't touch it (does anyone know if butchers have a gravy variety?)

    Honestly at this point I don't know enough about raw to be comfortable feeding him that (equally we don't actually have a freezer so that I guess will limit what I can make). But it will probably be something I look to in the future.

    As an addition, we have taken him to the vet about this just to make sure there's nothing medically wrong. The vet said he could do with putting on a little bit of weight, but is otherwise perfectly healthy.

    Apologies that this is a rather long post but I really do appreciate you reading it!


    Edit to add a picture of the offending creature ;)
    2017-05-13 08.38.02.jpg
    #1 SammieJane, May 13, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: May 13, 2017
    Charity, chillminx and Babyshoes like this.
  2. Nutty15

    Nutty15 PetForums Junior

    Oct 28, 2016
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    My tricks that have worked to encourage eating are to use a little bit of your cat's favourite treat crumbled on top (my cat loves the soft stick treats so I break up small pieces), or you could try Thrive's 100% dehydrated chicken treats broken up, or their chicken topper sprinkled on can work wonders - best price I've found so far is from Amazon with free delivery


    Alternatively, I have found that a few drops of wild salmon oil works and is also really good for their coat and skin, such as this from Zooplus which is suitable for cats and dogs


    I do feed a variety of foods to my cat already but like to try new ones every now and then; with foods where she has initially walked away from, I have had success with each of these different additions.

    I'm sure you will gets lots of other good suggestions..best of luck x
    lorilu, SammieJane and Babyshoes like this.
  3. Babyshoes

    Babyshoes PetForums Senior

    Jul 1, 2016
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    You can get creative with toppers, I've used a tiny pinch of Parmesan, or a dribble of plain yoghurt. Some people whizz up dry food in a clean coffee grinder to sprinkle on top.

    Sometimes feeding chunky food by hand like you would offer a treat can get them to try it. Maybe hand feed a few chunks of raw meat cut off your supper before you cook, or some plain, lightly boiled chicken. Put the cooking water down too.
    SammieJane likes this.
  4. SammieJane

    SammieJane Guest

    I've never seen the thrive topper before! I have a tube of the treats in the cupboard though, so I'll give those a try :D Also a really good idea with the salmon oil, I'll add some of that to my next order. Thanks so much for the tips!
    Babyshoes likes this.
  5. SammieJane

    SammieJane Guest

    We have an unused coffee grinder actually, I might have a go at grinding up some dry food like you suggested, that's a great idea :D

    Its funny, but he absolutely won't touch 'human food'. I've tried him with chicken, unseasoned pulled pork, tins of tuna, prawns, tuna steak.....he just looks at me like I'm mad! I bet he'd love the cooking water though, what a good idea
  6. Paddypaws

    Paddypaws PetForums VIP

    May 4, 2010
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    Wowee he is gorgeous!
    SammieJane likes this.
  7. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

    Nov 22, 2010
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    Hello @SammieJane - Bear is a very handsome cat isn't he! I love white cats:)

    How old is Bear? You mentioned he eats 3 pouches of RC Instinctive a day (3 x 85 grams = 255 grams a day) plus he has 2 tablespoons of dry food (kibble) a day. If he is actually eating all 3 pouches of the RC plus the dry food, that's a lot of food a day for an adult cat, and yet your vet thinks Bear could do with putting on a bit of weight. How much does Bear weigh at present? Do you weigh him regularly and keep a log ?

    I am puzzled as to why he would be slightly low in weight (in the vet's opinion) when he is eating such a lot of food. RC Instinctive may not be a great food, but is an average food. It contains more protein (at 12%) than some of the foods on your list. Does Bear have any health issues?

    The list of foods you have tried him on is a long one! ;) Could you please say how you went about introducing him to new foods? Did you do it very slowly, e.g. giving him a teaspoonful of the new food on a saucer alongside his regular food, and persevere for a week to see if he would try the new food? And if he did eat the new food did you then slowly increase the amount of food on his saucer and decrease the amount of food in his dish?

    The fact he eats a lot of dry food (2 tablespoons a day is quite a lot as it is not his only food) will fill him up and make him picky and less likely to want to try new wet foods. Have you tried reducing the amount of dry food he eats and increasing the wet?

    Some cats don't like being presented with a lot of different foods. It makes them suspicious and their survival instincts kick in and tell them to refuse the lot! For this reason it is best not to introduce new foods too often, and in the case of Bear (who is rather picky what he eats) I would leave gaps of a couple of months between trying him on new foods. And maybe aim to get him eating no more than about 3 different wet foods in rotation.

    I do agree with you it would be useful if he would eat more than just RC Instinctive in case it might be unavailable one day. Also a variety of foods ensures all nutritional bases are covered, though to be fair, as he is having a lot of dry food as well, one would think he is getting all the nutrients he needs.

    Which dry food do you feed him? It would be best to choose one that is high in protein and low in carbs, as cats do not need carbs. Thrive Premium Dry is highest in protein and lowest in carbs. Sold by Pets at Home.
  8. SammieJane

    SammieJane Guest

    @chillminx Thank-you! He certainly is handsome, people fall in love with him whenever they visit! :D

    Bear is about 2 1/2 - 3 ish now (time flies!) And currently weighs 3.5kg. Previously he weighed a steady 4kg so I believe that's why the vet wanted to get a bit of weight on him. She did mention that she would expect him to be a bit heavier due to his breeds (he is a Persian/Ragdoll mix) but I have to admit I'm not completely convinced, would that make sense?

    In terms of body type (the charts with the body shapes from above and the side) I personally think he looks like he is a good weight (it's hard to tell but he's relatively slim under all that fur!!). He's never had any health issues and is completely up to date with vaccs, flea and worming treatment etc and is generally very happy and spritely (and more active than any other cat I've ever owned!).

    To introduce new foods I tend to mix a teaspoon into his RC for two meals a day for about a week. With few exceptions he immediately stopped eating the food mix. To be honest, with more recent introductions I've probably not persevered as much! I've never actually completely cut out the dry food although he did used to have a lot more than that. He seems to like the activity of the treat ball, so I could maybe just put a single treat or something inside it on its hardest setting and see if it still keeps his interest?

    In all honesty I'm happy just to feed him RC, but like you say I'd like to make sure he gets all necessary nutrients and that one day I can't get hold of RC, I don't have a crisis on my hands!

    As for dry food, we switch between Acana Wild Prarie and Applaws chicken. I had considered whether adding water to dry food would be a good or a bad thing? It seems like it might be a good thing but given that I haven't seen anyone else doing it, I assume it might not be a good idea? I've only done that once but he absolutely cleaned his bowl instantly!

    I also forgot to mention we have a cat fountain which he drinks from regularly (And from any glass of water I leave unattended!)
  9. SammieJane

    SammieJane Guest

    I have what may well be a silly question here (but hey, if you don't ask, you don't get any answers!). Is there a particular reason why I shouldn't add warm water to his dry food? I tried it with the Applaws kibble tonight and I have never seen him so happy to receive food. Ever. A decent amount was hovered up in a couple of minutes which is a new record. And now he's happily asleep in his bed rather than pacing around meowing at me for more/different/better food. I've cleaned up the few bits that were left and given his bowl a good scrub because I did have an afterthought about more bacteria on dry? I'm not sure and this may not be a thing I should ever try again. But I'm just pleased he's eaten!
  10. Babyshoes

    Babyshoes PetForums Senior

    Jul 1, 2016
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    I'm sure others will be along with a better answer, but I do recall seeing advice not to wet dry food because of (I think) bacteria issues.

    At a guess, I expect what you did tonight is probably OK as he didn't leave any to fester, but I'd suggest holding off doing it again until you've had a more decisive answer!
    chillminx likes this.
  11. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

    Nov 22, 2010
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    @SammieJane - it is true that dry food contains more bacteria than wet food and the bacteria starts to increase when you add water to it. But if Bear wolfs the lot down as soon as you serve it there will be not enough time for the bacteria to grow, so he will be OK from that POV.

    The reason Bear loves the dry food so much is because it's coated in a strong flavouring called Animal Digest which seems to be addictive to cats. The flavouring has no nutritional value but is sprayed on the dry food after manufacture to make it palatable to cats.

    It might be quite hard to wean him off dry food as he is used to his food having a very strong smell to it. But on an all dry food diet he'd need to be drinking about half a pint of water a day to keep himself hydrated, and that's a lot of water for a cat to drink in a day.

    If you want to wean him onto more wet food you could grind some dry food in a clean coffee grinder and sprinkle it on top of his wet food.

    Wet cat food is about 80% moisture, the same percent of moisture a mouse contains. Dry food even when wetted won't contain anything like that amount of moisture.

    If he is aged about 3 then he is probably fully grown. 3.5 kg is not a lot for an adult male cat, unless he has a small build which I wouldn't have thought being a Ragdoll cross as Raggies are quite large cats. My two girls (both moggies aged 4) are small build, quite slim cats and one weighs 4.6 kg, the other weighs 4.9 kg. The lighter girl eats around 300 grams of wet food a day and about 12 pieces of dry. The heavier girl eats around 230 grams a day and no dry.

    If your vet thinks Bear could do with a bit more weight I would take that on board and try and get Bear to eat a more nourishing diet. My concern about RC Instinctive wet is that it's low in fat (at only 2.8%) and cats need fat as calories for energy. For Bear to put on some weight he may need more fat in his diet. For the moment it may be best to feed him whichever wet food he will eat, plus some high calorie dry food. But I would go for a dry food that's low in carbs. Thrive Premium Plus Dry is low in carbs, and high in protein and fats.


    I also recommend getting some scales and weighing Bear once a month and keeping a record so you can see if he is gaining weight. The best type scales are the digital baby scales which can be bought from ebay for about £20 (or less if you manage to find a 2nd hand set). Switch on the scales, place a few dry treats on the platform and Bear will get on of his own accord. :)

    Nutty15 and Paddypaws like this.
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