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How to get my 11-week old kittens to eat downstairs?

Discussion in 'Cat Training and Behaviour' started by Monicatje, Oct 14, 2018.


  1. Monicatje

    Monicatje PetForums Newbie

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    I’ve had my 2 kittens since they were 8 weeks old. I initially had them closed in a safe bedroom upstairswith their litter tray, food, toys etc and they’ve been doing well.
    For the last week I’ve let them out of their room and they now have free range to most of the house.
    They love coming in our bedroom and occasionally downstairs to the the living room ( if we are in there) but are very reluctant to come into our kitchen diner, where I would like to feed them and have their main litter tray.
    I give them 3-4 wet meals a day, as well as good quality dry food available all the time.
    They only eat a little bit of the wet food at the time I feed them and come back to it later. If I manage to coax them into the kitchen to eat, they only eat a few mouthfuls and don’t return to the food.
    If I put the food in ‘their’ bedroom, they are much more comfortable and will eat more.
    I am worried about completely moving both their dry and wet food downstairs in case they don’t eat enough through fear. They don’t seem very food orientated, so I feel they wouldn’t bother eating enough.
    How can I get them to move downstairs for their meals?
     
  2. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

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    It’s still early days so I wouldn’t force it tbh

    Maybe leave some food in the kitchen too and they might gradually get more used to eating in there?

    Same with the litter tray-put an extra one in there for now.
     
  3. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Hello @Monicatje and welcome :)

    You don't mention how old the kittens are now, but if they are still quite young (say up to 4 months old) I would let them continue to have their food in their safe room upstairs for the time being. Once they are confident and at ease in all areas of the house, particularly the kitchen/diner where you want to feed them eventually, then that's the time to think of moving their feeding spot.

    I was in a similar position to you with my last 2 kittens (now 5 yr old cats). They had a safe room upstairs when I adopted them at 4 mths old, and continued to eat meals upstairs until 6 mths old. Then I began gradually moving their feeders (microchip feeders), first of all to the landing, then after a few weeks to the stairs, then into their permanent feeding spots (which in their case is the hall). They were momentarily confused every time I moved the feeders but then quickly adjusted to the new place. By the time I moved the feeders they were spending most of their time downstairs anyway, so to have their meals downstairs suited them......and me. :)
     
  4. Monicatje

    Monicatje PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks lurcherlad and chillmix. The kittens are 11 weeks old now - so I guess still quite young!
    They are getting a bit more confident around the house but don’t seem keen on the non- carpeted areas eg.the kitchen/ diner!

    I was worried they would never eat in the kitchen, but I will try again giving them a small amount of food in the kitchen as well as upstairs, so they get more used to it and I will definitely put a litter tray in there!

    I will wait a bit longer and then start to move their main food gradually closer downstairs until it gets to the kitchen!
     
    Lurcherlad likes this.
  5. SuboJvR

    SuboJvR Joey’s Mummy

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    It’s still a very big space for babies to explore. You will find over the coming weeks that their confidence will naturally increase, kitchens in particular can be quite noisy and confusing places so it’s not unusual for them to be a little shy.

    Regarding feeding though, as long as they have free access to dry food in a ‘safe place’ there’s nothing really motivating them to find the wet food. Dry food is very filling, but also quite calorifically wasteful in that it contains a lot of things cats don’t really need, and as it has no moisture can be dehydrating. It’s also very addictive as it has flavour enhancers put on too! So in the long run it would be good to move away to mainly wet food, in meals so that you can use mealtimes to help motivate them for different things. But as kittens they will eat a lot - little and often - and that’s the way it should be! :)

    They are still very young, so as I say the big house can be a lot for them to take in. So I’d give them a couple more weeks before changing anything too drastically - they’ll get where you want them eventually!

    I would put a litter tray where you want them to use one though, if you haven’t already, so they know it’s there. Our Joey surprised us by finding the one we were yet to introduce him to, in one of the places we wanted him to go. And he used it!

    And just a reminder too - for two kittens, 3 or even 4 trays is the way to go to ensure they are totally confident and happy with toilet arrangements. In different locations as well, as two trays next to each other get seen as one toilet.

    A lot of the time young kittens are fine with just one tray ..... until the day they aren’t :D. And people are puzzled when they start peeing on beds etc assuming they’re being naughty, they’re just growing up and getting a bit more territorial/cautious/private :)
     
  6. SuboJvR

    SuboJvR Joey’s Mummy

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    You might find that if you put the dry food in the kitchen they would be more tempted to explore there - due to the addictive nature of the dry food!!
     
    Lurcherlad likes this.
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