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Why has feeding my three elderly cats suddenly become a nightmare?

Discussion in 'Cat Health and Nutrition' started by Jansheff, Sep 14, 2018.


  1. Jansheff

    Jansheff PetForums VIP

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    The title says it all really. They're driving me round the bend and I'm getting very worried. We weren't doing too badly before the summer, OK Rosso had to have Dreamies crushed and sprinkled on the top of his renal food, and some days he would eat one brand and not the other, but I didn't really have many worries about the other two. Bruno would eat anything in sight, including the other cats' food given a chance, and anything he could steal, Raffles was never a pig, but had gained weight again once his hyperthyroidism was sorted out with radio iodine.

    Appetite was waning a bit over the summer, but I put it down to the heat. When I picked them up from the cattery a week ago, all three had lost weight. Again not too concerned, they often drop a little, but I get it back on them within the next couple of weeks. The cattery owner admitted that he had found it a challenge to get to eat.

    I got home intending to fatten them up again, but they're not having any of it. Rosso's got extra picky about renal food, Bruno sniffs and walks away from everything and Raffles is not the slightest bit interested. I put food down, they ignore it. They used to all appear at 8 am, 6 pm and midnight, their mealtimes, winding round my feet and mewing for food. They don't do that anymore and they don't even appear when I rattle the bowls and they hear all the familiar noises of their food being prepared.

    It's difficult to leave food down for them to pick at because I don't want Rosso eating regular food or them eating his renal food. Annoyingly Bruno seems to only want the renal food and not regular. Raffles will just lie around all day and never bother with eating, unless I go and get him. He used to recognise the sounds of chicken being prepared for our meals and come and sit by the chopping board, waiting for the bits of reject raw chicken. Now he's not bothered. He did eat a plateful of prawns the other day though when I offered them to him. He's being started on Metacam tomorrow as a trial for his arthritis, so maybe he can't be bothered because it's an effort with aching joints.

    I've tried offering food and taking it to them wherever they are though the day. Waiting until they appear and "ask" for it. Removing it as soon as they stop eating. Yesterday I even tried not giving them anything until they appeared in the kitchen, trying to actually get them to feel hungry. They literally didn't bother all day, though admittedly they fed pretty well at night. But one meal a day isn't enough. I've probably confused them totally about when their meals are available, but surely they'd eat at some point. They just don't seem to have hunger anymore. I've now got Rosso drinking this morning, which worries me as he is Stage II CKD, but it's probably because he's not getting the liquid usually in his food.

    I've ordered one microchip feeding bowl to trial, and if it's OK and we get on with it, I'll get another 2. It's going to cost over £200 but we can't go on like this. Then I could just leave food down all day and they could eat when they want. If they want ...... I feel that problems all stem back to having to take up food because of feeding Rosso renal stuff, because before that their food would be down and available until they finished it. But I don't know.

    I've tried Fortiflora sprinkled on top, after reading that most cats would inhale it, but mine don't like it. I regularly sprinkle a few crushed Dreamies or Whiskas Temptations on top. Raffles and Bruno usually eat Macs, Animonda Carney and some Grau, they also like Nutriment Raw Chicken. Rosso has a variety of renal food. I'm really tempted to go out and buy some Whiskas to try and get them eating, but I don't want bad stomachs or to get them hooked on that permanently.

    I know that cats are driven by smell rather than taste. Food is always warmed a little, a little water added. I wonder if mine are losing their sense of smell, but for all three to go at once is a bit of a co-incidence. I'm going to try and get hold of some catnip to sprinkle of top to see if that helps.

    Any more suggestions which might help?
     
    #1 Jansheff, Sep 14, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2018
  2. Summercat

    Summercat PetForums VIP

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    Maybe being the the cattery threw them off schedule. Do you think Bruno could have eaten the renal food by mistake in the cattery? If he likes it I would just allow him to have it, as he is a senior cat.
    I wonder if to get them to eat the cattery offered them different food. Maybe play around with a few other options. Shredded Thrive maybe.
     
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  3. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Hi Jansheff, yes, getting reluctant cats to eat when they are not interested can be a nightmare! I have this problem with one of my cats every so often (as he has intermittent episodes of FHV-1 recurring and it affects his sense of smell) But 3 cats off their food all at once is mind boggling! You have all my sympathy.

    One thing that comes to mind is that perhaps all 3 cats have picked up a virus in the cattery which is affecting their sense of smell and their appetite. Even feeling a bit off-colour can affect a cat's sense of smell, so I've found. There may not necessarily be outward symptoms like snuffles, sneezing or diarrhoea etc.

    The other thing is that cats are very good at making associations between one thing and another. I understand this is a survival instinct, but sometimes negative associations they make are not useful. It is possible they're now associating the foods they usually eat, with their stay at the cattery, or they are associating their usual foods with feeling unwell.

    The main thing is to get them eating again, & enjoying their meals. Based on my experience I advise you to stop feeding them any of their usual foods, and instead try them with different foods until you find one they enjoy and then stick with that until they have their appetites back. What I did was go to Tesco and buy samples of all the wet cat foods they sell, brought them home and tried my cat with each one. I was lucky I struck gold on the second food (a small amount of Felix AGAIL, which I'd never fed him before). He ate it with enjoyment and I can't tell you the huge relief I felt!!:)

    The Felix kickstarted his appetite and I was gradually able to increase the amount he ate. I was concerned that having sampled the "delights" of Felix he would never want to eat his good Zooplus foods again. But I needn't have worried, because when he was well again he went back to his normal diet without any problem at all.

    Your situation is more complicated because you have one cat on a renal diet. But to get Rosso eating again you could give him normal food with a phos binder added for the moment perhaps.

    Microchipped feeders are an excellent idea for a multicat household. They are such a boon, I could not imagine life without chipped feeders now. :)
     
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  4. Mrs Funkin

    Mrs Funkin Human mother to Oscar

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    I also thought that @Summercat - that the cattery might have given them Whiskas/Felix/something similar to tempt them to eat? Perhaps it is worth asking them @Jansheff - it is something I have heard of with catteries, to try to get reluctant eaters to eat, as they obviously don't want them not to eat anything.
     
  5. Jansheff

    Jansheff PetForums VIP

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    Thank you so much - just to have someone listen and sympathise helps. I did take my own food to the cattery as I know otherwise they fill them up on Go Cat. I had been tempted to try Whiskas/Felix but needed other people’s thoughts first.

    Never thought of a virus affecting sense of smell. They’re all otherwise pretty healthy and have had very recent bloods.

    Not too worried about Bruno eating renal as his latest SDMA at the end of last week was 13 when the cut off for early CKD is 14 so looks like we’re Heading that way anyway. But I need him to regain some lost weight and thought he was less likely to do that on renal food. It’s also very expensive - or at least the ones Rosso will eat are and I was trying to save a bit of expense while possible.
     
    #5 Jansheff, Sep 14, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2018
  6. Jansheff

    Jansheff PetForums VIP

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    I went to the supermarket this afternoon, bought a couple of tins of Whiskas in jelly (yuck), 4 Felix pouches and a couple of small tins of Sheba or something. Pleased to say that Raffles and Bruno were both trying to force each other off one plate of Whiskas before I could get the other one served. :D Rosso has eaten a decent amount of his kidney food, with a little Whiskas on top and some Dreamies to tempt him. I don't have any phos binder as the phosphorous in his bloods have not been a problem so far (touch wood) and the vet said we don't give it until it becomes a problem.

    One of the microchip feeders has arrived and I've started Rosso off on it, as he's the one with the different food. He's not afraid of it at all, and I think he'll catch on pretty quickly.

    Fingers crossed the progress will continue.
     
  7. Mrs Funkin

    Mrs Funkin Human mother to Oscar

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    Heh, here it's all about Whiskas in gravy for Oscar...gravy rules the world you know. I'm glad they've all eaten though, even if it is Whiskas ;)
     
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  8. HappyKitty

    HappyKitty PetForums Member

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    I think my girl lost of sense of smell during her last year and literally went off most foods. Never eat Felix in her life, but it's all I could get her to eat - all the fishy ones. If it continues and change of diet doesn't help (at their age, unless they have a particular health concern) it's best to let them have what they want and at least they're eating.

    If the food situation does continue though, I'd get them checked by the vet just in case there are any underlying medical conditions.
     
  9. Jansheff

    Jansheff PetForums VIP

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    All 3 seen by vet last Friday, when they had their Programme injection and a check. Raffles had bloods and urine done, because he's not been grooming properly recently. Vet suspects arthritis and despite his 'funny turn' the day after (covered in another thread) the vet has said he's 'remarkably healthy for his age'. He does need a dental and that's being done next Wednesday. Bruno had bloods repeated too, as he is on a sort of 'watch, wait and retest in a couple of months' because of a borderline SDMA tests for kidney disease. Rosso had bloods done just before the holiday and his kidney figures had improved.
     
  10. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    I'm very pleased to hear they are eating the Whiskas with gusto Jansheff! Well done :)
     
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  11. Jansheff

    Jansheff PetForums VIP

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    ...... and this morning we’re back to refusing food completely again :Arghh Even Whiskas. I’m going to give them this weekend then ask the vet for an appetite stimulant if things don’t change.
     
  12. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Oh no! Sorry to hear this! :( Does sound as though they could be feeling a bit unwell, and their sense of smell is affected. Also they could be feeling nauseous, as that will affect appetite too. It is hard to get a cat with nausea to eat.

    Have you tried foods such as canned tuna for humans? That was all one of my previous cats would eat when she was very nauseous with illness.

    Have you asked the cattery if they have had a recent problem with a virus? They should be willing to tell you if they have.
     
  13. Jansheff

    Jansheff PetForums VIP

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    I’ve got the feeling that they’re playing me for a chuff here, and are eating what they want on their terms. Bruno had just eaten a plate of chicken scraps, without hesitation. I’ve got some prawns out of the freezer and Raffles has appeared looking eager. I also wondering if they’re sensing me getting stressed out about it, and that’s putting them off as well.
     
  14. Sacremist

    Sacremist Mum to 2 cats and a dog

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    Mirtazapine can encourage them to eat, but tbh my two boys have CKD and the Mirtazapine didn’t really do much. Unfortunately they were vomiting back food so I asked the vet for some anti nausea meds as well.
     
  15. Calvine

    Calvine PetForums VIP

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    This makes my girl really hyper, starts yowling and acting as tho' she has an overactive thyroid; that's with the tiniest bit I can manage to get with a pill-splitter (about a sixth of a tablet)and she'll eat like crazy for a day then stop again.
     
  16. Sacremist

    Sacremist Mum to 2 cats and a dog

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    Yes, it does the same to Chino.
     
  17. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Perhaps they're taking revenge on you for going away and putting them in the cattery! ;) If it's that, they should be fine within a day or two back home. :)
     
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