Our cat has stopped eating from her bowl without encouragement
by Eddie Garland
Our cat is elderly, a good 16 years. She is in good health according to the vet. She is and has been spoiled all her life, but until recently would eat her food from the bowl without a problem.
The hot weather seemed to knock her for 'six' and she went off her food. The only way we can get her to eat is put her bowl next to her and hope she has a taste.
Have tried hand feeding which has been partly successful. Any ideas as to the proper way forward under the circumstances?My thoughts:
I'm sorry to hear that your cat is having problems eating. I know you said your cat is otherwise healthy according to your vet, but I'm unclear on how long ago the vet checked her out.
Has your cat been checked by your vet with respect to this specific problem?
At 16, things are moving quickly and a cat's health status can change fast. One of the first things a sick cat often does is go off of food.
If she were my cat, here's what I'd be thinking about...
If the hot weather was truly the trigger, in addition to any other potential problems, I'd be concerned she might be dehydrated. I would do the skin pinch test and look for other signs of dehydration.
I'd also do a follow up with the vet for an opinion, and do what I could to get her to drink more water.
That being said, sometimes cats just seem to become more picky about food when they get older. Quite a bit has been written about how to get senior cats to eat (these methods often work on sick cats as well).
Warm up canned or moistened dry food in the microwave. If needed, try a few different brands and/or flavors of food.
Add some tuna water (only from canned tuna in water). Some of our readers have also had success with crumbling sardines on the food, and others have used baby food (no onions or garlic, though, as these can cause anemia).
If your cat is on dry food, switch to canned. Some cats are dry food addicted, but others will appreciate the smell of the canned food, especially if it's warmed up a bit.
Feed smaller portions of food more times per day.
Keep the environment as stress free as possible and make sure your cat has a quiet place to eat.
If she tolerates it, show her some attention while she eats. It may sooth her, but if not, don't force it.
Try a balanced, veterinarian approved, homemade diet.
See if your veterinarian feels an appetite stimulant is appropriate.
I hope that helps, and I hope she recovers quickly.