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Reluctant to Eat Wet Food

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hi! I'm sure this has been discussed to death, but my searches aren't turning up the topics I need.

We're trying to switch our cat to wet food. She's not picky at all about dry food, but she keeps turning her nose up at the wet. We're trying to start her on Innova EVO.

Are there any good resources for this process?

Thanks in advance!
post #2 of 10

I have a couple questions.

How old is your cat? Has she ever had wet food before? Do you feed the dry in meals or is it out all the time? What does she do when you put out the wet food...does she even try it?

Some will say it's impossible...but I don't think so. You can do it!!

Have you read this article?

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
That article looks great! I'll be referencing it often.

Audrey is between 1 and 2 years old. We just adopted her about a month ago. Her foster mom had her on dry food, and we wanted to keep her on what she liked at first because there was a concern that she was pregnant.

We've been feeding her primarily at mealtimes (twice a day), but try to keep out a bit extra at night.

At first we were giving her Wellness because we hadn't been able to find EVO. She was willing to eat some of the Wellness, but not much. She absolutely refuses the EVO, though. She might give it a few half-hearted licks, but that's it.
post #4 of 10
The mealtimes help, so that's good . When mine still had dry out all the time, they weren't nearly as enthusiastic as they are now.

I might suggest picking up a few different foods...even if your eventual goal is to have her on the EVO. She should be fairly adaptable at her age...but some tricks and whatnot are probably necessary. Maybe experiment with some other brands/flavors/textures to see which one she'll eat more reliably. Merrick's is a good brand. It's got a different type of consistency, kind of hard to explain but I call it minced in a little sauce. Some of my more reluctant wet eaters took to that brand better than some others, at first.

If you could find one that you and Audrey are happy with, then I would try replacing one of her meals with it for awhile. That would be my first step. From there, maybe try to mix just small amounts of the EVO in a little at a time. Or better yet... I've noticed that after they get used to *any* wet food, they are much more willing to try others. You just have to find the one that she's willing to make a meal out of.

I will say that one of my cats - Leopold...will flat out skip a meal if I put certain foods down. He's on all canned, no dry...but there are certain flavors he just doesn't like. Just a few, but boy...is he stubborn when it comes to those. Hopefully Audrey will learn to love EVO.

Sometimes, when they won't try it on the plate, they'll try some from my finger. But that's really only applicable when they refuse to try it...I don't know if it would help you or not. Worth mentioning I guess.

Mixing dry and wet food generally isn't recommended...But I did resort to just pushing 5 or 6 kibbles into the top of a spoonful of wet food. 2 of my stubborn cats actually dove in to get the kibbles out..and kept eating at least a few more bites. I only had to do that for a couple of days for those 2 girls...then they took to it without the dry "bait" on top.

You can do it!!

I got my whole crew off the dry food entirely...if we can do it...anyone can.
post #5 of 10
My kitty had been on dry food for 5 years, which was about how long ago he took me on as his slave. He was HUGE too. The information I found on the internet said to switch by feeding;

1/4 wet and 3/4 dry for one week
1/2 wet and 1/2 dry for one week
3/4 wet and 1/4 dry for one week
All wet thereafter.

This method accomplishes two purposes. Firstly, it allows your kitty's stomach to adjust to the change in food without tummy upsets, since new foods require different bacteria in the stomach to process the food. Additionally, it serves the main goal of gradually getting your kitty used to canned foods. If your kitty still won't touch the canned food when starting out with 1/4 canned and 3/4 dry, then you could always adjust it down to 1/8 canned and 7/8 dry to start, and go from there. I didn't just plop the canned into the dry either. I mixed it all together.

Now, some will say don't mix wet and dry. They do have a point, since many toxins can form on dry food which gets wet. However, my kitty doesn't waste any time eating, so the food would be gone before I barely turned around.

Also, when switching a cat from dry to wet, I had heard that either of Nutro Maxcat Chicken and Lamb or Fancy Feast would be good choices to sell your kitty on wet. I used the Nutro Maxcat Chicken and Lamb to do the switch. I wouldn't feed Fancy Feast, but if I were switching a kitty from dry to wet, I would feed it until the kitty was switched, provided that was the only thing he would eat.

I also noticed, my kitty couldn't make it through the night off of just wet, which was partly because I was also switching him off of free-feeding, as well as dry food. So, right before bed, I would give him 2 tablespoons of decent quality dry food, which was Evo in my case. That was enough to hold him through the night.

My kitty was not picky about dry food either, although he LIVED for Deli-cat in his dry food days. As far as canned goes now, he eats practically anything I give him, except for Merrick Turducken, for some reason.

I have more information to share if you are also switching off of free-feeding, if you are interested. However, that involves having someone with the cat throughout the day. Whatever the case, don't give up. I switched my kitty to dry because I feared future health consequences if he didn't lose all the weight he gained from free-feeding on high carb dry. He did slim down and it was worth every bit of trouble, minor though it was in hindsight.
post #6 of 10
Keep trying....

I always suggest starting with decent yet yummmy wet food s like meow mix or solid gold tuna
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
We tried her on Wellness again, and she's eating it! I think that between the limited dry food and the EVO, which she didn't like, she must have been pretty hungry.

Honestly, it seems like what confuses her most is how to get the food out of the bowl and into her mouth. I guess with the dry stuff she was used to it sticking to her tongue, but she really can't seem to figure out that with wet food she actually needs to bite it. We've been cutting it up into little bite-sized pieces for her.

How much of the Wellness should she be eating per day? She only managed about a fifth of a can before giving it up. Should we still be supplementing with dry food until she starts eating more of the wet? (She's a tiny bit on the chunky side, so if she loses a few ounces it's not a problem).

Also, although our vet is totally in favor of wet foods instead of dry foods, she says that her practice has seen a higher than normal number of UTIs and related problems in cats on Wellness. I'd always heard that Wellness is one of the better canned foods, though. Do you folks have any input on this?
post #8 of 10
That's great that she's eating the Wellness a bit better now.

You're right, sometimes they seem a little confused about how to eat the canned food. If you're using a bowl, I would suggest a saucer or small plate instead. They don't like the idea of getting the food on their whiskers, I think. My favorite is a saucer w/ just a little raised bowl shaped edge...it's the best of both worlds as some of them will just push the food off the edge of a completely flat plate. Some of mine eat better when I move the food into a little pile after they've scooted it around on the plate.

How much food per meal or per day depends on her weight, the food, and metabolism, etc. My cats average about 3/4oz-1oz per lb of body weight, per day. My fairly inactive 13lb cat eats 9oz a day when he approves of my food choices, he'll get by with 6oz if he gets picky. My 10 month olds eat about 1oz per lb, per day. Some of the Wellness flavors are pretty high calorie (which is fine) but they will normally eat less of that then something "lighter".

I hadn't heard that about UTI's with Wellness. Doesn't mean it's not true, but it's interesting. In a cat with existing urinary issues, it's best to avoid the fishy flavors of any food. I woudn't go heavy on the fishy ones with any cat, but in moderation it's fine. That's the only possible connection I can think of, but that could happen with any food. With that in mind, we have only tried the beef/chicken, chicken, and turkey Wellness...because of Beandip's bladder issues. He's picked raw over canned, so I will probably let the others try some of the fishier ones soon.

Especially if she's a little chunky, you don't really want to restrict her too much throughout the transition, as a drastic caloric restriction is more dangerous for a chubby/fat cat. How 'chunky' is she? Are you trying to go to a completely canned diet? I think with some cats it's harder to get them to eat the canned if they know they'll get the dry at some point. What I mean is that "50/50" dry/wet is hard to acheive in some stubborn ones. With some of mine, it seemed to be all or nothing. My schedule allows for 3 meals a day, so for the stubborn ones I had 3 chances to get "enough" food in them throughout the day, when we were transitioning. Now they do much better. I have a couple that I still have to keep an eye on, but they are maintaining their weights and getting better and better w/the wet food. I think I didn't really answer your question...it's all kind of confusing. Let me know if I can clarify.

The foods that Sharky mentioned are good for getting them used to eating something other than dry food. Oddly enough, my most stubborn dry food junkie, Precious ...finally got on board with Natural Balance canned food. Funny because it seems like health food to me, but she loves it and she started doing much better after I offered her that. Now she'll eat almost anything I offer. Every cat can be different, though.
post #9 of 10
Everyone has mentioned good suggestions. I'm going through this same thing with my picky eater who is also overweight (the skinny one will eat anything, how you like that?). It's been amonth and it seems like my girl will eat California Natural (even the vension flavor). Somethings I've tried to get her to eat wet, particularly when they stop eating/trying any wet 1) giving wet fish flavors, 2) Smearing some on her paw so she has to lick it off (she's gotten hip to this and now she'll fling most of it off of her paw but she still gets a taste while licking it 3) Putting a little food directly on the floor (I guess it's reverse psychology since I'm usually picking stuff off the floor so they can't get to it) My picky eat will trying any that I put directly on the floor 4) Keep trying, I will try a food several times before giving up on it (and their are a lot of foods that I'm going to retry in few months- I will just by them by the can) some days they're not hungry, they're in the mood for all dry etc
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies!

It's hard to tell how chunky she is. She's about 11.5 pounds, which I know is on the heavy size for most cats. She's not a large cat like a Maine Coone. Just a normal DSH. The vet says that mostly she's just really solid, though. Lots of muscle on her. She's not carrying extra flab on her neck or anything like that. Since we brought her home a few weeks ago she's lost a few grams just from getting exercise (this was before we were trying to switch her food, so it wasn't a diet change). Either way, it's not like we've got a fat cat that needs to go on a major diet.

We'd actually started feeding her on a mostly flat saucer, and she seems to really prefer it, so we'll keep doing that. My boyfriend actually just e-mailed me to report that she ate almost half a can after I left this morning. Yay!

We hope to switch her to an entirely wet diet. Based on the research I've done wet sounds a lot better than dry. Beandip, what you said makes sense, since I think she'd definitely wait it out for dry food if she thought some was forthcoming. We'll cut out the fishy flavors of Wellness. Can't say we'll miss the stench too much.

I haven't seen anything about Wellness being associated with UTIs either. Apparently it's just something that our vet's office has noticed.

Thanks again!
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