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Hiow to wean off canned food? HELP PLEASE!

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

i am caring for my sisters elderly cat (the kitty is 15 1/2 years old, and quite healthy looking!)

the thing is, she LOVES canned food! my sister said it was ok to give her a tiny bit (one teaspoon) per day along with her dry food.

ok, i am a pushover i admit it
please don't beat me up over this, but...
i ended up giving in to her more often than i should and NOW kitty is turning up her nose at the dry food
and even worse, her breath is starting to smell bad

oh dear!

i need to wean her off the canned food
but should i do it gradually???
should i have her go cold turkey (good time for that after thanksgiving, eh?LOL)

either way she is going to be upset, but i don't know, given her age, what is the most sensible way to go about this

the only other option is that i STICK STRICTLY TO THE ONE TEASPOON RULE
however i don't see that working because i PANIC when i notice she is refusing to eat the dry and is holding out for the canned

i guess i should have a can on hand in case she really digs in her heels...

in fact, there's another question:

i know cats can't go too long without food, but i have heard vets say (not mine, though) that if you put food out even the finickiest cat will eventually eat it

is that true?
not that i want her to go thru that
she DOES l ike the dry just fine, its only that she prefers cannned

post #2 of 4
I've not had any experiences with cats starving themselves so I can't comment on that. When I had a single cat, I decreased the amount of food for him slowly. He would complain for the first week. Then after that he didn't complain at all until company came over! Then he'd act like he didn't get fed. Oh, I should add I decreased the soft food only, not the hard food. My cat ended up losing his weight and became more active and energetic.

I have a fat cat at the moment again too! Though my problem is how to regulate one cat's food while I have another cat who is skin and bones! Good luck with your kitty!
post #3 of 4
Since she is eating the wet food, I wouldn't worry about something being wrong with her physically at least.

Have you tried just consulting the cats owner, and seeing what they want you to do about this?

A lot of people think... hey, the cats old, maybe on it's last leg, just let it have what it wants to keep it happy.
The cat might know that you will give in and just give it wet food.

How long have you tried to just give her dry food before? If she doesn't eat SOME dry food by the end of 3 days, then you might as well just feed her wet food and try to keep offering dry until the owner comes back.

A cat will not starve themselves unless there is something VERY wrong.

As far as the breath stinking, does the owner brush the cats teeth? And have you tried giving her hard (tartar) snacks to much on?

Have you tried putting just a little bit of wetfood mixed REALLY well into the dry food, so if she wants the wet food she'd have to eat both. Or try putting a little water in the dry food. Just experiment. Don't worry too much, cats can test people just a dog would, and also know how to get spoiled
post #4 of 4
Some cats will starve themselves. My cat was abused, and when I tried some food switches (raw, homecooked, etc) she refused all. I'd say she pretty much didn't eat for about 6 days, I couldn't take it and bought some more kibble.

The smell though is really a health thing. What is she eating? When was her last checkup. Bad smells in any creature means poor health, from poor digestion to any number of problems. As this isn't your cat, not much you can do in the long run. I'd pick up a good canned cat food, Natural Balance at Petco practically makes my cats drool, and use that to get her to eat her dry food.

Also check her teeth. Is there a reason she isn't eating - sore gums, etc? Are her teeth really nasty looking? Cats need teeth cleanings too and that could also be the source of her stink and not wanting to eat hard food.

Health checkup including teeth is a must, getting her on a good food, even supplementing with some garlic and probiotics can help especially if its a digestive problem, and adding regular teeth brushing and cleanings as much as possible.
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