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Adopted a new feral cat that will not eat

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
Let me begin by first giving some background info.

My girlfriend and I adopted a feral cat three days ago. We named him Oliver. He is about one year old and has previously seen a vet to receive shots and flea treatment (although he was reintroduced to his untreated mother so now he has fleas again).

We are keeping him in our master bedroom with us. He has been scared to say the least, but this is not surprising as I have read other threads documenting similar experiences that others have had with new ferals. Our bedroom has a small hallway that leads to a bathroom, which is connected to a small toilet room. He likes to hide in the toilet room either next to the toilet, or behind the door. I think he does this to avoid us in the main bedroom.

We placed a litter box in the bathroom, and dry food + water bowls in the toilet room.

My main concern is that he has eaten very little in the last three days. He will not eat any dry food. He did eat a spoonful of canned tuna that I placed next to him the other night... but that is it. How long can he go for without eating and is this stress related? I really want him to eat some food and ease my mind a bit.

I appreciate any help that you guys can offer. I am willing to be very patient with this cat to earn his trust.

-Jordan
post #2 of 25
i would try some wet food, some tuna flavored or that has tuna in it. also wet some dry food, and mix some tuna juice into it, might work. kittens can fade fast, so be careful!
post #3 of 25
Welcome to TCS!

As for the not eating....I would try wet food. Meow Mix cups are easily accessible, smell strong, & are of a decent quality.
post #4 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your quick response.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Liza24 View Post
i would try some wet food, some tuna flavored or that has tuna in it. also wet some dry food, and mix some tuna juice into it, might work. kittens can fade fast, so be careful!
I tried this earlier today and twice yesterday. I put some tuna on top of wet cat food. He will look at it then ignore it.
post #5 of 25
What kind of wet food did you try?
post #6 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by white cat lover View Post
What kind of wet food did you try?
It is called "Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance". I think the flavor is Turkey and Giblet. Should I try a different brand/flavor?
post #7 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by peadalo View Post
It is called "Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance". I think the flavor is Turkey and Giblet. Should I try a different brand/flavor?
Yes. That isn't all that stinky....seafoods are best. Things like Meow Mix cups are the stinkiest, but otherwise, seafood in general tends to smell more....at least enough to hopefully spark some interest!
post #8 of 25
Thread Starter 
I just got out the tuna & shrimp flavor and mixed some tuna juice into it. It is real stinky... hopefully he goes for it.
post #9 of 25
anything? and i agree, the Meow Mix cups are the best!
post #10 of 25
Thread Starter 
Nothing yet

He is hiding between the bathroom door and the wall with the food in front of him. Should I just leave him alone with it for a long time?
post #11 of 25
I hope the stinkier one worked. Do you know what Oliver was eating before he came to live with you?
post #12 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by beandip View Post
I hope the stinkier one worked. Do you know what Oliver was eating before he came to live with you?
He was eating dry food actually. It was Purina Kitty Chow.
post #13 of 25
Thread Starter 
He is showing no interest in the food. He also hissed twice when I walked in there. Should I close the bathroom door and leave him alone in there for a while? I am afraid that he will starve himself like this.
post #14 of 25
Does he have somewhere to hide a little?

If not, do make such a possibility.

A cat-igloo or a sideturned cardboardbox (with a towel to lie on) is OK.

This way he can stress down some.

And let him be. He will probably eat at night when alone and everything quiet.
post #15 of 25
Thread Starter 
There is a kennel with a blanket to lie on in the bedroom, but I think he is too scared to come out of the bathroom at the moment. He is hiding between the wall and the toilet right now.
post #16 of 25
i agree there, gotta let him have time to settle in.
post #17 of 25
Thread Starter 
Another night passed and he has not eaten any noticeable amount of food. I don't think he has eaten at all.

Overnight we left a bowl of water and dry food in the bathroom, and in the bedroom, along with a meow mix in the bedroom. Can he starve himself? It has been pretty much 4 days.
post #18 of 25
I think you need to take him to a vet. Cats can get fatty liver disease from not eating. And Fatty Liver can kill. Poor kitty...
post #19 of 25
Thread Starter 
I tried to feed him some more wet food, and I am trying Gerber baby food right now. If he doesn't eat it then I will take him to a nearby vet.
post #20 of 25
Let us know if you can get him to eat, or what the vet says! Poor thing. If only they could understand that they are safe.
post #21 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by white cat lover View Post
Let us know if you can get him to eat, or what the vet says! Poor thing. If only they could understand that they are safe.
I know... I guess he is too scared. I will post as soon as something happens. Thanks for your support.
post #22 of 25
Did you try putting the food near his hiding place so its closer for him and he doesnt have to walk far? I understand mabye you dont want the food in a certain area or room where your afraid of a mess, but moving it closer to where he hides may help to get food in him for now, and if he starts eating, slowly move the food a little further (closer to the bathroom) mabye every 2 days.

Sounds like he is very scared right now, new place, new world, new sights and sounds and needs to adjust living in a house.

Once he does adjust and starts eating he should get a little better each day.
post #23 of 25
peadalo check your private message box
post #24 of 25
Thread Starter 
He finally ate!

That is the punchline anyway. The gory details follow below if you feel like reading them.

We took him to the vet and they checked him out. There were no obvious physical problems that would cause appetite loss. They said that he was probably just really stressed in the new environment and all.

The vet had two suggestions that would help. Oliver could take a Valium, but the vet said that he hates to put cats through that whole experience. Then he suggested giving Oliver an appetite stimulant, although stress can still overcome even the biggest appetite.

So they gave him one of the appetite pills right in front of me---it seemed pretty traumatic for poor kitty. They wrapped him up in a towel with his head poking out one end, the nurse held his body while the vet dropped a pill in his mouth, held his mouth shut, and rubbed his throat until he swallowed it. Oliver shrieked and squirmed as they were waiting for him to swallow the pill. They gave me small bottle of them to take home and told me that I should give him one a day if needed. I was hoping that I'd never have to.

I took him home in his kennel (with a towel draped over it to make it dark so he would feel safe) and placed it in the corner of the room. I put his litterbox nearby, placed a bowl of dry food and a bowl of water outside the kennel. Then I prepared some wet cat food in a bowl. I pulled the towel up over the kennel door, opened it, and slowly placed the wet food bowl inside the kennel.

Then I left the room and closed the door behind me. I left him in there for about 6 hours. I came back to find him hiding under my desk with the wet food gone, and most of the dry food eaten too (it was a big bowl of dry food).

He was watching me and I wanted him to explore the room some more, so I left the room again. I am just so relieved that he has finally eaten. I hope this will happen tomorrow without another appetite pill. The next step is socializing him, unfortunately the whole vet experience probably set him back some.

Thanks for your support if you have read this far. I will post if there are anymore issues.
post #25 of 25
Try wet food.
Sammy refuses to eat dry food, but Karina does.
Soke cats are just different. I reccomend the Priority Cat Food brand.
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