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new kitten wont eat kitten food

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I adopted a 3 month old kitten from a local shelter about a month ago. This is my first real experience with a cat younger than 2 years so bear with me. I kept the new kitten in a spare bedroom with food, water, toys, litter, etc for about the first 2 1/2 weeks after I adopted him and made it a point for all family members to "visit" him frequently. During this time I started him off on Science Diet Kitten Food (what he ate at the shelter) and slowly mixed it with Nutro Kitten (what I want to feed him). By the end of the 2.5 weeks he was eating 100% Nutro and was eating very well. After giving him free roam of the house he has decided that he likes our 15 year old cats senior food (Nutro) better than his kitten food. At first I started out taking him to his bowl whenever I caught him in the other cats bowl. When that didnt work I would hide the other food for a short time when I caught him in that bowl with the thought that if he wants to eat now he will have to eat his food. That didnt work either, he would just not eat until the other food came back out. My third attempt was using a squirt gun to spray him whenever I caught him in the wrong bowl, obviously that did not work either he just waits until I am away from the food bowls before he starts eating.

Am I making too a big deal out of this?
Is it OK for him to eat a senior formula food?
Any suggestions?
post #2 of 10
Do not let him eat senior bad for kittens.
It is made for seniors and
Kitten food is made for kittens.
post #3 of 10
I'm a professional pet sitter. I often have animals that won't eat their own food and want another animal's food. One trick in my ample bag is to take a couple of piece of the food they want and put it on top of their food in their own bowl. Often, they'll eat the "yummy" pieces then keep eating their own food. It seems like the trick is just to get them to start!
post #4 of 10
Your kitty really does need her own food. I like the previous suggestion of putting a few kibbles on top. I wish I had some suggestions. I know that you don't want to upset the other cat by placing him/her food in another room when he/she is used to getting a snack whenever they feel like it. I guess it would be better to at least try some moist kitten food to make sure your kitten is getting the nutrients that young ones need. Welcome to TCS and I wish you luck!
post #5 of 10
Please don't squirt your cat with a spray bottle or squirt gun. Not only it is counter-productive but if you accidentally spray him in the eyes or ears he could get an infection.
post #6 of 10
Hi and welcome to TCS! The most important goal is to have your senior kitty eating their food and your kitten eating his/her food. I am very familiar with Nutro kitten, are you feeding wet food or dry? Is your senior cat food wet or dry?
Nutro max does offer a variety of flavors, if you can't find one your kitten seems to like, then I would look into another, healthy alternative. A senior cat diet will be lacking the vitamins and protein for a healthy physical development of a kitten.
post #7 of 10
we have the similar problem the other way round: Our Merlin (6 years old) prefers the kitten's food. We also leave the food on the flor to give our kittens the possibility to eat whenever they want.
When I am back from home, I put the kittens together with their mother in one separate room, and when I'm at home I try to take Merlin away from the kitten food whenever I catch him red-handed. But I think this methode just works if you have more than two kittens and seniors - otherwise the lonely one will feel unhappy.

Maybe you find another variety for your senior cat which the little one does not like.
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Ok I have tried all the suggestions listed with no results. The food we give both is Nutro dry food in kitten and senior varieties. My pet store does not offer more than one flavor of either varieties in any premium brands and I am fearful of trying major brands (Purina etc.). The only success I have had is mixing both foods 50/50 to feed both cats and praising them or scolding them whenever I find them eating out of the right or wrong bowl. My intent with this is to gradually change the mix until they are both eating their proper foods.
post #9 of 10
You could try clicker training. Get yourself a clicker, click the kitten when it eats from its own bowl, then give a special treat. May not help, but it's worth a shot, and if you condition to the clicker it'll make training easier in the future. I just fed kitten food to everyone for a year. The older cat got a little fat, but hasn't had any serious health issues.
post #10 of 10
We have this problem with our cats. Because we have 2 "special needs" kitties, they can't eat each other's food for health reasons. The only success we've had is to go to scheduled feedings and either supervise the feeding time or to put one in a separate room with the door closed to eat. Pick up all food when finished before the other cat can get to it. We also have to put all food up in a cabinet or our younger kitty will jump up on the counter to eat it.
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