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Ideas on getting a kitten to eat

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I did a search and couldn't find any threads that covered this topic, so hope y'all don't mind helping me out :-) . I'm new here, so be gentle!

I got a foster kitten from animal care and control (I've been fostering for them over 5 years and over 50 kittens). She's already pretty big (10 weeks or so, 2 pounds-ish), but was just found, so needs the socialization that fostering provides. When we got her (Wednesday), she was terrified and would hiss at people who put hands toward her - now she's seeking us out and sitting in our laps :-D so great progress.

The problem is this: she doesn't eat. She ate a little the first few days, but next to nothing in the past day or two. I started her out with Science Diet dry kitten food, then switched to Iams canned in a couple of different fishy flavors to try to tempt her, and she's just not interested.

Today I was making lunch, and had a scrap of lunch meat leftover, so offered it to one of my adult cats - the foster JUMPED in front of the grown up cat and stole it! I was so pleased that she was eating at all that I gave her a few more pieces, and she was terribly indignant when I came to my senses and told her no more. I had to take her off the table 6 times before she'd stay away, lol.

So long story short, I've found SOMETHING that she likes to eat. Obviously, this is not an ideal situation for feeding her. What do you folks suggest I try next? If I let her get hungry enough, will she eat her food? I'm not used to getting kittens this old who won't at least eat the canned stuff.

Thanks for reading, I know I was long-winded.
post #2 of 5
Little Friskies "Meaty Bits" look a lot like lunch meat to me! It's not the greatest food, but anything is better than nothing!
post #3 of 5
Kudos to you for fostering.

No, you can't wait them out to see if they will get hungry enough to eat. Cats will literally starve themselves before eating something they don't want to eat. They can quickly develop health problems from not eating.

Have you tried Gerber all meat chicken or turkey baby food? Most like this. If she likes it try putting some on top of what you want her to eat.

I have seen several kittens that would not eat Science Diet. Some don't like dry food and some don't like wet food.

A tiny bit of Parmesan cheese on top of some canned might help.

You might try chopping a tiny bit of the lunch meat and putting it on top of some canned kitten food.

Maybe leave a dry kitten food out and keep trying various canned foods. Do you have other cats that could eat her leftover "trial" foods? Save from wasting it.

That's all I can think of. Hope you find something she likes.
post #4 of 5
I once fostered a kitten who wouldn't eat cat food, but rather had survived until 8-10 weeks on human scraps. She had no clue that cat food was for her - a cat!

What I did was ground up treats like tuna flakes, wildside salmon treats - I knew she loved them - so covered the dry & wet food with them. It enticed her to eat. Another thing to try is putting dry food on top of a piece of lunch meat, so she has to eat the dry food to get the lunch meat.

Fishy foods smell stronger, IMO, making them more likely to eat them. Have you tried Meow Mix's wet food (not the "new" kind - the pouches or round cups - I believe market selects?) ? It's very strong smelling.
post #5 of 5
You could wrap up canned food in the lunchmeat she likes, to get her to try it. Call it a purrito.
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