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Cat won't eat canned/wet food anymore

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I have a 12 y/o cat that won't eat canned food anymore. The problem seems to be associated with her chronic dental problems, but the vet can't find any reasons as to why the cat won't eat canned food. She only has a few teeth left, and there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with them. She had blood work done recently and it was normal, but we need to watch the kidneys as the BUN and creatinine are slowly climbing out of the normal range. We were not able to obtain a urine sample though.

I've tried feeding the cat different flavors, styles (pate, chunky, flaked, etc.), and different brands with no luck. The only thing she eats fairly consistently is the 9 Lives tuna, which I'd prefer not to feed her on daily basis. She eats dry food fairly well and eats it by swallowing it whole.

I suspect the problem may be that she either can't smell the food and/or that she can't eat it well due to her lack of teeth. She will lick the food to death, but won't eat it. I thought I'd be clever and puree the food, but she'll only lick/eat a small amount and that's it, so that doesn't work either.

She needs to eat canned food because she has hard, dry stools/chronic constipation. Plain canned pumpkin doesn't work and I can't give her anything else because it needs to be added to the canned food. Plus, if she would just eat the canned food, it would help with the constipation.

Does anyone know how to get her to eat canned food? The vet is totally stumped on this one. By the way, most of her siblings were picky about canned food as well.

The next time I fix chicken breasts, I'm going to fix some plain unseasoned pieces for her to see if she'll eat that. Maybe I need to try putting her on a home cooked or raw diet. I would of course check with the vet first. But I'd at least like to see if maybe she would eat that kind of food.
post #2 of 20
If she is missing a lot of teeth she may be having trouble picking up mushy food. Maybe give her most of the really chunky types of wet?
post #3 of 20
Flavor sprinkles!

If you have a cat that loves cheese, a tiny bit of fresh grated parmesean on top. Or you can get bonito fish flakes and throw on a few.

For bowel issues, Purina has a probiotic called Fortiflora, but it is also mixed with concentrated flavorings and is apparently very delicious to entice sick kitties. Expensive at vets, but not too bad on Amazon or ebay.
post #4 of 20
I have one that doesn't eat cat. Except lamb and rice. He loves that. The others don't so I only feed his fav once in a while. I figure it is his choice.
My kitten likes turkey and cheese.
My Mittens doesn't like anything fish.
I think it depends on their tastes.
My vet said cats won't eat what they can't smell too.
post #5 of 20
Originally Posted by MeuzettesMom View Post
I have one that doesn't eat cat.
That's a good thing IMO. Cannibalism is highly overrated.
post #6 of 20
Originally Posted by Ducman69 View Post
That's a good thing IMO. Cannibalism is highly overrated.
Oops I didn't finish the thought, did I. Can cat food, is the subject
post #7 of 20
Tuna is pretty addictive to cats so that may be the root of the problem.
Have you trued mixing in a new food with the 9 Lives?? When you try a new food do you put it down and leave it or take it back up if she seems uninterested?
post #8 of 20

Hi Taco, just found this site and you could be speaking about my Mika except she's 10 and now won't eat canned food except a freshly opened one and the first serving only - about a teaspoon.  I've tried everything you have (as well as other suggestions here) and give her grain free/all natural canned food.  Lucky she eats pumpkin (only ED Smith, of course) so it keeps her BM's moving and moist. 

She has one chipped tooth since she was a kitten but it hasn't changed and there are issues with her gums.  She loves her dry food and chews it as well as the occasional dry treat.

I don't think she's getting enough calories and will not increase her dry food because it's not good for her.



post #9 of 20

I'm thinking you might try in addition to the flavor sprinkles suggestion of Ducman's, trying a chunky in gravy type of food.  I use the 3.5oz cans of Nutro Max sometimes and it is chunky with gravy.  Or you could try moistening her wet with a little water or perhaps a small amount of milk substitute.  You could also do this with her kibble.

post #10 of 20
milkafassie, I don't know if you'll be back to see this reply, but here are some tips that may help you:

PLEASE do not wet dry food. If you look up recalls of dry foods, you can see that there are a lot of problems with bacteria and molds, such as aflatoxin. Making dry food wet simply creates a great environment for these contaminants to multiply. ohwell.gif
post #11 of 20
Originally Posted by LDG View Post

milkafassie, I don't know if you'll be back to see this reply, but here are some tips that may help you:
PLEASE do not wet dry food. If you look up recalls of dry foods, you can see that there are a lot of problems with bacteria and molds, such as aflatoxin. Making dry food wet simply creates a great environment for these contaminants to multiply. ohwell.gif

Yes, if you leave it out all day.  If the cat immediately eats his/her food there is no reason not to wet it.  Yes, to leave it there will harbor bacteria and molds. 


post #12 of 20
Yes, and a lot of people leave it out.
post #13 of 20

Hi NutroMike, thank you for link.  Mika is liking a new flavour of Wellness can food...turkey & salmon.  She loves the first portion of a newly opened can...devours it and then eats less and less of the remaining food even tho I keep it in a tightly sealed container to keep it fresh.  Is Mika just fussy or am I missing something.

post #14 of 20

Do you heat up the second portion or is it cold from the fridge?

Heat it up in the microwave for 10 seconds to take the chill off.

Or leave it out a little before you server it so it gets to room temperature. 

My cat likes me to heat the wet food up in the microwave for a few seconds before he eats it. If I forget he whines at me until I do ;)

HOpe that helps....

post #15 of 20

I'm having the same problem lately, or rather my cat Mickey is.

She's 2 years old, and ever since I got her as a kitten, I've fed her half a can of food every morning, and she eats dry food the rest of the day. It's been a ritual, she's eager to get her breakfast, whether it's a freshly opened can, or leftover from the previous day in the refrig. And she eats all flavors, but only if it's Friskies - the other brands haven't been so appetizing to her, but she still ate most, except the cheap off-brands.


But about two weeks ago, she eagerly ran to the dish when I put it out, then sniffed it and slowly backed up, like it was about to attack her. She didn't eat any of it that day, and has repeated the performance every morning since, no matter the flavor. A couple of times, she has come back a bit later and nibbled at it, maybe eating half, but that's all. Before, she'd lick the platter clean in a matter of a minute.


She's active, an indoor/outdoor cat, and hasn't changed any of her other behaviors, has no fever, and eats her usual amount of dry food. She never has liked people food, so I haven't tempted her with that. I've looked in her mouth and doesn't seem to have any problems there - healthy gums, no missing teeth.


I'm at a loss to explain this. Anyone have an idea?

post #16 of 20
You might want to contact the company to see if there was an ingredient change. It might be time to consider trying some alternative wet foods for her!

Personally, I wouldn't consider myself qualified to determine whether or not one of my cats had a problem with teeth & gums. But this wouldn't usually put them off wet food anyway.
post #17 of 20

Hi Redvelvet Tone, sorry for delay.  I tried heating up Mika's canned food and it helped - she eats a little more than recently and I find if I change the flavour of the Wellness 3 pz can, every other can, this increases her interest and appetite.  Thanks


post #18 of 20

I figured out why Mickey won't eat the canned food I put out for her - I had a large variety of flavors and types of canned food, and after about a week of her snubbing my offerings, I happened to give her the type in gravy/sauce. Before, it was just the pate type, but the gravy type was scarfed down in less than a minute! I fed her the gravy type for 3 days afterwards, and she ate like a horse every time! Then just to check my theory, I gave her the pate type - snubbed again!

I guess she just had one of those weird, unexplainable cat things, and decided she liked gravy hereafter. So I expect that one day she'll snub the gravy and demand pate again - who knows?

post #19 of 20
flail.gifflail.gifflail.gif Yes, they DO like to keep us on our toes, don't they? And I'm sure your prediction will come true. laughing02.gif
post #20 of 20

Here is a weird case (at least it seems weird to me): Patricia used to want wet food every time Wilbur got it. She liked everything except 9 Lives, even the prescription food he was required to eat because of allergies.


In December, we moved from Ohio to Florida. I was feeding her the same food she did for several years - Royal Canin rabbit and pea - because I still had some left when he died. She stopped eating that. It made no sense to me because even after she adjusted to her new home, she was still not eating it. She continued to eat a healthy amount of dry food, so it was not a reduced appetite. I saw other changes, so it seems like her purrsonality changed when her location did. Has anybody witnessed this before? Yes, she does have dental disease, but she already had that before the move. She is almost 16.

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