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Not a fan of canned? Or is something else going on here?

Jessica GardnerJessica Gardner Middle of nowhereMember Posts: 5,375
edited 12 October, 2012 in Food & Nutrition
Far too much information apologies in advance! We couldn't leave our new lovely guy behind in the shelter when we went to peek around on Saturday. He'd been stuck there for more than 3 months after being found as a stray middle of June. I had been watching him never disappear on Petfinder and it was breaking my heart. Saturday was my Acorn Day (aka my birthday) and I felt compelled to at least go visit him. From what we were told no one had even asked about him, which is shocking because they said hewas astonishingly sweet and very well behaved. We took a lot of cats out just to love on them, many tried to shred the couch in the room, one clawed right up my husbands pant leg, and there were a crazy amount of BITERS! HOLY BUCKETS! I knew if I took *him* out however he'd be coming home so I was hoping to observe him happy as a clam and not in need of our family at all. He sat there not moving the whole time.... When I finally relented and scooped him out he just sat where I set him with his eyes closed the fainted of an appreciative purr :( The shelter workers thought he may be a bit depressed (a bit???) as he'd stopped mewing at passer-bys some time ago instead choosing to sleep his days away or staring, back turned to everyone, looking out the window his cage was butted up against. He was being treated for an URI and they gave him another shot of antibiotics before he left with us. There was no way we could leave him. He's sneezed a couple of times since Saturday when we brought him home but otherwise that's it, no nasal or eye discharge, and he doesn't sound raspy or anything. He perked up quite a bit when we let him out of the carrier. He promptly came out cautiously curious and thoroughly investigated every square inch of the house. He's not clingy but will sit in our laps for pets occasionally. He's not sure what to make of the dogs but he's managing alright. He hides a lot when they're out, but he's constantly peeking out to observe them and has even come up behind them when they're snoozing to try to get a sniff. I think in time they'll get along just fine. I do daycare and he's been in heaven today with all the attention lavished on him by all of their very gentle hands. He is incredibly tolerant. Doesn't seemed stressed by the noise or commotion in the least. I've left the basement door open behind a gate so he could retreat if he felt overwhelmed but so far he's chosen to stay right in the middle of all the action. My only complain is he is bit of a wanna be Houdini. We have to watch the doors as he shows obvious interest in getting outside which I'm guessing is how he ended up a stray in the first place. He was neutered and front paw declawed when he was found so someone obviously loved him at some point. I can't imagine his previous family lost him intentionally.... Now on to my question..... At intake to the shelter he weighed 10lbs and they labeled him *under* weight. Last time they weighed him he was closer to 15 so they moved him to a weight control kibble. The sheer size of his frame is impressive to me, by far the largest cat I've felt (he has a lot of hair so I'm trying to judge by more than just what I'm seeing) but I don't peg him as fat or in need of weight control foods at all. He definitely has low muscle tone, no doubt from being stuck in a cage for 3+ months, but he's not chunky anywhere and his ribs are easily palpable. I had Tao on Fromm 4 star canned. I put a can down for Acorn thinking he would dive in after the hard kibble they had at the shelter but no dice. He wouldn't even attempt to eat it instead choosing to walk around obviously hungry and mewing up a storm later that first evening. Then he sniffed it for a ridiculous amount of time. Then he nibbled just the tiniest bit off the edges. And finally turned his nose up in disgust looking at me like what else ya got, lol Same thing yesterday. Same thing today. He is drinking just fine. I'm not sure what to make of this. Could it be that everything is just too new and he needs time to adjust (even though he seems to be loving it here)? Could it be his URI making him not feel the greatest or diminishing his appetite (even though his symptoms are at this point non-existent)? Could it be that he just hates canned? Or the kind? I've tried the Duck & Chicken and the Salmon & Tuna varieties but not sure if that's the right thing to be doing, switching it up. Tao always handled variety just fine and dove in at each meal. This finickey-ness is totally new to me and has me pretty concerned. Not sure if that is his plan, but I don't want it to land us on the path to spoiling! I wouldn't think twice if this were my dogs. I'd put it down and tough if they didn't eat. I have a feeling this guy could hold out for quite some time though and I am worried about him fasting himself being sick and under the stress of a new home. Any advice? Do I keep offering him what I think is best quality wise or cave and buy a bag of the crappy kibble he was on? Do I keep with the same variety every time until he accepts it or are different flavors ok? Both were pate's, should I try a shred or chunk? Different dishes (using glass now, they fed him out of plastic)? Is this likely a preference thing or just a being new or even just being stubborn thing? Any insight would be much appreciated if you made it to the end of my ridiculous novel :P


  • Karen LeeKaren Lee The kingdom of Mer-lotMember Posts: 89,020
    edited 1 October, 2012
    Cats are picky :)) Try different brands of canned foods and different varieties/meats and even textures. Some cats only like pate style, other prefer chunks or slices. Limit seafood to once in awhile, though. Some cats get addicted to eating it and will flat out refuse to eat anythng else. Plus some seafood can contain mercury. Don't try too many different things at once. Go at your cat's pace. Try one brand at a time and offer several different varities. Offer a small serving of a variety every day or so. Some cats may not eat it right away. You can leave the canned food out all day for your cat to try later on. Here are tips on how to get a cat to at canned food:
  • Kelly ThomasKelly Thomas Member Posts: 174
    edited 3 October, 2012
    I feed Midas the Nature's Variety canned food. He prefers the lamb, beef, and venison versions over duck or chicken. The bonus of this is that I buy the dog cans (it is the same formula as the cat, just a bigger package!), and if he didn't like a variety when we were trying them out I just gave the rest to the dog (who is now on raw, but now I know what Midas likes and doesn't). Sometimes he is still picky and would rather I feed kibble, which he gets as a treat that I put on top of the wet. Sometimes that encourages him to eat the rest of the canned as well. I would prefer no kibble at all, but I think it is okay as a treat.
  • Paula K-Paula K- New YorkMember Posts: 2,244
    edited 3 October, 2012
    I'm so glad you took this special boy home! Sometimes it can take a little while for them to settle in and eat normal amounts but there are some things you can do to help. Like Merlin said, try a few brands and flavors. Forti Flora is like magic sometimes - you can sprinkle it on the canned food and most cats can't resist it. The ingredients aren't great but it can be a really good way to get them started and you can reduce the amount as time goes on. Also, if you think he's a fan of fish you can try Kitty Caviar - also known as bonito flakes. Best of luck and congratulations on your new addition!
  • Jennifer NovakJennifer Novak DC (But my heart is still in BMember Posts: 595
    edited 4 October, 2012
    I feel your pain! And BK's mom can even attest to this -- because she knows Coop well. First let me say congrats and kudos for being diligent about canned! My Coop is a picky eater and a kibble addict, too. Admittedly, I did something really stupid when I brought him home as a kitten. And my advice is don't do what I did. It's all about tough love. They tell you when you bring home a new cat, try to give them what they're used to in the shelter for the short-term until they get used to their new environment -- litter, food, etc. Well, Coop had both wet and dry at the shelter. Some fish flavors -- which I'm against, but that's what he had. So that's what I did. THREE YEARS LATER...I finally got him on the diet I wanted him to eat. I feed a small can in the morning and a small can at night. And I'd left dry for him. First, it was weaning him away from the fish. That took quite some time. He'd eat the dry but wouldn't finish the chicken and turkey. And beef...NO WAY. It took months before he'd finish a complete canned meal after I completely eliminated fish from his diet. Then we had the kibble problem. And I was reluctant to remove the kibble all together because...what if I get stuck on the train...what if...what if...? But I finally took it away. And he still wasn't finishing his meals. So I lost my job...I was home all day....and he was just so stubborn about eating that I started bribing him with treats. If he had his cookies, he'd nibble at the canned. And we actually got to the point where he started to enjoy the chicken and the turkey. But I still had to bribe. Two pounds later....Coop weighed fourteen pounds, and our vet said to me, "He has enough problems with the herpes, I don't want to have to teach you how to give him an insulin injection." That's where the tough love kicked in. I came home that night. No more cookies during the day. I started a new routine immediately where he only gets five treats in his dish at bedtime. Can in the morning. Can at night. And that's IT. Within about a week...COOP WAS A NEW CAT. He stopped begging for treats all day. He cleaned the bowl with each meal within about an hour. (He grazes -- he doesn't eat it all in one sitting. But he never has, and that's OK.) Slowly over a couple of months, he lost the two pounds our vet wanted him to lose. And now, he's actually eating the occasional can of beef. And on weekends, I give him a treat of "junk" food -- he gets a Fancy Feast appetizer on Saturday afternoons -- AFTER he's had his breakfast. If we're having a fussy day, he has to eat it all before he gets his treat. Again, BK's mom can tell you -- I drove myself crazy with this food thing. But it took three years and my finally putting my foot down before he'd eat what I consider an OK diet. Small can in the morning. Small can at night. Five treats before bed. And he's actually ASKING for breakfast and dinner now -- which is something he NEVER did. And he's at the perfect weight for his size and bone structure. I'm sorry this is so long, but it's just my own personal cautionary tale. Just be firm, and they'll adjust. Quicker than you think! And one other little tidbit. If you baby is prone to URI's, give them l-Lysine. It's a supplement that really does seem to help fending off the URI's. I give Coop the treats -- it comes in all forms -- but he's responded best to the treats. And I give him the daily recommended dosage, then I up the dosage if he's sneezy or has a little cough. Good luck, and be strong! Our purrrrrrrs go out to you! Purrs, Coop's Mom
  • Michael LonerganMichael Lonergan Member Posts: 222
    edited 4 October, 2012
    Mixing different varieties and brands of wet food is fine. My Daddy feeds us Nutro Max Cat and Nutro Natural Choice wet foods. Our favorites are the venison and duck chunks in gravy. We also like the chicken and lamb pate'. Daddy also gives us different brands for variety in textures and flavors. Kibble is a little different. When switching kibble Daddy says it's best to transition it to the new kibble over the course of a couple of weeks. Best of luck transitioning to a wet diet. We're on about a 90% wet to 10% dry diet.
  • janice lancasterjanice lancaster temple gaMember Posts: 2,505
    edited 6 October, 2012
    Try Fri skies canned Tasty Treasures with cheese; if he won't eat it, he isn't a canned fan at all... despite all the advice here, sometimes a grown cat is just too used to dry food!
  • Karen LeeKaren Lee The kingdom of Mer-lotMember Posts: 89,020
    edited 6 October, 2012
    Watch out - Some brands of canned or tray foods are not 100% complete diets :-O These have no vitamins or minerals in them. There's a teeny tiny statement hidden on the package that says that the food is supplement only or a complement to dry food. Fancy Feast Appetiziers is one such food. There are others out there. You CAN use these supplement foods to make regular canned foods more tasty, though. A little mushed into the regular canned food works.
  • Jessica GardnerJessica Gardner Middle of nowhereMember Posts: 5,375
    edited 8 October, 2012
    Wow! Thanks for all the insight guys!!! Thankfully he wasn't nearly as stubborn as I anticipated he'd be. The URI seemed to have cleared up around Thursday, no more sneezing since then and the eye gunk was gone, and his appetite picked up soon after that. He still has yet to finish a whole can, but at least now when I start to open the can he comes running and starts pawing at the counter top. When I set it down he still hesitates slightly but then eats until a good half of it is gone. I've been doing that in the morning and then offering him what's left at night. I think I may start making that the routine by just offering the half to both of the boys twice a day. Is that silly? To feed cats twice a day? I think for Acorn especially he was used to free feeding on the kibble all day, so eating only once is just a bit too overwhelming this soon. Tao INHALES his food and always has so I've never had to contemplate such a thing..... I'd love to get them both on raw but Tao did a great job at turning me off from even trying. He can go out, catch and kill a striped gopher and eat it whole without so much as a drop of mess on him anywhere but a raw piece of chicken, pork or venison? He'd literally try to bathe himself and everything else around him with it and unfortunately I can't have that when I do daycare out of my home :(
  • Renee RyzRenee Ryz Member Posts: 2,164
    edited 12 October, 2012
    Smitty is on a diet - and he gets fed 4 times a day. I work from home, so it is easier. I break up his portion for breakfast lunch dinner & snack. It seems to keep him satisfied that way. Anyways, two time a day is perfectly fine - that is what I have always done. I don't with Smitty because he gets so ravenous, and he will not leave me alone - he does much better with it spread out. With 4 and everyone on different food and Felix is a kitten & was underweight, so he eats as much as he is literally making me insane. Good for you saving Acorn. It sounds like he had given up on finding happiness. I stuck with only wet for Felix from the start, and I am so glad I did. Good luck & purrs for you for saving Acorn. :-h(^^
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