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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 10-31-2008, 09:50 AM Thread Starter
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Not eating by himself

Beren barely eats (when I'm home, anyway) and I'm not sure how to get him to eat more. He doesn't want to eat what I put down unless it's kittycrackkibble and even when he does "like" his dinner, he nibbles at it for a few bites and is done after that.

He made himself sick when he was a baby by not eating and ever since then, I get worried. I know I'm probably making the situation worse but if I put something down and he doesn't eat much, I force feed him. I'm not sure what to do at this point besides that.

Anyone have any advice on how to get him to eat on his own?

Wyn is a bad, bad kitteh. Good thing her person is a bad, bad girl... They get along great!
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 10-31-2008, 10:58 AM
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Re: Not eating by himself

First, stop force feeding. Force feeding should be reserved for emergency situations with cats in medical crisis. Cats generally hate to be forced to do anything, and anything they are forced to do becomes something they are then conditioned to avoid. So you are basically training him to avoid eating.

Next, recognize that it is in the instinctive nature of cats to eat numerous small meals throughout the day, so your cat isn't doing anything unexpected in eating small amounts at a time. Just keep food available to him at all times and let him decide when and how much to eat.

You may be able to tempt a more vigorous appetite in Beren by warming his canned food for a few seconds in the microwave - just enough to really bring out the aroma but not enough to make the food hot. You can also try mixing canned food into a gruel with hot water. Some cats prefer "canned food soup" that they can lap up. Try different food flavors and brands, and if all he'll eat is cheap kibble, then give him what he'll eat. Something is better than nothing.

Now, if your cat is dangerously thin, steadily loses weight, or stops eating altogether, you need to get him to a vet for a thorough work up including a full blood chemistry, CBC, T4, and urinalysis to check for major diseases that may be affecting his health. Also, have his mouth, teeth, and gums examined thoroughly to make sure there's not a mouth issue that's preventing him from eating.

As long as Beren is eating, is at a healthy weight, and is active and alert, I wouldn't worry.

Laurie
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 10-31-2008, 11:42 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Not eating by himself

Thanks for the advice. I know force-feeding isn't great...

I'll have to try adding some warm water to his food but I've done too much trying new foods with him and his big sister. Really, they end up liking something a couple of times and then they won't eat it. Well, Beren will eat it sometimes if he's eating it off the floor... ew.

Anyway, I guess I'll have to stop making him eat and just keep an eye on him.

Wyn is a bad, bad kitteh. Good thing her person is a bad, bad girl... They get along great!
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