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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-29-2015, 12:45 PM Thread Starter
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Cat won't try wet food

I've been trying to switch my cat from dry food to wet. I make sure I get grain-free, good dry food, but I know wet is better for kitties.

I currently give Catabal 1/2 cup of dry food 2x a day, but she almost never finishes it all. She's a nibbler. She nibbles when I give her food, wanders away, comes back, nibbles some more, wanders away, etc. etc. There's almost always some food left in her bowl when I go to give her more. When I'm at work she hardly touches it at all. It seems like she waits for me to get home to really eat.

So I've started the process of switching her from wet to dry, but she doesn't seem to be into it at all. I'm mixing a little bit of wet food in with her usual dry food, in an effort to gradually build her up to eating wet, and even that seems to turn her off. She sniffs at it a bit and then walks away, when she usually takes at least a few bites after I give her dry food. The wet food just sits there in the dry food and gets dry and crusty, and I end up having to throw it all out and give her a fresh bowl of dry food. I've tried at least 5 different kinds of wet food so far and nothing seems to be working.

I'm not really sure what to do. I don't really consider her diet "free feeding," since I give her a specified amount of food at the same time every day, but at the same time she doesn't treat the feedings like actual mealtimes, so I imagine she's just not hungry when I give her food again... so I guess it sort of is free feeding. But at the same time, the wet food doesn't seem to interest her at all. I'm just wasting food and not getting anywhere.

Do I need to do something like remove her bowl of dry food after a certain amount of time instead of leaving it out all day? I imagine that would build more of an actual mealtime schedule, which might pique her interest in wet food, but I hate the thought of removing her food when she hasn't had enough to eat. I don't know.

Any advice would be much appreciated!
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-29-2015, 12:58 PM
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1/2 cup of kibbles 2x a day is a LOT in my opinion, so yeah, I suspect she's not hungry at all. Look at the label and see how much kcals are in there. Typical 10 lb cats need about 200-240 calories. I bet the dry alone has something close to double or more?
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-29-2015, 01:09 PM
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If she's got food to nibble on all day she's got no incentive to eat the new and less preferred food.

First I would stop the nibbling and feed a set schedule with the dry. Two meals per day is good. I prefer 3 meals per day. One they eat while I get ready for work. The second when I get home from work, and the third before bed. Nibbling isn't good for them. It encourages obesity in cats.

Then I would switch one kibble meal with one wet meal. If she doesn't eat it in say 20 minutes pick it up and let her wait until her next scheduled meal. Once she's eating it happily (or at least grudgingly) for one meal.... switch it out for the second meal then after a bit for the third if she's eating a third meal.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-29-2015, 02:09 PM Thread Starter
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She's about 10-11 pounds, and this particular bag says to give 3/4 cup to 1 cup of dry food a day for cats 10-15 pounds, so I was just going off that. it says there are 346 kcals in 1 cup, but she never eats close to that anyway. Her foster family was giving her 1/2 cup of dry 2x a day as well because they said the vet told them to feed her that much (and she was never underweight or anything) so honestly I didn't think twice about it. It looks like she hasn't gained any weight since I've had her, so it seems like she's pretty good at self-regulating, at least.

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Originally Posted by MowMow View Post
I would switch one kibble meal with one wet meal.
I'll give this a try. Thanks!

Last edited by marie73; 08-29-2015 at 02:54 PM.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-29-2015, 03:49 PM
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Cat won't try wet food

When I first rescued my kitty, we went with the twice a day meals. Morning and evening based on the bags recommendation for his weight.

At first he nibbled, and he would work on each serving for hours.

Eventually he migrated to gobbling it up each time.

Now post-urinary problem, and canned food full-time. He goes right through the portion serves. Was an easy migration.

He has breakfast when I have breakfast, and he has dinner when I have dinner and clean up, both our bowls together.

So I second moving to that kind of schedule.

Last edited by Menel; 08-29-2015 at 03:51 PM.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-30-2015, 12:59 AM
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Quote:
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He has breakfast when I have breakfast, and he has dinner when I have dinner and clean up, both our bowls together.
This is adorable.

stormydown, my cats had eaten half wet, half dry, for a very long time, and I did the same thing with the dry that you do: I'd measure out a certain amount but leave it out so they could nibble. I wanted them to eat more wet food, but sometimes they fussed and wanted only dry. It's really key to make sure they're hungry. That meant I had to force myself not to leave a little bit of kibble out when I left for the day, so that they'd be really hungry when I got home and would eat all their wet food. I felt bad, but I knew they weren't going to starve.

From there, somehow, we got to the point where Celia now turns her nose up at dry food. It has taken a few years, but better late than never! Oh, the other key was finding a food that she really, really likes.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-30-2015, 03:27 AM
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I also think it won't harm a cat to be a bit hungry. I'd try serving less portion of kibbles because cats aren't typically grazers like herbivores who munch on food all day, they are carnivores who hunt for food and fast several hours in between hunts. You can mimick hunts by using interactive toys about 30 minutes or so before mealtimes. (Interactive toys, meaning da bird or gocat mouse toy where YOU also get up and walk/move across the room to get your cat stimulated with some exercise. ) Try reducing kibbles to 1/4 cup per feeding to see if that stimulates her hunger for the 2nd feeding of wet. If your cat is resistant to wet, you may have to find creative ways to get them to eat it with special toppers--a smidgen of tuna juice, parmesan cheese, crushed kibbles, or freeze dried treats sprinkled on, etc.

Just make sure your cat isn't starved for more than a few days, some can really be stubborn and literally go on hunger strikes and cause themselves to get very ill.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-30-2015, 08:59 AM
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We're talking about an adult cat, right?

When my 10-11 pound cats ate dry food they got half of what your cat gets. 1/4 cup twice a day. I'd put it down, they'd scarf it down. I think your cat is never hungry. I ignore the bag's serving recommendations, they are always too much (they want you to buy more food of course!). So I'd reduce the amount of food he gets and stop leaving it down. Give him a half hour with it and then pick it up (if it's wet food throw it out). Then hopefully when the next meal rolls around he'll be willing to eat a large amount.


Now that said, even hungry cats will refuse to eat wet food if they've never had it. My cat Neko took 4 months to get him to willingly eat wet food for the first time. And he'd only eat a single flavor of a single brand at that point (and a few months later he got tired of that and I had to try all over again). Like I said, he ate dry in meals and scarfed the dry down. So he was hungry at meal time when I offered the wet. He was screaming for food.

It took over a year and half, maybe even 2 years before he'd eat a variety of wet food willingly. In fact that might not have happened until I stopped feeding him any dry food (I started him on 25% wet, 75% dry for cost reasons). At first he wouldn't even think about touching the wet food. I experimented with every brand imaginable. I mixed dry food with it, loaded a pile of dry on top of the wet in hopes of him accidentally getting a little wet in his mouth when he bit into the dry, I put cheese on it, I rolled it into small balls and stuck kibbles into the balls so they stuck out a bit and he had to try and pull the kibbles out of the ball (which actually worked a little), took kibbles and put a dab of wet on each one, put cat treats on the wet food. I mean I worked my butt off to get that cat to just TRY the wet food. Eventually I found a brand he would eat some of and actually seemed to like but that only last a few weeks. Eventually I found another one that he really liked and would eat without bribery (it was wellness chicken and lobster). That lasted a few months. I was able to get him to eat other wellness flavors eventually (though I don't remember how), I think I ended up being able to rotate through all of their flavors without a problem and that's how we eventually switched him off of dry. Once dry was out of the equation there was no more struggle. Now he'll eat any wet food I put down with gusto.


So I guess my point is, if he doesn't feel like he NEEDS to eat that wet food, he won't. You need to get him HUNGRY. Then you'll probably need to bribe. You'll need all the motivational help you can get. Not to say he'll necessarily be as difficult as Neko was. My other cat also refused to touch wet at first but with a little bribery was fairly easy to get to try it. Then he was willing to eat it plain, though he was still fairly picky with brands and wouldn't eat the whole meal, he'd always leave some behind. Again, it wasn't until dry food was out of the equation that they truly seemed to LOVE their wet food.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-30-2015, 11:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ~Siameseifuplz~ View Post
We're talking about an adult cat, right?

I mixed dry food with it, loaded a pile of dry on top of the wet in hopes of him accidentally getting a little wet in his mouth when he bit into the dry,
LOL!! You really made herculean efforts!
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-31-2015, 08:34 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for all the replies! I'm currently giving Catabal a little more than 1/4 cup of kibble twice a day. 1/4 cup sounds like it's a standard for kibble, but this particular kibble is only 87 calories for 1/4 cup, and 173 calories per day falls pretty short of the recommended 200-240 calories a day for 10 pound cats, so I've been giving her a bit more to get her closer to the normal calorie range. She's definitely more eager for her food at mealtime, and I'm hoping that I'll be able to transition her to wet food without too much trouble. Thank you for all your help!
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