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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Just wondering, is it normal for cats to randomly be unenthused with their meal now and then? I've noticed my cats are kind of erratic about their eating habits. I originally thought it was flavor or brand related, but I can't seem to find any pattern anymore.

Sometimes they'll devour all of their food quickly, other times they'll just nibble at it and refuse to eat more. Sometimes if I leave their bowls down for a bit, they'll come back and finish it later (although I hate doing this because it's hard for me to keep track of who ate the food).

Athena's the worst about this. She is much smaller than Apollo, and I'm offering them the same amount of food (since she's also much younger) so I guess I may just be giving her too much food. But some meals she'll eat almost everything and lick the bowl clean, while other times she'll barely pick at it and just walk away.

They're both a healthy weight, neither seems too thin (although Apollo is stockier and Athena is more lithe) and both seem in good health otherwise. Apollo weights about 10 lbs. Athena weighs about 5 lbs (she's still fairly small, at 6 months old). Neither have lost any weight so far.

I was giving them half a 5.5 oz can of wet food each every day, plus splitting 3/4 cups of dry between them. I've been slowly reducing the dry and trying to increase the wet/supplement the wet with some raw as I'm trying to transition them to that.

I know some days I'm less hungry than other days, I figure maybe the same applies to cats? I just want to make sure this is nothing I should be worried about, or if I should do more than just keep an eye on their weight.

I was never able to get them to eat more than 1/4 a 5.5 oz can of wet food in one sitting before, and I have only had minimal success with that since removing dry. I'm also wondering if the introduction of raw is increasing their disinterest in their wet food, as their refusal to do more than nibble at the wet has increased since they started getting a little raw.

Do you think if I just pick the food up after 30 minutes and not give it back to them, that'll be okay? I know I need to teach them to be better about set meal times, and this behavior is probably partially because they're used to me just leaving food out for them, but I get so paranoid about them not getting enough to eat.
 

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Based on my girls, I'm beginning to think the norm is for them to be unenthused about their meals at ALL times! :? I put their food down...sometimes they come, sometimes they don't, and even when they come they don't seem all that interested, regardless of whether I'm feeding wet or dry. They're constant nibblers. I take the wet food up after about 40 minutes and the dry after about an hour, but it doesn't seem to help. They only eat 1/4 cup of dry between them (1/8 each) per day, and they split a 5.5 oz can of wet each per day, although some of that goes in the trash. Still, they're healthy, active and not losing weight, so I've stopped worrying about it. I guess they just don't need much. They're both small (7.5 lbs and 8 lbs), so maybe that explains things.
 

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Introduction of the raw food and their reduction of amount of eating their canned, may be related....or may not. It's likely 6 of one and half dozen of the other. Cats appetites do vary according to activity, weather: sunny (more active) or cloudy (less active) days, hot summer days or cool fall ones. Even a mild tummy upset will put a cat off its food for a day or so. A lot of things can affect appetite. But I think consistent regular feed times is better to monitor who eats what and how much. Athena should be able to eat as much as she likes and wants as she's still growing and hasn't reached maturity yet (about 12mos.) and should probably get 4 small meals a day. As long as they are both pretty much an ideal weight, and not losing weight, I wouldn't worry.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Yeah, it's very bizarre. Apollo will act like he's starving, rush to his bowl when I put it down, start scarfing it down, and then walk away a little later leaving at least half of it there.

Athena won't even go to her bowl. I have to carry her to it and put her in front of it. She doesn't seem to understand that she needs to eat.

Neither cat has ever been super enthusiastic about their canned food. They readily ate kibble, and they seem to really like raw, I'm wondering if I should just give up on canned and buy a bunch of premade raw to tide them over until they can handle the unground stuff.

Of course I have an entire cabinet full of canned food still. Hopefully I can entice them to eat that mixed with raw. I wasn't ready to transition them fully, but I guess they decided they are!

Could their bowls be a factor too? I've heard cats sometimes don't like their whiskers brushing against the sides of bowls, and they often seem to leave their canned food once it's gotten mushed up in the corners of the bowl. Maybe I need to be feeding them on a plate or a more shallow/open dish?

Apollo I'm not too concerned about, since if he gets hungry enough, he will eat. It's Athena I always worry about since she barely eats some meals. She was very skinny when we adopted her (and has since put on weight, thankfully) and her foster told me she was extremely sick as a kitten and had to be force-fed with an eyedropper for a while.
 

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You can try the flat plate or open dish. That said, I feed my girls on a flat ceramic plate, but it doesn't result in them eating any more!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Even a mild tummy upset will put a cat off its food for a day or so. A lot of things can affect appetite. But I think consistent regular feed times is better to monitor who eats what and how much. Athena should be able to eat as much as she likes and wants as she's still growing and hasn't reached maturity yet (about 12mos.) and should probably get 4 small meals a day. As long as they are both pretty much an ideal weight, and not losing weight, I wouldn't worry.
Athena has a very sensitive stomach. Anything with grain in it gives her bad gas and runny stools. She's on all grain-free food now, but her stools have still been a bit soft (although they improved further when I started introducing raw). Do you think that could be affecting her appetite? I'm wondering if she's come to associate eating with discomfort...poor thing. :(

Also, how long would you recommend I leave the food down for? Just let them eat their fill and then take it away? If I feed Athena 4 times a day how long should she go between meals? Feeding 4 times a day is doable when I work from home, but I have to work in the office once a week, so I can only feed them twice a day those days, if I don't free-feed.

Apollo's only 9 months, so he's not a full adult yet either, but does he really need to eat 4 times a day? He's pretty much full-cat size now, and last time I was at the vet, she warned me to keep an eye on his weight, saying he was getting a tiny bit chunky. That's when I started reducing their dry food and increasing their canned, and he dropped maybe 1/2 a pound and looks less chubby now.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Still having trouble with them both tonight. Apollo ate most of his Primal and left most of his canned, and then proceeded to try to eat more Primal out of Athena's dish. Athena just looked at her dish and walked away.

Maybe they're just having an...off-day? We had someone here cleaning the whole condo today, which is not a normal thing, so maybe they're just weirded out? I'm trying not to fret. Athena did eat a little this morning and Apollo eventually finished his food this morning.

I can't imagine they both suddenly have something identically medically wrong with them at the same time, so I can only fathom that this is them being finicky or due to the fact that they ate a lot last night. Both still seem healthy and happy and playful, and the litterbox looks normal.

I'm wondering if they're still stubbornly holding out for either kibble, or fresh chicken like they got the other night. :/ If Athena still doesn't eat tomorrow, should I try offering her kibble, or try cutting up more chicken for her? Obviously chicken meat by itself is not a complete diet. I am just stumped here. Apollo at least seems like he's only sick of the canned, but still likes the raw. Athena won't touch a thing.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
*sigh* Tried warming the food in a bowl of warm water. Tried adding chicken on top. The former got Apollo to eat a few more bites and the latter encouraged Apollo to eat the chicken and a little more of his normal food, but he still left most of the rest. Actually Apollo will eat a few more bites every time I just pick up his bowl and put it down again. Athena still won't touch anything.

Every time I put food down for her, she looks at it for a second, and then goes back to playing with a paper ball (which she has been doing all evening). I guess she's just not hungry? She's certainly not acting sick. She's running around the house, chasing toys, chasing Apollo, acting like a normal healthy playful cat.

I think Apollo is just used to food sitting there for hours and so he doesn't bother eating it all right away. I'm going to see if just picking it up after he walks away helps. Hopefully he'll learn that he needs to finish his food or he's not getting the rest.

I have no idea what's up with Athena. This isn't the first time she's done this either. Sometimes she just randomly doesn't eat much one day, and then goes back to eating fine the next.
 

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Well, maybe that's just Athena's pattern of eating----very little one day, more the next day. If she refuses to eat at all for 3 days or more, that's not good and she could develop "fatty liver disease". If that happens, immediately take her to the vet for a checkup and vet could prescribe an appetite stimulant to encourage her to eat more. She is small for her age, likely beause of her difficulties in her early months, so of course she isn't going to eat as much as Appollo. On those days you work in the office, feed her twice a day, but give her a little more for each meal. You can't force her to eat, but cats usually make up in more quantity if they eat less for a day. Bowls may be a factor. I always feed my cats on a flat china plate. You could try 4x/day morning (when you make breakfast) so you can keep an eye on the eating, noon, around 5-6 pm, and just before you go to bed. She doesn't sound sick, or she wouldn't have the energy to play and chase paper balls and be a normal active kitty. If she were lethargic and not playing much, sleeping a lot, I would say there is a problem. But it doesn't seem to be the case....she's just a small eater. I've had cats before like her before that never ate that much.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Ok thanks for the tips, I very much appreciate it! She always has me worried because of her earlier health issues and how frail she was when we got her, but thankfully she's done nothing but put on weight since we adopted her, despite her random bouts of not eating, so hopefully all is well!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Good news! I decided to try putting Athena's food down one more time before going to bed, and she ate it all! I guess earlier she just felt it was playtime, not dinner time. Earlier while I was fretting about her refusing dinner, she was probably thinking, "Geez mom, can't you see I'm playing here? Stop bothering me with food!"

I'm chalking this morning's food avoidance up to the fact that the condo was a bit chaotic. In retrospect, I think the cleaning lady arrived shortly after I put the cats' food down, and Apollo spent most of the morning under the bed, while Athena spent the whole time following the cleaning lady around, watching her work, and trying to play with her broom. Too much excitement in the house for breakfast I guess!
 
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