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Thread: My kitten refuses to eat dry food

  1. #1
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    My kitten refuses to eat dry food

    Help! I created a monster when I fed my new kitten wet food. I misunderstood the breeder who gave me one can of wet food for the first day at home. I ran out and bought more wet food and it turns out that my beautiful female 9 month old Russian Peterbald, Natasha is an absolutely wet food fiend. She started out as a flock coat (think very short, soft Brillo pad) and now she's loosing her coat except for her tail which is brushy. Typical of the Peterbald, she is very warm to the touch and I'm guessing she's got a very high metabolism. She is very talkative which comes from the Oriental in her breeding and not only is she a very rambunctious kitten, add the food anxiety and feeding time is wild. I've tried just about everything to get her to eat dry food and she is very stubborn and willing to old out as long as it takes. I've tried adding a small amount of dry food to her wet, but she's quite adept at flinging the bits out. I've tried soaking the dry in tuna juice and she licks up the juice and leaves the dry behind. I tried cold turkey and she lasted over 48 hours with no food until I finally gave in (I was afraid of fatty liver--I had a cat that died when he refused to eat entirely--yes, a cat can die by not eating). She was extremely vocal and agitated and my anxiety level was probably higher than hers through this ordeal. So after that I just settled into feeding her 2 cans of Pro Plan kitten in the morning and 2 cans in the evening with a bowl of dry food always available. So then the breeder sent me some pro biotic tablets to put in her water, but that hasn't helped. Now I'm trying just one can in the morning and one in the evening with a great production of pouring her dry food before giving her the wet and of course leaving it always available. My thought is that yes, she's hungry, but she's probably getting enough nutrition to avoid any liver problems. Now, if I can withstand her antics, I'm hoping that she'll figure out that maybe she should snack on that dry food. Has anyone had a cat like this and successfully transitioned over to dry food? I know there is a huge debate about wet food being better for them, but I'm worried about her dental health as well as the expense (4 cans of ProPlan run about $3 a day), not to mention that wet food can't be left out, so I have to be available on her schedule to open the cans.

  2. #2
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    Dry food is NOT better for her teeth. The right wer food is perfectly fine and healthy. Dry food contains a lot of carbohydrates that cats do not need, and cannot digest well. It can cause dental problems because the carbs are what stick to the teeth. Wet food does not stick, as it is mostly protein. This is a subject we have discussed on the Ask the Vets radio show I do with some knowledgable veterinarians. In this case, I'd just stick with wet, and if you are concerned about her dental health, get her used to you checking her mouth and even brushing her teeth!
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  3. #3
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    Canned food is also much better for her urinary system. Our Vet prefers that we feed the canned foods because it is significantly higher in moisture content. Cats, and people, need the water/fluids to keep everything working well.

    If you are concerned she is not getting enough food - leave a bowl of the dry food out between meals of canned. If she gets hungry enough, she'll eat it.

  4. #4
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    Definitely, by the way, realize you can get her to adapt to your schedule. She will not necessarily starve to death if you push feeding time to a different hour!
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grace View Post
    Canned food is also much better for her urinary system. Our Vet prefers that we feed the canned foods because it is significantly higher in moisture content. Cats, and people, need the water/fluids to keep everything working well.

    If you are concerned she is not getting enough food - leave a bowl of the dry food out between meals of canned. If she gets hungry enough, she'll eat it.
    She's definitely hungry on just one can kitten food (that's the small can) in the morning and one in the evening--she's very vocal about it! But then when I was feeding her two cans in the morning and two in the evening, she was still hungry. She is quite obsessed with eating her wet food. Sometimes she is so excited she will cry and talk while she's eating. I've kept a bowl of premium dry food out at all times, but she barely looks at it. One of the reasons I wish she'd at least snack on the dry food is that I'd hope it would take the edge off her appetite and just one can in AM and another PM make her less frantic about eating. I do understand the benefits of wet food, but I really want her to supplement her calorie intake with the dry.
    You know that idea of "if she gets hungry enough she will eat it" seems logical, but Natasha has been proven to be very stubborn. She actually went over 48 hrs and still wouldn't eat the dry food. I did everything I could think of to make it enticing, like tossing a piece for her to chase like a bug, but she'd pick it up and then spit it out, stuffing a piece between her toes, sifting through it with my fingers.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janeway View Post
    You know that idea of "if she gets hungry enough she will eat it" seems logical, but Natasha has been proven to be very stubborn. She actually went over 48 hrs and still wouldn't eat the dry food. I did everything I could think of to make it enticing, like tossing a piece for her to chase like a bug, but she'd pick it up and then spit it out, stuffing a piece between her toes, sifting through it with my fingers.
    She went 48 hours without eating dry food - were you giving her the canned food twice a day at that time? If you give canned morning and evening and she eats it all, she will be getting enough. The dry food is there - if she wants it.

    Try giving her kitten canned food. That is more filling and might tide her over better.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grace View Post
    She went 48 hours without eating dry food - were you giving her the canned food twice a day at that time? If you give canned morning and evening and she eats it all, she will be getting enough. The dry food is there - if she wants it.

    Try giving her kitten canned food. That is more filling and might tide her over better.
    No, I withheld the canned kitten food (ProPlan - two cans in the AM and 2 cans in PM) for the 48 hrs. with the dry food available at all times. She chose to go hungry rather than to eat the dry.

    Right now I am giving her 1 can of the kitten food in the morning and 1 can in the evening. She lets me know she's hungry, but still not eating any of the dry food that I have out all the time.

  8. #8
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    Also, they have feeders that you can put wet food in and it turns on a scheduled time for you. I have two and they can be set to rotate every 6, 12 or 24 hours to the next tray of food.
    There are ice packs under to keep the wet food fresh. This would be helpful for a weekend away if you needed to leave her.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Taz_Zoee View Post
    Also, they have feeders that you can put wet food in and it turns on a scheduled time for you. I have two and they can be set to rotate every 6, 12 or 24 hours to the next tray of food.
    There are ice packs under to keep the wet food fresh. This would be helpful for a weekend away if you needed to leave her.
    Thank you. That could be a real issue and that my be a solution. I've given up on this plan. She was just too hungry. So I guess it's wet food for her from now on. She is a lot calmer when she's not really hungry. My next move is to upgrade to really premium food that has no fillers at all hoping that she'll be satisfied on less total food. I'm going to try Blue Wilderness Kitten, which is very expensive. If this works out a real benefit is that her poop won't smell so bad, which I understand might take up to a month. The litter boxes are in the basement and I've never been able to smell it upstairs until now. My other cats always at premium dry food and odor was never a problem.

  10. #10
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    Hopefully that will work for you! Yup, less fillers will be good! Hope this is a solution for you!
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  11. #11
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    What kind of dry cat food were you trying to feed her? Maybe if you tried a grain free kind she might prefer it. When I was pet sitting for 2 cats and 2 dogs, I noticed that the cats didn't really like eating their dry food. I didn't even have to refill their bowls and this was from Fri.-Sun. The female cat loved eating canned food and they also both liked eating the dogs dry food which isn't good for them. I told their owners about this and when the woman came by to get her key back I showed her the dry cat food that I was feeding my cats. I also gave her a sample to take home with her. Her cats loved the new dry food. I was feeding my cats Merrick's Before Grain Salmon dry cat food. I would also feed them the chicken flavor too. I think that they were being fed Iams or Purina dry cat food which they just didn't like. I ended up pet sitting again for only the 2 cats and they would always finish the dry food so I would have to refill the bowls each time. The woman also upgraded their canned food from Iams to Fussy cat which they also love. I agree that feeding animals good quality food without all the fillers is much better for them. They will produce less waste because their bodies will absorb all the good ingredients. It may cost more but you don't need to feed them as much of it. I hope you'll be able to find the right food for your cat. Good luck.
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  12. #12
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    Dry cat food was a problem for my kitten too so i gave her the junk food lol meow mix. If natasha has treats then i would pit a few pieces of kibble mixed in thats how i got sasha to eat it.

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