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Picky unpredictable eater

#1
I am having a problem getting my 6 month old kitten to eat wet food.

Up until he was 4 or 4 and a 1/2 months old he happily gobbled up about a 6 or 7 oz can and a 1/4 of good quality food a day. But when I began feeding him the chicken kitten and cat dry kibble made by Orijen, he seemed to prefer that and it has gotten harder and harder to get him to consistently consume anything else. I have tried Whole Earth farms, Wild Calling and Weruva. And now IrRAWsitable frozen balanced raw Chicken, which he seemed to love the first time it was served and now he won't eat it either.

But he does seem to sometimes want something else. He get weird cravings for carbohydrates, especially whole wheat flour, and often right after I open a 3 and a 1/2 oz can of food he seems to really like the first 1/4. Then I can't get him to eat the rest of it even if I take his kibble away for 6 hours. He sniffs it and pulls away like it smells bad.

Or maybe once in a blue moon he will enthusiastically eat a whole 3 oz can so I buy more of that favor, and next time I try that flavor he won't eat it at all.

About a month ago he ate maybe 1/8 of a tin of Wild Calling Rabbit and as I have never managed to get him to eat more after he goes off the currently opened can, I popped it into my freezer. A few days ago I defrosted this, offered it again and he loved it and ate 1/2 the can. Next day he would not touch the remaining rabbit but loved his defrosted raw chicken. And then the next day would not eat the next defrosted raw chicken puck, or the 1/2 can of Weruva Chicken Funk in the Trunk that was opened 3 days ago. But when I let him smell the last of the defrosted canned rabbit he would not eat the day before, he began purring and ate all of it. There really doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to his strong preferences.

Weirdly, there is 1 flavor of canned food he always eats. The Whole Earth farms salmon and turkey. It is strange spam like processed looking square chunks in a gravy. But if I just let him eat that as a canned food (as long as he likes it ) would daily fish be unhealthy for him?

And as he drinks lots of water throughout the day would a good quality dry kibble like Orijen still be likely to lead to health problems if I let him eat mostly just that? I guess another option would be to refuse to give him any kibble at all...? But as he is indoor outdoor I worry what habits might develop if he is constantly hungry and wanting something I will not provide.

I can't keep opening cans or defrosting expensive stuff he won't eat. I have tried crushing kibble and sprinkling this on the canned food. Sometimes that works but often it doesn't. I guess I could try fortiflora... I have also tried warming his food and that doesn't make any difference. I have a house guest who says he is just spoiled, and I should just feed him whatever is open and leave it to him whether he eats it or not..

And he also supplements his diet by hunting. Mostly, as far as I have seen, he mainly eats bugs, but watching him repeatedly catch and eat them, over the course of a night they probably add up. And he did once puke up part of a mouse so I know he also sometimes eats small rodents. He catches and kills young rats but does not seem to eat them. He gets Revolution monthly so probably he doesn't have an excessive parasite load, but he does possibly fart more often than other cats I have had, and has since I first got him when he was 9 weeks old. Might that have a connection to his reluctance to eat more of something after the first serving?

Any insights as to why my cat is so picky and unpredictable, or stories of similar problems would be appreciated... I am kind of at my wits end when it comes to buying him good food and then having to throw it way.
 
#3
In my search for answers I am finding a lot of information on line. Several websites say if a cat drinks lots of water letting them eat nothing but a high quality low carb dry food is OK and should not lead to kidney failure or urine crystals. If that is true I may give up on trying to push the wet food as I believe Orijen is very high quality. Moggie has access to a spring fed pond and as I do not have running water he also mooches clean well water from me when I ladle it from the bucket to do cleaning. I see him taking a minute long drink several times a day. And his water bowl also goes down.

He did seem a lot friskier after he ate the raw chicken, but otherwise he seems healthy. For fun he mostly likes to run and race me whenever I go somewhere in the yard. He is not noticeably lethargic.

The intense interest in bread may have started because I knead the unleavened dough with my hands and then have residue on my fingers which can be licked off. I notice he is also begging for other things I am eating but does not eat them once he gets them. So the raw dough bread fetish might perhaps be more social than nutritional?

Sorry to be posting a conversation I am having with myself ... I tried to find a thread here compiling information on how to deal with a picky eater, and when this is a problem and when it is not, But I didn't see one. If one exists a link to it would be helpful as it sounds like it is a very common problem!
 

Patti

Admin
Staff member
#4
Although there are people who will tell you it's not ideal, there are many cats who do quite well only eating dry kibble, and Orijen is an excellent choice if that is the route you choose to go. I would continue to offer him the raw and/or canned from time to time - you may find that he will be more interested if it isn't a daily item on his menu.

As for Moggie liking bread, this is a treat that many cats love, as is other odd items such as cucumber and melon, etc.
 
#5
Thanks for the information and suggestions Patti. I am relieved if I do not have to figure out how to get him to eat at least 50/50 wet and dry food. Yesterday he seemed to want something more than his kibble so I opened a can of Weruva Foul Ball chicken and he enthusiastically ate about 1/3 of a 3 oz tin. But that is only a small snack. If it is a no go on that flavor today I will split the rest in 1/2 and freeze it. He is still very long and lean and presumably slowly growing, so I do want him to eat and kibble is the only thing he is consistent about liking.

My last cat died at the age of 14 from kidney failure brought on by me feeding him the cheapest available cat kibble. I did not know this was bad for him. My income was extremely low at he time and he was not intentionally adopted, he just ended up left here. But he was an absolute sweetheart and I was heart broken to learn I was partly responsible for his early death. So I would really like to avoid a repeat.
 
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Remi's Mommy

Savannah Super Cat
#6
Although there are people who will tell you it's not ideal, there are many cats who do quite well only eating dry kibble, and Orijen is an excellent choice if that is the route you choose to go. I would continue to offer him the raw and/or canned from time to time - you may find that he will be more interested if it isn't a daily item on his menu.

As for Moggie liking bread, this is a treat that many cats love, as is other odd items such as cucumber and melon, etc.
I agree, I am all for a raw diet if possible. But Origen is BY FAR the very best dry out there. It is now made in Kentucky under very strict process. It's mostly freeze dried and the raw they use is processed at 90 degrees. It does contain all the organs necessary for good nutrition, in fact they only add 3 other ingredients, zinc and 2 others. It comes in cat kitten which is mainly turkey and chicken, and regional red is all red meat, and now tundra , Wildboar, goat, venison and a few others . So don't feel bad if that's all she will eat sometimes, it's probably better than most canned.
 
#7
So don't feel bad if that's all she will eat sometimes, it's probably better than most canned.
My cat is clearly of the same opinion! It is nice to know the the dry food just by itself with lots of water is probably healthy! He eats the chicken turkey for cat and kitten, but I may try him on some other types to mix things up a bit. It is nice they have sample packs here for under $5.

I am in Western Canada and I think the Orijen here is made in Alberta.

Moggie does let me know when he wants something different as a snack, and I am slowly figuring out what wet foods he is most likely to eat a bit of. But it is usually a mistake to the think he wants to make a whole meal of it. Or that when he eats a bit of something wet that he wants it to become a daily "thing"
 

Moggiesnewmom

Site Supporter
#8
The last few days I have been starting to wonder when being a picky eater goes from being a personality quirk to being a potentially serious health problem...

I have been trying to keep track of my 29 week old kitten cats weight using a step on digital bathroom scale, by weighing myself holding the cat and then weighing myself not holding the cat. Me and the Cat - Me should = Cat. The scale is supposed to be accurate to .2 of a lb. but I notice fluctuations + or - 1/2 a lb that seem highly unlikely to be accurate. So it is probably just in the right ball park but not really reliable to .2 of lb.

According to this scale he weighed about 6.8-7 lbs 5 weeks ago, 7-7.2 lbs 2 weeks ago, 7-7.2 lbs a week ago, as of 3 days ago he dropped to a horrifying 6.2 -6.8 lbs, then was back up to 7 yesterday and today over a 2 hour period he weighs 6 lbs, 6.4 and 6.6 (Um yes, as I get more and more concerned something may be wrong I have been getting a bit obsessive about weighing him) He was 5.5 lbs when the vet weighed him at 16 weeks, so it seems his growth really slowed down, and about a month ago just stopped completely. And looking at him wondering where he could be loosing weight, I am noticing he is looking very thin and gaunt in his tummy and hind quarters. His hip bones stick out. It has been hot and I seem to recall noticing cats get skinnier in the summer?

That his growth has really slowed down may be normal, and up until a week ago, given the variability of my scale, it seemed like he had probably gone from about 6.8 to 7.2 in the past month, close to 1/2 a lb. so I was only a bit worried about his finicky eating as he otherwise seems healthy, but a couple days ago when he appeared to be rapidly loosing weight instead of growing I got really scared. As he spends time outdoors hunting, sometimes eating what he hunts, and walking on deer droppings my first guess was maybe parasites? He is due for his monthly flea and parasite treatment next week and has had fleas for a couple weeks, so as a stop gap I mixed some food grade diatomaceous earth into his drinking water. ( I have no idea if this is effective for internal parasites but this is what the person I got him from was using and he came to me healthy) I also have been trying even harder to get him to eat more. I measured and figured out he is eating at least 1/3 of a cup of the Orijen kibble a day plus whatever wet I can get him to eat. 1/3 a cup a day is what they recommend for a mature cat to maintain it's weight, not a growing kitten. I got a sample of raw ground rabbit from the local pet food store, tried him with that, and he would not eat it. Tried him with the raw chicken again and he would not eat that. Tried him with Weruva chicken licken pumpkin I read about here and he liked that or at least the soup part. Tried him with the Orijen Red Meat dried kibble and he has decided he likes that, is at least eating what he should be to maintain his weight and for now he chooses it over the Orijen chicken kibble he has been seeming bored with. And I have been sitting with him while he eats in case he needs it to be a more sociable occasion. He does seem to have a decent appetite, but only if I can offer him the exact right thing, which varies day to day.

I am going to take him into the vet for his next flea and parasite treatment, get him properly weighed and see if they think I should have some tests done...

He pukes and gets bad diarrhea right after Revolution (looking for an alternative) but other than that and a couple puked up small animals that IMO looked entirely puke worthy- he seems healthy... He doesn't usually puke and his poop is usually nice and well formed. Is there anything besides parasites that might cause a kitten to stop growing/ loose weight and become unpredictably picky about eating but otherwise seem healthy?

My camera makes him look fatter and it is hard to get a good shot of how skinny his tummy and back end seem to be getting, and maybe they always were and I am just noticing now I am worrying...(the picture of him standing on the grass beside the pond was taken Aug 13th- 2 &1/2 weeks ago, the others today. He has always been very long and slim, but I think maybe my scale is right and he has lost weight?)
 

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Moggiesnewmom

Site Supporter
#9
I have been reading stuff online and it sounds like Revolution is not effective against tapeworms. And tapeworms can cause a loss of appetite and weight loss. Moggie was given a does of Milbemax which does work against tapeworms when he was 3 months, because at the time I was unsure about using Revolution as the vet recommended, but he has had nothing since except monthly Revolution. I was under the impression the vet here thinks Revolution treats all internal and external parasites, and he specifically mentioned protecting my rat hunting cat from the dangers of fleas and tapeworms when he recommended this - and nothing else. But from what I am reading Revolution would not prevent a tapeworm infestation, and my cat could easily contract this from the environment here. Feeling more than a little annoyed with the vet...

(Edited to add. After reading more I know what to look for and don't see any sign of tapeworms around his bum or obviously in his poop.. Now I am wondering if it could be juvenile feline diabetes which is extremely rare but more common in Burmese colour pointed cats. Something I suspect was in his Moms background...Hopefully it is something a lot more benign. Ha. Like tapeworms.)
 
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Patti

Admin
Staff member
#10
Fleas can carry different diseases such as tapeworm and haemobartonellosis, both of which can cause weight loss. In addition, since you allow him outside it's possible he has picked up something from one of the neighborhood cats such as feline leukemia or feline immunodeficiency virus.

Regardless of what could be causing it, if he is skinny and his bones are sticking out he should be seen by a vet asap. I had a hard time following your weight trending but if he has gone from 7.2 --> 6.0 that is almost 20% of his weight which is a significant loss.