Hey Pet Parents & Pet Lovers,
Before adopting Kalista I never understood it when customers would come into the pet store and say “my cat doesn’t like this batch” or “I can’t get my cat to eat at all!” especially with Beau devouring absolutely everything he sees and Walker being the exact same. I mean, we did have some difficulty getting Beau to eat wet food but never have I had this much difficulty getting a cat to eat. Thing is, from my education in pet care, I knew that there were cats like this out there, I just never experienced it first hand.
If you’re new to the blog or don’t know much about our cats let me give you a bit of information about Kalista:
When we were first interested in adopting Kalista we were warned that she refuses to eat any foods other than Friskies, Fancy Feast, and Pro Plan. I knew I was in for a battle, but I told her foster parent that I could probably get her out of eating food with fillers with a few tricks up my sleeve. I’ll be honest, I didn’t realize it would be as hard as it has been. The foster parent explained that if Kalista didn’t get her way, she would starve herself for a few days, which is why she resorted to feeding her lower quality foods as it was better to get her fed than not fed at all (and I 100% agree.)
Why I care so much
Having worked at a pet store, I have seen the issues that come from lower quality foods. Cats with Kidney Failure, Urinary Problems, diabetes, obesity, skin & fur problems such as hotspots, and GI-problems.
Given our long battle with Beau and urinary problems, I definitely don’t want to go through another long health battle ever again. (Note: We were feeding Beau a “natural holistic diet” including Blue Buffalo for Cats Natural Adult Dry Cat Food, Performatrin Ultra Chicken Paté, various Weruva blends, Performatrin Ultra Healthy Weight, Performatrin Ultra Lamb Dry Kibble and right before Beau got very sick we were only feeding Science Diet CD-Dry food which we had been recommended by the vet (while making sure to supplement lots of water in his diet by mixing kibble in water, syringe feeding or with the ever-immaculate Fruitable Broth Bowls.))
Sadly the thing is: even with a higher quality food, you may run into health issues, especially urinary ones as commonly pet store food isn’t developed and tested for kitties with problems (even when they say they are.) Foods that say “Urinary Health” or “Urinary Care” don’t tend to do anything positive for the pet and if you actually read the fine print on these they usually say things like: This food is not a replacement for a diet prescribed by your veterinarian. Which a lot of folks either miss or choose to ignore.
At the moment we are feeding Beau only Science Diet CD which has worked wonders on him. Walker is on the Royal Canin Version as he had urinary issues too, and he hasn’t had a hiccup since. (I’m very glad we finally got Beau to eat wet food.)
Kalista absolutely refuses to eat if she doesn’t want to (even if she’s hungry)
There have been days where Kalista won’t even eat her Whiskas (which seems to be her favourite food.) Kalista is a cat who will walk up to food, sniff it quick and walk away to eat a plastic bag or oddly enough… Gary’s hay. Now, I’ve dealt with Beau eating foreign objects before like plastic bags, rubber, clothes, bedsheets, etc due to his Pica, but this is on a whole other level.
Kalista has refused to eat food until it was spoon fed to her, or until we were petting her and feeding it to her kibble by kibble, or until we changed the flavour altogether. It’s even happened that Kalista has refused to eat one can of food, but will eat a different can even if it’s the same flavour. So our thoughts are: she’s batch specific and flavour specific based on the day.
Foods We’ve Tried with Her A Number of Times:
*We’ve tried a number of foods with Kalista once to see if she would eat them, I haven’t included them to the list because I’d like to try them a few times before completely saying “she refuses to eat them” or “she loves them!” However, I will update this list as things change.
We can confirm Kalista absolutely refuses to eat: Friskies, Fancy Feast (Which is funny, because it was all she used to eat), Treats of Any Kind (which is a huge surprise), shredded Whiskas, and Performatrin Ultra Stews.
Foods she will eat for a few meals before we have to switch it up: Nature’s Variety Instinct Grain-Free Kitten Food, Blue Buffalo BLUE Healthy Gourmet Wet Cat Food, NATURAL BALANCE Ultra Premium Indoor Chicken Formula, Performatrin Ultra Chicken Paté, and Performatrin Ultra Turkey Paté.
Foods she will eat 99.9% of the time: Whiskas Paté
So what have we done to try to help?
Microwave the food:
I HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATE microwaving food. I don’t believe in it for humans and I don’t believe in it for cats. My partners family is very big on microwaving, and his mother always teases me about the fact that I don’t like to use it. I hate the idea of them, I don’t like what they do to foods and quite honestly, I hate the taste of food that has been microwaved. However, if Kalista has been giving us problems for about an hour, I will resort to it. This works about 50% of the time with her. It’s actually not enough for me to claim that “it’s a miracle fix”, however, because the hubby has to run out of the house quickly before work this is the path he chooses every day and it seems to work for him.
Adding Hot Water:
If you’re going to do this, please make sure the water is not scalding. This works for me about 75% of the time with Kalista. It just depends if she has chosen to be a picky kitten that day or not. Food that has been mixed with water is the only wet food Beau likes to eat, so taking this knowledge I tried it with Kalista to see if it would work. Kalista likes less water than Beau does. Beau likes things soupy, she likes things a bit wet.
Giving Her Options:
I would say this works about 95% of the time. If Kalista is given both wet food and kibble she plays the game “which one do I hate more.” It’s actually kind of cute to watch. She’ll sniff the kibble, then she’ll sniff the wet food, she’ll sniff the kibble again, then the wet food, then she will try to eat a bit of the kibble and decide that the wet food is better, after a few licks she then decides that the kibble is better and so on and so forth. Wet do this with a few different types of wet food on a rotation (trying to cut out Whiskas altogether and only resorting to it when we absolutely need to.) The kibble we have on rotation are Performatrin Ultra Chicken, Performatrin Ultra Lamb, Performatrin Kitten, Nature’s Variety Kitten and Proplan. I’m happy to let you know that her favourite is NV, which in my opinion is a pretty amazing kibble (if kibble could ever be amazing!)
Making sure she’s in a secluded room:
We originally would feed Beau and Kalista together, but given her kitten attention span, it wasn’t the greatest idea. It did help them bond surprisingly and got Beau to understand the fact that if we feed her we also feed him, but she would always be more interested in what he was doing or what the Chinchilla was doing, rather than eating. We’ve resorted to feeding them in separate rooms, making sure that she was nowhere near Gary or Beau while eating and making sure there are no plastic bags (or hay) near her. This seems to work best for her, so she can’t be stimulated by others, but it’s a catch 22 as she then starts getting distracted by us and wants to be pet instead. Kitty!!! Just Eat!!!
Kalista will eat by spoon 99.9 percent of the time. This is obviously not optimal for us as it can take up to 1 hour and a half before she is full. I know, it’s crazy that I actually fed her for an hour and a half. We also don’t want to get her used to that treatment, especially because it usually means locking Beau out of the room for that long. So we only do this when she’s absolutely refusing to eat everything.
Overall, that’s what we’ve done so far. If you have any other tips or tricks let me know! I’ll try them out and let you know how it worked. Right now the best has been giving her options to eat. I know kibble isn’t the best choice for your pets, but if it’s getting your little one to eat because they have options it may be the choice you have to make.