Cat will starve but will not eat cat food

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Belinda123
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Cat will starve but will not eat cat food

Post by Belinda123 » Thu Feb 21, 2019 8:53 pm

Help! My beloved 4 months tuxedo male is healthy and playful, had all vaccinations. However I suspect he was weaned on human food only (the previous owner did not want to disclose information) and he refuses to eat cat food. I've had him for two months now. I've had cats before and never seen anything like it.
He will starve but will not eat supermarket cat food. I have 6 brands of unwanted catfood here at home - kitten dry food, kitten pouches, adult dry food, adult pouches, treat sauces, dreamies. He will not touch a single particle of it.
He keeps 'covering' it as it was poo - even although the litter tray is far away.
All he eats is boiled chicken. I was successful with ham before but the vet told me to stop due to the salt, so I boil plain chicken every day for this cat.
He likes milk, too. I give him goats milk and he likes it. I was also successful with the occasional salmon skin. So far I found 2 things that he would eat plus milk.
However I don't think that a diet only on goats milk and boiled chicken can be healthy. I leave him the whole day with fresh supermarket food straight from the packet and he will starve, but won't eat. I've forced him a few times, he cleans his snout but will not eat it.
Any advice? He has no interest in tuna or mince beef either.
My dream is for him to eat supermarket cat food, so I don't have to cook for him anymore.

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Re: Cat will starve but will not eat cat food

Post by fjm » Fri Feb 22, 2019 8:09 am

I would compromise on a balanced meat mix. I feed DAF (Durham Animal Food) minces, which have the right balance of meat, bone and offal - there are many other suppliers, but I have found DAF to be high quality and they deliver to my area. I have had problems with the brands available in Pets at Home in the past, so avoid those. If you prefer not to feed raw, simmer the mince in water until just cooked (I have not had problems with the minced bone cooked this way, but would avoid roasting it) and portion it up into safe containers for the week/fortnight. If you are feeding supermarket meat you will need to add a calcium supplement (ground eggshell, one teaspoonful per 500g of meat, will do = the milk is unlikely to provide enough calcium alone), and some offal - a very little liver and kidney. It would also be a good idea to feed some heart, to keep the taurine levels up - Morrisons is the best supermarket for offal and heart, I have found. Much easier to source a good balanced meat mix if you can!

I know it still means cooking, but you could easily cook up enough in an hour or so for a fortnight and freeze the portions - about 100g per day. Use baby safe containers, which should last for years. Or freeze in ice cube trays, and decant into bags.

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Re: Cat will starve but will not eat cat food

Post by Ruth B » Fri Feb 22, 2019 9:34 am

Poor lad, goats milk and boiled chicken certainly isn't the best diet for a growing cat, and it always makes me wonder just what previous owners were up to when they wont' talk about the cat's previous preferences. Luckily he is with you now and hopefully will transfer onto a more healthy diet.

If he would eat a raw diet then that would certainly be an improvement (and save you cooking), but like you I'm glad mine are happy with supermarket food, with other meat just as a treat.

My suggestion would be to start mixing the raw and the cooked meat or the supermarket and the cooked meat, start with them side by side so he gets used to the idea that it is in his food bowl, then slowly lightly mix them together so each is still obvious but there is a good chance he will end up eating some of the other as he tries to pick out the cooked chicken. It might sound a bit fiddly but hopefully it might make him realise that other food is acceptable. Also be a bit strict, put his food down at certain times of the day and if he is pestering for more when there is still the alternative in the bowl don't give him anything until the next meal time. Don't drastically reduce his boiled chicken to start with, just replace a small amount with an alternative, enough of a reduction so he is hungry by the next meal time, but not so much that he is starving 10 minutes later.

I don't know what chicken you boil for him but you might want to look at chicken thighs, put them in the pan, skin bone and all and boil them for several hours until the bones are clean. Take the bones out, they are nice big bones so easy to find and leave everything else in and chop it up. Portion it out in to meal sized portions (take away containers are great for this, or cheap Tupperware if you don't have take aways). If it's been boiled long enough the gelatin will come out of the bones and you will end up with chicken in jelly for him, it will also keep for a few days in the fridge or several weeks in the freezer. Other parts of the chicken can be used including the full carcass but that does take some sorting through to make sure you get all the tiny bones out.

I know Sheba and Gourmet do small sachets of cat food (50g as opposed to the more normal 85 or 100g) which might be worth getting as it's less to throw out when he won't eat it. Alternatively you might want to try some of the high meat content brands, if the meat appears more like chunks he is used to he might decide to try it. These foods do tend to be more available on line or in specialist pet stores than in supermarkets so it might just be changing one problem for another, you also need to watch and make sure that you don't just feed a 'complementary' cat food as they aren't guaranteed to have all the vitamins and minerals in, they are fine for a while but not permanently, that said I'm not sure boiled chicken will have all he needs in it. I'm not sure which ones to suggest myself as mine are happy with Felix AGAIL and Gourmet Gold, but there are others on here that use them and can probably give advise on which to try.

I do hope you find an alternative he will accept. Give him a fuss from me and tell him to stop causing his Mum problems.

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Re: Cat will starve but will not eat cat food

Post by Kay » Fri Feb 22, 2019 9:38 am

do you have a slow cooker? a whole chicken will render right down if cooked on low for 12 hours, and provide a good amount of meat and broth

if you used it overnight it wouldn't be much bother for you, and won't cost more than ordinary cat food

I'd go on trying biscuits too, as it would give you less to worry about regarding vitamins and minerals, and you can leave them down longer - have a look here https://www.zooplus.co.uk/shop/cats where far more varieties are available than you will find in any supermarket, many of them of better quality too

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Re: Cat will starve but will not eat cat food

Post by fjm » Fri Feb 22, 2019 10:58 am

I recommend baby safe containers (BPA free) for repeat use, as the cheap take away ones are not really meant for repeated washing and freezing, and there is some evidence of a link between BPA that can leach from some plastics and hyperthyroidism. Just another thing to worry about...!

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Re: Cat will starve but will not eat cat food

Post by booktigger » Fri Feb 22, 2019 12:33 pm

I fostered a litter of kittens once, one of them refused to eat anything but biscuits, when they were homed, the new owner managed over a period of weeks to get him to eat wet food by putting small pieces of cheese on it! Have you tried putting bits of chicken over the wet or dry food? I've never tried it, but know people who put catnip over food to entice cats to eat. Not sure what you have tried, but some cats prefer jelly, some gravy and some pate, so if you haven't tried different 'texture' cat foods, that might be worth a go.

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Re: Cat will starve but will not eat cat food

Post by Belinda123 » Sat Feb 23, 2019 5:27 pm

Thank you all for the advice... I have mixed chicken with cat food and also putting them close. He won't eat it when they are together but tolerate when it's close.

What I tried so far is (brands I can find here in the UK)

Sheba shreds in jelly - nope
Tesco kitten complete dry food - nope
Felix sauce treat - nope
Dreamies (a very popular cat treat in the UK) - nope
Virbac kitten dry food (vet prescribed) - nope
Iams delight kitten pouches - nope
Purina gourmet cat pouches - nope

Mince beef - nope
Tuna - nope

Ham - yes but due to salt, not giving him anymore
Goats milk - yes
Water - yes (he drinks water daily so I didn't think I needed to dilute the goats milk)
Salmon skin - yes but expensive, so occasionally when I have a salmon fillet myself I give him the skin and he eats it.
Boiled chicken - always yes (so it's his main food at the moment).

I have changed his bowl's location, height and direction. nope.

He sipped my oats milk the other day, which I was surprised. I read online that oatmeal minus the cows lactose was safe for cats so I gave him a little oats milk. He drank a bit.

I'm a foodie person and eat all sorts of foods at home, he never gets interested in absolutely anything I eat (unless it's ham).

That's it, so far. :( right now, as I type this, he's tried to 'cover' the Sheba jelly shreds which I laid big chunks of chicken on top. It's poo for him, even although Sheba is hiding only underneath. If I remove the chicken from the top of Sheba, he'll finally eat the chicken. Otherwise he won't eat anything.

I will try some more brands, hopefully something will come up soon... whatever I can get as small/individual portions so I don't waste too much money.

Mega-fussy kitty! :(

If there are any brands available in the UK that may convince fussy cats, please let me know...

I just hate wasting food, basically. And accumulating all these brands at home that he won't eat. Throwing it away every time it goes off.
The cat shelter will have a good food donation from me soon, surely...

I adopted him from a nice lady, she had a tortie mom with 4 cute kittens. No litter tray or catfood training, she said - she was leaving absorbent mats and human food for them. I didn't think it was going to be a big deal as I used to rescue cats before - always fed them rice boiled with sardines and whiskas. I think I looked after maybe 30 cats in my life and they always ate what I gave them.

But this one has been different. As soon as I took him home I showed him the litter tray, he was happy to use it straight away.

Then I gave him some supermarket kitten food as the natural thing to do but nope. Then I texted the lady again, and she said 'ham and chicken'; but ham had to be discontinued because of the salt so it's only chicken now. However I remember that she lived above a kebab house - could she possibly have weaned the kittens on kebab scraps...????? If so that would explain his love for ham and not having interest in any other food....? I texted the lady again but she didn't answered anymore. And then she never answered any of my texts ever again.

I don't know, I'll keep trying brands that sell single portions until I find something.
Last edited by Belinda123 on Sat Feb 23, 2019 5:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Cat will starve but will not eat cat food

Post by MarySkater » Sat Feb 23, 2019 5:43 pm

I don't think his attempt to cover food means he thinks it's poo. One of my cats will do that if he hasn't eaten all of his meal at once. I think it means "I don't fancy it at the moment, but I'll save it in case there's a famine"! But I know the scratch-scratching at the floor can get annoying.

When I brought home one of my current cats as a 3-month kitten, she went through a fussy phase, eating chicken but not wanting anything else. I thought she was a bit thin and didn't want to starve her, but my vet suggested that, if she refused good cat food, I should wait 24 hours before offering her anything else. I did that a few times, although never on consecutive days, and it did seem to make her realise that there were other things besides chicken to eat. I have microchip-operated cat feeders, so the food gets covered when she walks away from it, which helps if I want to leave wet food down for a while.

Good luck!

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Re: Cat will starve but will not eat cat food

Post by booktigger » Sat Feb 23, 2019 6:28 pm

As far as I know, none of those are pate type foods. The only other thing is leaving it till the next mealtime before offering something different, not ideal for kittens, but if they know they will get something 'better' if they ignore the first offering, they will quickly learn that.

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Re: Cat will starve but will not eat cat food

Post by Kay » Sat Feb 23, 2019 8:55 pm

Gourmet pate is sold in supermarkets in single tins, so wouldn't cost much to try

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Re: Cat will starve but will not eat cat food

Post by fjm » Sat Feb 23, 2019 9:21 pm

Will he eat eggs? Especially egg yolk - I used to mix it with minced beef, but he might prefer it with chicken. And raw chicken wings could provide the necessary calcium while you are finding a food he will eat - cooked bones are dangerous, but raw, soft wing bones are safer.

The story of a cat weaned on leftovers from a kebab shop sounds like a pitch for the next Disney movie - perhaps you should start writing it now!

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Re: Cat will starve but will not eat cat food

Post by issiandarchie+68 » Sun Feb 24, 2019 3:05 pm

fjm wrote:
Sat Feb 23, 2019 9:21 pm
Will he eat eggs? Especially egg yolk - I used to mix it with minced beef, but he might prefer it with chicken. And raw chicken wings could provide the necessary calcium while you are finding a food he will eat - cooked bones are dangerous, but raw, soft wing bones are safer.

The story of a cat weaned on leftovers from a kebab shop sounds like a pitch for the next Disney movie - perhaps you should start writing it now!
:) Great idea fjm. I would definitely go and see it if Belinda's cute cat took the starring role isn't he just gorgeous? I have an old friend who, many years ago, had a 'fussy' adopted cat until he fed it tins of pink salmon/tuna in spring water (originally in oil.) 11 cats and many years on, he has never fed his pets anything else. The diet never seemed to cause any ill effects, they all, bar one, lived into their early teens. I had a cat loved the crunchy tips of cooked chicken wings, pure bliss.


Issi

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Re: Cat will starve but will not eat cat food

Post by Belinda123 » Sun Feb 24, 2019 10:36 pm

Cayce, my cat, (named after Edgar) does not eat absolutely ANY catfood. I would be pleased if he could eat any treats, or dry, or pate, or sauce, or canned, or pouches. Anything. But no luck yet.

I bought lots of small portions of different brands today. A bit of everything. I'll try them over this week.
All the baby food I saw available (and I went to the biggest supermarket in the area) has onion and garlic in the savoury options. So I guess I can't try the UK babyfood, as I read that garlic and onions are bad for cats.

I read Felini Complete is a good supplement for raw/meat diets for cats, which is the preferred diet for many cat owners.

Cayce is a lovely kitty. He is the only cat and child of the household right now. He has an amazing personality. Right from the start, he demanded laptime and purred to me loudly, staring at my eyes. And that was it, I knew I was his human! He has three toy mice he footballs them for hours, through the playhouse, cardboard boxes, everywhere. He joins me for pretty much anything I'm doing, he's my little best friend. He often demands laptime, playtime or moans when there is stuff in his food bowl that is not plain chicken...
4 months, lots of love, energy and curiosity, but I know there's stuff missing in his diet and I'll keep trying.

Today I tried:
Purina Gourmet chicken shreds - nope
Whiskas kitten biscuits (with milk/cheese treats inside) - nope

When I cooked for myself today, I showed him the tuna once more (nope) but weirdly enough he was very interested in the black olives. He tried to eat them, which I didn't let him, but he managed to lick a bit.

I know olive jars has lots of salt so not an option for cats. Looked online now and they can have a bit of a catnip effect? Anyone knows more on this? After reading that I threw then some olives juice drops on top of the catfood. Nope.

I also offered him this morning the water a the mozzarela ball bag - it didn't say salt in the ingredients, so I offered it to him. He drank it happily. Well it's one more thing I guess in his 3-ingredients menu!
if anyone knows that mozzarela water is not a good idea, let me know so I won't do it again?

Fjm - I will try this week to give him some boiled egg- I read that egg yolks raw are ok, egg whites raw are bad for cats, and eggs are okay in moderation (although the site would not say 'what' that moderation means - one egg per week? Or per month?
https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/cat-h ... -food-tips

I saw that a lot of people has success with Weruva, but I haven't seen this brand for sale here in the UK... looked online and it's an US import only, I think.

I have been reading more articles online and I am kinda giving up. I will try the other 14 treats I bought today plus some more another cat owner will send me and I'm done. I read lots of stories of people against processed catfood and instead swapping their cats diet with meat only plus supplements. I will wait for the Felini Complete to arrive (Amazon said one week) and hopefully that with the chicken, the kitty will get all he needs. He refused ALL brands so far, and I've tried 9 different products until now. If he doesn't want supermarket food, maybe it's giving me a message...

I don't know. Nevertheless I'm still open to suggestions in case anyone has more ideas!

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Re: Cat will starve but will not eat cat food

Post by MarySkater » Mon Feb 25, 2019 8:32 am

When he refused cat food, how long do you leave him before offering something more to his taste? When I had a fussy cat, my vet recommended waiting 24 hours before offering anything different. It worked.

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Re: Cat will starve but will not eat cat food

Post by alanc » Mon Feb 25, 2019 12:29 pm

Have you tried steamed or grilled Haddock? Many years ago, I tempted an old cat of mine who was off of everything into eating with cooked Haddock.

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Re: Cat will starve but will not eat cat food

Post by booktigger » Mon Feb 25, 2019 1:34 pm

MarySkater wrote:
Mon Feb 25, 2019 8:32 am
When he refused cat food, how long do you leave him before offering something more to his taste? When I had a fussy cat, my vet recommended waiting 24 hours before offering anything different. It worked.
I've never waited 24 hours, but I will put something down for breakfast and if they don't want it, they get nothing different till tea, which will be different from breakfast (unless they are old/ill/pregnant/nursing) - I wouldn't give it 24 hours unless you were feeding dry, wet would be too stale.

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Re: Cat will starve but will not eat cat food

Post by fjm » Mon Feb 25, 2019 3:45 pm

I recall a fridge magnet many years ago that read "Whoever said 'If you leave it down long enough he will eat it' has never kept a cat!" But then mine have always had access to the great outdoors, and went hunting for their own supper if they didn't like what I provided.

In this case it sounds as if the kitten was weaned onto chicken, and simply doesn't recognise anything else as food. I would not despair though - cats are genetically programmed to vary their diet to ensure balanced nutrition, which is why they suddenly treat the stuff they loved so much you bought 200 tins as if it were poison. In this case it may eventually work in your favour...

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Re: Cat will starve but will not eat cat food

Post by Belinda123 » Mon Feb 25, 2019 9:37 pm

Hooray! Halelujah! Cayce ate a supermarket food! :D

Of the 16 new stuff I bought over the weekend, he snubbed 4 so far, but ate the Encore chicken +rice pouch for £1 at Asda.

I must say, when I opened the pouch, I was surprised myself, as it was not stinky neither looked like catfood (it actually smelled good, almost like human food) I could see the chicken shreds and I had high hopes. He snubbed it at first, but went back to his bowl half hour later and ate EVERYTHING (I poured half packet) I was SO amazed, I poured the rest and he scoffed it. This was the product no. 12 I tried, I think. He rejected all the others, plus tuna etc. But I was SO happy to see that he ate and enjoyed the Encore.

YAY! something I can give to him when I'm in a rush, it's affordable and easy to find, and I don't have to cook so often now. It's a relief.

Also, I decided to give it a go to the Whiskas milk today, and bought him some. It has vitamins and Taurin etc so I thought it could be a supplement - So I gave him one portion which he cleaned the bowl straight away.

So today this cat has been VERY well fed! He's more naughty and bouncy than ever!

Anyone has experience with Whiskas milk as a last option for supplement? I tried to find online if there was an age limit for giving it to cats but couldn't find it. Cayce is 4 months, but can a cat drink Whiskas milk as an adult?

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Re: Cat will starve but will not eat cat food

Post by Ruth B » Tue Feb 26, 2019 8:49 am

Great news. Hopefully he will slowly become more accepting of other cat foods.

The one thing I will mention is that Encore is a 'complementary' cat food so might be lacking in some of the vitamins and minerals he needs (however I doubt pure cooked chicken contained everything either). I wouldn't worry short term, but he does need to be eating a 'complete' cat food, either dry or wet, some of the time to get the extras he needs.

The Whiskas Cat Milk will certainly help as it does contain some of the additives he requires. There is certainly no problem with him having it in addition to either cat food or chicken, it is probably better than the goats milk as it is formulated specifically for cats.

Encore may be one of the most expensive cat foods on the supermarket shelf but it is certainly easier and possibly cheaper than you having to cook for him all the time.

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Re: Cat will starve but will not eat cat food

Post by alanc » Tue Feb 26, 2019 12:03 pm

If you are looking at Encore, which comes (I think) in 75g pouches for your £1.00, maybe try Thrive chicken breast + (various) at £1.09 per 85g tin?
It is strips of cooked chicken in broth and is a complete cat food. Worked wonders on my convalescent Tilly a few years ago.

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Re: Cat will starve but will not eat cat food

Post by Lilith » Tue Feb 26, 2019 1:43 pm

I wondered about Thrive, having heard about it from Alan in the first place. They adore it, and having a poorly cat at the time I bought some ... you do have to buy it online (I think I used Zooplus, who are very good) and it is pricey, but for one cat, and the convenience and quality, you can't beat it.

Good luck with Cayce ... poor little devil, I've met cats before who've been dragged up on restaurant scraps, willy-nilly, not a good beginning but he's in clover now by the sound :)

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Re: Cat will starve but will not eat cat food

Post by Belinda123 » Thu Feb 28, 2019 12:09 pm

Alanc and Lilith - I gave him a can of Thrive chicken complete the other day, and had high hopes as it also looked like shredded chicken, very similar to the Encore... but it was also a nope. :( I left it there for 12 hours untouched by him (regardless of how many times I showed it to him) until I gave up and threw it away. I'm usually trying brands that has chicken/ham things in it to maybe increase chances of success, but nope...

Also tried:
Cosma chicken snacks - nope
Tesco ham cuts in jelly for cats - nope (I saw that it had ham so I gave a try...)
Dreamies Deli-catz 80% chicken - nope
Felix chicken & duck chunks 90% - nope
Boiled egg - nope

So far, only success with Encore and Whiskas cat milk.

I only give him plain boiled chicken with no bones. Will start adding Felini Complete as soon as I get it through the post. I hope it's true that it does not change the chicken taste!

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Re: Cat will starve but will not eat cat food

Post by Mollycat » Fri Mar 01, 2019 12:57 pm

A really cheeky idea but might be worth a shot. Some prescription cat foods eg renal diet have additives that encourage them to eat. You don't want to shell out for large amounts of these but maybe you might be able to get samples from somewhere, vets, manufacturers etc? That might get him started on the idea of cat food and work from there.

Also, how about boiling up the chicken with a little bit from a pouch and gradually increasing the amount of cat food in this?

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