What do you feed your old cat??(83 Posts)
Am posting in the hope of inspiration! We have a 14(ish) year old cat who is becoming increasingly picky about what he eats.
He will eat food in gravy, but only eats the gravy and ignores the meat so when he is hungry again later the food has dried out and he won't touch it. Everything else is ignored and accompanied by scratching, whinging and generally making a nuisance of himself because he is hungry.
His teeth are ok and he will eat dried food if he has to (usually left down for him during the day) but he only eats small amounts as it isn't really what he wants.
We have tried all of the usual brands and variants but he just doesn't seem to like any of them because he's
a bastard picky. He doesn't eat 'real' food like fish or chicken and he doesn't drink a lot of water.
He is currently ok health wise but obviously as he gets older I am worried that he will just stop eating anything.
Does anyone have any suggestions for what else we can try before he drives us totally round the bend?!
I've got just a small suspicion that you're being played here. How often do you feed him? Little and often (if your living pattern permits) is the way to go. (My Seniorboy (a fussy blighter) has four meal sessions a day minimum because otherwise the food dries out as you said.)
Oh -and are you sure his teeth are OK? Has he had a recent MOT at the vet?
I think you're probably right about being played, but he is just so unpleasant when he's hungry!
He gets fed first thing and then around 3ish with dried food being left down for him as well. He spends most of the day face down on the sofa and usually wakes up just before 3 and starts the whinging. I will try little and often when I can but am not always at home due to work etc.
His teeth were checked not that long ago but it is probably worth getting them checked again - he is due his vaccination booster soon so I will ask the vet to take another look.
It would be good to get them checked - dental problems can flare up quite quickly and he's of an age to have some.
The real issue is you hanging tough though, I think. I'd see what you can do to give him his meals at breakfast, when you get back from work, teatime and then a late supper. (On wet food - spread out that which you normally give him over the four meals.)
Also see if you can play with him/groom him as much as possible. Although he's an older boy, being needy for attention may contribute to all this. (His moaning may be for love as much as food.)
Thank you for your advice . I will give the spaced out meals a try and book him in for boosters and a check up.
He gets lots of fuss and attention from us and has a special toy that is religiously played with every morning (think my dd gets as much fun out of it as he does!). When he isn't whinging he is one of the nicest cats I've ever known, so it's hard when he is clearly pissed off about something!
Good luck - and don't give in!
Let us know how you get on.
Will stay strong and let you know!
Took him to the vet this morning. Vet can't see anything wrong with his teeth, can't feel anything going on and he doesn't have a temp. Gave him steroids, vitamin and anti sickness jabs and said to bring him back for fluids if no change. Have tried little and often food but all he has done is sniff the food, sniff the water and then go back to bed. . He has gone beyond stroppy and into ill now so will just have to see whether he perks up.
Vet has said she will give fluids and do a blood test for kidney function tomorrow if no change.
Are you trying lots of different flavours and foods? I never give my boy the same food twice running so lots of different half pouches on the go in the fridge being rotated. (Flavours as well as brands.)
How is his weight and general condition ?
My own old boy is 18 nearly 19 so I wouldn't really regard 14 as getting past it at all but such a disinclination does sound worrying. Did the vet say why she was giving him steroids? They're a powerful med and would not, I would have thought, normally be given as a general pick me up - although they should have the effect of improving things temporarily. I'm surprised she gave them before doing bloods or urine.
(I'm assuming he's still using his tray fine?)
We have tried 5 different flavours and 3 different brands in the last couple of days! He is now activily recoiling from food - he will sniff it a bit but then backs away from it.
At the moment his weight and condition are both ok. His coat is a bit rough but not exceptionally so.
Vet said she wanted to rule out nausea and stomach upset first and said steroids will help to stimulate his appetite. He had a kidney function test last year as he went through a rough few months then and his levels were ok. The vet will do a blood test but has said no point until he has had fluids or we could get a false reading.
He seems to be going out to wee/poo ok (doesn't use a tray), but I may have to try a tray to check. Think the next step is take him back to vet and let them do the bloods etc.
I'd get a tray set up directly. If he's a bit off colour, he may prefer an inside tray to going outside in any case. It's useful to have around - and it does give you the ability to check what's going on.
Have you seen any improvement since the steroids at all?
I will try and remember to buy litter tomorrow!
He is more active since the steroids but still hasn't (won't) eat anything. Am planning a trip to the vet tomorrow...
Good idea. Let us know how you get on. I'd be thinking of getting bloods done fairly quickly just in case.
Haven't managed to buy litter yet but I took him to the vet again this morning. She has done blood tests which should be back tomorrow, but suspects pancreatitis which from my limited knowledge is not good.
He still won't eat...
Let us know when you get some results. Here's hoping for him.
Aw I feel so sorry for you archfiend - it's heartbreaking when they won't eat. Have you tried hand feeding him prawns? I'm not suggesting prawns as a permanent diet, but most cats can't resist prawns, even when they're feeling poorly. The cooked pink ones, not raw - thoroughly defrosted and rinsed to get rid of any salt.
If he does turn out to be merely picky I've got a ton of fabulous food suggestions as we've got the most pickiest cat in the world here.
Fingers crossed for you.
My old cats (alas no longer with us) were just like this, but nearly ate my hand off when roasted chicken was around.
Thanks all. Haven't tried prawns yet, will add to the list!
We tried roast chicken on Sunday and he didn't want any of it. I am currently trying very small amounts of food changed regularly but he isn't taking any of it. He sniffs te food but then backs away from it - vet said that can be a sign of pancreatitis in some cats, ie they want to eat but can't.
He seems quite cheerful though, which is strange in itself as normally he is tearing the place apart if his food is late! Still very affectionate and purring a lot (although I know this can be a sign of pain, he doesn't seem to be uncomfortable).
He is starting to look a bit rough around the edges so is clearly not well, but until we get the blood results back we are a bit stuck. Currently sitting next to me on the chair rattling away to himself...
Maybe give him a wee assist with his grooming? It won't actually help much with his physical issue but the concentrated attention will make him feel good.
Will dig out his brush and give him a fuss when he wakes up! We had small progress this morning as he managed about a teaspoon of food. Now of course I'm going to worry he'll be sick after eating!
Will try him again with the same mix of food and see if he will take any more, he is currently zonked out on the sofa so seems quite comfortable. Fingers crossed!
Starting to eat is often the biggest hurdle. Fingers crossed.
My old boy loves Scince Plan Pate.
I give him normal food as he is not fussy but on a Friday he gets a tin of that which is a wee treat for him. He just LOVES it
Felix as good as it looks has been a real hit in the past. As has Whiskas Oh so fishy.
I wouldn't pander to him too much though. Also. Put his food down and if he doesn't eat it lift it and don't give him anything else til his next feed. We did this with another cat we had and it worked. It was a whole world of pain to begin with but worked in the long run.
Did the vet say when the blood results would be back?
My old cat was on Hills Science diet all her life. She wouldn't eat anything else except for tuna.
My 5 year old has been on the same too though she eats anything.
Hope your cat is OK.
Our old cat is 18 and sleeps an awful lot now and rarely goes out into the back garden (we leave the back door open for kittencat).
She has half a pouch of Felix in the morning and half a pouch at teatime, sometimes she asks for treats (dry food) during the day and she quite likes cheese, cream, ham and chicken.
We tend to give her small portions at a time as she seems to sick it all back up if she eats too much.
Seniorboy sleeps quite a lot - but then I sometimes wonder whether that's because I check on him a lot so I see it. (Cats being given to sleeping plenty at whatever age.) The Lodger just used to take himself off to some private place and conk out and I completely forgot about him. He probably slept a fair bit even though he was a young cat.
Rang the vets about an hour ago, the results are in but the vet wasn't available to speak to me so am just waiting for a call back. He has been eating little bits of dried food on and off today - am trying not to give him too much otherwise he will be sick.
So, hopefully he will continue to eat and the tests won't show anything nasty! Will update when I know more.
Let us know when you get the news.
Sorry been running around so have only just got round to updating. The vet rang, basically there is nothing wrong with kidneys, liver etc, no sign of any infection. Hurrah!
She has said if he continues to perk up with little and often food then no need to bring him back in, otherwise take him in at the end of the week and they will sedate him and give his mouth, throat etc another really good going over to make sure there is nothing going on further down.
So, good news although still no real idea what is wrong with him!!
Well that's good news about his system. Is he still having nibbles?
He is still nibbling at dried food - not so keen on anything wet at the moment. Will continue to top him up with small amounts tonight and see if he will eat anything different tomorrow.
to all of you, glad to know I am not the only one with a picky old cat
and his weird mystery ailments
You're certainly not the only one.
Good that he's nibbling dry but I'd keep putting wet down in case - and obviously leaving lots of water around.
By the way - wet food freezes a treat if you have room in the freezer and some small containers. (Without freezing some partial pouches or tins it can get real expensive having a finicky cat.)
That's a good idea cozie. I've never thought of freezing catfood.
Would he drink Whiskas cat milK? It might be a way to get a bit of nourishment into him, as well as some fluid. Also, if you haven't already tried them, Sheba Desire chicken fillet in gravy pouches contain a lot of gravy and the meat is in quite small pieces, so he might be tempted by them? My old mog considers these quite a treat.
I hope he's feeling better soon.
Well, he is currently munching away on his normal food in the other room, so I think for now he is back to normal
or as normal as he gets.
Very good tip re freezing the spare food, will definitely remember that for the future!
We still have no idea what was wrong with him, but at least I know that his organs are still working as they should !
That's good news, archfiend. And yes - having had a recent full blood workup is useful when they're getting on a bit.
Good luck to him.
Glad he's back to normal! We feed our old lady cat (19, nearly 20!) felix, the ones in the jelly, she can't really do the dry food, as she's lost a lot of her teeth. But she absolutely loves cat milk, will meow for it every morning. and of course any chicken/tuna we have going when we're doing our own dinners, she meows so loudly about it, she alerts our other two to it!
Thanks all. He is still eating, although continues to be a bit picky but I suspect that is down to being old and awkward rather than ill!
He is currently enjoying the Sheba little tins, but not the pouches, is tolerating Felix (can't remember which one but a slightly 'nicer' variety with meat and jelly rather than just lumps) and will still eat Whiskas dried food. I think there is going to be some trial and error for a while...
I may try the cat milk too while he is getting back up to speed.
Other than that, he is cheerful and seems quite relaxed. Phew!
If I may make a recommendation from one picky cat to another. If you have a Coop nearby-ish, try the Gourmet chicken in gravy pouches. (They come in a black pouch with an orange label.) They're a staple at CozieTowers: Seniorboy has been eating them for supper (a two thirds pouch) for a year and hasn't tired of them yet. If I didn't have them, I'd be in a bit of a pickle.
Gourmet Solitaire chicken in white sauce little tins have also proved very acceptable but are on restricted issue due to cost.
How is the application for the second mortgage going?
Glad to hear he's on the mend. Do you mash his food at all? We do that for our old girl and find it stops her just licking the jelly off. It also keeps the food moist for longer. We feed her Butcher's Classic which is highly recommended on here as it is cereal free.
My picky old madam adores Gourmet Solitaire Slow Cooked Beef with Tomato. I was amazed that she woofed this down when I first gave it to her, as she normally turns her dainty little nose up at anything in the slightest bit unusual. I've since looked at reviews, and it seems that loads of picky cats love this. Tomatoes are good for them too, so that's an added bonus. Available from most supermarkets.
She also loves Schesir Tuna with Shrimps. This is a high quality cat food with natural ingredients and no additives. I get it from Zooplus.
The only dry food she'll eat is James Wellbeloved Senior Fish, which is great, as again, it's got no artificial additives, and is full of quality ingredients.
Her current treat of choice is Vet's Kitchen Little Hearts Chicken and Duck. Another healthy product which I also get from Zooplus.
She is a hopeless prawn addict.
Forgot to say - Sheba Prime Cuts Tuna with Prawns is irrisistable to most cats (including mine), but it's not a complete food.
Seniorboy despises prawns. Woe is me.
(Doesn't much like tuna either.)
Tuna is the one thing guaranteed to get Rice to come running from wherever she's hiding. I once didn't even make it out of the kitchen before she was miaowing at me for some (it's a split level flat with only the bathroom and kitchen on the lower level so she normally only comes downstairs to use the loo - we feed her in the living room).
Oops - fell off my threads list!
Well, he is still eating, although a bit less than usual but isn't unhappy. He is being a bit pickier than usual, but I suspect that is just going to become the norm as he gets older.
Thank you all for the food suggestions. He has had a different flavour of the gourmet food which he seemed to like so I will add that to the list. We have a co-op nearby so will try their food too.
He is slowly getting through the
mountain small pile of varieties that we have bought recently, I will be stocking up soon. And yes, second mortgage application coming on well!!
Thanks again all, it's really appreciated.
He probably won't eat quite as much if he is becoming less active. Does he sleep a lot/doze by radiators etc?
He is currently asleep next to my head on top of the sofa and has already started his annual migration to the top of the radiator in the sitting room, so yes.
Although to be fair, he's always been a bit more cushion than cat, unlike our previous cat who existed purely on nervous energy!
Winter, radiators, dozing. What a life, eh?
I would maybe be expecting him to eat a little less with a degree of inactivity so it's really providing toothsome morsels and keeping an eye on his general weight and behaviour - which I'm sure you'd be doing anyway.
Good luck with him.
Quick update. Well, after he appeared to perk up and start eating again, he subsequently went off everything but dried food again. He would eat some but would then bring it back up again. So, another trip to the vets today.
Vet has said that she can't feel any blockages or lumps, but that there is a possibility he either has inflammatory bowel disease or small diffuse tumours in his small intestine. The problem is that both conditions almost impossible to diagnose/differentiate even with a biopsy which she isn't keen to do due to his age, recovery time etc. he has lost just over half a kilo in the last week which isn't good.
So, she has dosed him up with steroids, vitamins and anti nausea drugs and put him onto royal canin. If he doesn't start to eat again then we will try more steroids and if that doesn't work then we have a very sad decision to make in the next few days .
He has just eaten a small amount of the canin food, so now we just have to see if he keeps it down and continues to eat.
Ah well. Best of luck to him.
Thanks. Am hoping he will start to eat properly but am also trying to prepare for the worst...
So far so good - he is eating the canin food in small regular amounts which is a big step forward. Now I guess we just have to see what happens when the drugs wear off!
Hopefully he will continue to improve, but I don't want this to turn into a cycle of drugs - food - drugs wear off - stops eating and goes downhill. Am due to call the vet next week to discuss so will see what they suggest.
Well getting some food into him is good but I know what you mean. My Darling Twoago suddenly restarted eating after being given steroids - they seemed to just give his whole system a kick up the ass - but the apparent resurgence of appetite tailed off pretty quickly.
Fingers crossed for him.
PS -has he stopped throwing up?
He has stopped throwing up which is good, but he had a pretty hefty anti-nausea drug yesterday. He has eaten most of one pouch of the royal canin food over the course of today and it has stayed down.
It's awful when they seem so much better and you don't know if it's them or the drugs - time will tell I guess!
Yes, it is awful. Getting hope up and not knowing whether it will be dashed.
My own experience, though, is that if it is the drugs, it won't be a matter of months or even weeks before you start to find out. More like days - say 5 or 6 days - before the apparent improvement starts to edge off again.
I'll be hoping for him.
Thanks. He's just tucking into his fifth (sixth?) 'meal' of the day!
I agree, I think that if he is going to go off again it will be around Tuesday/Wednesday so my plan is to keep a close eye on him and ring the vets around then if I notice any changes. She has suggested ongoing steroid tablets if he has perked up and then goes off again, but I know that is not a long term solution
and we have to get the damn things into him.
I came on tonight to start almost this exact same thread. I really feel for you as we're in this position with our cat. He's gradually stopped eating over the past 4 weeks or so, and is now worryingly thin. He was never a big cat but I can feel every part of his spine. We're back to the vet tomorrow morning but it just feels bad to me - he's 12 this month and I don't want to put him through any operations or too much stress, but I also don't want to make the wrong decision. I hope things get better for you.
spotty thanks - he is still eating this morning so we will see how gets on over the next few days. I hope that your vet can help to find some answers - it's awful when they stop eating and you don't know why.
I agree about not putting them through too much. Our vet has said if he was 2 then they would be looking at a wider range of options re biopsies etc but as he is 14 it's not fair to put that much additional stress onto him.
Hope that it goes well at the vets today, let us know how you get on.
That's good news archfiend- hope it continues!
Not so good here - liver problems, back to vet for bloods later but not too optimistic .
sorry to hear that spotty, hope that the vet can help if at all possible.
The worst news unfortunately and he's booked in to be PTS tomorrow morning. The vet was lovely and let me bring him home for everyone to say 'goodbye' but it's going to be hard. How's your lovely boy?
Oh spotty I'm so sorry . I hope you have a quiet evening with lots of cuddles with him tonight. Such a sad decision to have to make.
Himself is currently ok, am expecting the drugs to wear off in the next day or so, will see how he gets on then.
Thanks archfiend - can't believe he has so little time left with us, it's horrible.
That's great news about your cat though, I really do hope it keeps going. The vet told me today that they're seeing cats of 22 years + now that food and care is so much better, so fingers crossed that he's one of them.
Best wishes for this morning spotty
Thinking of you this morning, spotty.
Hope Himself is eating this morning archfiend.
Himself has eaten some of his breakfast today, although not as much as previous days. Whether this is the drugs darting to wear off or whether he is just full for the first time in a while is hard to say at the moment.
Will keep an eye on him and plan to ring the vet tomorrow if he starts to go off again.
I'd agree to keeping an eye on him for the time being - all cats can have days when they're not feeling so hungry. Possibly watch out for his activity level as well. If he stops eating and starts sleeping/lying around in a corner all the time, you may be in difficulty.
Best of luck to him.
PS - keep an eye on whether he's peeing and pooing as well. Eg if he's been pigging himself, he might be starting to get chocked up inside (if he's not pooing well) and that would slow down consumption or maybe even cause a sick if he does eat.
He has spent most of today on the sofa, but to be air that's what he does most days! Hasn't pestered me for food and as far as I know hasn't been outside. Hmmm.
Will see how he is later when it is closer to his normal meal time.
Well I don't know how it is with you but it's cold and nasty here and Seniorboy is sticking to his electric blanket even with some cold meat down for his lunch. I wouldn't blame your lad for not wanting to go out - especially as he's not 100% even with the meds.
Remind me - does he have a tray inside? If not, might be a good idea to set one up for him so that he doesn't need to go out if he doesn't want to.
It's not that nice here either!
We tried a tray, but he sneered at at, threw the litter around and stalked outside... I think that it is a bit of a lost cause, so I will have to resort to stalking him when he disappears to his favourite bush.
Fair enough. But at least you have one in he cupboard so that it could be hauled out if needs be.
Best of luck in stalking him at 11 at night in the rain!
He hasn't really eaten any dinner either so I will be calling the vet tomorrow. Sigh.
How is he this morning? Did he seem interested for his breakfast?
Not interested and back on the sofa. Popped into the vets and they are going to give him a steroid injection later along with some tablets to crush into his food when he starts to eat again.
Trying to get pills into him usually involves 2 people, a towel and a pill popper thing (and I still have the scars from the last time!) so this seems like a less stressful way to do things for everyone. Hopefully he will continue to eat once he is getting regular steroids, but will continue to review.
Ah. I know that you're being careful not to get your hopes up here but I recognize all this.
Good luck to him.
I know. I feel like we have to give him every chance while he is still happy in himself, but I also know that this is not a long term solution...
If the steroids don't kick in or he goes downhill straight after stopping them again then I think we are into hard decision time.
Thinking of you all. Let's hope that the steroids kick start him or buy him some time for things to get going again.
A very sad update. Despite having perked up initially on steroids, Himself continued to lose weight and find it hard to eat. The vet confirmed that the most likely cause was a lymphoma in his bowel/intestine and we made the hard decision to let him go.
He went quickly and peacefully while he was still comfortable and not in any distress. A horribly sad day, but ultimately the kindest thing we could have done for him.
Thanks for all your support and kind words over the last few weeks.
So sorry, archfiend. I'm glad that, at least, he went before he was in distress.
Have you decided on a special place to bury him or his ashes/way to remember him?
Thanks cozie. He will be greatly missed.
My parents have a beautiful area of their garden where the family cats all go, he will be safe there.
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