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Advice needed - cat refusing change of diet!

(32 Posts)
shovetheholly Fri 13-Jan-17 09:06:32

My lovely 17 year old male cat was recently diagnosed as hyperthyroid. He's a bit of a pampered beast, and normally has a wide range of foods. However, we decided to try him on an iodine-free diet initially (Hills y/d), because he's a house cat who doesn't really want to venture outside and because we are occasionally away for work and it will be easy for the neighbours to 'treat' him if the medication is a diet. However, there is an alternative treatment available in the shape of a gel that gets rubbed onto the cat's ears (also, pills as a third alternative).

We started the diet 2 days ago. He was VERY keen on the first bowl of crunchies and first can of wet food and scoffed the lot. However, yesterday he decided he'd gone off them and is refusing to eat anything.

There is an element of protest here because he's very used to getting his own way, particularly with food. I feel terrible that he's not eating with his usual gusto! How long do I continue this battle of wills? When should I become concerned that he's not feeding properly?

I realise I sound like the worst kind of pfb parent here! grin

Purplebluebird Fri 13-Jan-17 09:10:53

I would try another day to be honest, my cats refused their new food for a bit, but eventually they got really hungry and ate it anyway :P

Purplebluebird Fri 13-Jan-17 09:55:42

Could you try mixing it with old food? If it's dry biscuits I mean. Wouldn't recommend it with wet food!

shovetheholly Fri 13-Jan-17 10:03:07

I can't mix it because the food he has must now be iodine-free. If I mixed it in, he'd not be getting the medical benefit.

I feel like I'm in a horrible war of wills! sad

Fluffycloudland77 Fri 13-Jan-17 11:13:21

You are.

He's 17, can't he try another treatment so he's happy in his final years?.

shovetheholly Fri 13-Jan-17 11:25:20

There are 4 treatments

- Radiation therapy. This involves him being in a hospital for months on end, which he would hate

- Pills or liquid medication. This is a cat who HATES being fed medicine. This would also make him unwell. I have used the pills before, when they were the only available treatment, with my other cat who was also hyperthyroid before he died, and they made him vomit all the time at the start of the treatment, which led to weight loss. This settled down after a month and a half.

- A gel that is rubbed onto the inside of the ear. This would be relatively easy for us to do, and he could eat whatever he likes. However, he is a very shy cat and when we are away, the duty of doing this would fall to our neighbour. (We have reciprocal cat-caring arrangements with them). I don't know if I can really ask them to chase my cat around the house trying to put medication on his ear!

- A change of diet, which is what we are trying right now.

If he refuses to eat, we will have little choice but to switch to the ear gel. However, my question was really about how LONG we should hold out to see if he will take the food.

And frankly, anyone who tells me I'm not trying to make him 'happy in his final years' can fuck off. I saved this cat from starvation at the start of his life, he's been with me for well over a decade, and I'm trying to do what is best for him now. Frankly, this is stressful and upsetting enough without the usual judgemental attitude of Mumsnetters.

cozietoesie Fri 13-Jan-17 11:44:57

I think you're misjudging a tad. wink

You're pretty stumped on this one, I reckon. An elederly cat with health issues who turns picky with his food? He's got you cold hasn't he? grin

Personally, I'd go for the gel. He's a older boy and I guess there won't be too many holidays where someone else would have to do it if you weren't around.

<sighs, remembering 'holidays'>

shovetheholly Fri 13-Jan-17 11:52:18

Thanks cozie. And apologies if I did misunderstand the tone of that post fluffy - am really upset by this whole thing, so very oversensitive.

I'm going to give the vet a ring in a second and ask if we can switch...

PinkSparklyPussyCat Fri 13-Jan-17 11:58:25

Could you try mixing liquid medication with a very small amount of something he really loves?

When Harry had to have medication we used Hills a/d and mixed the meds in with it and we also mixed it in with tuna. We only gave him a small amount of food to make sure ate it, and then gave him more as a 'reward'.

PinkSparklyPussyCat Fri 13-Jan-17 12:00:50

I meant to say the vet told me the a/d is like chocolate for cats, they find it irresistable. I looked at her is if she was mad and told her how Harry is so fussy, and then he made a liar out of me and scoffed the lot!

TrustySnail Fri 13-Jan-17 12:09:19

If he's eaten it once, I suspect he would eat it again after a couple of days once he realised nothing else was forthcoming. I'd give it two days and then look at the ear option.

Could your neighbour feed treats at the same time as applying the ear gel, to encourage your cat to co-operate?

I hope you find a solution. I have a 16 year old boy with kidney problems and it's so worrying when he's difficult over his meds - I find myself thinking 'If only I could explain this to you!'.

cozietoesie Fri 13-Jan-17 12:15:35

That's a wet food, Pink?

shovetheholly Fri 13-Jan-17 12:18:01

trusty - yes, that's exactly it. He's looking at me with these big, reproachful eyes, asking me why I am not feeding him and making him unhappy. I feel terrible, even though I know rationally I'm trying to do the best for him. sad

pinksparkly - he is REALLY fussy, I'm afraid. He won't eat anything for more than a meal or two at a time, including a/d. We have to keep around 8 kinds of cat food in the house at any one time as a result. We've had a/d in the house several times before for various operations and periods of kitty illness, and it's the same as everything else- he'll eat it one meal and totally go off it the next. sad I've made a bit of a rod for my own back in catering to his fussiness all these years, as he's now totally unable to understand what is happening.

shovetheholly Fri 13-Jan-17 12:19:37

cozie - I think pink was suggesting I bought the a/d wet food and then mixed in the oral medication.

The thyroid food (Hills y/d) comes in dry and wet versions, neither of which he is eating.

YesItsMeIDontCare Fri 13-Jan-17 12:21:05

Does he like Lick-e-Lix?

cozietoesie Fri 13-Jan-17 12:27:02

It sounds like the gel to me, I fear. He's got you. grin

PinkSparklyPussyCat Fri 13-Jan-17 12:28:15

It is cozie. It's like a pate and medication mixes in with it really well. It's for recouperating cats and dogs, but the vet has said it's fine for getting medication into them. She was really surprised when I proudly announced Harry had taken his full week of antibiotics last time!

cozietoesie Fri 13-Jan-17 12:29:42

....She was really surprised....

So not quite so confident about its powers of attraction after all? wink

cozietoesie Fri 13-Jan-17 12:33:49

I have to have all four flavours of Lick E Lix in the house, Yes. Seniorboy has a tube for his mid-evening treat every day. And he's a fussy blighter.

shovetheholly Fri 13-Jan-17 12:53:49

No, he won't reliably take lick-e-lix, but he does like Dreamies a LOT - this is literally the only thing that is consistently a winner. However, I can't think how I could get either liquid or pills into them! He also will sometimes have those deli stick things. I used to feed my other cat the thyroid medicine by hiding it those sticks, but previous attempts to do that with this one have failed. He has an uncanny ability to eat the stick, then to spit the pill out in some dark corner.

YesItsMeIDontCare Fri 13-Jan-17 12:54:38

Yeah, Leroy gets his when we come in from his walk. Sort of a "sorry we've had to come in, but have a Lick-e-Lix so you don't hate me".

Doesn't like the salmon one though!

YesItsMeIDontCare Fri 13-Jan-17 12:56:35

Damn. I really thought L-e-L would be the answer! Sorry OP. sad

Can he have Gourmet Cat Soup or is that off menu now too?

shovetheholly Fri 13-Jan-17 13:04:21

My old cat LOVED it yesme, so I know how mad cats who do enjoy it go over it! I would have suggested it too. This one is just a really fussy eater.

He isn't supposed to have anything except the y/d food. The reason is that it contains no iodine, which means that he can't make any thyroxine and will therefore theoretically stop being hyper-thyroid. Iodine is apparently in most other kinds of cat food, so he literally can't have anything else. It's a diet that is built not on supplying him with something, but on restricting one ingredient, IYSWIM.

cozietoesie Fri 13-Jan-17 13:23:55

Seniorboy will eat the salmon one quite happily which is odd, given he normally dislikes fish flavours. His very favourite is the turquoise (liver?) one though. Sadly, that's a bit more difficult to obtain. (As is the plain (white) one.)

orangeyellowgreen Fri 13-Jan-17 20:43:19

He's 17. Sooner or later He will go downhill and die, whether or not he's treated for hyperthyroidism ( which doesn't make him feel ill)
You could just let him enjoy the rest of his life, eating what he likes, rather than living a little longer but being miserable.

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