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How can I get my cat to eat more?

My cat is about 10 years old. We'd noticed that he wasn't eating as much dry food as he had been, was throwing up his food undigested, and was getting a bit thin (not rush-him-to-the-vet skinny), so we switched him to wet food about two weeks ago. The throwing up has stopped, but he's still not eating much, not even a can a day, about half of what the label says he should eat. How can I get him to eat more?

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Asked by May-20 at 11:49 PM on Jan. 4, 2010 in Pets

Level 30 (44,536 Credits)
Answers (11)
  • Take him to the vet. Not eating much is a very good sign that something is wrong.

    If it won't eat the recommended amount of wet food, then something is definitely wrong. Cats love wet food.

    Answer by all4mymarine at 11:52 PM on Jan. 4, 2010

  • Honestly, I'd take him to the vet, just to get him checked out. A decrease in appetite can indicate a number of issues. Also, keep in mind that cats usually don't show any kind of symptoms until whatever illness is already pretty advanced, so it's best to get them checked out as soon as you notice something "off"... Just speaking from experience, having 7 older cats right now, with various health issues.

    Answer by Anouck at 11:52 PM on Jan. 4, 2010

  • Oh and I don't mean this to be mean or rude so please dont take it that way, but if your child stopped eating much and was throwing up and started losing weight, you wouldn't wait for them to get emaciated before you took them to the doctor, would you? Losing weight is not a good sign either.

    Just putting it into another perspective is all. I have 3 kitties myself so I am a kitty lover!

    Answer by all4mymarine at 11:56 PM on Jan. 4, 2010

  • I agree, take him to the vet. Better to have him checked out than to have the constant worry. I had a cat who was a rather large cat, not fat, just big and he threw up all the time. We didn't think anything of it and the vet seemed to think it might be because he was ingesting too much of his fur. Well, come to find out down the line after he was already sick, that he had diabetes and leukemia.

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:57 PM on Jan. 4, 2010

  • When my kids are a bit off their feed, I'll try to tempt their appetites with something I know they like before I rush them to the doctor, but they are old enough to tell me if something doesn't feel right, too.

    Until he quit throwing up, we believed it was due to hairballs and eating too much at one time. Now that he's stopped with the diet change, we've begun to question the connection.

    He actually has a vet appointment, but I was hoping for ways to intice his appetite.

    Answer by May-20 at 12:02 AM on Jan. 5, 2010

  • I had a rather large male cat who all of a sudden had a decrease in appetite, and got super skinny and sick really fast. He turned out to have diabetes, and it cost me an arm and a leg to get him better. Now, I have to shoot him up twice a day... Anyway, at first when he was recouperating, he didn't want to eat much, and the thing that worked best for me was baby food. Those little jars of Gerber chicken, or beef, or ham. My vet uses that with any cat that doesn't want to eat, it seems to be something they'll eat even more readily than wet food.

    I'm glad you made an appointment for him, meanwhile maybe you can try some baby food and see what he does.

    Answer by Anouck at 12:12 AM on Jan. 5, 2010

  • I'm glad he's going to the vet and I hope nothing's wrong and the vet can help you bring back his appetite! You know, he may have bad teeth! That happens very commonly around cats that age. One of my cats is ten and last year had to have several teeth pulled because of a common disease of the teeth in older cats. But then I guess he'd be eating the wet food since it wouldn't have to be chewed....hmmm....I don't know.

    If kitty won't eat much wet food then I doubt there's anything else you could try to entice other than different flavors/types of wet food. It just may be the wet food is gentler on his stomach and he's not eating much of it either so it doesn't fill his belly like the dry food so he's not throwing up the wet food. Good luck with the appointment! Hope everything turns out okay!

    Answer by all4mymarine at 12:15 AM on Jan. 5, 2010

  • I just went thru this with my cat. I thought for sure they were going to say he was suffering from kidney failure (sadly common in male cats over age 8), but instead he had an intestinal infection that was causing him to not eat, lose weight and puke. He did 10 days of amox (cost less than $5 for the meds) and was a brand new cat acting like a kitten. I thought for sure they were going to tell me I need to put him down, but instead it was an easy fix So point is... take kitty to the vet. Even if its a kidney problem, if they catch it early diet change can make a HUGE difference - I learned that too at the vet. :)

    Answer by karamille at 12:40 AM on Jan. 5, 2010

  • He needs to be seen by a vet and have bloodwork done. There could be several thing going on here. It could be something simple like hairballs or somthing more serious like hyperthyroidism, kidney disease or even diabetes.

    Answer by KyliesMom5 at 12:49 AM on Jan. 5, 2010

  • Try gerber lamb baby food...not joking of nursed a lot of sick kittens back to health with KMR (kitten milk replacer) and lamb baby food. They love the smell and taste and its easy to digest. I found this tip on a cat rescue website years ago and its help bring kitties back from the brink. Of course see your vet as well.


    Answer by Anonymous at 2:02 AM on Jan. 5, 2010

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