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So you hate throwing out wet cat food and you want to figure out how to get your cat to eat more.
Isn’t that the dream of most cat parents?
Wet cat food is a game-changer for preventing UTIs, improving hydration, and minimizing the risk of kidney problems in cats. It’s mind-blowing how many cats are enjoying the health benefits of wet cat food.
If your cat is not happily gobbling up wet cat food, she is missing a lot. But that’s the problem, isn’t it? She suddenly stopped eating wet cat food and you want to know why, so you can fix the problem.
We’re going to help you figure out what the problem is as well as show you possible solutions. Let’s begin by quickly looking at the health benefits of wet cat food.
Health benefits of wet cat food.
Wet cat food provides lots of health benefits for your pet. Some of the most important ones are:
- Promotes hydration.
- Good for controlling a cat’s body-weight.
- Helps prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs).
- Minimize the risk of kidney disease.
- Good for over-all feline health.
One look at the benefits of wet food makes you realize how important it is for your cat. Especially in keeping her hydrated which can help prevent kidney problems and other illnesses. However, the problem starts when she just won’t eat wet cat food anymore.
What could be her reason for not eating the wet cat food any more?
9 possible reasons your cat suddenly stopped eating wet food.
I believe every problem has an underlying cause, so let’s find out why your cat suddenly stopped eating wet food.
1. Health issues.
Loss of appetite is one of the first signs that something is wrong somewhere. However, it doesn’t come on suddenly in most cases.
Using me as an example, I have a healthy appetite and I love to clean my plate. Whenever I notice myself leaving some food on the plate or cutting down the quantity, I know that something is wrong.
Cats are no different!
Infections, inflamed gums, stress and anxiety, tooth pain, intestinal issues, cancer, kidney disease, and pancreatitis may affect a cat’s appetite. So always pay attention to your cat’s eating habit.
Have you been throwing out food more often lately? Then something is not right.
2. Recent vaccine.
Did your cat’s lack of appetite begin shortly after she got a routine vaccination from the vet? If that’s the case, then the adverse reaction to the vaccine shots might be responsible for the loss of appetite.
While vaccines have been a game-changer for billions of animals, they often cause side effects in animals. Lethargy and loss of appetite are the more common of these side effects, though they are usually mild and temporary.
3. New home or unfamiliar surroundings.
When we move to a new surrounding our mind tries to process all that’s going on around us. This can cause loss of appetite, especially in cats since they’re creatures of habit and slight changes stress them.
Sometimes it might be the result of motion sickness from traveling a long distance in the car or plane.
4. Loss of a routine.
Cats are creatures of habit that thrive where there is a routine.
Not having a routine or not adhering to the routine you made, is enough to stress a cat and cause loss of appetite. If you feed your cat at different times each day don’t act surprised when your cat keeps waking you in the middle of the night for one reason or the other.
5. Way too many treats.
Sometimes a cat has eaten way too many treats for one day that she doesn’t feel the urge to eat wet food anymore. It happens!
6. Poor hygiene.
How strong would your appetite be if you had to eat off of a dirty plate every day, and the day’s meal was piled onto the previous meal?
I assume it won’t be that great.
This is exactly how your cat feels when she has to eat from a plate that hasn’t been thoroughly clean. Or the one that has been mixed with remnants of last night’s dinner.
Aside from that, you are also exposing her to bacteria.
7. She hates a crowd.
Some cats don’t like people moving around while they’re eating and quite frankly, I don’t either.
I mean, are you hungry or planning to sneak up and choke me?
The cats that feel vulnerable while eating feel that way because most of their focus is on the meal before them and not on their environment. So any movement draws their attention from the meal.
8. Something is wrong with the food.
Maybe something about the food has changed. It could be the taste, the smell, or it’s no longer exciting. Maybe the food has been recalled and your cat can already sense the problem before you get the news.
9. Finickiness or psychological issues.
Your cat may just be bored, anxious, or depressed and it is affecting her appetite. Changes in the household can affect a cat’s emotional well-being, especially when it involves their favorite person or things.
7 things you can do to restore your cat’s appetite.
1. Checkup time.
An illness is one of the major reasons cats suddenly stop eating wet food. Maybe something about the food disturbed their taste buds or upset their digestive system.
To restore appetite in a cat that stopped eating, we first have to rule out medical issues. So, take your cat to the vet to have her examined. Here are some of the medical issues that can affect a cat’s appetite:
- Urinary tract infections or obstruction.
- Kidney disease.
- Respiratory infection.
- Stress and anxiety.
- Dental problems.
- Problem with the digestive system.
- Inflamed pancreas or pancreatitis.
2. Establish a routine.
If the vet clears your cat of any medical issues, then you need to look into your cat’s routine. What’s her day like? When does she eat or sleep? How much exercise does she get?
A proper routine, one that you have no difficulty sticking to, is one of the first steps to dealing with a cat that suddenly stopped eating wet food.
I recommend feeding your cat at specific times of the day instead of free-feeding her. This helps build a routine around mealtimes. It teaches her to eat up when she sees her meal and helps prevent food wastage.
A good way to start a routine is to…
3. Thoroughly clean her food bowl.
Oftentimes, food residue (especially wet food) might get stuck on your pet’s bowl after meals and refuse to come off. This leaves an undesirable smell, which cats with their powerful sense of smell can detect and are repulsed by it.
So, start off your routine for the week by taking the time to thoroughly clean your cat’s bowl. You should aim to do this 2-3 times weekly.
In the same vein, you also need to ensure sure that her meals are far away from the litter box. If the litter box is stinking up the house, try a permanent solution to get rid of the litter box smell.
Oh, and get a shallow food bowl to reduce stress on her whiskers.
4. Switch food brand.
Isn’t it ironic that cats thrive on routine, but get bored of doing the same thing?
So, while your cat may enjoy having a routine, that doesn’t mean you cannot sprinkle some surprises here and there.
Many brands offer an array of recipes and flavors you can choose from. So, why not include one different flavor in every batch you purchase?
If you usually buy, say, 5 tins of cat food, you could purchase 4 of the usual and 1 different flavor of the same brand. For instance, if you usually serve tuna-flavored wet cat food, try including one turkey, chicken, beef, or lamb-based food and notice how she responds to the meal.
If she likes it, slowly phase out the old flavor for the new one i.e. 4 old, 1 new; 3 old, 2 new; 2 old, 3 new. When all 5 are the new flavor, start again with something new.
Heck, you’ll have a lot more fun buying cat food than simply getting the same thing every week.
One more tip I recommend is rotating your cat’s diet between brands two to four times yearly using the same technique. And, getting the best quiet cat water fountain to help keep her hydrated.
5. Heat the food.
It doesn’t matter if you’re in the middle of summer or you’re so busy preparing for winter you forgot to warm the food.
Nobody likes cold food.
You may discover that heating your cat’s food with fish oil, or including cooked egg can encourage your cat to eat. If she eats a little or just licks the food but doesn’t eat it, take the food away and provide something fresh later.
Leaving the food out to harden and becomes stale will make her avoid the food bowl in the future.
6. Get rid of external stressors.
Cats go through a lot without giving us any hint until they can no longer bear the situation. If your cat seems stressed, unhappy, anxious, and unexcited by anything, do what you can to remedy the situation.
Sometimes it might be a change in the household (new addition or change in schedule), the plans to move to a new house, or it might even be your absence.
Whatever the case may be, find the source of the stress and get rid of it. If your cat spends most of the day alone, provide an outlet for boredom. Get her a couple of interesting toys for a bored cat to help relieve the boredom.
7. Cut down on the treats.
If you’ve been tempting your cat to eat by offering her treats, stop it!
You’re teaching her that refusing to eat her food can fetch her some tasty cat treats, so why eat? Why would she eat when the treat is already doing enough to get rid of hunger?
Whether your kitty is picky, depressed, or sick, a complete refusal of food can have devastating consequences. So, you must find a way to raise her appetite.
There’s no need to panic. As soon as you identify the problem and experiment with the solutions such as switch brand, flavor, and making the food warm her appetite will pick up in no time.
While at it make sure she is adequately hydrated because dehydration can quickly become serious and is a much more serious threat than loss of appetite.
If nothing works, discuss with your vet about mashing the wet food and spoon-feeding her to get some nutrients into her system.
Hopefully, you won’t have to go this far before your cat rediscovers her love for wet food again.