General Question

Supergirl's avatar

Why won't my cat eat her dry food anymore?

Asked by Supergirl (1671 points ) August 18th, 2008

My cat is 5 years old and has always eaten the same dry food. With the occasional wet food treat. Now she meows and meows until I give her wet food, which she eats in about 2 minutes. What is the deal, and is it ok to feed her only wet food?

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33 Answers

gooch's avatar

Yes. She is probally having trouble chewing it. As animals age the may loose the ability to break down certain foods.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Like gooch said, it could easily be that it’s getting hard for her to chew it. It might also be a digestive problem. Either way, since it’s a kind of big change, I would suggest taking her to the vet for a check-up just to make sure everything is okay.

You have to be careful if you feed cats only wet food – it can actually rot their teeth. Asking the vet would be the best thing to do. :)

AstroChuck's avatar

A combo is best.

marinelife's avatar

Wet food is much better for her. Feed her highest priced brand with a high protein content that you can afford. It will keep her in the pink of health forever. Cats do NOT eat grain naturally and that is what dry cat food is.

Seesul's avatar

Maybe she needs her teeth cleaned. She may have something wrong with her teeth or gums.

AstroChuck's avatar

Not trying to argue with Marina but my vet says dry food is better overall, but they should eat wet food on occasion. The worst thing that can happen to a cat is bad teeth. It leads to all kinds of health problems, predominately renal and heart failure. We feed our cats Science Diet, the same kind our vet gives to his cat. Just be sure not to make the cheap brands your cat’s staple if you want him/her to live a long healthy life.

Seesul's avatar

AC my vet agrees, especially with the teeth issue. My other cats had very few dental problems and they would only eat dry food. My last one was a few weeks shy of 18 when she passed. The dry foods are not only cereal, especially the organic ones. I use a blend of 3, all approved by the vet and give her a small amount of wet food as a treat.

RandomMrdan's avatar

I give my cat wet food as a treat as well…I can’t imagine a cat of 5 years is having problems eating the hard food…but maybe you’ve given wet food too often…

Try buying softer dry food, and weening her off of wet food. If she is hungry enough, she’ll eat it….but also bring her to a vet to check out her teeth and make sure it isn’t a problem with her teeth rather her just being whiny about the food she eats.

gooch's avatar

My vet agrees dry is better. Brand is less important Purina Cat Chow has kept many of my families cat around too long. One died at 20 years old.

amandaafoote's avatar

I used to leave hard food out all day for my cat, and feed him soft food in the morning and at night, so if he ever got hungry in the middle of the day he would have food

syz's avatar

I never feed wet food. It dramatically increases the rate of tartar development and gingivitis, increases the volume and odor of fecal matter, and just plain stinks.

There is a vet who has made claims the the cereals (grains) in dry kibble is at the root of diabetes in domestic cats. As far as I know, there have not been any additional studies to substantiate her results. While cats are obligate carnivores, I have to point out that current diets are allowing cats to live to some impressive ages, so I have a hard time believing that dry cat food is such an anathema.

You need to have your cat checked by a veterinarian. Sudden changes in eating habits can be an indicator of some serious health issues. She’s a bit young, but the first things that come to mind are dental disease, hyperthyriodism, and diabetes. These can all be ruled out with a physical exam and some bloodwork.

DandyDear711's avatar

I bet your cat’s teeth need cleaning. It is amazing how soon after the cleaning the cat will eat dry food again.

Quality of dry food DOES matter. The wrong stuff can cause problems – my cat developed kidney problems from nutro brand cat food.

She eats Wellness dry food now – http://www.wellnesspetfood.com/cat_index.html If you email them, they will send you samples of their food.

I think this is the one mine eats – actually smells good!
http://www.wellnesspetfood.com/cat_wellness_dry_complete_health_chicken.html

scamp's avatar

My vet says dry food is best also. We feed Purina as well, and have had great results with it. Our Angus ate it for his entire 16 years, and never had any problems. He did need a little dental work when he was 10, but that’s it.

This vet says canned food is mostly water.

caseycat's avatar

The first thing that I would do is to have the vet check your cat. She could have teeth or mouth problems, and I have seen cats younger than five years old have dental/mouth problems. She’s obviously hungry, since she scarfs up the wet food, but she may not be able to chew the dry food without pain. I disagree that cats will eat anything, if they are hungry enough. That is likely true with dogs, but some cats will starve rather than eat something they don’t want. Besides, it sound like your cat can’t eat dry food right now.

I agree with DandyDear that the quality of cat food does make a difference. Skip all the grocery store brands. They pretty much all have corn gluten and way too much other grains, which cats don’t need, and which can make them overweight. The protein sources are of low quality, and there are worthless fillers, like beet pulp. Start reading labels—the first five ingredients on the label make up the bulk of the food. No corn or wheat gluten, no “by-products” (which is all the gross stuff left over after the animal is butchered for human food, and can include “downer” and sick animals, entrails, and even tumors, yuk!) The healthiest foods for pets can usually be found at independent pet stores, and at health food stores like Wild Oats. Wellness is an excellent food. Other good brands include Solid Gold, Feladae, Innova and Innova Evo, California Natural, Eagle Pack Holistic, Paul Nerman’s. There are others, but that’s all I can come up with off the top of my head. :) Pet foods that are labeled “organic” and/or “human-grade” are usually the highest-quality. Watch out for the word “natural” on the label, because anyone can put that on pet food without meeting any criteria whatsoever. “Natural” is showing up on many grocery-store brands now, as the pet-food industry tries to cash in on the “green” movement. There are standards set for “organic” and “human-grade” food.

As to the wet vs. dry deal, I personally feed canned food twice a day, and leave out dry food for free feeding. My cats get filtered (Pur) tap water, too.

High-quality food will cost more, but it has high-quality protein sources, and little or no fillers. And the “garbage in, garbage out” saying really applies here. Cats who eat a high-quality food need less food to feel full, and their litterbox “output” will also be less, as they are able to make use of much more of the food than they can when fed grocery store brands. So better food equals less scooping, which I’m certainly in favor of! :)

All of this also applies to dog foods as well.

OK, off the soapbox for now. I hope this helps you, Supergirl.

Katherine

nascarchick26's avatar

first things first if you give her any wet food what so ever then she will want it all the time. some other things are..if she holds the food in her mouth and it falls out she has a tooth ot teeth that are bothering her..the last thing i can say is that sometimes animals need a change, but you dont want to change it at once mix the new and old food together so her system can get used to it. if you dont you may end up with vomit or runny bowels. i am a vet tech but keep in mind i am not a vet (yet).. if she is loosing weight i suggest getting her to a vet for a further look.

nascarchick26's avatar

wet food is not best for cats or dogs it causes tartar build up which in return may case infection…amimals have a duct that expresses germs over their k9 teeth… yes cats have k9’s also… but dry food helps break the tartar off of the teeth.

deaddolly's avatar

dry has higher sugar levels. i feed mine both wet and dry.

I would def have his/her teeth checked. esp if you notice worse breath that usual.

babynancy's avatar

My cat is 18 years old and has always eaten the same dry food. With the occasional wet food treat. Now she meows and meows until I give her wet food, which she eats in about 2 minutes. What is the deal, and is it ok to feed her only wet food?ALL THE TIME WITH NO DRY FOOD

deaddolly's avatar

I think she’s trying to train you! She’s 18…let her have what she wants.
One of my cats prefers wet; the other likes both. I’ve always fed my cats both (tho I only feed my dogs dry—cause there’s 5 of them and I can buy better/healthier dog food that way). As long it’s a quality food, not some cheap stuff; she’ll be fine.

I had one of my cats till he was 20. He was my best buddy.

syz's avatar

@babynancy Did you read the answers above?

Siren's avatar

I think that at 5 years old the issue of allergies may be significant, especially if the food you are feeding her is the regular type you can buy at the grocery store. I suggest trying an organic brand or a higher-end brand and see if she eats that instead.

A vet visit is always a good idea, especially if she won’t eat ANY dry food, but most particularly if she hasn’t had an annual checkup which would rule out other potential issues. Vets recommend dry over wet food because of the “toothbrush” factor (i.e. acts like a toothbrush to crunch away plaque, etc.). Wet food tends to sit between the teeth more.

My parents’ older cat was extremely finicky so they actually had to switch from a higher-end brand to lower end brand, and it worked. Then they tried an organic alternative (middle price range) and the cat ate it. Sometimes they still feed it wet food as a treat. Staying consistent is probably the best thing for their little stomachs.

rhonda's avatar

my 16 year old cat will not open her mouth to eat or drink. The vet cleaned her teeth and she still will not open her mouth.she is wasting away and the vet cant find anything wrong.

dianna's avatar

my mom has a cat that has a disease which is causing him to lose all his muscle mass, which affects his eating and he too is wasting away. Vets could not find out the problem and he was taken to a vet school where they found it. good luck…

imhellokitty's avatar

my vet also says that it’s best to use both (can and dry) – he suggested leaving the dry food out all day, and feeding a small can in the morning and another in the evening. It is however OK to feed only can food.

jorj's avatar

diana, do you know the name of this wasting disease. Our 15 yr old cat has been wasting away for weeks. The vet says her teeth look okay (she could use a cleaning) and all her blood work looks good. But our cat went from eating dry food a little less and less —losing a couple pounds— and since taking her to the vet, she has slowly eaten less and less wet food. Going from eating to just licking. Now she acts like she wants food, but she won’t eat at all.

syz's avatar

@jorj You need to ask for a referral to an internal medicine specialist or a vet that specializes in feline geriatrics, and quickly. Your cat sounds critically ill.

jorj's avatar

@syz Thanks for the referral. We’re working with our vet. Her recommendations include feeding with a syringe or a feeding tube, but if the problem is tooth-related, then that problem would have to taken care first for a long term solution. And that would come to $$$$. But then, the problem could be anything (more $), which is why I asked diana about the wasting disease—something not mentioned by our vet. Ultimately, the question is one of weighing the cost (and being on a tight budget) versus the pain and aggravation you put a cat, who has had a happy 15 years, through.

AENeuman's avatar

What’s really happened here is that your cat has realized that you’ve become complacent in your relationship with it, and is attempting to remind you who is really in charge.

foreverana's avatar

I have a 13 year old Maine Coon, who did the same thing. I found out from the vet, she had sore gums and couldn’t really eat the crunchy food anymore. I know your cat is a lot younger, but make sure it isn’t a gum or tooth problem.

JulieJewel's avatar

wet food definitely makes the cat box smellier..I would say she may be having some teeth problems, have they been cleaned at the vet lately?

katiebitch's avatar

they like it wet…doesnt everyone?

kimmerz's avatar

I heard corn in a cats hard food can cause Urinary tract infection, so I went to the petco and got natural balance and she can’t stand it, she will at every chance avoid it and meow, She is 3 yrs old and is lovable,playful and we just got her 3/10/2012, She is healthy and was just in 2 weeks ago for shots and a physical… She loves the crunchies with corn, blah! but my Vet/ said add water to her canned food because cats do not drink enough water.. But I also know they need hard food to clean their teeth! Help! what does one do when they have a finicky feline….

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