Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Need Some Ideas on How to Get Kitty to Eat

I am getting really concerned about my baby Carmine.

There have been a lot of changes in his life in the past month (one horrid roommate moving out, a family moving in, kids being here....).  He uses my room as his safe place, specifically, he loves to spend time is his cushy cube :)

What worries me is......he seems to be losing a little weight - again - and he can't afford to lose any.  I have already made a vet appointment for him.  As soon as I noticed it, I knew we had to take him to the vet.  He is due for his three-month visit anyway....

He also doesn't seem to be eating as much as he used to.  I think a lot of that has to do with anxiety/nervousness.  I *thought* we agreed that the family would be in the basement (their space as they're only here for a couple of months) after 8 or 9pm.  Or at least we requested the kids be down there around that time (they are young so should be in bed then anyway) as the kids make Carmine especially nervous.  He's never been around kids before now.

But our request has gone ignored and they are up here a lot after the time we requested they not be up here.  Carmine gets his wet food around then and we want him to feel comfortable eating and not be nervous.

I tried feeding him in my room tonight to try and make sure he could eat in peace, but he was still too anxious to eat much of anything.  After everyone was actually downstairs, we gave him some more wet food.  I sat right by him and reassured him that he was okay.  He ate really well then.

My question is......what can I do to help my baby feel comfortable eating?  Should I just feed him later after everyone is supposed to be asleep?  Do you think me sitting by him would make him feel better?  I know quite a bit about cats, but I'm at a loss here.

Any ideas?  Of course I will ask the vet when we go, too.  I just know that a lot of you probably have some good ideas I can try in the meantime and I'd really appreciate it if you share them with me :)

Thank you so much!


  1. On the anxiousness, you can try some of the new calming treats that Pet Naturals and Vetri-Science make. (The Vetri-Science ones are called "Compose" or "Composure"). Or there is a new-to-North America product called Zylkene, has been available in the UK for several years. I'm giving it to Derry, it's a lactose-free milk-based capsule you break open and mix with food, so it's natural and not a drug.

    There are also things like Feliway to try, calming collars, or even Bach's Rescue Remedy. There are other homeopathic calming agents as well. Unless you have a vet open tot such things, though, you might only get the pharmaceutical suggestions from him/her (i.e. anti-depressants like amiltryptiline or Prozac).

    Can you talk to the family again? It's really not fair to you or Carmine that the kids be allowed to run around at will.

  2. I agree with Fuzzy Tales. I know it will seem unpleasant but the kids are causing great enough stress to Carmine that he may fade away and it might be preventable if they would only agree to the rules tyou set forth. I know..it will be a bit embarrassing to address but Carmine can't defend himself. xoxoxox

  3. Aw, we feel for your kitty. It's hard on our guys when we have visitors, but they dont stay. If sitting by him helps him eat, and it's only for a while, while the family is there, then I dont think it would hurt. With Leo's meds, I sit by him while he eats so he doesnt run to get Star's or she doesn't try to get his. Since they dont like each other, this does help to keep him from thinking he's going to be attacked while he eats.

    As for the fire badge on my blog, please use it! I believe it was Ann who made it and sent it around for everyone to use. If you're not on her email list, you should leave her a comment (http://zoolatry.blogspot.com/) you'll get all the badges like that emailed to you.

  4. I agree with Fuzzy Tales, holding your agreed upon boundary with the family will be best for Carmine and everyone else too.

    My senior cat is very picky about the conditions around his eating time. if there is too much commotion or another cat is expressing interest in his food he walks away. He needs it to be quiet and peaceful. He often gets breakfast away from the other cats in the bedroom with me with him. He likes the human contact but not the other feline contact. That helps him eat.

    We went through about 9 months of this same senior cat not eating much. We tried everything including appetite stims. I figured there had to be something else going on so I took him back to the vet for the umpteen time. Finally found a spot on his gum, that indicated that a previous tooth extraction had left a small piece of bone that was causing him pain. Poor guy, no wonder he didn't want to eat, his tooth was killing him for 9 months. I'm so glad we finally found the problem because now he fairly consistently eats. And I feel terrible that he was suffering for 9 months. I hope you can figure out Carmine's hangup and help him through it.

  5. No suggestions that haven't already been mentioned. Sounds to us like Carmine is trying to eat, just doesn't feel secure enough to do so.

    Are the kids actually hassling Carmine? Or are they just noisy and active enough that Carmine is getting upset?

  6. Oh, poor Carmine! We agree with Fuzzy Tales too. Feliway may help. There's also a supplement called Anxitane that helps reduce anxiety. Our animal behaviorist recommended this.

  7. Thanks, everyone!

    Tonight wasn't bad. Some nights, the kids stay down there and some nights they just keep coming up. We may have to put the baby gate at the top of the stairs after 8 or 9pm to keep them from the upstairs after that time.

    I'll do whatever I need to to make sure my baby is happy and healthy and feels safe. My babies mean the world to me, and I'm so glad you all understand that :)

  8. Fuzzy Tales and all the others have given you VERY good ideas -- and yes, that baby gate sounds perfect.

    {{{Hugs}}} and purrrrrrrrrsssssssss ... to all of you.

    Marilynn, Grace & Company

  9. It is your place so I think you are well within your rights to set the rules and make sure they are followed. If they are upsetting your baby remind them of what they agreed to!

  10. I can't add any more except to say one of my cats is a nervous eater and I find leaving her in the room alone is better as she's not always looking over her shoulder for me moving about. Feliway plug ins are quite good too although I always worry they will be depended on all the time after a while.
    Hannah and Lucy's Mum

  11. Yes, I agree with Fuzzy Tales too and Composure Feline might help too. None of us like much noise or distractions at meal time. We are sending big purrs your way.

  12. I am cat behaviorist but without knowing your cat's medical history can't comment except to say my eldest with kidney disease is having the same symptoms of anxiety and lowered appetite. To stimulate interest in food you can add something smelly like cod liver oil, warm up the food, add a little baby food (favorite meat only) and feed less but more frequently perhaps away from any noise and activity. I know how hard it is on everyone in the family especially with visitors. And cats mirror our emotions so try to stay as calm as you can. Lately, I'm spraying Feliway in all Merlin's favorite napping spots to help him feel more secure. Good luck for a good vet visit :-)

  13. Bach's Rescue Remedy could be helpful in this circumstance.

    I wish I had more information to offer you, but I'm just a dog.

    Take care Carmine!

    Nubbin wiggles,

  14. I would put a Feliway diffuser in your bedroom and feed Carmine in there. I would also insist that your guest stay in the basement like they agreed to. If they can't abide by the rules then I would insist they leave earlier.

    Glad you are going to the vet in case there is a medical reason.

  15. Brilliant suggestions abovem we think they are all worth a try, particularly keeping to the "agreement" - no kids upstairs.

    Carmine needs the safe haven of your room right now so maybe keep it set up for him. When we are nervous, we need calm and quiet, so sitting in with him could help with one proviso..

    ...keep an eye on your stress levels, we cats can pick up on the slightest stress a human is feeling and if we get the feeling our dear humans are stressed we are going to be stressing on top of the thing that originally stressed us. Make sure that you are as relaxed as you can be when spending time with Carmine.

    We send nice, rumbly calming purrs to you and Carmine and hope you can get rid of the noisy kids soonest

    Oliver, Gerry & Mungo

  16. I have used those composure treats and they do work. That ones that Fuzzy Tale suggested. Also I think the idea of feeding Carmine maybe more smaller meals when things are somewhat quiet. We hope your vet visit goes well and you can figure out somewhere for him to eat in peace. WE sure hope you can figure something out for Carmine and are sending tons of purrs. Take care.

  17. DMM is nearly nineteen and has kidney disease. She eats in my bedroom with the light on as she's uncomfortable elsewhere and wants attention. I've fed baby food and added a little water to her wet food to make it faster/easier to lap up. I also let her dictate when she wants Temptations ( which is often).

    I put her food and water bowls on the bed and keep reintroducing food to her when she's not yet eaten all of it. Persistence has paid off. I also use Renavast for her kidneys

  18. Zoolatry sent us and we just want to say a big get better soon!


  19. When I had a sick kitty I found that he l♥ved boiled chicken liver. I'd put some in a small pot with a little celery (for added flavor) and would boil them for a few minutes. When tender, I'd grind them up and add a little kibble to each serving. He'd lap that up like there was no tomorrow.

    I am so sorry that your sweet boy is having problems. When our babies don't feel good we don't feel good and that's that.

  20. So many great and helpful comments. We don't have a lot to add, but send lots of purrs and prayers that somehow, someway, you'll be able to lower the stress that seems to be upsetting Carmine so much. Hugs.

  21. We agree with the others - you've got to enforce the rules here because your poor little cat is suffering.

    We'd hand-feed three times a day, not just to get food inside Carmine but also as it's calming and bonding.

    We're purring for you all - and we hope your visitors leave soon.

  22. We used both the calm treats and the calming collar with Taffy when she first came and remained disturbed by our other cat. Insist the family follow the rules and do use that baby gate. There may be a medical reason, so vet visit is good idea. We are purring for little Carmine.

    Laura & Taffy