Cat is not eating after diet change

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  • #5165

    Hi Dr. Jeff,
    I have 4 cats, and just before Thanksgiving, switched them all over to Dr. Pitcairn’s raw meat diet. They are all between 5-7 years old and had been eating dry NaturalBalance food that I would leave out 24/7. Three of the cats are finally doing pretty well adjusting (its taken about a month for them to start eating smallish but adequate amounts and poop regularly), but one of them is really stubborn, just walks past the food, and eats a few bites once a day or so, probably enough to survive. I know its a difficult transition for them so I’ve been steadfast and not cheated (no old food, no food between meals, no fish…), but I’m getting a little worried that he is losing so much weight and might become sick and it has been over a month. Ive tried everything – different kinds of meat, grains, more/less garlic, sprouts, veggies, making/mixing in kibble and treats (all recipes from Dr. Pitcairn’s book) and he has a bite but that’s it. He doesn’t seem sick at all right now, and is still cuddly and frisky, but I can see his bones under his coat and I’m feeling like I am starving him. Should I just continue to wait it out and keep with what I’m doing? I’m not considering going back to their old diet, I just don’t know if there is anything I am doing wrong or could be doing. We have been trying not to eat the things that drive them crazy (cooked turkey, fish), but the few times we have and have given them small bits, he gobbles it up. I’m worried that if I start to feed him fish or cooked turkey regularly in his food instead of the raw meat then he will continue to snub the raw meat food that is the healthiest. Any suggestions?

    Dr. Jeff Feinman

    Hi Luca. NO! I would not continue to wait him out.

    Since he is already losing weight I’d be very concerned that he could develop secondary problems from insufficient nutrients. Cats are prone to disorders like development of a fatty liver (hepatic lipidosis) from not eating.

    Have you tried feeding canned foods? It’s a big jump from the highly palatable dry foods (which cats should not be eating IMO) to a fresh food diet. Canned foods can help ease the transition.

    I also suggest that you read some of the other fresh food articles on this site especially that by Dr. Pierson. Her site [url=http://www.catinfo.org]catinfo.org [/url]is an excellent source for info.

    In addition to her suggestions, I find that crumbling Wysong’s freeze-dried Dream Treats on most any food will improve palatability. These are available from most pet food stores.

    Also, Vital Essentials now offers individually packaged (raw) cat food. I haven’t tried it yet (nor have my cats), but it’s supposed to be very tasty.

    Good luck.

    Dr. Jeff (down the road in Weston, CT!)


    Thanks Dr. Jeff. I’m going to the store shortly to get some canned food. I think I tried it in the beginning and none of them were eating it. ive even mixed up catnip in their food. I’ll try this tonight and if he doesnt eat, I’ll just make the next batch of food with fish since i doubt he’ll turn that down. I hope I haven’t caused him any illness so far. Are there any herbs/roots etc I can give him to support his liver health? I work with plants and have a lot on hand, I don’t have experience using plants with animals though. Thanks again very much for your time and help!

    Dr. Jeff Feinman

    Most important is getting him to eat. Try warming his food a bit. Doing so increases the palatability of the food.

    For liver support there are many botanicals that can be supportive. Silymarin is most common. I typically use it in the Rx Vitamin’s HepatoSupport liquid or capsule. DMG, SAMe, etc. have all proven useful.

    In addition, Rx Vitamins now makes Formula HL specifically formulated for supporting the feline liver (especially for patients being tube fed because of Hepatic Lipidosis).

    One of my own cats (Chi) is just now getting back to “normal” eating. He barely ate for almost 1 week. It was both frustrating and dangerous. Fortunately, he responded fully to a homeopathic remedy.

    Dr. Jeff

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