Hi Kelly! I really like my kitties, Pippa and Henry, to have wet food mixed in with their dry food. I am concerned about dehydration in the cats. I have tried every kind of premium canned food out there. They won’t eat it. They will pick around to get to the dry food which kinda defeats the purpose. The problem is they only like…. (wait for it!)… Friskies! Of course they like the cheapest and less nutritious food. I equate it to children. They could probably eat spaghetti o’s everyday for dinner. Super yummy but absolutely no nutritious value and filled with stuff you probably do not want to know. So…any ideas? Should I just give them Friskies? Is it better than nothing? Or just skip the canned? But then what do I do about dehydration? Or am I worried about nothing? Do you have any tricks to get picky kitties to eat? I am getting tired of spending money on canned food only to have them reject it again! But… I am willing to try anything.
Also, have you had any luck with your cats or your client’s cats with the pet fountain? I have heard some cats are afraid of it! Thanks! -Lisa G-
Hey Lisa… Well, in the perfect world, a cat’s (obligate carnivore) appropriate diet is comprised of mostly meat which is high in moisture and a small amount of vegetation that would typically come from the gut contents of their prey like mice, moles, birds and rabbits. Raw Frozen diet most closely resembles the cats optimum diet. The next best thing is to use a high quality natural canned cat food which is much closer to a cat’s appropriate diet than kibble. You are correct to incorporate more moisture into your cats’ diet so you can prevent many health issues like Urinary Tract Infections, Bladder Stones or Crystals and Diabetes. I have seen, all too often, the negative effects of carbohydrate laden kibble diets on cats and it’s definitely best to minimize dry kibble if at all possible. On the other hand, providing canned food that may be less than healthy will have it’s own negative impacts eventually too.
Hmmmm…what to do! I’m assuming you are giving your kitties a naturally preserved meat based dry kibble. The reason your kitties prefer the inferior brands of canned food is because they usually contain added sugars, salts and other palatants to tempt the cat’s taste buds. NOTE: I have to admit that I use Friskies brand canned food for feral cats and when I donate to shelters. Having four pets already who get only natural brands of food gets pretty expensive and I do want to help other less fortunate kitties, so Friskies is better than no canned or food at all for the neediest kitties…
Here are a few things to try to encourage your kitties to eat canned food or more “Moisture Based Options”:
- Make sure you have tried all different types of canned foods, meaning pate type, morsels, shredded, etc. Some cats are very fussy and will only eat a certain type of food. Also, if a canned food has too many vegetables or grains, many cats will just eat around them to get to the meat or broth. So, try to find grain free, meat based canned foods.
- Get some samples of the HONEST KITCHEN Prowl or Grace premix foods. You just need to add water and serve. My sister uses the Prowl with two of her Ragdoll cats and she adds some extra chicken and liver to it…her cats LOVE it! FYI… I’ve been using the Honest Kitchen foundation premix for my dog, Gus, for over six months now and Gus devours his food every day.
- Try mixing some plain puree PUMPKIN with a pate type canned food. I’ve used 1/4 pumpkin with 3/4 Wellness Chicken patte canned food and my cats LOVE it. The pumpkin has been very helpful with getting stools back to normal (no more diarrhea) and helps fill up my kitties who have insatiable appetites without adding any extra calories.
- Give your kitties some RAW (frozen) food. Many cats love Raw diet and it’s actually the best, most species appropriate diet for them.
- Get some meat based (chicken/turkey) BABY FOOD and see if your kitties will eat that. I recall feeding my kitty, Casey, baby food for a few weeks while she was recuperating from a serious kidney illness… worked very well.
- Trying soaking the dry kibble in some water, low sodium chicken broth or tuna broth (from the canned tuna). Some cats won’t eat certain canned food, but will eat their dry kibble after it’s been saturated… worth a try.
Things to do if you are going to feed more (natural, meat based) dry kibble and no canned:
- Definitely add Enzymes to the dry kibble by sprinkling a tiny bit of water over the kibble then 1/8 teaspoon of enzymes on top. I’m currently using the PROZYME enzymes, but alternate between Prozyme and ANIMAL ESSENTIALS Enzymes. This will help your kitties to digest and metabolize their kibble better.
- Give your cats ANSWERS RAW GOATS MILK which is highly nutritious, very palatable and contains enzymes too. My cats (and dog) love the Raw Goats Milk and get it daily. This will also add much needed moisture to their diet along with MANY other health benefits: http://www.answerspetfood.com/additional.html. You can give your kitties Raw Goats Milk to replace the canned food.
- Try diluting low sodium chicken broth or tuna broth (from the canned tuna) with water and give that to your cats to encourage more drinking.
You have one of those situations where your kitties will not eat what is best for them. I’d suggest that you exhaust all of the above options before resorting to feeding Friskies. However, if your kitties still refuse all of the “Moisture Based Options,” then I would absolutely add Enzymes to their dry kibble and provide Raw Goats Milk daily in place of the canned food.
Regarding the Pet Drinking Fountains… I did try the Petmate Fresh Flow Drinking Fountain several years ago when I was trying to encourage my “kidney cat” to drink more water… She wouldn’t go near it! I also tried to get my male cat, Toby, to use the water fountain after he had his urethral blockage… He would walk up to it…and walk away! I know there are some cats that will use a fountain, but I didn’t have much luck with it. I did sell a few of the water fountains at my natural pet food & supply store over the years, but not a high number honestly. Perhaps you could conduct an experiment to see if Henry and Pippa are attracted to a dripping faucet before purchasing the fountain… Just a thought!