Thursday, March 26, 2015

5 ways to tempt a cat to eat after a dental cleaning

Troy the cat with his tongue hanging out

Here's what poor Troy looks like the day after his dental. He's short five teeth, and he really doesn't seem to be feeling all that great. But, he still needs to eat. He's thin, and he had to skip every meal yesterday in order to prepare for his surgery. So I've been employing all sorts of weird tips and tricks to boost his appetite. These are just a few of the things I've tried, hoping to make this boy nosh.

1. Adding in baby food. 

Plain, no-salt, meat-only baby food is a big treat for cats. It smells terrific, and it's soft and easy to lap up. Putting just a dash of baby food in front of even the sickest of cats often works like a charm.

2. Soaking kibble in water. 

After a series of tooth extractions, Troy probably doesn't want to do a lot of chewing. But, he does seem to like the taste of his kibble. Soaking those nuggets in water for an hour or so can soften them up, so sore kitties cat eat without chewing.

3. Heating up the whole mess. 

A mixture of softened kibble, enhanced with a dab of baby food, should be a great treat. But, sore kitties may need a little more in order to take the plunge. Popping the dish in the microwave for 10 seconds makes the meal a little more fragrant, and sometimes, that entices cats to do a little snacking.

4. Using a treat topper. 

Shelter cats like Troy are accustomed to getting snacks in rattling treat bags. Volunteers love to give these cats snacks, and when I volunteer, I'm pretty heavy handed with the treats. As a result, Troy tends to come running when he hears anything that sounds like a snack bag. Putting a few tasty treats on top of meals can sometimes fool cats into thinking that the whole dish will taste like a treat. (I've used this technique with Eamon before, too, and have had great results.)

5. Using pain meds. 

After tooth extractions, Troy's mouth is really sore. And since it's sore, he's not terribly willing to use it to do something difficult, like chewing or lapping. Making sure that cats have adequate pain control is key to ensuring that they feel well enough to eat. But timing is important, too. Pain medications can be powerful, and they can zonk cats out. I'm using meds after meals (not before), so he'll be awake enough to eat.

Does it work? Not always. Troy ate like a champ this morning, but here's what happened to his lunch.

Beorn the cat eating food

Yup, that's Beorn eating Troy's food. (This is great, by the way, as Beorn also has a history of picky eating.)

When cats are in pain, they might not eat as well as they should. Troy is no exception. So while I'd prefer it if he ate a lunch in addition to a breakfast, I'll settle for what I can get. As long as he's eating at least half of his normal intake, I'll settle for that for now.

Do any of you have awesome cat tips to share? Tap them out in the comments. I'd love to hear your ideas!

No comments: