Getting a Sick Kitty to Eat

Maybe your cat has a terminal illness that reduces their appetite (my experience), or your kitty has a temporary condition that is making them extra picky (like a reaction to a medication), either way, this post has some tips on getting your kitty to eat more.

First, make sure your cat is checked out by your veterinarian and that the causes of the lack of eating are being treated properly.

Second, make sure you are following your veterinarian’s recommendations for diet. If your cat is on a prescription diet, consult with your vet before trying anything new. These recommendations are meant for when your veterinarian okays the “anything he will eat” approach.


  • Frequent Feedings- Try feeding your cat multiple times a day. You may need to get them to eat more often than usual to keep up an appropriate calorie intake.
  • Minimize distractions- Keep other cats away and make sure the noise level as low. Cats that don’t feel well are distracted easily by noise and movement (checking for threats).
  • Try new flavors and new brands- Buy lots of individual cans from a variety of different companies with a variety of different flavors. Try new textures. Buy small bags of wet food.
  • Eating is more important than receiving the ideal nutrition, so try the cheap junk food brands too. Don’t be snobby. You can get them back on track after the are eating again. When you are sick sometimes it’s okay to eat nothing but ice cream, ginger ale and crackers. 😉
  • Try multiple textures with in a single feeding. Sometimes they may want dry food, sometimes they may want wet food, and sometimes a liquid will be the only thing they will eat.
  • Try different temperatures- from the fridge, room temperature, or microwaved a little.
  • Human Foods- It’s okay to try some deli meat (I recommend turkey) or canned tuna. If you cat is a fan of cantaloupe or another safe-to-eat food, try that too.
  • Treats- Try different kinds of treats.
  • Classic/Pate Texture- If you are worried about caloric intake, mainly get the pate (also called classic) style food. This means the cat won’t spend all its time/energy licking the gravy, and will be getting nutrition with each bite


Products that worked for Harold:

  • Fancy Feast, Classic, Chopped Grill
  • Fancy Feast, Classic, Beef & Chicken
  • Fancy Feast, Classic, Tender Beef Feast
  • Purina Smart Blend Beef

Harree was never a fan of beef until the acid/toxins gave him the stinky drool and presumably made things taste differently. I think the strong beef flavor increased the desirability.

  • Fancy Feast Broths- These were great for giving powdered medication
  • GNC Pets High Calorie Booster- This tube of goop can be licked by a cat if they like the flavor (Lefty does) or you can force feed them a bit. It’s densely packed with nutrients and calories to help compensate.

If you are currently need to make use of this advice, I wish you the best of luck. Keep trying!


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