Having issues switching my 14 year old cat from dry to wet food...help!!

Share advice for keeping your aging cat happy and healthy


Member Since
Purred: Sat May 5, '12 12:14pm PST 
Impossible to make this long story short, so sorry in advance. I have a 14 year old cat we have had from when she was about 3 months old. From then until the age of 13, we haven't had any problems with her, we have been very lucky. She is an indoor only and only child cat and has always been so. She has always eaten only dry food and been happy with it with no problems. We tried wet food over the years, but she didn't want anything to do with it. When she became constipated recently, we took her to the vet and they did a whole senior work up and found no problems. The vet suggested we try again to have her eat the wet food. She kept having problems, and three enemas later, she is better. They gave us lactulose syrup, which she takes everyday and it seems to help. She has never been a spectacular pooper anyway, she went about every 2-3 days and they weren't great, but at least she went consistently She is back to that now and they look a lot better. Here is the problem: We have tried just about every wet food you can think of and she doesn't like any of them! The few she did like, she ate and we were convinced we had a winner, bought several cans, only to have her turn her nose up at them and not eat the anymore! The only wet kind of food she will consistenly eat is regular tuna (human kind), which I know isn't good for her to eat on a regular basis. We have lactulose and joint medicine to give her, which we have been giving her in the tuna or whatever wet good she would eat. I don't want to have to give it to her in the syringe again if I don't have to, that was not fun for her or us. We have tried adding the wet food to the tuna to get her used to it, we have tried giving her less dry food, we have tried parmesan cheese on the wet food, we have tried tuna juice on the wet food. Not sure what to do next, it's very frustrating! I want her to be as happy and healthy as she can possibly be, just not sure how to make that happen. Any suggestions/ideas would be greatly appreciated as I am not sure how to proceed at this point and am worried she will become constipated again. Those enemas were a horrible experience for her mostly, and us because we hurt when she hurts. Thanks in advance for any help, and again, please accept my apologies for the length of this post!
Sincerely, Jasmine's mommy cat on moon


headed for the- light.
Purred: Sat May 5, '12 8:49pm PST 
I had almost your exact profile, even to the enemas and Lactulose, You are going to get hollered at from all directions, but here are tips from meowma and I (I am now at the bridge but my last years were happy).
These tips are for SENIOR kitties who can't poop, would not give so much fish or snax to a younger cat but seniors want comfort even if it makes their lives a LITTLE shorter, Meowma thinks--tho she really doesn't think there is much detriment that will effect before nature takes its course anyway in a kitty this age. I did NOT go due to anything caused by food, rather arthritis made it too hard for me to continue anymore.
1) First, it sounds totally wrong but if you are 14 and don't like canned food, fergittabouttit, not happening. Sorry. Don't stress you or Kitty trying. I loved my dry food, Meowma got me on EVO, Royal Canin or Purina ProPlan regular adult cat formulas. (hated all other supposedly healthier options and threw away $$$$$ of all brands you can think of) ) at least better than what I got before coming here.
2) Along the same line, sounds absolutely wrong bit if she is on a Hairball formua, pumpkin, or other hi-fiber 'help', stop it. Period. It stops them up worse.
3) She is ok with tuna? let her have some (water packed no salt) tuna or water or no sodium added sardines every couple of days. She is too old to build up all-that much bad stuff in her system.
4) I loved cheese, Ice cream, whipped cream; usually nNO NO for cats, but ahhhhh. Lucky me, lactose intolerance did NOT give me diarrhea, it eased my constipation. We are falking about maybe a total of 1/2-1 teaspoon of these items. I hear screams, ignore them . Your cat is old and deserves t be happy. .

I came to Meowma at age 8-9 and did get forced to lose 4 pounds but, again--I was old and miserable if 'starving'. I did lose 4 pounds and was happy till age 15, asked to go to sleep due to arthritis. The BAD tips kept me pooping and NOT getting constant enemas even tho I only loved dry food. Just sayin...


Ambassador at- the Kitty U.N.
Purred: Sun May 6, '12 4:35am PST 
Boo Boo, of course whatever works for each individual cat is fine and we're glad your mom found what worked for you. But I do want to say that even if it takes time, switching an old cat from dry to wet food can often be done and should at least be attempted for long term health. Jasmine's mom, try having a look around catinfo.org and ibdkitties.net. Both have pages with some tips for switching. Best of luck!

Member Since
Purred: Mon May 7, '12 1:54pm PST 
Thank you BooBoo and BK for your responses, I appreciate it! big grin I am going to the vet today to get her lactulose refilled, I am going to ask to talk to one of the nurses or doctors and I am going to tell them what has been going on and see what they suggest as well. Thanks again, have a great day! Jasmine's Mommykitty


My mom works for- MARS Petcare
Purred: Thu May 24, '12 6:27am PST 
Hi. Sorry I am late to the party but am new to this group! I have a 12 year old with chronic constipation and understand your problem! Fortunately my cat does eat some wet food but really loves dry too. There is a prescription diet by Royal Canin called Gastrointestinal Responsive High Fiber. You might ask your vet about whether it is right for your cat but it helps my cat so much!

You can also try water fountains to increase water intake. Your cat may like those. That is the only way my cat likes to drink.

Good luck!

Delyte, Dark- Angel, at- Bridge

Me and my- person, together- against all
Purred: Thu May 24, '12 8:23pm PST 
This is Delyte. IF she likes cheese and doesn't have any extreme reactions from it, cheese spread is an excellent medium to hide medications in. Also softish butter or margerine. Any kind of oil she might like is good, too. I am currently on one sardine every three days to help my arthritis and hairballs and dry poops, and it seems to be working.

Since I am hyperthryoid and hungry all the time, eating is not a problem, but the other obnoxious brat Grays won't eat anything except dry, so they are on grain-free dry food for now, and I like that too. You really cannot make an old cat switch their food that drastically, no matter what the vets say. I am now so old that I am allowed to eat a little of whatever I like, and I like a lot of kinds of people food. What else do I have to look forward to?! thinking

Some cats really like drinking the water that tuna is packed in, too. Keep trying different things in addition to whatever dry food she will eat--you never know what a cat will like!

Will she eat grass or plants? One of my favorite things in the world, that I can hear being prepared the other side of the house, is a thin strip off the husks of corn as it is being stripped for people. The vet said it is weird but it is green and fiber, and I don't get it that often. I like it much better than those stupid cat grass things. Grass outside of course is much better, but since I have run away several times, once for 6 days, they won't let me go outside now, for some reason.

Merlin - An Angel- Forever

Purred: Fri May 25, '12 6:36pm PST 
Try the tips here: http://catinfo.org/docs/Tips%20for%20Transitioning%20PDF%201-14-11.pdf

It may take months for a stubborn dry food affict to even eat a small amount of canned food. You just need to have lots of patience no matter how frustrating it may seem shrug

You can sprinkle a little FortiFlora on canned food. FortiFlora is made with animal digest, the same stuff that dry food is coated in and gets cats addicted to it. Few cats can resist the yummy taste of FortiFlora (animal digest). You can buy FortiFlora from the vet or online. It's a probiotic supplement but you can use it as a food enhancer.

Some cats have food texture prefereces. Some like pate/loaf style, others prefer chunks/slices/etc. If your cat likes people tuna, try some brands of canned food that are similar to that in texture. Weruva is one good brand. Merrick Before Grain has a tuna variety but it is pate/loaf style.


RESPECT The- Star!
Purred: Sat May 26, '12 2:49pm PST 
Have you tried Blue Wilderness wet? It comes in chicken, turkey and salmon, most really like it, if you get it at Petsmart or Petco, and she won't eat it, they will give you your money back, with the receipt.

Bump was one, that did not, at all, period, eat wet. So to keep him flushed out and hydrated, we gave him 1 teaspoon Gerber baby food, chicken or turkey ONLY, mixed with water, so its like a broth, twice a day. He loved his baby food.

The key to keeping them from getting constipated, per my vet, and its the same for us, is they have to have enough water/fluids in their system. Most cats won't drink enuff on their own, and they don't get enuff from dry, hence, thats why people feed wet, and why your vet suggested wet.

But Boo Boo is right, at this point, you have to get them to just eat, and you want them happy, and not stressed at meal times, which is why we stopped trying to get Bump to eat wet. All he wanted was his dry, it made him happy, we needed him to eat, and not be stressed about it.

Many, many yrs ago, my mother had a cat that lived to be 21. The last few years, all she would eat, was cottage cheese. No, not the ideal to feed a cat, but as her vet said, if thats all she would eat, and it made her happy.