Appetite-Poor Eaters

Elderly cats who fail to eat may have serious illness. But we can help many.



We have a 20 year old female cat. She will not eat canned cat food from the pet stores. I have tried many brands but she will go many days before finally eating a little.  My wife wanted to know are there any recipes available she could cook up that our cat might eat.  We are worried she is not getting enough food.


Dr. Nichol:

Thanks for writing. You are right to be concerned but please do not try to manage your feline senior citizen’s poor appetite by trying new foods. What is truly important is to understand WHY she is not eating. Possible reasons in a 20 year old cat include painful infected teeth, organ failure, and cancer. Frankly this mature lady is on borrowed time. By age 20 there is much wear and tear. That does not mean that she should be written off. There may be a few good miles left for you to share. But be careful. If you allow the cause of her poor appetite to continue without treatment she is likely to crash suddenly.


Get this girl the care she needs. Have her examined soon. Get a thorough geriatric lab screen so her doctor can find the age related problems that can be managed. Do whatever it takes so you two can enjoy those golden years. It sounds like she is well loved.