15-year-old cat with an eating disorder.

I have two cats, 15 and 9. The older one, Paris, has developed an eating disorder. I’ve always fed them canned food (Friskies), and they’ve both always eaten whatever flavor I’ve fed them. So I’ve always fed them a wide variety of flavors. But lately, Paris has been noticeably losing weight, so I’ve begun paying attention to his eating habits. It turns out, he only eats fish flavors or anything with a strong cheesy sauce. Anything else, he sniffs it, maybe nibbles a little, then walks away.

Aside from this, his behavior is totally normal. He’s still energetic, playful and affectionate. My theory is that his sense of smell has deteriorated, so he can only smell the fish flavors or cheese. The ones that he can’t smell have no appeal for him.

My question is: Do the fish flavors have enough nutritional variety to sustain his health? Can he (and his sister) survive on a fish-only diet . . . assuming that his condition won’t worsen, so that he won’t even eat fish? I know I should take him to the vet, but he HATES going to the vet, and getting him into the carrier seems like World War III.

Smell affects the way food tastes. If the other flavors don’t smell right, they won’t taste right to Paris. It’s also possible that he’s just getting older and doesn’t want to eat much. It happens, eventually, to most elder pets.

Sure, the fish foods are just as nutritious as the other foods/ Lots of animals will only want one particular flavor. It’s fine. You should probably consider getting him a senior type food, however.

If Paris’ appetite continues to decline, you should probably have him checked by a vet, however.

He really does need to go to the vet. Lack of appetite can indicate several things, including renal insufficiency and diabetes, both of which can be managed for quite some time if caught early.

Please, take him to the vet.

Take him to the vet.

Now, that that is settled, commercial cat foods are pretty much all the same thing, flavor notwithstanding; they are formulated to be that way. Some brands are higher quality than others, but because one gets its primary “bouquet” from tuna vs. turkey doesn’t matter. If you were actually feeding your cat fish, turkey, rice, and some veggies, then yes, it would matter that the cat stopped eating an entire food group, but just not eating some flavors of canned food is not a big deal.

Now get to the vet.

I word of advice from a long-time cat owner: As much as we like to pamper them, when it comes to food cats really don’t need variety, they need consistency. I’ve had times where I fed my cats the same food for years, then I briefly switched to something different (which they didn’t like), then when I went right back to their old stuff they refused to eat it*!* When you have a flavor they like stick with that.

Also leave the carrier out for a few days to get them less scared of it when it’s time for a vet visit. Also put a piece of your dirty laundry in it for them to lay on, it will make it seem more familiar.

I’ll be taking him to the vet this week.

Good thing that you are… that sort of appetite loss sounds suspiciously like kidney issues that are almost a standard elderly-cat disease.

Our Kitty was a rather small cat - under 9 lbs usually. All her life we put out a lot of food into her bowl and she’d eat just what she wanted. One day when she was 18 YO, she fell over while walking and had trouble getting up again. She’d been for an annual checkup just the month before. When we got her to the vet, she was down 4 lbs! Blood tests came back normal so they thought it was a brain issue. As she was a very old cat, we sadly put her down as she was in obvious distress.