Monday, April 23, 2007

New Food, New Water, Old Problems

This weekend, I started my boys on two new things:

  1. Orijen: My Orijen finally arrived and the results are mixed. Beowulf gobbles down the Orijen just like he gobbled down the California Natural and the Wellness before it. However, Arthur won't eat Orijen, and he won't eat other kibble if it's sitting in the same bowl as the Orijen. I even tried putting tuna flakes or other treats in the bowl and he'll eat these without touching the kibble.

    I am concerned because this means that Arthur is not eating kibble right now. I don't want him to starve, but I do want him to learn to eat the Orijen. At what point should I give up? If I put the Orijen in one bowl and California Natural in the other, Beowulf will probably try to eat them both, because he usually eats kibble as soon as its put down, while Arthur comes back and eats at his leisure.

    When it comes to wet food, however, Beowulf is very picky and won't eat most of the wet foods I feed.

  2. Fresh Flow Waterer: I got a Fresh Flow waterer and set it up yesterday. I have yet to see the boys drink from it, although I have seen that the water level went down over night and some crud got into the bowl. This means that either the water evaporated or the boys drank from it. Because I didn't want the boys to dehydrate, I kept their regular water bowl filled also and I have seen them drink out of that

Both situations are frustrating, because I'm trying to move to healthier food and healthier water and I'm not sure how to make them catch on. Any ideas?


M said...


Sorry about your kittie not eating the Orijen. My two little girls tried it and they both ate it eagerly, but it upset the Calico's tummy. She is still eating it though.

It is frustrating! I had one of the pet fountain thingees and I had to give up with it. It had that gunk on it all the time, and I am sure there is a trick to it, but i don't know what it is.

Hope they adapt to the Orijen. I found a store here that wasn't a puppymill that sold it and am very happy with it so far... but it is early days. I hate changing their diet so much.

Good Luck!

Anonymous said...

i wouldn't give up on the pet fountain just yet. i didn't buy one 4 my kitties cuz i was worried about spending the money if they weren't gonna use it or if they got cat acne (some cats get it from the plastic). but one of my cats (the male one) got a urinary stone/blockage and had 2 get catheterized. the ER vet said if i had waited longer, he would've died. so when they suggested the pet fountain as a way 2 make him drink more water, i didn't hesitate 2 put down the $20 even w/ the previous worries. at first, both my cats were afraid of it but once they figured it out, they won't drink out of the regular bowls anymore even there r 2 that r always there in addition 2 the pet fountain. i don't leave it on all the time and at first they couldn't figure out that the human had 2 turn it on but now they just go and sit next 2 it when they want me 2 turn it on. give them a little time 2 get used 2 it. i rinse it out everyday and no problems. i have noticed that ppl who don't clean it everyday complain of hair clogs and algae growing in there so i'd just suggest keeping it clean. it might b harder 2 c if ur model is black like in the picture. mine is white so i can tell if it needs cleaning.

FinickyFive's Slave said...

I've never had too much trouble introducing new DRY food to the cats. They have eaten HOLISTIC BLEND for about 3 years but I like to mix it up a bit and over these years I've added GO Natural, Felidae, Nutro, AMI, Fromms, etc. I just introduce the new food slowly and mix it in with the regular brand. Felidae is the only one that was a hard sell.
Thanks for the introduction to Orijen by the way! I didn't even know they existed and their facilities are only about 2 hours away from me. A local store has ordered a 7KG bag for me. So, with the Orijen, I expect to get away from the grain based cat foods.
I used one of the Pet Mate water fountains for months (it's now collecting dust stored in the basement). I found the filters clogged up immediately for some reason and I would come home to water all over the floor. I started using it with no filter but then had to take it apart and clean it every couple days. Now, one cat will drink out of a bowl left in the sink, one likes a dripping bathtub tap, the rest are reasonably happy with a water bowl on the floor. But I may drag it out again and just accept that I will have to tear it down and clean it daily.
As far as wet food goes, I doubt if I will ever buy it again. As it is served more or less as a "treat" thing once daily, I'm sticking with a can of tuna split 5 ways every couple days alternating with fresh baked salmon or a can of minced clams. They reject every other "human" food I try to feed.
Suggestions greatly appreciated. Thanks.
Good Luck with the Orijen! Maybe it's just a matter of time.

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Riley & Tiki said...

When my Vincent had to go on yucky diet food that he hated, the vet told me to start with just a few kibble (like 4 or 5 pieces) in with the old food and gradually add more. That worked pretty well for him. It took about 2 weeks to change him over.

R&T Mom

been there, done that said...

I'm having a bit of the same problem you are, but mine is with wet/raw food. It's 2 steps forward and 3 steps back. But first, do NOT let a cat go more than 2-3 days without eating. Hepatic lipidosis will set in. That is a liver disorder.

Riley and Tiki are correct in how to switch a food over, although mine weren't given that time, since I ran out of what they were eating and the Innova EVO I ordered came just in time. I've had a bit of diarrhea, but I've covered that by adding some acidophilus to their food. I add 2-3 different kinds of food in their bowl, so if one doesn't like what the other does, they can pick and choose. It's SO funny watching them pick through the bowl to get the one they want.

been there, done that said...

Oh, I forgot. The water fountain, we have one, the cats love it!! I clean it weekly because it gets slimey. The gunk in the bottom, I'm assuming is black from the filter, I get that too. What I did to alleviate it was to run it under water before I put it in. I change the filter once every 2-3 weeks, depending on how slimey it gets, either way, between changes, I rinse it off quite well. Maybe if you don't plug it in at first, they'll get used to having it there and then drinking out of it, then plug it in.

Daniel said...

Hey Avram,
I was just surfing the net in an attempt to find your registry and came up with this web site. Congrats on your love of cats. I remember the good old days when you would come over to my place and sneeze relentlessly thanks to the "zoo" in which I resided. You recall Edwina, Munchkin, Atlas, and Saki? Ahhhh, the good old days. Once I start to think of those times, I begin to recall our platnium single, "smelly feet". Anyway, I better stop there or I'll start to post some really funny stuff... Looking forward to your wedding,

Gillian said...

Hi Avram,

So sorry to hear of your feeding difficulties.  You might find catinfo useful.  Although this site argues the merit of wet food, I think the section on how to transition your cat from dry to wet may be applicable. Also, you could ask your vet for advice.

Although I am fortunate enough to have pets that are voracious eaters of anything (though I'll admit this can quickly turn into a 'con' more often than not), I have had some experience with finicky eaters in a vet clinic setting, so here are some lessons-learned tips:

*  I thought I read in your previous posts, that Arthur and Beowulf get canned at specific feeding times, and then dry throughout the day.  This may explain why Arthur isn't interested in Orijen (maybe he's getting enough from wet food?). Also, since Orijen is an extremely rich food (note the feeding instructions), you might not want to let them free feed on too much of it.
*  Have you considered mixing the wet and dry food together and just giving them that twice a day?  Or maybe just give them the dry food twice a day for a day, to see if Arthur will take to it?  Sometimes, limiting their options works (your boys are pretty smart, and they may have gotten used to having the world at their 'fingertips'…I say this in the best possible way – you put me to shame as a dedicated cat owner!)

*  Whatever you do, and contrary to a previous comment, please don't let Arthur go without food for more than 24 hours – the harmful effects of not feeding can begin to occur after this time.   

*  Finally, you might consider contacting the company to let them know of your difficulty in feeding Arthur.  At the risk of sounding like an alarmist (and it pains me to even suggest it, having been such a loud advocate of Orijen), Arthur may be alerting you to something being wrong with the food.  Hopefully, the company will be able to reassure you, or better yet, may have some advice for you on how to perform the transition … maybe other owners have had similar challenges at the outset because it's a grain-free product.  Still, it is reassuring to hear that Beowulf loves it. 

Let me end by saying that I give you all this advice with a BIG grain of salt.  Feeding cats can be extremely tricky, and I am certainly no expert. The last thing I would want is for any of my advice to result in any harm to Arthur and Beowulf.  They are well-loved kitties in the blogosphere!  Please do whatever you think is best and feels right for you and Liz and your boys.  I wish you all the best!

Avram said...

I didn't mean to sound too alarmist about Arthur. He has been eating his wet food and yesterday I witnessed him eating the dry food, which is now about 80% California natural and only 20% Orijen. I'm not sure if he swallowed any Orijen pieces but he munched his kibble.

The thing about Arthur is I rarely witness him eating his kibble. Beowulf runs in and eats kibble as soon as I put it down. Arthur walks into the kitchen and has a few bites at his leisure at odd hours. OTOH, Beowulf almost never has more than a lick or two of wet food, but Arthur is big on wet food.

Wet food is a whole other problem. I feed the boys wet food twice a day and right now I'm giving them mostly Merrick and Solid Gold. They love Solid Gold tuna, but everything else they barely touch.

I'd love to find out about this "fish oil" condiment that Faycat mentioned. I've tried putting all kinds of things on top of the wet food -- including bonito flakes, chicken powder condiments, and beef powder condiments (all designed for cats) and nothing works.

Fritzamus Maximus said...

Is there a reason you prefer that your boys eat the Orijen instead of the California Natural? How long have you been feeding the Orijen?

I have a water fountain for my boys and they love it. I think it took a couple of days for them to start drinking from it. Give it a few days. Once your boys figure out what it is, hopefully they'll love it as much as Fritz and Ernest do.

Lysette / Lysette*One / downtowngrrrl said...

I use a brand that can be hard to find but is all natural, human grade just like Wellness is. It's called "Chicken Soup for the Kitten (or Cat) Lovers Soul" I buy the dry kibble and the canned food for my cat who just turned one years old. She didn't like Wellness or Felidae but took to this Chicken Soup brand. I know they use their own cannery and only sell to small independent pet stores. The label says made proudly by Diamond Pet Foods ...

I was going to buy one of those water fountains until a friend of mine warned me about the plastic they are made of. Apparently, the plastic can build in the system to toxic levels over time. I don't know the data, it is just what I was told.

Two nights ago a friend of mine called and told me her cat died. She said her vet had recommended Science Diet over the 9-Lives she was feeding her one year old kitten. She said her cat was dead a few days after changing her food. I am outraged. The recall was over a month ago and the food is still out there! The irresponsible vet should be forced out of business. They told my friend her cat could have had a heart murmur!

Marilyn said...

To Lysette - Diamond Pet Foods is involved heavily in the round of recalls involving rice protein. They received tainted rice protein from Wilbur-Ellis, in turn using it in *Chicken Soup* and *Natural Balance* products. Chicken Soup has recalled 2 canned products (one for kittens, one for puppies). I had switched to the Chicken Soup dry for my cats and it doesn't contain rice protein, but I refuse to use products made by companies involved in these recalls. I don't know how to trust them.

Gillian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gillian said...

Glad to hear the situation isn't as dire as I had initially thought. Your cats are funny - they're so particular!! Anyway, no 'fish oil' references, but I came across an article, care of, on changing a cat's diet, and thought you might find it helpful. Here's the link

Karen said...

Hi Avram,

Regarding the fountain, I have one, too, and my cat was afraid of it until I started leaving little pieces of Kibble or treats along the edge. Then he loved it.

It's a hassle to have to clean it, but if it gets the water into him (and I don't have to stand at the bathroom faucet with my hands cupped for him to drink out of....yes, he's spoiled), then it's worth it to me. :-)

Your Arthur and Beowulf are beautiful cats. They're lucky to have you and your fiancee as their "beans."

Daisy said...

We have a similar fountain made by Drinkwell. And my sister Pixie and I used it right away. I wish I had some helpful hints for you.

GreenChick said...

Cats can be such finicky eaters.

Speaking of pet food, have you seen the latest article in the NY Times that came out yesterday? It blows the lid off of China’s pet food manufacturing practices. Check this out:

This serves as evidence that we need to be even more aware of the source and ingredients of our pet foods. Most reputable pet food manufacturers are sharing this information on their web sites now. Many people are joining the local food movement (which I am a huge proponent of) and rediscovering the benefits of buying locally produced food. Should we follow the same rule when it comes to the diet of our pets?

M said...

I wrote an email to Wysong because on their page they were basically defending Menu Foods, etc. I noticed that the page is now under construction. I am relieved to see that. I just felt like all these animals have died or suffered and I should not avoid a Menu Food product as a precaution. I am saddened by this whole thing for those who lost their pets and going through the scare of thinking I had poisoned my two girl kitties.


Anonymous said...

That sounds pretty frustrating, but I am sure that you will work it out. I saw some tips on training cats at the URL below. Maybe they will help.

M said...

Wysong put up a new comment about the pet foor situation. Ugh I don't know what to think. So far the girls are eating the Orijen I got them and seem to be doing well.

Anonymous said...

Where did you go? Are you boys okay?

caricature said...


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added ur link there. would appreciate if u reciprocate :)!

Rebecca said...


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Beagle said...

Our cats love their water fountain, it took maybe a week for all three to catch on.

On the food, I'm not sure what to advise. I guess I'd hold out a while longer. They will get hungry, right?

Anonymous said...

my cats do NOT drink from the water fountain, so i guess not all cat can work w/ it

M said...

I found out the Orijen will be producing the fish version of their food in about 2 to 3 months so stayed tuned!

Anonymous said...

We got hit with the Royal Canin vet food recall and have switched to Fromm Duck a la veg kibble and ZiwiPeak Venison canned food which has no grains and our cats are doing well. Switching food is hell, it took a few weeks and they still rather eat kibble

Rolf said...

We've had one of the drinkwell fountains for a couple of years and we're very happy with it, I'm sure you (and the kittys) will be too.

There is a design flaw, in that the filter is after the pump, but regular cleaning seems to take care of most problems.

The pump did jam up last week but we managed to pop the case open and unclog it - although not before we'd written it off and bought one of the Cat-IT fountains, so now the lucky kittes have 2 water fountains!!

Anonymous said...

Dont these designers of pet fountains know about acne!? Why dont they design one that is aluminum or ceramic? There is one Ive seen with ss, but it uses environmentally unfriendly, unsanitary water bottles. I have the all plastic Bubbler and my cats love it but the one who drinks the most is breaking out. Does anyone know of a fountain with full ss bowl? I wonder if I make something out of a large ss salad bowl. Any thoughts?

auntie p said...

Hi, since Beowulf enjoys his kibbles, do you have to stop him from eating up Arthur's share of the kibbles (since Arthur is a nibbler)?

I have 2 foster cats - one is a nibbler and the other will wolf down her own food and the other cat's food as well.

Anonymous said...

I use the Petmate fountain and all 3 of my cats (2 female and 1 male) love drinking out of it; I also have a couple dishes throughout my house with reg tap water. I bought the fountain because Frank, my male cat was wrecking my bathroom sink trying to drink out of it and the 2 girl kitties (Mia and Sophie) were having some urinary problems and needed more water in their diet. It's important to rinse the filter before inserting it; clean the machine weekly (they do get slimey); and use filtered water rather than tap water (although I was told that NY tap water is a higher quality than what we have in Mpls). Petmate also gives you instructions on their website showing how to take the fountain apart and clean it properly - including the little motor. Have had mine for a couple years with no problems - once I figured out that I needed to use filtered water.

As was mentioned earlier; it's very important that a cat not go longer than 24 hours without eating; they'll develop health / kidney problems. Best to add a new food in gradually to their existing food - over a couple weeks. And sometimes, no matter how good of a food product, they won't eat it and you have to switch to something else. I feed my cats a mixture of 2 - 3 mixtures of kibble (no canned - they don't need the calories and get enough water). Currently feeding them Innova, Natural Ultramix (low cal organic food by Castor & Pollux) and Wellness Core (the neighbor's cat who I occasionally feed loves this mix too - not crazy about the dried fruit in the organic food though - but mine love it). Also was told by my vet that the amounts listed on the packaging are a larger portion than a cat typically needs.

Your boys are gorgeous cats; they've very lucky to have you. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on your wedding! I have 3 girls who love the fresh flow water thing. At first they were leary of it, but then they started playing with the water by trying to catch it with their paws. There are a few drawbacks, the cleaning of it. First, you need to clean it all inside with hot water & Dawn dish soap, using toothbrush & Q Tips,to get in all the cracks. You take the top off, take out the pump,all those areas there you need to use a t.b.,the funnel part inside,aQTip.Rinse well and look at the crevices,if you got it all clean, there shouldn't be anything,plastic should look smooth & clean.I'd first take the filter out and add a few drops of Dawn & a little hot water, lather it gently & let set for at least 5mins, then rinse it very well, using your fingers to sort of knead it. That breaks up the dirt/stuff off the charcoal bits inside the filter & it'll get cleaned of the leftover foodstuff)you wouldn't believe the difference that will make! Saves you from buying them so ofen too.

Now the pump itself,it'll get clogged down the road, no matter how much you clean the bowl, and it might one day just quit pumping all together. And you think that by cleaning it(the outside) would be enough, but it's not! Where the noozle is,if you look, you'll see a ridge around the unit. You take ahold of it and pull, use a butter knife if you have to.You'll have 2 pieces.One has a white flow reg.cap.Inside that cap, you clean w/ QTip (lots of gunk!)now under the cap w/brush.Now turn your attention to the other part, you'll see a little round thing w/prongs. Pull on it, comes outThat's the magnent(you can't break it)QTip time. On the other end(with the cord)theres another cap there too, pull it off, clean it. Now rinse it all inside and out really well, put back together. My pump went out on mine, I looked everywhere for one and nobody carried it, I called the maker of the water flow dish, and they told me that I could buy a new one from them, but I could try cleaning it. They took me throught the steps what I'm telling you about the pump cleaning. It worked like a charm!I didn't know you could clean it.I've used the same pump, running 24/7, for 8 years now. Well..hope this helps you. Best Wishes with your Wedding & Marriage! I wish you all the best now & forever! - Cathair_Blues