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I awoke this morning at 3 a.m. to loud shrieks and pitiful wails. I immediately jumped out of bed and ran to find my cat Princess. These weren’t her usual “I want to play” cries that I hear at least one or two nights a week. She sounded like she was suffering. Turned out not so much, unless you count wanting fresh canned cat food as suffering (and yes, that’s Princess licking her lips at about 3:05 a.m. this morning).

A year ago I posted here about the changes I was dealing with due to Princess’s advancing age. The past year has brought even more changes. As a result of some ups and downs in her health, we’re learning to deal with a number of new routines. But happily, Princess is still with me, is still active, and on balance has had a lot more good than bad days.

A major health scare for Princess a few days before Thanksgiving led to a complete re-evaluation of her medications. We were able to drop all of her meds with the exception of a tiny little thyroid pill that I give her inside a tasty Pill Pocket. Not having to mix powders and liquids into her food has made feeding time much less stressful for me and seems to be tastier for her.  Princess.

But Princess is still on a canned cat food only diet and that’s where my current challenge comes in. After eating Fancy Feast for nearly a year, she became incredibly picky. Some days she would eat it, some days she wouldn’t. This means the weight started dropping again. After consulting with the vet, I now give Princess a buffet. I keep a cupboard filled with a variety of canned cat foods: Fancy Feast, Friskies, Whiskas, Evo, and Boots at the moment. I keep a selection of meats (beef, liver, chicken, salmon, tuna) and styles (grilled, marinated, pate). I never know from feeding to feeding what will strike her fancy. Princess might eat marinated beef in the morning and refuse to touch it in the evening.

I’ve learned that adding a bit of warm water to any kind of canned food increases the chance that she’ll eat it. A friend told me to sprinkle catnip by her dishes and that seems to help.  Do you have any tricks for getting older cats to eat? I’d love to hear them.

— LinnieGayl