Cat Snarfs & Barfs Wet Food, Has Issues With Dry; How To Feed While Away
July 12, 2017 1:25 PM   Subscribe

Due to health issues, Glinda the cat recently had all but five teeth removed. Before, if we went away for a couple days, we'd top up a bowl with Hills or IAMS dry and the cats would be just fine. Now Glinda is either not interested or capable of eating the dry, even if softened with water (The other cat, who is okay with dry, won't eat soggy kibble either), and it's not practical to open up a couple cans of wet and leave them lying around for a couple days because 1) That's gross and unsanitary, and 2) Glinda's always had snarf & barf problem, especially with wet food. She'd turn it into an all-you-can-eat barffet. It's not possible to have someone come in, let alone spend an hour painting the bottom of Glinda's dish with a spoonful of wet at a time. Looking for ideas and suggestions on how to ensure Glinda gets fed. Currently our best idea is grinding up a cup of dry food, she should be able to get that down, right?
posted by Alvy Ampersand to Pets & Animals (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Here's an interesting idea: putting the food in all the separate little bowls of a muffin pan, or a silicone muffin mold. There's also a commercially made solution in this vein: slow feed bowls.
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:33 PM on July 12, 2017

Can Glinda stay at the vet or a kitty spa? If you have an animal that can only handle a wet diet, you really either need someone to come in or they need to go out. They've probably got obstacle dishes at the vet/spa.
posted by Lyn Never at 1:35 PM on July 12, 2017 [8 favorites]

Board her at the vet.
posted by heathrowga at 1:39 PM on July 12, 2017 [12 favorites]

Best answer: Will she truly not eat the dry food at all? A lot of cats with missing teeth, even with no teeth, can still eat dry food.
posted by dayintoday at 1:55 PM on July 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

Why is having someone come in not an option? I'm a professional pet sitter and spending time to make sure a kitty eats slowly if it's medically necessary is absolutely within the realm of tasks that I'm willing to do. But as has been stated above, a slow feed bowl is probably a better option for everyone involved. I would be cautious about grinding up the dry food for fear that she might aspirate it. I really think you do need to either hire a pet sitter or board her.
posted by kitty teeth at 2:10 PM on July 12, 2017 [8 favorites]

Response by poster: If you have an animal that can only handle a wet diet, you really either need someone to come in or they need to go out

>Will she truly not eat the dry food at all? A lot of cats with missing teeth, even with no teeth, can still eat dry food.

That's the thing with Glinda; the vet, who was very thorough and patient with us, did not specify she was to be on a wet diet only, we went to wet after the procedure to go easy on her gums, and I suspect she has added fussiness to her already full repertoire of messed up food behaviors. We have enough time to test this hypothesis before going away for a couple days next week and make alternative arrangements if dry food is truly a no-go.

Also, thanks for the mention of slow feeders! I was aware of them but it never occurred to me there would be ones specifically for wet food!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 2:11 PM on July 12, 2017

I was basically going to say what kitty teeth said. Your cat probably can swallow small kibbles dry, so it might be a good supplement if you find something she likes, but it sounds like she needs a person to feed meals now. Please don't try to feed your cat powdered food.
posted by zennie at 3:51 PM on July 12, 2017

Middle of the road: try out the slow feed bowls. If she eats her wet food out of that, have someone come every day and put it out in the special bowl. I would totally do that for someone if I were pet sitting.
posted by purple_bird at 4:04 PM on July 12, 2017

You need something like this. We have similar issues and multiple cats. Haven't tried this one specifically but if you check out the other suggested items you'll find that some of them have a cooling feature to keep the wet food "fresh". That being said I would still have someone come over to make sure it doesn't malfunction or something.
posted by mokeydraws at 4:15 PM on July 12, 2017

A friend had a cat with very few teeth. Friend ground dry kibble daily in a dedicated ordinary coffee grinder and the cat did fine. Best of luck with Glinda!
posted by RaeVaughn1958 at 4:35 PM on July 12, 2017

I don't have any suggestions since my guy has similar issues and just goes to his granny's for vacay whenever I'm away, but I dropped in to say thanks for the phrases "snarf and barf" and "all-you-can-eat-barffet." So much simpler than the way I've been explaining it.
posted by Preserver at 5:46 PM on July 12, 2017 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Cats without teeth can and do eat dry food - 2 of my 3 cats are completely toothless, and eat dry food just fine. One actively prefers it. They actually eat it better without teeth as now their mouth isn't in pain. However, as with all cats, just because they can eat it is no guarantee they will!

I suspect it's not dry food in general, but the fact she's used to eating that food in pain, and is hesitant now.

Can you try another brand of dry? Is there any kibble-esque kitty treat Glinda will eat? I might take some some kibble, mix it half-and-half with treats, and see if that works. A couple days of junk food won't do too much harm if it doesn't trigger the scarf-and-barf. You might need to do some experimenting here.

Or even if it does trigger the scarf-and-barf, you may just have to be ok with cleaning up kitty vomit when you get home. Aren't cats great?
posted by cgg at 5:59 PM on July 12, 2017

There are dry foods that have a softer, less crunchy consistency. For example, I feed my cats Hill's Prescription Diet c/d due to some issues with one cat's bladder/urinary tract. When my cats eat, I do not hear any crunching sounds.

In fact, I just realized that the Hill's Prescription Diet Metabolic I feed one of my dogs for his tummy issues is also much softer than the other dogs' kibble.

So maybe Hill's/Science Diet is a brand to try?
posted by SuperSquirrel at 4:33 AM on July 13, 2017

We have an older cat with tooth issues , and when he won't eat regular kibble he'll manage Temptations kibble-like treats. Not the best meal replacement, but so far its been a reasonable backup.
posted by korej at 6:02 AM on July 13, 2017

Response by poster: Incredibly belated update: Glinda is not dead and can eat dry food without difficulty! Thanks, everyone!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:47 PM on August 8, 2017 [2 favorites]

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