Backstory: Smurfy had a fright about three days ago when he was halfway through his dinner. Ever since then, he has been too scared to eat. It took a lot of time before I got him to eat in his hiding place. But then, even the slightest far away noise would frighten him and he would stop eating instantly and just freeze.
Now, I know Smurfy loves Cubgrub’s dehydrated chicken treats. In fact, this is the only food where he’d be brave enough to come out to eat with the rest.
And I also remember a vet telling me (during Vincent’s kidney days) that sometimes if a cat is sick and they (I’m using gender-free pronouns here) have been eating a particular food, they will associate their feeling of being sick (or nausea) with the smell/taste of that food. So even after recovering, they will not eat that food. What one must do then is to give them a different type of food and they might eat that. After a few days, that association might be forgotten and then, you can try the earlier food again.
Applying this same principle, I figured Smurfy was eating dinner (Coco’s, raw chicken meat and gizzards) when he had that fright that day. So he probably associates the smell of that food combo with his fright and he will not eat that food. If that is the case, then the trick is to change to another type of food, right?
So what I did today was first to isolate Smurfy in one bedroom (Robin has rejoined the clan for meals now, he no longer snatches food). Then I placed his bowl there to try my luck first. Then I left him alone.
Did he eat? No, he did not.
Okay, never mind.
Then, I brought in the chicken treats.
First I gave him the chicken treats on the floor. He ate. Then, I placed the chicken treats in a bowl and he ate these too. Then I slowly placed the bowl of raw food (the usual combo) next to this bowl. It’s to get him to smell this food as he is eating his favourite chicken treats.
After that, I went a step further and placed the chicken treats into the combo. Hah! He ate!!
Success!! I got Smurfy to eat!!
Here’s Smurfy grooming after dinner, sitting in a groundfloor basket without the need to hide.
Slowly does it. Little by little is the water jug filled….