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The case of the kitty who eats only roast beef

White and brown cat hanging on to a woman's hand close to its nose.

"Do I smell roast beef on your hand?" (Photo: Flickr/Remy Sharp)

The case of the kitty who eats only roast beef

February 15, 2013

Q: We just brought home a rescue kitty (15 months old) who refuses to eat any type of dry or wet cat food. He will drink some water, but will drink a lot of milk. The only thing he will eat is cooked roast beef, which we have in the refrigerator. He eats that with gusto! Can you help me get him switched to kitty foods?

A: It might be a good idea to ask the shelter or rescue organization you adopted him from what food he was eating there. Also, don't continue to give him milk, as most cats are lactose intolerant and this can cause loose stools and intestinal upset. You can give him "cat milk," available in pet supply stores, or even less expensive fat-free, lactose-free milk from the supermarket.

He may be a very picky eater, and most cats are attracted to fish/seafood variety and strong-smelling foods, so you can try some varieties of that in canned. But make sure to get high quality foods like Wellness, Innova, EVO, Blue Buffalo, Felidae and others, containing no artificial ingredients/preservatives, common allergens like corn, and where the first ingredient is real meat or fish (not meat by-products), available in your pet supply stores. Royal Canin is a good product.

His lack of appetite may be due to stress from being in a new environment and it will take him a while to adapt. Try using some Feliway plug-ins around the house, to help him feel less stressed at his change of environment. Here is information about Feliway.

Try mixing small pieces of the roast beef with a small amount of canned food and see how he does. Don't be surprised if he eats the roast beef and leaves the food!  However, this should help him get a taste for the food. Decrease the amount of roast beef each time you feed him until he's left with only the food and this should help him start eating it.

-- Answer from Cher I., a cat behavior specialist on JustAnswer.

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