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Cat tries to cover food like his stool.

4035 Views 11 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  felisterjack
5 months ago, my girlfriend (now wife) and I moved in together. She had a smallish 3 year old male Tux, and I have a 3 year old male Seal Point Burman. Squish (the Burman) was about 13 lbs, active, quite normal for a finnicky cat. He does not like milk, tuna, tuna juice, wet cat food, catnip, or anything. He always at his Science Diet cat food. Vau (the Tux) ate whatever, and weighed about 10 lbs.

We moved in together, changed the cat food, introduced the cats. They took to each other normally, establishing a pecking order which Squish ended up waiting til Vau was done eating etc before he would eat. Then Vau started keeping Squish away from the food entirely so Squish ate when Vau napped.

After about a month of this, Squish stopped eating entirely. We did everything we could to get him to eat. Short of manually feeding him which we turned to. He began throwing up the food and water, not able to keep anything down. At this point, we took him to the emergency vet because he was getting very lethargic.

He's got a very high level of ALT (GPT) which signifies enzymes in the blood, either from liver or heart damage. We left him housed at the vet for a few days, then got home with the IV and special cat food and some medications. Now, 4 months later, he is finally drinking from a cat bowl, but we are still manually feeding him. About 50-60 mL of wet cat food, squirted in with a big needle thing without an actual needle.

He let's us know when he's hungry, and we have tried to put food in a bowl, on a plate, both wet food and dry food, and he starts trying to cover it like it's his stool in the litter box.

I realize he needs to see a vet, and I wish it was feasible. However, we are struggling financially, and we cannot afford another 600$ vet bill. I wish we could, but we can't. So please, please do not think I am unaware of his needs.

My question is if anyone else has seen this behavior in a cat, and if there is something we can do about it. Either dietary, or something else that we could do to work him into eating on his own again.
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Maybe he's trying to drown the scent so the other kitty doesn't come running and steal it? Are these cats restricted fed, or free-fed?
We give them portions twice daily because Vau has gotten a bit over weight. They did have a community dish that held a lot of food, and they could both eat whenever they wanted. At this time Squish does not eat out of the bowl when there's food, and there is always food in it because Vau doesn't eat it all.

You make a good point, but after he scoops at the food trying to cover it up, he'll set back and either stare at it, or wander off.
Well..cats are a lot like people, they'll eat when bored. Perhaps you should try putting their food in treat balls so thy have to work for it. Stimulates the mind, ends boredom, promotes exercise, and should end any anxiety around food bowls
Thank you very much for the insight. I'll see what I can do and keep you posted. :)
That is very unusual happening, poor little cat might be stressed, hope he fully recover soon.
One of my cats, Ditto, does this – pretends to try and cover his food like he's in the litter box. This cat is very finicky when it comes to food. When he does this, I know it's because he doesn't like the food I've given him – often because he gets bored of the same flavour over and over again.

Also, Ditto has food allergies. He is a Tonkinese (half Burmese and half Siamese) and we can't feed him anything with wheat, gluten or chicken in it. He gets Limited Ingredient foods like Natural Balance Duck and Green Pea (both hard and canned food) and Wellness No Grain wet foods like their Turkey Cubes and Beef&Venison and Turkey&Duck versions (but I have to keep checking the labels to make sure they didn't start adding Chicken to the mix).

(I was going to recommend to a wet food diet that contains no grain and that has an alternate protein source – not chicken or fish – but I just remembered that your cat has other issues due to other organ damage so you would probably need a vet to recommend a different diet for him.)

Science diet – I used to feed my cats this but have changed because they developed allergies to either the chicken or the wheat/gluten in it.
Does he sneeze, cough, have a nasal discharge or drippy eyes?
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do you mean like scratching around the bowl to cover his food ? if so this is usually what they do to keep predictors away
Very unusuall to me.. hope she get well soon
Just an update. Apparently all is well now. My wife and I moved into a bigger apartment. Within a week of moving, Squish is now eating from the communal cat bowl, putting on lots of weight, and is also not taking any crap from Vau the other male cat. Within 3 weeks of moving, he's back to his usual hyper self, and is taking the initiative in games of chase with Vau. I can't imagine what it was about the other apartment but something has changed and his 'kitty senses' love the new apartment. :D
When my one cat (Yarrow) has eaten his fill of the moist food will scratch outside the dish as if to cover it, flip the dish over, or cover the dish with one or more of his toys
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