Your cat swallows its kibble without chewing it, is this normal or a sign of an anomaly or even a disease? How to teach your cat to chew? Are there softer kibbles? How to feed a cat that no longer eats? We try to answer all your questions on this subject!
MY CAT SWALLOWS HIS KIBBLE AND NO LONGER CHEWS IT, WHY?
If your cat swallows his kibble without chewing it, even though he “chewed” it before, he probably has a toothache. In reality, your cat crunches them, or rather, he cuts them, he does not “chew” them.
His teeth aren’t made for that. Indeed, in the cat, the teeth are smaller but especially more pointed than in the dog. The molars are not flattened: they are used for tearing if necessary. The pieces will then be swallowed directly and it is your little feline’s stomach that will do the first work of digestion. Your cat can cut its food but it does not “chew” it.
Stopping chewing is therefore a frequently observed change in old cats. Aging makes the mouth more sensitive, and older cats generally have tartar, or even worse (dental abscesses, gingivitis, etc.) if their teeth have not been taken care of, with, for example, kibble intended more specifically for dental care.
Apart from tartar and the absence of dental hygiene, other concerns can make your cat’s mouth sore and create this change: these are inflammatory oral disorders or stomatitis (gingivitis, glossitis, ulcers, etc.) of origin various: viral ( caliciviruses ), metabolic, neoplastic (epulis, squamous cell carcinoma), etc. If your cat swallows its kibble without cutting it, it is nevertheless that it has not yet lost its appetite, and it is, therefore, a good sign!
ARE THERE SOFTER KIBBLES FOR MY CAT WHO NO LONGER CHEWS THEM?
The answer is NO, all kibbles are hard, by definition, this is even what makes them interesting in terms of preservation, we are indeed talking about dry food, even if the kibble actually contains a tiny bit of humidity. The absence of water allows, as for all dehydrated foods, to keep a consumable product longer.
On the other hand, if your cat no longer Cats Chew Cardboard and his kibble, you can first try to wet them with water to soften them to see if this changes the situation. But beware, it is not guaranteed that it will please him, test this technique with only a very small amount of kibble, because once wet they will not keep it.
HOW TO TEACH YOUR CAT TO CHEW HIS KIBBLE?
Teaching your cat to chew their kibble is not so simple. A trick could be to provide them with larger kibbles, when they exist, or to coat their usual kibbles with a ” delicacy” like Observance to make them want to bite into it. Your cat will likely be more likely to chew on something that can’t be swallowed whole and will require it to be chewed several times to cut it.
But contrary to what happens for a human who needs to chew before swallowing his food, to properly digest his kibbles your cat does not need to chew them: for your little feline, digestion (use nutrients) takes place mainly in the stomach and then the intestines. In the mouth, the size of the food is reduced if necessary, but the saliva serves above all to make it slide through the digestive tract to the stomach where it will be processed. As soon as it is wet, the kibble falls apart on its own, so it does not need to be chewed. Your cat is not in danger if he eats his croquettes without chewing them.
HOW TO FEED A CAT WITH A TOOTHACHE?
Wet food is often the only solution to feed a cat with a toothache. It’s quite simple if you have a cat that already has a mixed diet: keep the part moist by increasing it to the height of its needs. The wet ration is indeed always more palatable than a dry ration because the flavors of the wet food are stronger and perceptible than those of dry food.
However, the box of pâté or the sachet of small jelly bites tends to dry out very quickly and may then seem less palatable to your little gourmet feline and all the more so if it suffers in the mouth. The conservation of the “freshness” of the wet food in the bowl varies from 2 h to 12 h, depending on the temperature of your house. Buying food in packets of small portions or splitting the box into several smaller, more frequent meals is therefore the best option to give it the most attractive food possible.
The household ration can also be a solution, because the intake will be easier to swallow, such as the box of mash or the sachet. It must include an adequate balance of cooked meat and fish, with fiber intake (green beans, etc.), a source of starch such as rice, for example, oils for omega 3 needs, in particular, vitamins and minerals depending on your pet’s needs.
HOW TO FEED A CAT THAT NO LONGER EATS?
It all depends on the cause of this anorexia. Many diseases ( coryza for example) can cause your cat to stop eating. The ideal is to solve the cause of the anorexia to make him eat again. Veterinary consultation is therefore essential. For example, it is sometimes necessary to refeed an animal that is no longer eating through a gastroesophageal tube before it begins to beat again on its own.
HOW TO MAKE KIBBLE MORE PALATABLE?
To make your cat’s kibble more palatable, there are a few tips such as:
Add some lukewarm water as this sometimes releases the flavors and boosts their appeal.