I have a 3 yr old female that I have been spoon feeding wet food since we got her as a kitten. Back then it was the only way she would eat, so it became a habit. Lately she takes a few bites then runs away like I hurt her. She even gives me this look. What do I do?

  • 2
    Maybe get a vet to examine her teeth?
    – Mick
    Commented May 2, 2017 at 6:40
  • Is then when she's eating wet food or dry food? Is she eating at all?
    – user6796
    Commented May 3, 2017 at 1:13
  • Yes,I think she's still nibbling on her dry. I also forgot to add when I spoon feed her I would talk to her. Same thing now.If I say anything she heads for the hills.What gets me is this happened all of a sudden. I wish I could teach her to eat wet food on her own.
    – Susan L.
    Commented May 3, 2017 at 16:32
  • My 14 year old cat just started doing the same thing! Ears a bite or two, then runs away, tail down like something scared him or hurts. He ears dry food so teeth are not the problem. Have another cat who sits beside him and continues to eat uninterrupted.
    – Jené
    Commented Oct 8, 2020 at 18:11

2 Answers 2


I have recently encountered the same thing with my cat, suddenly running away if I walk too close while he is eating. Through my personal experience (having had many kitty cat pets since I was about 4) and through recent research, the best plausible reasoning and conclusion I have come to is this:

  1. Cats are, by nature, prone to feeling vunerable when eating (this stems from their natural instincts of "staying alert" whilst in a "vunerable state" in the wild, from any predators) even when they are primarily indoor cats.

  2. They are for some reason associating that particular time or situation with something bad, scary, or threatening. So now the problem is figuring out what that "something" is. This can be tricky, because it could be a number of things, from a loud noise being made when they were eating, to something you did personally (unknowingly) that has them nervous and wary of you particularly when they're eating (due to reason No.1). The fact that even if it wasn't something you did while they were eating, they still feel more nervous and vunerable during this time regardless.

  • While you are pointing out possible causes of this behaviour, it doesn't provide an answer to the question on how to deal with this. Do you have any pointers?
    – JAD
    Commented Sep 18, 2018 at 11:23

First of all, is there anything else that's different with your cat? perhaps a trip to the vet can at least clear up any possible health concern?

If the issue is not medical, to test @Melanie's theory, you could try feeding your cat in a different location? perhaps move to a smaller and more secure place (like the bathroom). And see if she will start eating?

Also, you didn't mention whether you have other cats in the house, they could be threatening her.

Since the "old" way of you feeding her is not working, perhaps now it's an opportunity to get her to eat by herself? (honestly, I admire your patience to hand-feed her for 3 years!!). Same thing with my suggestion above, leave the cat and the food in a small, safe (by her standard), and quiet space and leave her to eat by herself. Check on her after a few moments to see if she eats.

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