I take care of four cats, two three-year-olds and two 5 months old kittens. I feed them all wet feed. The kittens receive special feed suited for their age.

The old and young cats eat in different rooms. During feeding time, the old cats often won't touch their food or eat very little. This became a problem, since I noticed them losing weight. However when I leave the door open they will dash straight to the bowl of kitten feed and gobble it up in a hurry. The kittens are just the same, eating a bit from their bowl but after short while looking for the food for adult cats.

It seems like the adult cats won't eat anything but the feed for kittens and kitten much prefer the feed for adults. Is there a way I could change their taste to match their age?

Both feeds are good quality, MAC's canned food and are basically the same flavor. They eat it for a long time and I never had this trouble before.

  • Related: pets.stackexchange.com/questions/26620/…
    – StephenS
    Jan 28, 2020 at 21:38
  • if the cats loose weight and do eat normal amounts of food you need to start by deworming them to exclude intestinal parasites as a part of the problem. Feb 27, 2020 at 15:15
  • If cats stop eating take them to the vet ASAP. I can't stress that enough. Jan 31, 2023 at 20:46

2 Answers 2


The differences between kitten and cat food are:

  • Higher protein content
  • Higher fat content
  • Higher calorie count
  • Higher amounts of vitamins and minerals

(Source: The Nest)

None of these will do any harm to the adult cats other than a risk of becoming overweight if they eat too much of the kitten food. They are necessary for the kittens to grow and develop properly, however.

Given that both sets of cats are seeking out each other's food (and that the adults have lost some weight), you might try feeding them all the same kitten food. The adults seem to be greatly preferring the taste, and the kittens likely prefer the fun of going to the bowl they're not supposed to eat from.

Cats don't necessarily seek each other's bowls because "they prefer the taste" of what the other cat has. In cats that have a higher hunger drive (such as growing kittens), it can be that they think their bowl will be fine while they go "raid" another bowl, and then can come back to their own (not necessarily working out that another cat may "raid" their bowl while they're gone). You may still see bowl swapping with switching them all to the same food, which would be evidence that the kittens are just looking for more food in general.


If they’re losing weight and don’t need to do so, maybe just feed them all the kitten food. It typically has a higher fat content and it won’t hurt them.

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