Cat won’t eat prescription diet and I don’t know what else to try

Our cat ninja has been dealing with hair loss on her back legs since about March. First vet visit she was given a steroid injection and that worked for about a month.
Starting losing hair again we went back, steroid injection again and anti anxiety medication.
Same scenario.
Third time trying prescription allergy food.
Except she won’t eat it, not even when it’s just a few pieces of new food mixed with the old.

She acts completely normal and happy. But it’s an annoying problem we can’t seem to fix! How do you get a cat to eat a prescription diet?

Does your vet think it’s from a food allergy? If so, you could ask if you can try a non-prescription food with a novel protein like venison or quail. There’s plenty of high-quality brands to try that your cat might eat.

Even if it’s not a food allergy, I would ask your vet for the next-best food options to try, because if a cat decides they don’t like something, they rarely see the light and change their mind.

Good luck!


Maybe introduce the new food to the old food. Add a tiny bit, increase over the week.

1 Like

Yes he does. The weird thing was a she’s been on this food for most of her life and just started having problems this year (7 years old) but we tried all other treatment routes

I might look into and ask about alternative food options. Funny thing…our other cat with no problems that doesn’t need it doesn’t mind the prescription food! Cats…

I crate my cats to eat. Not only does it keep each cat eating their own meals, it definitely gets the reluctant ones eating more. Being locked in with food and unable to walk away = better consumption.

One thing to try! I use 24" wire crates. It’s an inexpensive purchase.

1 Like

Is there another company who makes a similar food you could try? My vet, for example, carries Science Diet, but my cats prefer Royal Canin, so we get a prescription for it (when necessary) and order it from Chewy. You might see if that’s an option.

Do you know the specific allergy? If so, as someone else said, investigate high-quality foods that are available at any good pet store that don’t have that ingredient or allergen.

1 Like

I can ask the vet about alternatives options

Not sure of the specific allergy but she has only eaten seafood and chicken (won’t touch beef flavored things and only occasionally turkey)

Are you trying to get her to eat z/d? It’s a hydrolyzed protein food. Royal Canin makes one, too:

Blue Buffalo makes one:


I have a cat now that gets dermatitis on chicken. I did a month of z/d to calm her down & switched to a non chicken food. She eats this wet:

And this dry:

The are definitely options out there!

Thank you!! Yes that is what we are trying

What is she allergic to? One of my cats had that same hairloss thing goijng on and we found out she had an allergy to corn. So no more corn in food. I think we went with NutroMax as they had a corn fee recipe. Or try some of the others brands. The may cost more but balance that against vet visits and it equals out.
Good luck!


The vet never specified on what allergy unfortunately, just said food allergy was the likely cause after the 3rd round of this and that’s when we got the prescription diet

There really is benefit to the hydrolyzed diets when they’re ramped up and sensitive. It’s sort of a clean slate, and definitely calms everything down quickly, since you’re removing anything they could react to. It’s a good plan to feed hydrolyzed for a bit–a month or whatever, until you have symptoms resolved for at least a couple weeks–and then start carefully introducing novel protein (if you want to move off the veterinary diet.)

Mine have found Z/D dry very palatable. The wet is gross, like wobbly meat jello :nauseated_face: Definitely give the other brands a try, you’ll probably need a script from your vet, and they may have ideas on what cats like better.

1 Like

Couldn’t immediately get another Z/D so in the meantime just got a 3lb bag of Iams skin sensitive formula. It’s turkey flavored (which she hasn’t eaten much of) so let’s hope she eats this and maybe it helps her some till we figure out with the vet another prescription to try

This one?

The second ingredient is chicken, third is corn.

Chicken is HARD to avoid. You really have to read labels carefully. It’s a frequent allergen. This is really not something I’d feed to an allergy animal.

1 Like

@Countrygirl18, others have made some excellent suggestions about things to try to solve the diet problem, so I can’t add anything to that. But, I have a couple of questions.

First, what age is your cat? If she is middle aged or older, have you ruled out hyperthyroidism? Hyperthyroidism can cause itchy skin, which can lead to excessive licking and hence to hair loss.

Also, have you ruled out flea allergy? Flea allergy is less likely if she is indoor only and an only pet, but if she goes out or is exposed to other animals this could be the problem. And it could be fleas even if she’s on flea medication, because fleas still get on her before they are killed. Also, the fact that the hair loss started in March suggests to me that this could be fleas or some other seasonal allergen. If it clears up this winter that will pretty much make the case that this is seasonal.

I once had a cat with hair loss like you describe. With my cat, it always started in the spring and cleared up over the winter. And it may be coincidental, but she was eventually diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. It may just be coincidental, but after she was cured of that with radioactive iodine therapy she never had any hair loss again.

IIWM, as long as the cat is otherwise healthy and happy I wouldn’t fret too much about the hair loss. A diet change is worth trying, but I wouldn’t make her miserable about it if she’s determined not to eat it.

Yes it is that one, the problem might be seafood allergy (that’s what her dry food always has been) so I just wanted something with no seafood

She is 7

The vet did complete blood work and found nothing of significance in it
As far as flea allergy with we did deal with that in 2018 (we have one other cat and dog) they are indoor only cats. We would definitely know if it was fleas because our other cat is HIGHLY allergic and she is fine. Plus the vet checked for fleas (she is on revolution as well)

By all counts she is happy and healthy. She plays and acts completely normal minus the hair loss. Just hate seeing her obviously feel itchy or something