Need advice -- feeding with a timer feeder & a cat that sometimes eats too fast

Diane HooperDiane Hooper Member Posts: 314
edited 19 July, 2010 in Food & Nutrition
I\'m going to a concert next Wednesday and wanted to try to feed Pookie using the timer feeder I have. This is the first time I\'m using it to feed him wet food (I no longer dry-feed) and I have some questions: 1. I usually warm up his canned food before I give it to him, and I\'ve read that sometimes cats can get upset tummies if the food is cold. I already tested the ice packs in the feeder by freezing 1 and refrigerating another. Both were still pretty cool by the time I got home. If I only fill the pack half-way and refrigerate it, do you think it\'ll warm up enough that the food won\'t be chilly when he eats it? Do I even need to use the packs? 2. Last night I got home late so he was fed maybe 1 - 1.5 hours later than usual. He ate half his food and snarfed it back up so I had to feed him the rest in small portions spaced apart. Is there anything I can do to slow him down so he doesn\'t eat the food in the feeder too fast? If I put a small portion in 3 sections and time the feeder for 30 minutes apart, do you think that would work? I don\'t want to come home to a kitty with an upset tummy and a mess. I don\'t know if he gets worked up, excited, nervous or upset and that\'s why he eats like that, but he seems to do it when I get home a little late. Should I try using the Feliway diffuser to calm him down? Would that help? Any tips, ideas or suggestions you cats might have would be great. I haven\'t had a night out in a very long time, in fact, this is the first time since I removed the dry food, and I\'m not sure how to do this so that he gets fed and keeps a calm tummy. P.S. Even if I had someone come and feed him, he might still have problems. He\'s very shy/nervous and hides when people come over, so after the person left he might still eat too fast or be nervous because someone else had been there. I have a neighbor I could call, but they sometimes do things I don’t ask (or necessarily want) them to do and I\'d prefer not to call them if I don\'t have to. He hides from them, too. Thank you!

Comments

  • Tina BTina B Vancouver IslandMember Posts: 2,238
    edited 1 July, 2010
    Hi Pookie we are avid concert goers too :) so we sometimes have to do an overnight trip to go and see them, if we cannot see them locally. We have one of those timers that has two trays in it. We feed their regular meal before we go, a little extra, then set the timer for 9 hours later, cats can actually go for 12 hours without food this gives their systems time to digest everything. We freeze the food, and we also put ice packs in the bottom of the feeder. This works for us anyhow.
  • Victoria TalbotVictoria Talbot VegasMember Posts: 11
    edited 17 July, 2010
    I would suggest that you try the feeder before you leave for the concert. I have a timed feeder and used it for my diabetic cat so that she could be fed a small meal every 4 hours to keep her blood sugar steady. You should have seen that fat cat run when she heard the dish spin!! But I digress, give the feeder a test run. Fill it, set the timer, and then sit with your cat near the dish shortly before it's scheduled to go off. Make a big production of the food, make sure your cat sees it, etc. They will soon associate that mechanical sound with the delivery of food. Even though cats like their food at "mouse body temperature", most cats will eat the food at room temp. My babies have never had problems eating "cold" canned food, but they do prefer room temp or warmer. You know your cat though, and he may have a more sensitive stomach than my garbage disposals. When I first started feeding with the timed feeder, I was really freaked out about leaving the food out for hours at a time, but actually, from the information I've read, canned food is less likely to develop bacteria by being left out than dry food. Now, if the food will be in the timer for more than 5 hours, I refrigerate it and put it in the slot cold. If it'll be in the feeder more than 8 hours, I freeze it ahead of time and plop the frozen food in the slot. It will thaw before the babies have to eat it. If the food will be there less than 6 hours, I just put it in at room temp. I've not had any problems with it in the year I've been feeding this way. My Shadow used to scarf her food like it was the last meal she was ever going to eat. It really used to worry me. I've seen some dishes that are designed to slow your pet's eating (Fosters and Smith has one for dogs called DuraPetâ„¢ Slow-Feed Bowls). Your idea about putting the food in small portions spaced out a few minutes is a great idea. (Wish I'd have thought of that for Shadow!) I would even just space the portions 5-10 minutes apart. Give him some time to digest a bit before he gets the next portions. It might be a good idea for the food and you coming home to have nothing to do with each other. Especially if he's getting worked up when you get home. That's why it'd be good if you could get this auto feeder thing worked out, so I hope everything works. It took a lot of trial and error with Shadow to figure out a feeding schedule and how to work the auto-feeder, but we got the system working so well that we were able to go out of town for a week and have a pet sitter take over with no problems. Good luck! Twisp and Charlie's Momma
  • Marie CallinMarie Callin Member Posts: 494
    edited 18 July, 2010
    Twisp - "but actually, from the information I've read, canned food is less likely to develop bacteria by being left out than dry food." Where have you heard that? Just curious:D
  • Victoria TalbotVictoria Talbot VegasMember Posts: 11
    edited 18 July, 2010
    Most of the information on feeding I got from catinfo.org. There is an article about making raw foods for your cats that has a lengthy section about the dangers of dry foods (molds, rancid fats, etc). Also, in the article "tips for transitioning to dry food" the author stated "I do not worry about leaving canned food out for up to 12 hours at a time." However, it was suggested that if food will be left out for a prolonged period of time, it should be frozen and left out to "thaw" throughout the day. "Let’s say that you are going to be gone for 1 week. Freeze 7 meals and have your once-a-day pet-sitter put out two meals at each visit – one meal that is at ‘mouse body’ temperature and one that is frozen. The freshness of the frozen meal will be prolonged and your cat will be fine until your pet-sitter returns." I will rephrase my statement ("from the information I've read, canned food is less likely to develop bacteria by being left out than dry food.") and say that based on what I've read and experienced, I personally feel safer leaving wet food out for extended periods of time than dry food. Twisp's mom.
  • Aaron LeeAaron Lee SeattleMember Posts: 251
    edited 19 July, 2010
    it's a pain in the posterior, but it's worked for some friends' dogs AND cats. Get some large stones out of the garden or yard, boil em to get ickies off, and put them in the food bowl so the pet has to pick around them and think as they eat, there are actually dog bowls out there that have protrusions in the center that serve this same purpose, just make sure the rocks are too big for the pet to get their mouth around.
  • Diane HooperDiane Hooper Member Posts: 314
    edited 19 July, 2010
    Thanks Twisp. I did do a test run with the feeder one night when I knew I\'d be home late and he didn\'t eat any of the food (even when I showed it to him). He\'s eaten dry out of the feeder (when I was still feeding dry) but he doesn\'t seem to want to eat the canned out of it. Maybe he doesn\'t like sticking his face in the small space? For the concert I had a neighbor come over to feed him. He didn\'t eat that, either, so I fed him when I got home (12:30am) since he hadn\'t eating for over 12 hours :-O. So now my dilemma is: will he eat if/when I go away on vacation? Matty--When I was feeding dry food, I actually did put river rocks in their food to slow them down (or try) :)). I thought the reason they kept vomiting/regurgitating their food was because they were eating too fast. Once I stopped feeding dry and went to grain-free canned, the problems got much better, though Pookie will occasionally bring his food up for another look :-O. Lately I\'ve been breaking his normal portion into smaller portions spaced out (same amount total) to try to prevent that. I could try the rocks again, though. Thanks for reminding me! Thanks everyone! :):):)
  • Stephanie JohnsonStephanie Johnson Member Posts: 556
    edited 19 July, 2010
    Hey Pookie :-h About not eating when you are on vacation, I bet after you\'re gone for a day and you realize your mom isn\'t coming home right away, you will eat. Sitter reports when we\'re away usually say that Isabelle doesn\'t eat anything the first day, then is normal after that (kind of like \"dang, she\'s NOT coming home?!? Well guess I better eat!). :))
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