Help me overhaul my feeding situation!

ericka deciutiisericka deciutiis los angelesMember Posts: 193
edited 1 July, 2009 in Food & Nutrition
i have 3 cats - Kizmet - very overweight. obsessed with food. will camp out for hours by his food bowl if he sees it is getting low. eats everyone else\'s food and treats, and they let him. Callie - skinny. petite, but not unhealthy. food is not that important or interesting to her, she eats when she has to. (she has been checked over and over by vets in her 11 years, so i know there is no issue, she just doesn\'t get excited about it) Ben - 8 weeks old, loves to sneak some of Kizmet\'s diet food, which has me on the horrors. (Kizmet will return the favor by sneaking Ben\'s kitten food) obviously, i free feed, mostly dry. wet is a treat for the older two at this point. ben gets a mix of wet and dry kitten food at night, because strictly wet gives him the runs, no matter what brand i buy. i am borderline broke, lol, so the higher priced food is out. but i would love to switch over to meal times, instead of free feeding. my issue is, callie can go hours without eating. she\'s always been that way. kizmet will eat lint. everything is edible to him. when i give them wet food now on occasion, she only eats a little, and then kizmet finishes hers. i have no idea how to make sure she eats enough if i only give her food at certain times. i can\'t separate them for feeding, as i live in a one bedroom with no doors, not even on the closet! i am also at work from 9am to 6pm. can they go that long without food??? (can you tell this is new for me?) i really, really HATE the idea of giving up free feeding, only because i have done it forever, and Kizmet is the only overweight kitty i have had. but now i have 3 cats with different needs, and i want to make sure they are healthy and getting what their bodies need. its a big task, i think, but i\'m willing to give it a go for my kids. anyone have any advice?

Comments

  • Kerri ZimmermanKerri Zimmerman WinnipegMember Posts: 448
    edited 24 June, 2009
    I used to free feed my kitties MANY MANY years ago. But the vet wanted them to go on diets because they were both overweight. So, I fed them 3 times a day. I thought the world was ending as well but it isn't. I think it really is the best thing for them. I feed them when I get up in the morning, when I get home from work and before I go to bed. I have added in a forth feeding because I have them on a diet once again (long cold winter where I live) as they gained about 3 lbs over winter. The added feeding time makes them think they are getting fed more food but they really aren't. I just spread the food out. I weigh their food at every meal b/c if I give too much they gain weight so easily. They do fine on the timed feedings. No one dies....they have to get used to it and they do adjust. You may have a bit of trouble with kitty that eats alot (4 feedings may be better for him). And you will have to start watching that he doesn't eat anybody elses food. I feed one in the living room (so I can watch her) and one in the kitchen. If one of your kitties doesn't finish their food then you must take it off the floor and try giving it to them again in a half an hour or so, One thing that would help your bigger cat lose weight is putting him on a strictly canned food diet. This was the best thing I ever did for my cats. The vet recommended I put them on canned instead of dry food. Dry food isn't very healthy for cats anyways. You do not want your kitty to lose weight too fast. Cats can get cery sick from too quick of a weight loss. It should be gradual (around .2 to .4lbs every two weeks). I bought a scale and I weigh them once a week to make sure they aren't losing weight too fast or gaining too much weight. One last thing....I also add some water to their canned food to make them think they are getting more food. And also help them feel a bit more fuller :) :) Has your vet told you your cat is overweight? And if he has, has he told you his ideal weight? Because this is what you will be guaging for when calculating how much food he should be eating each day.
  • Rebecca NowakRebecca Nowak Orange County, NYMember Posts: 1,397
    edited 25 June, 2009
    To add on to what Lexus said...I only have 2 cats whom I feed together, but I have to watch them or Smudge will finish off Shade\'s food for him. I simply hang around and when Smudge is done I either pick him up (he burps!) or hold him back from Shade with my hand. I know it\'s more time consuming than feeding and going on to do something else, but it works (especially if you don\'t have doors). Could you try feeding them on different levels instead of different rooms? I don\'t know how you feel about cat\'s on your counters, but when my old girl was getting sick and eating slowly we let her eat on the kitchen counter because the others wouldn\'t go up there thus she was left to eat in peace. Or, if you would like to make Kizmet work for his food, you could place that up somewhere that he has to work to get to. He\'d at least burn a few calories getting to it! Like Lexus, I also feed my cats 3 times a day. They go from early morning (~5a.m.) until about 3:30 w/o food and have done so for most of their kittenhood and they\'ve grown to be big, healthy cats; so no, your cats will not starve while you are at work (providing that your vet hasn\'t mentioned a reason why this shouldn\'t be done for your cats). Good luck with your new feeding schedule!
  • edited 25 June, 2009
    Lexus is one clever cat. Some good ideas there. Does your bathroom have a door? That\'s where Mom puts me. All us fur-monsters have our own separate place to eat. I\'ve heard that some cats eat in their crates. Do you have a crate that one of you could use as your dinner space? It might take some getting used to, but after a couple food pick-ups, I bet you\'ll eat wherever your Mom says! :))
  • Lisa DausmanLisa Dausman Member Posts: 5,216
    edited 25 June, 2009
    I had to switch to scheduled feedings too, my vet wanted Bumpurr to lose a few lbs. It really didn't take him that long, to figure it out, that what mommy gave him, was what he was going to get, and he ate it all. I work too, so same as Lexus, feed before work, after work, before bed. I also feed them in their carriers. No one comes out, until everybody is done eating. This way, I know who is eating and who is not eating, and they are only eating, what they are given. Bumpurr gets a different amount than the kittens do, so he is not eating theirs, and they are not eating his. They really do get used to it. :D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D
  • ericka deciutiisericka deciutiis los angelesMember Posts: 193
    edited 29 June, 2009
    thank you all. i tried it out today, and of course, callie is the issue. she just doesn't want the food. even wet food i know she likes. i keep offering it to her, she's not interested. argh. so frustrating!!! kizmet only ate about half of the daily recommended amount, which i'm not too thrilled about. ah well. Rome wasn't built in a day....
  • Cecilia CretaroloCecilia Cretarolo PortlandMember Posts: 267
    edited 29 June, 2009
    Actually, 1/2 to 3/4 of the recommended amount is about right for most cats. The pet food companies base their recommended amounts on the assumption that all cats are getting at least an hour of vigorous playtime every day. Many cats (including Calypso) have become obese by being fed the recommended amount rather than what they need. I feed Calypso and Hermes Friskies wet food (not the best but it's the only "decent" canned I can afford) and they only each get 1 5.5 ounce can a day. If I were feeding according to the recommendations, Calypso would be getting 2 cans and Hermes would be getting more. What I feed them is completely based on my research into how many calories the food contains per ounce and how much each cat's ideal weight is. Since Kizmet seems to be your biggest concern, you should figure out how many calories you should be giving him daily. Since he's overweight, he should only be eating 18 calories per pound of body weight a day. If I remember correctly, you should feed for 2 pounds less than he currently is until he's within 2 pounds of his ideal weight. This will also help him get used to gradually eating less until you have him down to the amount of food he should be eating. If you don't know how many calories are in the food you currently have him on, plug in the nutritional info from the label here: http://www.scheyderweb.com/cats/catfood.html. This web site will also tell you what the carb content in the food is. If it's more than 25%, you should consider changing foods since Kizmet will never be able to lose weight with a high carb diet. A good example of this is Calypso. She started gaining weight when she was about 10 months old. At first I thought she was just filling out but before I knew it, she was overweight. I switched to a higher quality dry food and then had to feed her such a tiny amount I would wonder if she was getting enough to eat. After doing more research, I decided to put her on a raw diet. Within 3 months of starting it, she lost close to 2 pounds although she was eating twice as much as she was allowed when I gave her dry food. After talking to her vet about it, he came to the conclusion that her body is completely incapable of processing carbs. The drastic difference that came about from removing all carbs from her diet was amazing. The raw diet eventually became too expensive for me so I had to switch to canned. She's still keeping up the weight loss even though it's at a slower rate and I'm expecting to see her at her ideal weight by her 4th birthday. You may want to consider putting Kizmet on at least a 1/2 canned food diet. He'll be eating less carbs so there will be less for his body to store. The extra moisture will also help him feel full longer. Even if you can only feed Friskies or Fancy Feast, the reduced carbs will keep him much healthier than he is on an all dry diet.
  • Kerri ZimmermanKerri Zimmerman WinnipegMember Posts: 448
    edited 29 June, 2009
    Most pet food labels recommendations on portions is way too high of a portion of food to feed our cats. Label Recommendations (half way down the page) http://www.thepetcenter.com/imtop/catweight.html
  • ericka deciutiisericka deciutiis los angelesMember Posts: 193
    edited 1 July, 2009
    sweet! Thank you both for the info! :: purrs ::
  • Vicky ChanVicky Chan MarkhamMember Posts: 3,542
    edited 1 July, 2009
    All I can say is stop free feeding. Kismit is going to be an umpalumpa.. I was going to suggest feeding them separately, but since you live in a 1 bedroom apartment, it doesn\'t seem possible.
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