Cat feeding questions.

I have an adorable brat of a creamsicle (orange and white) kitty that we got from the Humane Society last year. When we got him, he was ill, underweight, and almost died from refusing to eat.

He’s absolutely thriving now, but I’m a little worried about his diet and not sure if I should be or not.

He was originally fed cheapish wet food with a little dry kitten food to supplement, but his bowel movements reeked an ungodly amount so we changed to better, more expensive food.

Up until a couple of months ago, his diet consisted of the following:

  • 1 can (3.5 ounces) of wet chicken cat food, fed once per day
  • 1/2 c of dry ‘indoor cat formula’ Iams cat food, fed twice per day (1c total)

He’s probably in the 12-15lb range now, and he got very chubby very quickly, so I wanted to scale it back a little bit. I checked the cat food packages for instructions on feeding, but it’s very confusing.

The wet food claims I should be feeding him 3 cans of it a day based on his weight, the dry food claims I should be feeding him 1c dry to maintain his weight and 3/4c dry (daily) for weight loss, but in combining the two I really don’t know what ratios to give.

Currently I feed him about 1.7-ish ounces of wet food (half the can) and 1/2 cup of dry food per day.

He always acts like he is starving, doing the kitty equivalent of screaming for food, but he will eat anything I put in front of him at any time, so I don’t know if he’s really honestly hungry or if he’s just eating to eat. I feed him at 7AM when I get home from work, and again at 7PM. He pretty much wolfs down the food in seconds, though occasionally he will leave a bit and go back for it later.

I do have a vet appointment in a few weeks coming up, so I’ll ask him about it, (plus he will get weighed properly) but until then I figured I might be able to get some input here, as well.

I have no problems feeding the cat if he’s really hungry and needs the food, but I also worry about him getting sick if he gains too much weight. In all other aspects he seems happy and healthy and he’s a very friendly with a sweet temperament.

Obligatory pictures for maximum ‘awwwwwwwww’ factor:

Don’t have much to say on the feeding issue as all my cats have been self-feeders (I just put out a bowl of dry food and let them work on it all day). Just posting to say that he’s a real cutie.

If he’s fat, he doesn’t need the food.

My two kitties share three cans a day. According to my vet, and others, dry food often leads to obesity.

I have two cats. I split a can of wet food between them twice a day (so they each get half a can twice a day, or a full can per day) plus leave a bowl of the dry stuff for them to nosh on as they see fit.

If they don’t eat the wet food at one feeding, I skip the next. (If half of breakfast is still in the bowl at dinner, they don’t get a fresh can for dinner.) If they still haven’t eaten it at the following meal (24 hours after it was first put down), I’ll toss that and open a fresh can.

Neither cat is at all fat. The female weighs about 8 pounds, the male about 12.

Some cats act all “I’m starving!” for reasons other than actual, physical hunger.

My big ol’ Maine Coon (around 18 lbs. and is vet-approved as “not fat at all,” MCs are a huge breed) will demand his morning kibble and evening canned food with loud and insistent noise, but then only eat a couple of bites. Comes back later for a few more bites, latherrinserepeat. He will also demand his next meal at its appointed time whether or not he has finished all of his previous meal.

Scale back his kibble a little (easier than dealing with half-cans of food sitting around the fridge) and see if his weight improves.
Does he exercise much? Maybe a little more wiggling strings and playtime, to improve muscle tone?

Most people feed their cats 2x a day, but it’s possible that giving him part of his food at midday (note: not extra food! just hold back part of his breakfast or whatever) might help. Might not. Dunno, ask yer vet.

You may want to put his kibble in a toy that dispenses the food as he plays. That way he gets exercise and fed.

I feed my kitties three times a day–wakeup, get home, and bedtime. This eliminates the middle of the night calls for food.

Ditto. Actually probably more on average of ~2.5-8 ( many days they get three, some days two, depending on how completely they feed ). I went all wet after the most recent urinary blockage episode, but according to at least the emergency vets I talked to, a very loose consensus seems to be building towards wet food just being better overall, regardless of pre-existing health issues.

I’m currently feeding a rotation of Wellness, Avoderm and prescription Royal Canin Urinary S/O and just this morning had my cat vaccinations updated - according to my vet, they are at a perfect weight.

This seems more IMHOish than GQesque.

My three cats split two cans per day, one in the morning and one in the evening, and I have one of those self-dispensing dry food feeders for them to nosh on. If they didn’t finish what I put out in the morning they don’t get more in the evening (and complain about it).

Two cats, neutered males, a slim 18-year-old and a portly but active 15-year-old. Their eating habits are different – the skinny one likes meat scraps and kitty treats but the fat one won’t touch them. I feed Iams dry but not on a schedule – when the dishes are empty (usually every other day) I fill them up. They eat when they’re hungry. I’m afraid if I started paying a lot of attention to feeding times and amounts, they’d get finicky. It might not work for all cats, but it seems to work for them.

Cats don’t get fat eating wet food. They get fat eating too much dry food. Moreover, cats don’t drink a lot of water and wet food contains good moisture for them.

I help feed a neighborhood orange tabby, whose original owner left the area. She worked two jobs and wasn’t home for 12 hours at a time. She fed this cat, and another cat she took with her, dry food only, twice a day. This cat, name of Harry, was quite thin. In fact, sometimes when she left for the day, she let them outside and they would come to my door meowing for food. At first, I thought they were strays and also did not have any cat food on hand. Another neighbor in our townhouse complex told the original owner that she would adopt Harry and for her not to take Harry. So she didn’t. However, a stray white cat came upon my neighbor and adopted her, and this cat is quite territorial. As a result, my neighbor hardly feeds Harry. I know of two other neighbors, however, who help feed him. This neighbor tells me that she feeds the cats Fancy Feast Medley, so I buy that instead of the cheap cat food at Costco, which, at first they would eat, but they do like Medley much better. Harry won’t eat the other brand any more.

All of this is besides the point. Cats in the wild don’t feed twice a day. They feed several times a day when they can catch prey. Harry apparently spends the night outside, but wakes me up around 3:30 AM for food. (He knocks on my front door with his tail.) He is then starved and will gulp down some dry food, but he knows I will open up a can of Fancy Feast Medley and awaits anxiously for the “good stuff.” I then give him a can, which he usually finishes and looks around for more. So I open up another can, and he usually eats half of that and then leaves. Sometimes I don’t see him again for the day, but today when I got home about two hours ago, he was under my deck and wanted in, especially, I guess, because it started to rain. He again ate some dry food and a little more of the wet. When he doesn’t come back to see me later in the day, I know one of my neighbors is feeding him. He will feed again later today before he exits for the night.

He is six years old and has gained a lot of weight. I took him to the vet six months ago and the vet says he’s not fat but quite healthy at 12 pounds. I give him a Revolution shot every month. He looks to be about the same weight as your cat. But he is basically an outdoor cat, although today, after he ate, he decided to stay in with me and actually lay down on the bed with me. He is still sleeping on my bed. But being an outdoor cat, he is quite active, so although he may eat as much as three cans of wet food (they are the smaller cans) and some dry food, he is not too fat.

BTW. Yahoo Groups has a nice group on cats: cats-healthandbehavior.

Talk to your vet about your cat’s diet, but be aware that some of them (mostly the assistants and not the vet him/herself, in my experience) will point you toward whatever diet the clever sales rep gave them freebies for. I went through three vets before I got hip to that.

I give my two tabbies each a can of Friskies tasty wet food in the evenings, strictly at 7 when they come in from their 5 - 7 outdoor time (weather permitting). They have NEVER gotten tasty wet food in the mornings. If they woke me up crying to be fed every morning (a horrible habit to let a cat get into, IMO) I would be having kitty-kebobs for supper.

It’s just not true that they get enough moisture from wet food. If they are eating any amount of dry kibble, they need fresh water.

Mine are very weird about drinking water, though. Buddy will only drink out of a glass I keep on my computer desk, so I always keep that fresh. Sissy will not drink if I am watching her. Cats are weird.

My (new, great) vet told me that most owners don’t give their cats enough fresh clean water. She told me that while cats will eat most anything, they are very picky about water and won’t drink enough if it’s not palatable to them. Keep fresh bowls in several places where they can get to them, and keep them clean.

Oh holy CRAP I’ve gone on with another crazy cat lady rant. I will send it anyway, just for the feedback, even if it’s to tell me that I am crazy.

(two cats isn’t crazy! When I get up to twelve, I’ll be sure to let y’all know)

Friskies is the brand that Costco offers. Costco sells them very cheap, about 18 cents a can, as I recall. I’ve spoiled Harry and feed him only Medley for wet food, cheapest at Wal-Mart, but still 74 cents a can there.

I didn’t mean to intimate that cats don’t have to drink water if they eat wet food, but it helps with their water supply. Harry never wants to drink any water I offer him. He prefers to drink out of the neighborhood pond or a rain puddle.

If he’s getting porky, he’s getting too much food.

As for figuring ratios for scaling back, it sort of depends on what ratio of wet to dry you’re using. Though I’ll warn you that most pet food packages recommend far more food than is actually needed. Because of that, I wouldn’t even use the things on the back of the package as anything but a starting guideline. At any rate, whatever you’re giving now is too much. Cut both the dry and the wet back by about a quarter and see how that does him. Adjust as needed.

If he screams for food constantly, sometimes putting them on a higher-fiber formula for a while helps. Our older cat was a constant shrieker and wool-sucker when I first got her, and giving her a high-fiber weight loss food let her eat more volume for the same calories, and it seemed to help a fair bit. It doesn’t help all of them, but it’s certainly worth discussing the option with your vet.

I am also firmly in the wet food camp. I feed my three cats two cans+ of quality, grain free wet food per day. I personally feed Wellness. My tabby is still overweight, but it is slowly coming off. She got big (18 lbs) after I free-fed dry food filled with grains & carbs. No more dry in my house.

Here’s some good reading on a vet’s site. She knows a lot about cats.

That doesn’t mean he’s actually hungry. Cats will do that, especially if (like yours) they were neglected or underfed when they were young. He probably won’t ever outgrow that behavior.

So don’t let his behavior control what you feed him. Do it based on results.
Carefully measure the food you give him (remember to include any treats) – write it down. And then weigh him every week or so, and write that down. If he’s too fat, cut back on the food until he begins to lose weight. (And increase the exercise: laser pointer!) Then maintain the food at that level until he is the desired weight, then increase it a bit so that he maintains that weight.

But do it all based on your records of how much you fed him, and what he actually weighed at the end of the week. Don’t base it on his behavior, or your feelings, or your impression of his health or weight – check your records.

I have a 19 year old cat that was fed dry Iams almost her entire life. She now has a thyroid problem and is paper thin so she gets whatever her Highness will begrudgingly eat. She used to get a small handful of treats which I now question as wise because they all had food coloring in them (when did a cat care what color food was?). I know this from my permanently stained rug.

and I didn’t mean to be such a bitch. please to forgive?