Putting a cat on a diet- advice, please

I found out at a vet visit today that my fat cat Luna has gained even more weight, and I’d really like to get her to lose some.

There’s a problem: I have another cat, Katya, who does not need to lose weight. I suspect Luna will sometimes eat to keep Katya away from the food dish as a way to assert her dominance.

Feeding them in separate places won’t really work- there’s no way to keep Luna out of the kitchen where we feed Katya. Katya has to be fed in the kitchen because she likes to be petted while she eats, and that’s the only place that the table with her food on it (so we don’t have to squat or bend down until our backs hurt to pet her) can go. Another problem with shutting Luna up somewhere is that she’s a Siamese mix, and can generate very loud, unearthly yowls when she is shut in.

They’re already on a low-calorie food. I’m afraid of cutting back too much the amount I give them for fear that Luna will hog all the food and Katya won’t get any.

We feed them dry food, and I don’t want to go to canned, because we’ve had problems with flies when we fed them canned food. It’s also more difficult for us to do canned food than it is for most people. We keep kosher, so we can’t use one of our spoons or dishes for their food, nor can we wash any spoon or dish we use for their food in our sink or dishwasher.

They’re both used to grazing- eating small amounts of food from a dish that’s out all day. This also means that they don’t pester us for food, which is good. If we were to give them discrete meals, we couldn’t do more than two a day when we’re both working (I’m not now, but I hope that will change soon), unless we bought some sort of timer device to dispense the food.

Anyone got any advice?

Sorry, no picture of them- I can’t find the online picture I had.

Feed them at the exact same time every day, twice a day and that’s it. Don’t let them graze. That is the only logical thing I can think of. Our cats are both pure siamese appleheads. We have the exact same issue. I can’t tell you if it works because I’m afraid to try it myself for fear of nocturnal reprocussions…

Feed them the wet food that comes in packets instead of cans. It doesn’t need spoons or forks to be served so that solves the kosher problem. As far as flies I would just walk the empty packet to the outside trash right after you empty it. If you can’t or won’t do that you may have to suck up the noise for a bit and separate the cats while they eat. Otherwise your only other options are on the exercise end of the spectrum and you will need to put in a solid half our of chasing the kitty around or playing with a laser pointer to get them working off the food that they are eating.

Would you have time to feed them canned food once or twice a day and wait around until they’ve eaten, then take up the dishes? To solve the kosher problem, you could use paper or plastic plates and plastic silverware (or get the stuff in the packets, as pbbth suggested). If they’re not getting enough to eat with the wet food, you could supplement it by letting them graze on some weight-control food during the day while you aren’t home.

Just curious: if you can’t wash their dishes in your sink or dishwasher, where do you wash the dish you use for the dry food? Or are you already using some sort of disposable dishes?

Yep. I measure out their food and let my cats graze only on what is left over from what they don’t finish right away and then only if it is dry food ( they’re fed wet one feeding, dry the next ). They don’t need to be fed any more often than that. The main problem would be if one or more them is a dainty eater who won’t eat much in a sitting. However that behavior can often be changed safely enough as long as they eat something immediately - when they’re hungry enough they’ll usually learn to gorge a bit more.

The other thing to do is actively play with them more ( assuming you don’t already ). Get a Cat Dancer, Da Bird, a laser pointer or some other similar interactive cat toy and have a scheduled play time every evening or every other evening or so. If they aren’t active cats to begin with it can really help getting them running around and even if they are a little extra calorie burning never hurts.

As to this, don’t let the stuff sit out for more than twenty minutes or so ( it’ll get rancid anyway ) and just use the pop lids as sppons/forks. I pop the lid and gouge out roughly half the can with the lid per bowl ( I have two cats ). Then the whole thing goes in the trash. Requires a tad more dexterity, but no way am I making more dishes for myself - no fuss, no mess :).

ETA: I assume you have a seperate sink where the bowls can be quickly rinsed out. I assume you must wash out the dishes for the dry food once in awhile somehow.

We use the bathroom sink and paper towels for that when the dish needs it. It doesn’t very often, because they have a separate water dish (that also gets washed in the bathroom sink with paper towels).

I’m a little worried about gashing my hand that way. I’m good at injuring myself with things like that.

Katya kind of is. I’ll see if I can get her to be more assertive.

How long should I let them eat for? If I should only give them 10 minutes or so, it might be feasible to shut Luna in the bathroom. If it’s more like an hour, no way.

I just poked around and 15-30 minutes seems to be a common number people throw out. I imagine you can experiment a bit. I notice when I feed mine they often snarf up a bit, stop to do other kitty things, then wander back to munch some more after 5 or ten minutes. I’m sure it varies, cats being individualistic about almost everything.

If Katya is the submissive one and will only eat while being ministered too ( jeez, what a diva! :stuck_out_tongue: ), it might actually be easy. Feed her her maintanenance diet in her two feedings, petting her the whole time I suppose ( :smiley: ), while Luna is locked away and yowling. Then you can be a little more cavalier with Luna, just making sure she doesn’t have enough to get fat on.

If you’re already standing there petting Katya while they eat, why not just keep her from eating out of Luna’s bowl? Dump appropriate amount of kibble in both bowls and if Katya finishes first pick her up or stop her from bullying her way into the other bowl.

They’ll learn to eat two meals instead of grazing after a few days. I think that 15 minutes is plenty of time to leave the food out. My cats eat twice a day and they snarf up their bowls in half that time.

when malenka the miraculous needed to drop a few pounds, we had kitty aerobic time.

everyday i would have her running all over chasing the laser pointer for 15-20 minutes. nod the naughty and winken the wonderful did not play with the laser so i didn’t have to worry about her getting nudged out of play. (they did enjoy watching her do circles!)

she lost the weight and i didn’t have to change the way i fed the 3 of them. i figured out the amount of food from the package for their weights, and malenka’s target weight and only put that amount in the bowl.

my furry ones are free range science diet dry, with a can of fancy feast on sundays and holidays, federal or personal.

is there a toy or game that only katya will play with that you can turn into kitty aerobic time?

I had a similar problem with my two cats, one needed to lose weight and the other really was fine. After reading this book, “Your Cat: Simple New Secrets to a Longer, Stronger Life”, I learned that the best diet for cats is wet food. (Canned or pouch) The basic reasoning is that cats are carnivores and do not need carbohydrates. Dry cat food is a lot of carb filler including corn and wheat and other things cats simply don’t need. They only need meat. According to Hodgkins, feeding your cat wet food will allow the cat to naturally shed weight that has been gained through eating too many carbs. Basically cats are the ideal Atkins eaters! She goes into more detail about it in the book, but that’s the basic gist.

Luckily, all cats benefit from this diet, so I’ve put both of my cats on it and they love it. It took them a little bit of time to get used to not having dry food out all the time, but we have three set feeding times, and they are growing accustom to it. They eat up their serving in about 5 minutes really! It’s been about a month and my tubby girl seems to be losing a bit of weight already.

I couldn’t see why both of your cats could eat the same thing, it will be healthy for both of them.

Overall, I really recommend the book for all cat owners (I borrowed it from the library.) It will really open your eyes about cat food.

The low-calorie food I’ve run across seems to make some cats gain weight like crazy. They’re simply too high in carbohydrates for a cat.

We switched to the Iams Multi-Cat and had pretty good success even with our roly-polies.