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On feeding my "lovers"

Cats, books, life is good.

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Nov 4, 2010, 6:29pm Top

Dear group,

I wanted to attract your attention.
I was going to Tag it "I am curious CAT" but that would have exposed my age :-)

I "always" leave dry food out for my cats.
The few times that it runs out over the night,
(my new stray, only 1 year? )
my HRH 16 yo. Highness wakes me up at 6am. incessantly. to remind me of the empty bowl.

OK SHE is fat, but I figure that at her age she is allowed to be "FAT". OK she dies a few years earlier, but content.

Your ideas on feeding our darlings?


Nov 4, 2010, 6:32pm Top

I sort of do the same thing Guido, only I fear that it becomes a problem as the cat will become more and more imperious about feeding. My partner who has a degree in psych thinks I am spoiling her with "intermittent reinforcement" of her negative behavior (waking me up yowling).

Nov 4, 2010, 8:05pm Top

My Dear Annie,
There is NO problem.
The bowl must, repeat must always be FULL!

Guido, a curator of CATS!

Nov 4, 2010, 10:07pm Top

I've always kept the dry food bowl filled... day & night.

Then I feed a quarter to a third of a can of 'wet' food approximately three times a day.

Cat still tries to wake me up to say "I'm hungry! Feed Me NEOW!!!"

If that doesn't work, he gets off the bed, goes to the dry food & eats some of that.

He'll then try to wake me up later with the same request/complaint.

but I agree with the intermittent reinforcement being a bad 'thing'... but that's life for the kitty.

Nov 4, 2010, 11:41pm Top

OK SHE is fat, but I figure that at her age she is allowed to be "FAT". OK she dies a few years earlier, but content.

Would you say that about your children? As a pet owner, you have a responsibility to your cat to look after her health. "Allowing" her to be fat is not okay. Your cat can be both content and healthy.

You should talk to your vet about her diet.

Nov 5, 2010, 1:03am Top

I have always provided unlimited dry food for my kitties using a gravity feeder until I became the staff of a siamese with a sensitive stomach. He overeats then promptly vomits on the carpet, not the tile floor, the carpet. Answer: 1/3 cup dry food daily and 1/2 cup wet food split morning and night. He looks fine and doesn't beg or whine so I think I solved the problem. Of course both the dry and wet food are a brand for sensitive tummies that I can only get at the vet's office. Oh well, as long as he is healthy and purrs all the time he is worth the extra expense.

Edited: Nov 5, 2010, 2:10am Top

Dear Lilithcat,
I have followed some of your discussions elsewhere and you have never been "politicaly correct" before.
My Lizzy is 16+ yo. She sleeps approx. 20 hours a day. She has a MAD minute once a week. She "hates" the new stray with a passion.

So, if I allow her to "remain" fat ...and I inherited her from
my late father (fat then, Lizzy that is) I guess she is comfortable being
Sure I would not accecpt kids being fat, and I have struggled with
"tubbyness" all my own life (except when I was a handsome 20 yo. :-))

But what is 16+ cat years, translated into human years?
And please don't do that 7 to 1 ratio. I suspect it is more complex than that. Thus a 2 yo. is an adult but a 16 yo.
is not really a 90 yo. in human years!

Your "cat" servant.


Nov 5, 2010, 2:18am Top

We have a 22 YO(Male only, inside) on RX Dry and RX Canned and a 12 YO(Female, out in the day, in at night) on a Sensitive Tummy, though not RX dry.

We keep the RX dry, canned and distilled H2O in the kitchen 24/7. (as a rule, we replenish every 10-12 hrs, but only a couple of Tablespoons of the Canned and maybe 1/3 cup of the dry at a time).

The non Rx dry and bottled H20 is in the garage and replenished often, probably over the course of 24 hrs about 1 cups worth( we're feeding a couple of the neighboorhood wanderers). I also keep a bowl of bottled H2O and dry non RX on the dresser for late night snacks. She doesn't eat more than a couple of bites of this at night or if the weather's bad and she's stuck inside. I keep it away from the 22YO as he needs to focus on his food, but he does eat a bite here and there and it's ok. He's probably about 17 lbs now, he fluctuates between 16 and 18 and the vet is not at all concerned at his age with the extra weight. The concern would be were he to rapidly lose weight. Also, it's important as they age that are on a quality food and probably an RX one at that addresses any health issues they may have.

That all being said, it is entirely possible that the 6AM yowling has absolutely nothing to do with food.
Having dealt with senior cats, I do know that when they start to lose their sight/hearing and the dreaded dementia starts to set in they tend to yowl more. Our 22YO is blind, and his hearing is impaired, but not severely. He still moves freely about the house, jumps in the recliner, on the bed and walks on the porch. But in the mornings and afternoons when my husband is getting ready or has just gotten home from work he Yowls constantly. It's his way of making sure we know where he is and that he wants things to calm down so he's more at ease. He does not like his routine disturbed. Same thing in the afternoon when he gets up from his 4 hr nap, YOWL YOWL YOWL, but all he's doing is saying Hey, WOW--I'm still here !!

Of course, let's not forget the occasional howl from the master bath(where his extra H2O bowl is located) LOL we've learned that one is his "What the hell did I come in here for???"

Edited: Nov 5, 2010, 3:24am Top

I have 2 cats and I also always leave dry food out. About 1/2 cup a day seems to usually do the trick. A bit more if the canned food wasn't up to muster.

Canned food is doled out twice a day, 1/2 can each at each meal (they almost never finish it). How long I leave that out depends on the temperature in my apartment.

I think because I don't work a regular schedule, my cats have no need for a regular feeding time. It's basically whenever I get up and whenever I get home from work. It generally translates into every 12 hours or so.

With all that said, my younger cat (1+yrs old) only eats every 3rd meal. Other than that, she only wants Temptations (known to astonishingly many as "kitty crack"). I only give her 3 at a time, in vain hope that she'll eat proper food when she's good and hungry, but...whatever, she's still just a ball of endless energy. Bothering me right now. So I should go play string so I can get some sleep...

Oh, and as for drinking, water is poured fresh twice a day with their meal, but they both prefer the toilet. That must be some great water!

Nov 5, 2010, 5:21am Top

I feed almost the same as sakemiki (just dry in the morning, wet in the evening) and even so Tilly's stomach sometimes rejects biscuits. She is a moggy, but one of my siamese was just the same.

She doesn't demand food until about 40 minutes before 'teatime'. Then, she sits in front of her bowl and 'reminds' you that it is time for you to provide!

She does also get a taste of most human meals, and will tap your arm or leg with her paw if you forget. Even if it really isn't food that cats would like, she determinedly eats it ;)

She is 14 now, and currently has a slight pot belly because my lodger can't resist her pleas. She had to have her teeth out a few years ago because she would not bite her biscuits and they became rotten (didn't stop her catching mice - and rats!!) But she is still extremely healthy otherwise.

Nov 5, 2010, 8:28am Top

A 16 year-old cat is about 80 in human years.

I saw a bowl at Petco yesterday that I thought about getting for my furbabies. It's designed to make them work a little bit for their kibble so they don't just gobble it down then warf it back up. It's a gravity feeder, but it only dispenses a little at a time, so you could refill it twice a day so they always have food, but they won't just mindlessly eat it all day long.

Nov 5, 2010, 12:57pm Top

My sister got a device for slowing down the rapid eating problem; it's a ball about 3" in diameter with holes in it that will allow a piece of kibble to fall out, as the cat rolls the ball around the floor. It annoyed Jasper a great deal.

Nov 5, 2010, 12:59pm Top

11 and 12, we have this trouble with one of our two cats. I will look for one of these bowls/balls to see if we can solve her issue. Thanks!

Guido, you are obviously a very well-trained cat butler.

Nov 6, 2010, 5:16pm Top

My Australian tortoiseshell eats between 180 and 270g of Kangaroo steak mince each day and nibbles on a bit of dried food occasionally. The Kangaroo meat is not finely minced and the cat gets to have a good chew on it. Her teeth are fine (she's about 12 y.o.). She also eats a bit of grass and the occasional bird, marsupial mouse or lizard.

She's very active: Dashes from one end of the garden to the other and up and down trees. Enjoys hunting.

Nov 6, 2010, 9:27pm Top

I have three cats and three feeding stations and it doesn't matter, at 6 a.m. they want to be feed regardless. Since I don't get up till 8 a.m. they will give up and eat the food that's there. They will not eat wet food or "people food" not even tuna, I don't know why but they won't.

Nov 7, 2010, 10:14am Top

I have two cats - They are a perfect weight and they don't have problems with over eating.

I just want to my thoughts on a couple of comments
First, I never ever feed a begging cat. If you ignore them completely, they will stop, eventually. It takes will power and any number of early morning, but it will work. It will also get worst before it gets better. If you get a new cat or kitten, its much easier because the habit will never start.

Second, Obese cats are so sad. I don't think people realize exactly how fat their cats (and dogs) are. Also, they have such a lower quality of life than a normal size cat. They tend to live for food, sleep, and the occasional head scratch. Not much of a life. For the 16 year old cat, I would first do a full medical check up and ask the vet about a diet. I would also change all cat food to a high protein, no grain brands. Also, do wet as much as possible. Do your research on diet cat foods - a lot of times they replace protein with carbohydrates, so a cat has to eat more to gain the necessary protein.

Third, for the cat that gets sick after eating dry cat food. It could be two things - he's so hungry he's over eating, than puking it up. Or, it could be a minor food allergy to something in the cat food, my first guess would be wheat, corn, or soy (but it can also be beef, chicken or food coloring). Many cats are allergic to this and get sick often, but cat owners just expect that their cat will puke often, so doesn't think its a problem. Look into adding a third meal between night and morning or putting food on a automatic food dispenser. Think of it this way, a cat stomach is designed to hold one mouse (about 2 tablespoons), five or six times a day. Feeding twice a day doesn't work with a cats biology.

One last thought on over eating - low quality cat food (and Iams and Science Diet Count in this) are filled with too many carbohydrates, not enough protein, so a cat needs to over eat just to get the right amount of protein.

Puzzle balls and boxes will help, but if the food isn't good, or if a cat is bolting food, you aren't solving the problem of why he's doing it.

My cat Bentley is 11 years old - is very active and is the perfect weight. Also, when I switched to a grain free cat food, he stopped puking. I have never had a problem since (well, once I was stuck at my folks for Xmas in a snow storm. I think he was worried I would never come back).

Theres a lot of misinformation going around about cat food. There is a lot of controversy too. My suggestion, do your research, and talk to your vet, but understand vets get their information from cat food companies, so do your research first, then bring it to your vet.

Nov 7, 2010, 12:54pm Top

@16 has some very good points. Also, remember this about non RX food, even the high end stuff...there can be great inconsistencies between manufacturing batches. The manufacturers are only required to meet minimual guidelines, so if wheat is cheaper than corn, they're going to go with wheat. Then next go round, corn might be cheaper. That can and does affect the overall quality, and also explains why a pet can be fine on a food for a really long time, then suddenly have issues.

I have noticed that all my cats after a certain age, probably in the 15 years and up, become more interested in human food. I've discussed it on occasion with their vets and each time I've been told it
is acceptable for them to partake, in moderation, never ever to exceed 25% of their diet, but to be very careful about it. One found it hilarious that one of ours went bonkers for cantelope and yogurt and said, at least it's not burgers and fries :) Personally I think it's a matter of taste. When they reach that point, especially if they are an indoors, they've got to be flat out bored from eating the same thing day in and day out that it seems totally reasonable that they would crave something different.

Nov 8, 2010, 4:53am Top

I find it amazing what some cats will go crazy for - I grew up with a sealpoint Siamese who was obsessed by raw mushrooms! And our two 99% black cats won't rest until they've each had a tiny piece of blueberry muffin (but won't touch chocolate muffins), and I know several cats who adore cooked spaghetti ...

Nov 8, 2010, 7:53am Top

It is amazing what some cats like to eat. Some years ago we adopted a black kitten, who turned out to like: mushrooms (raw), melon, cucumber and bread. One of the other cats loved the stringy part of the melon around the pips. The rest had not interest unless it was meat or dairy.

Nov 8, 2010, 11:20am Top

A book I just read, the Silent Miaow, which is written by a cat for other cats to learn how to manipulate people, says that cats pick these weird things to eat just to keep their humans clearly aware of who is boss.

Nov 8, 2010, 1:25pm Top

I love that book!

Nov 8, 2010, 1:39pm Top

My older cat LOVES a taste of cottage cheese everyday. Also, if I dare to bring home chow mein, she's in for the first bite.

I used to have a cat who had no interest in people food (other than insisting on smelling it before I ate) with the exception of diced black olives. It was like kitty caviar.

I've also never had a cat who turned done the taste of caramel or malt on the rare occasions it's around.

Nov 9, 2010, 4:02am Top

My oldest cat Emma is used to having food in her ALL the time and gets whiney if there's no food in it, so I bought a feeder and would fill it up a couple of times a week. She just eats until she's full. Shes a tiny thing and weighs less than 5 lbs. Her choice of people food: french fries & pancakes :)

So when I got Knightley I just figured he would be like Emma & he would eat only when hungry.. wrong.. He walks by the bowl, looks at it, grabs a bite. He has to eat if Emma is eating. He wants my food when Im eating.

So I say, if your cat looks to be at a healthy weight, leave out the food. If they seem to be packin it on its probably time to take away the feeder :)

Nov 10, 2010, 2:22pm Top

I have a dry food feeder out all the time. My two cats don't seem to have a problem with pigging out. My 11 year old tux loves all sort of human food, but especially chicken, beef and gravy. She also will attack me for soda crackers (the salted ones you put in soup). My slightly younger, lion/squirrel long haired tabby hates all human food except for yogurt. She will chase you down for the pleasure of licking the lid clean.

Neither cat has any digestive problems, and the only time they whine for food is every Sat morning, when they get a can of wet food. The louder tabby gets our attention, the quieter tux pulls rank and gets first dibs. Neither cat is the least bit overweight, and are both really healthy.

Edited: Nov 11, 2010, 7:31pm Top

Hi Group,
I just wrote a long, and I hope interesting letter about Lizzy.
Of course, just as I was about to send it, Lizzy jumped on the keyboard
and it was lost.

Oh well, attempt #2.

My dear "ThedevineOomba" #16,

Before I mention my question, I thought I will tell you an anecdote about
Lizzy and my late Dad.

Dad was a mathematician/statistician and this would sometimes spill into his mundane life.

One day he decided to find out what Lizzy really liked to eat.
Since this was a one off experiment, I had to tell him off for not "following
strict scientific protocol" :-)

Well, he laid out a smorgasbord of: raw steak,salmon(Raw and canned),chicken (Raw and cooked),Lamb, and IAMs
Lizzy sniffed each of these offering, but only ate the IAMs.

Since my "stray" has now embedded himself into my life (almost a year now)
I have noticed Lizzy becoming more flexible re. food.
ie. she now licks the gravy from Max's food (he is not that taken with IAM's)

Dear "Devine" you mentioned:

One last thought on over eating - low quality cat food (and Iams and Science Diet Count in this)

I was wondering if you can suggest a "better" quality dry food.
I have noticed that since Max moved in, Lizzy seems to have become a bit
bored with IAM's.

Your appreciative, CAT butler,


Nov 11, 2010, 10:42pm Top

Cat food is crazy :) and cats even more so :) Speaking of studies, there was once a mouse flavored cat food. But cats didn't like it. As for your experiment, a lot of the cheap brands, including Iams, is like Junk Food. Its designed to be very tasty so a cat will eat it. If you are interested in how to read labels and such, check this out: http://www.catinfo.org/

As for brands, I always go for the grain free varieties. These usually say on the bag, but I feed Wellness Core and Taste of the Wild. I've also fed Nature's Variety, but I find it a bit crumbly and my cats don't seem to like it very much. These brands are quite a bit more expensive than the regular cat food, but my cats don't eat as much of it. Also, They use a lot less litter :)

A couple of middle of the line varieties are Royal Canin, Chicken Soup for the Cat (or similar name, can't quite remember :). My Mom has had luck feeding Natural Balance to her very overweight cats and getting them to loose weight. These are not grain free, but ingredients are fairly good.

Whats interesting about what I feed, is that one day, my cats love a certain cat food, the next day, they don't. But a few days later, they love it again. They have food cravings, just like humans. I do believe in feeding a couple different varieties - it means less finicky eaters, and if you have to you can quickly switch food with no stomach ailments.

Nov 12, 2010, 10:54pm Top


Your statement "but understand vets get their information from cat food companies, so do your research first, then bring it to your vet" made me gasp dramatically. :)

I have worked with veterinarians (and now work at a feline-specific hospital) for 20 years and only a lazy, lazy, careless veterinarian would get their nutritional recommendations from a pet food company. Do those vets exist? Afraid so. ASK your veterinarian how/where they get their annual continuing education.

Folks, get your nutritional info from American Association of Feline Practitioners and the Cornell Center for Feline Health. They are unbiased and their goal is feline well-being.

Nov 13, 2010, 1:38am Top

This is what I know about vets - vets get one class in animal nutrition. This is for the entire spectrum, dogs, cats, rabbits etc. All the vets I've had, I've done battle with catfood. These are usually small, one or two doctor practices with a large part being live stock. Older vets tend to discount the importance of wet cat food vs dry vs a large amount of urinary tract infection. I think newer vets are more open to new thoughts in cat nutrition, especially with the advent of animal nutritionists, people who specialize in animal feed.

This isn't too say these vets aren't good vets, or aren't current on new research. I would trust all of them with my cats, on everything except the food issue. If your vet recommends Science Diet as a regular cat food (not including prescription) than your vet is not up on what to feed cats. Science Diet is popular because it makes a good prescription diet, so vets think the regular cat food is good. Also, if your vet sells a bad cat food in his practice, theres a good chance that he hasn't looked at the label, or isn't up on current cat nutrition.

I don't have a cat only practice where I live. In fact, as far as I know, there are only two or three in MN. If you are lucky enough to work with vets who are cats only, educated about food, consider yourself very lucky. Its not that common. Many of the cat forums I read have people who the same thing.

I'm not dismissing your comment at all, but I think vets who can specialize are much more on top of research and trends than a vet is not specialized, simply because it is difficult enough to keep on top of current research. If you believe you are recommending the right food for an animal, you aren't going to spend a lot of time researching what you believe to be true.

By the way, my current vet thinks what I feed my cats are perfect. I could have hugged the man. But, its a large, 8 or 9 vet practice. The last vet (ran a practice by herself) told me wet food causes cavities, dry food cleans teeth, and if a cat is thirsty, he drinks water. But, I really liked this vet because outside of the food issue, she was absolutely wonderful, and where I was currently living, she was the best out of the lot. The one previous to that told me cats can't be fixed until 8 months of age. She was mostly a livestock person, but again, ran her own practice.

Nov 13, 2010, 5:09pm Top

@28 I agree with you for the most part, but you also have to take in consideration that not all high end products are "good " products. For my 20 year old dog I was going to have to change foods, and I did tremendous research on several, and to my dismay all but 2 had had some kind of recall issue. This was after the big scare of a couple of years ago. WOW, did that really open my eyes. The only one with a clean record I found was Taste of the Wild and he did great on the first 30 lb bag, and on the second one, bam, worse problems than before we started, and those problems affected him psychologically as well as physically.** At that time, I discussed with his vet and he suggested I go back to the same food as before, but a different formulation and we've had no problems since. I had a really hard time accepting that he wasn't eating the highest quality food available, but he is eating a SAFE food, with good nutrition, and no more stomach issues.

** I don't think there was anything wrong with the food, only that the formulation wasn't right for Taz's system. If faced with having to change his food again, and if they have had no recall issues in the meantime, I would definitely try them again.

Great vets are hard to find. I've learned don't always let your first impression rule. One of the greatest vets I ever have encountered was a partner in a 3 vet practice, not our primary or even secondary vet, and he was the oldest probably by 10 or 15 years. A little rough around the edges and not very "catering to every whim" type. One of my males developed bladder blockages and it had gotten quite serious, quite quickly. After a multitude of tests and consults, another of the vets suggested that we essentially do a surgery and turn him from male to female. Yes, we considered it, had more tests done, and somehow, the older vet got involved and suggested that we change him from tap water to distilled water. Voila, problem solved. Talk about impressed, and humbled.

Do I think that I was being given bad info, or were they chasing my wallet? No, they were young docs going with newer technology and had no experience with his suggestion. It was a country doc remedy. I did observe that the younger guys were equally impressed. Most importantly, aside form the fact that Inde was now healthy again, was that I certainly got my nose out of the air and learned that older, simpler and grumpier are not bad things for a vet to be :)

Nov 13, 2010, 6:50pm Top

#28 - I completely agree with what you said. Experience is always important. My new vet is an older gentleman (50ish) and absolutely wonderful. Its just really difficult to find a good vet who is willing to sacrifice most of his or her time to keep up on all the current research.

I do want to add that cat food is so difficult. You get 10 cat lovers in a room, and you get 10 different, contradicting answers. As for cat food, I don't think that Wellness, Natures Variety or Taste of the Wild have been recalled, although, I've been feeding these brands for about 2.5 years. The products with wheat gluten have a very good chance of being recalled (Chicken for cats Soul, Royal Canin, etc). But, I don't blame these companies for being duped by bad wheat gluten because they assumed the product was good, but more on not knowing where the ingredients come from at all. Also, I believe that no grain product should be in a cat food, so thats another strike against them.

But, what you say is very valid. Cats systems are very sensitive. What one cat does very well on, another cat will become very sick.

And, as I said before switching food, vets, or any sort of medical issue change, do your research first. Don't change just because the advice sounds good from a board such as this.

Edited: Nov 13, 2010, 9:25pm Top


You're right, I'm afraid, about training for animal nutrition when in vet school. Which is shocking, really, considering we KNOW how much health is tied to nutrition.

The doctor that started our Cat-Only practice did so because cats are NOT small dogs. It sounds obvious, but they are 2 different species with very different nutritional needs. Obligate carnivores have very specific needs. I'm sorry you've had such a challenge finding a knowledgable, trustworthy vet; I do kind of live in a bubble. Sometimes I forget until someone comes in for the first time and, mouth agape, tells us how this is the first time they've ever heard most of the information they are hearing.

Good luck to all in your quest for sound veterinarians. They do exist.

Nov 14, 2010, 12:00am Top

If there was a cat only practice in my area, I would cry for joy. I'm lucky that where I currently live, the vets office has five or six vets so they can specialize a bit more and have the time to stay current. But, its not the same as being able to specialize in one species.

Nov 22, 2010, 5:09pm Top

>22 retropelocin: retropelocin.... I too had a cat that loved black olives. I didn't have to dice the olives but did have to de-seed them for him.

By the way, I'm curious about what most people here are feeding their cats. Not being in north America I don't usually know whether the 'brands' everyone is talking about are canned food, dry food or raw meat. Is it unusual for people to feed their cats (and dogs for that matter) raw meat in your part of the world?

Nov 22, 2010, 11:18pm Top

I think it's probably more unusual to do so with cats. It sort of depends on whether you're city folk or country folk to a certain point, I would think.

I know this time of year our dogs always got the turkey innards and they always got the meat scrappings throughout the year.

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