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SamIAm's avatar

Pet owners: How would you go about doing this (see details)?

Asked by SamIAm (8633 points ) January 5th, 2011

I just got back from the vet and he told me I need to decrease the amount of food my kitties are eating. He said they should be eating ¼ cup of dry food per day, per cat.

I have two cats – Frasier is almost 20lbs and his sister, Sasha is about 8lbs. I am currently feeding them about 1 cup/day (total). Sasha tends to eat less than Frasier, and Frasier is always the one crying for food.

What I’ve been doing is feeding them in very small amounts throughout the day (when I’m home; when I work, I give them a little during the day and then spread the rest out at night).

The vet suggested cutting down the food gradually, which I will do over the next week. I am going to be out of town for 12 days and leaving friends to take care of the kitties. It will be easier for them to eat less when no one is here, mostly because they won’t have anyone here to harass But I am worried that Frasier is going to eat all of the food… leaving Sash hungry. It is not practical for me to separate them to feed them (I live in a teeny tiny studio) and certainly not reasonable to ask my friends to do that.

I’m stuck. Frasier really needs to drop some weight but he’s such a pain – always begging for food. How can I do this so that Frasier doesn’t drive me crazy and so that Sasha doesn’t lose weight?

Sorry for making this so long!!

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14 Answers

Coloma's avatar

That’s a tough one, but, quite frankly, I have had overweight cats and others that were not in a multiple cat household, and, I never bothered.

My one guy who has been gone for about 15 years now was a very BIG cat and he lived til 16 years of age with no issues.

Some animals, just like people, are genetically prone to overweight. Labs & Golden Retrievers are 2 breeds that come to mind in the dog world.

You know what?

I wouldn’t lose my mind over this, or feel guilty for not following the vets instructions.

I would find a good indoor maintainence formula cat food, monitor the free feeding a bit, and give the thinner cat some extras, but, I wouldn’t lose any sleep over the situation.

Better the thinner kitty gets enough than the fat one getting a little too much IMO.

BoBo1946's avatar

Only way to be sure is too separate them. Know that doesn’t sound good.

crisw's avatar

You could feed the smaller cat somewhere the bigger, fatter cat cannot get to (like maybe the top of the refrigerator?).

lemming's avatar

…or in the bathroom?

SamIAm's avatar

@Coloma: Yeah!! Boy Ragdolls are big cats, naturally. And I always feel like vets don’t realize that is particular to that breed (Ragdolls aren’t all that common). But it’s just that he’s been gaining weight, so I worry. He is also more susceptible to diabetes and skin issues because his immune system is weakened by being so heavy (he already has terrible skin allergies).

It’s hard to separate them but I’m going to do my best.

@crisw: YES! Brilliant! I have tried that but I don’t think she realizes the food is there… I’m going to start showing her. She loves to climb on the shelves and fridge in the kitchen.

The only issue left with that is that he’s going to cry, and he’s a brat when he’s hungry (he’s really adorable and awesome all the other times though, swear :))

tinyfaery's avatar

I would recommend not starting the new diet until you return from vacation so you can supervise the transition. Then, feed twice a day and supervise them when they eat. Do not allow one cat to steal the other food. The cat will eventually get used to the new routine.

partyparty's avatar

I had a similar problem with my dogs, one would eat and eat and the other was very fussy.
The only solution was to feed them separately. They then got used to that routine, until I reduced the weight of one of my dogs.
Gradually I let them feed together, while watching that they each ate from to their own bowls.
Now they know which is their bowl, and will only eat from that bowl.
It took time, and lots of patience, but it worked in the end.
Good luck

anartist's avatar

Yes @crisw ‘s idea works. A friend with the same situation just had to feed her little girl on the kitchen counter—that was enough. And she learned quickly.

I have had the problem with the boy cat who takes the girl cat’s food. She eats less and he scarfed it up. But they worked out a system that went beyond my standing there and saying “Jacky, NO!” until she finished. If he tried to take it while she still wanted it, she put herself in his way, and when she was done she looked at him and walked out of the room.

Your skinny girls may defend herself better than you know.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

If it’s dry food you give your cats then decrease by a few kibbles over a couple of weeks. I did this with my SO’s dogs when we joined households and they’ve adjusted really well.

What made it work is they went from regular store brand food to human grade food with no fillers and reduced salt/sugar to cut cravings. Both his dogs lost weight quickly where you can now tell their heads and necks from the size of their bodies, no more sausage dogs.

SamIAm's avatar

@Neizvestnaya: literally just a few pieces a day? So if they get a cup, give them 5 bites less than a cup a day? And so on until I’m down to a ½ cup?

Coloma's avatar

I say, let them eat cake! lol

Neizvestnaya's avatar

@Samantha_Rae: Yes. I didn’t think it would amount to anything to pour a cup (what my pet used to eat at each meal) and count the kibbles then start counting out for each meal, slowly reducing the number of kibbles until he was used to eating a ¼ cup scoop each meal. He has eyes so I didn’t want him to notice a different amount at first, just in case his dog brain registers that type of thing.

SamIAm's avatar

@Neizvestnaya: that’s a little crazy! First of all, their herring and salmon food smells so gross, I don’t think I could stomach it. Secondly, I don’t know if I have the patience! I have been giving them veryyy tiny amounts multiple times a day and when I get back from vacation, I will start measuring. I wonder if their little pet brains do register a difference in small amounts… hmmm. Thanks! :)

tacres's avatar

Well since you’ve had them vetted parasites aren’t the issue. Some cats look to you for food out of bordom ( and maybe just to make you getup, put down the book, miss the scene in the movie that explained every thing etc.)
Here is what I would do, wait until you are back in town and make them work for their food. Hide kibble in various parts of your studio. Under, on top, inside doesn’t matter, cats are predators they will seek and destroy! You might have to show them the first few times but they will catch on. Fatty will have to burn calories looking and skinny will be able to find her dinner where tubby hasn’t searched yet!

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