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Fat cats. Literally

A few months ago I adopted two adult cats. They were both strays and taken in to an amazing shelter here. Although they were not found together they are the best of friends, both in great health, both extremely large cats.

When I brought them home I transitioned them slowly to very high quality food and that has been successful but they are getting fat. Although large at their healthy weight (18lbs and 21 lbs respectively) they have now gained two additional pounds each and I want to nip this in the bud.

My problem is two fold. First, they free feed so I'm not sure how to make sure they both get their allotted amount each day. Second, the female (smaller of the two) has significant food anxiety. If she can see the bottom of her bowl it stresses her out. She comes to me, cries, runs to her bowl, repeat, until I shake the food to evenly distribute it so she can't see the bottom anymore. She's also this way with her water bowl. If it gets below about 3/4 full she panics.

I worry that if I take away her food after her allotted amount each morning she'll be unduly stressed.

Any suggestions? They are both fixed, moderately active and solely indoor cats.

Answer Question

Asked by Mrs_Prissy at 9:22 PM on Sep. 4, 2013 in Pets

Level 34 (65,487 Credits)
Answers (10)
  • If ANY cat can see the bottom of the bowl they stress out, My cat is a fatty and he will freak out as well. I let him free feed but I think the only way to make sure they get their allotted food at a specific time, say 7am and 6pm is to only leave food out at those times for say 30 minutes. It will be stressful for a few days, but after that they will get the hang of it.

    this is SO misty!  If she can see the cat picture in the bottom of the bowl, she goes crazy thinking she is starving!


    Answer by cassie_kellison at 9:31 PM on Sep. 4, 2013

  • I'm not 100% sure if cat philosophy is the same as dogs... but I feed my guy the senior food. He gets all his nutrients, but because he is less active, it's supposed to prevent him from becoming too fat. I feed him Blue Buffalo.

    Answer by m-avi at 9:33 PM on Sep. 4, 2013

  • Hmm. My male isn't like that and he's the biggest! He never makes a deal out of the food bowl at all. I mean, if it were ever to be empty I guess he'd look at me sternly but so far it's only her that seems neurotic.

    Comment by Mrs_Prissy (original poster) at 9:34 PM on Sep. 4, 2013

  • Blue is the same thing I use m-avi, except the cat version. Maybe I'll call the vet and see if it's okay to put them on the senior formula. I didn't even think of that.

    Comment by Mrs_Prissy (original poster) at 9:45 PM on Sep. 4, 2013

  • I have to 'meal feed' my two cats to keep them a good weight. I started by setting a full bowl down for a couple hours each morning and each night and gradually started shortening the time it was out. I can now set the bowls down and they eat it all in 10-15 min 2 times a day. for a while they would 'beg' at the closet door between meals but after a while they got used to the schedule and only 'beg' near meal time.

    Answer by But_Mommie at 10:04 PM on Sep. 4, 2013

  • I use a dispenser on a timer that delivers up to three meals a day. This seems to help control weight? Really, I'd ask the vet tech because I've heard there is a spray that you can use to mellow a kitty and also meds...poor anxiety kitties.

    Answer by jeanclaudia at 11:56 PM on Sep. 4, 2013

  • I'd stop free feeding them and give them a measured (less then what the bag recommends) amount 2xs a day. You can also put them on a weight loss diet. Cats can be very difficult to get weight off of but one thing I tried was giving one of my fats wet food. I HATE wet food but it worked.

    Answer by KyliesMom5 at 12:00 AM on Sep. 5, 2013

  • 2 out of 3 of my cats do that as well. If it's not completely full, they are unhappy and not afraid to let me know! And they are all a normal weight.

    Answer by Lobelia at 12:24 AM on Sep. 5, 2013

  • I do a combo of free feed and measured amount. In other words I feed my cat when he wants (within reason), but only 1/3 of a cup at a time, which he usually will eat in one sitting. It allows me to at least be aware of how much he is eating and make adjustments by feeding him less frequently.

    Answer by tessiedawg at 12:58 AM on Sep. 5, 2013

  • I feed my cat on a schedule (once around 8-9am and once at 8-9pm), but I leave the food down and let him finish when he wants. He usually eats it all at once. He only eats 1/3 cup total/day, but is still a little overweight...he's 14# but I feel he needs to lose 1-2#. Do you have a lazer pointer? My kitty LOVES to chase the lazer and it really gets him panting! lol I also try to take him outside in the fenced backyard once/day for a little exercise/exploring/fresh air.

    Answer by CollinBayleeMom at 11:52 AM on Sep. 5, 2013

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