Health

Feeding Fatty

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wayne-on-stool
Wayne waiting for food

If you live in a multi-cat household, you likely have one or more cats who are gluttons when it comes to meal time. We had this problem when we only had two. Kiggy would eat her dinner and then saunter over, push Michi out of the way and finish hers too. At that time, we had a fairly simple solution. We put Michi’s food up on a shelf. Kiggy had trouble jumping up on anything higher than the couch or bed.

When we adopted Liv and Lucian, they could easily jump up and finish Michi’s food for her. We started feeding Michi on the enclosed patio until a raccoon decided to join in. Poor Michi, she was always low kitty on the totem pole.

Now that we have Liv, Lucian and Wayne, it’s now Liv who is the one who gets pushed aside. Lucian usually eats some of his, pushes Wayne out of the way, who then makes a beeline to Liv and finishes her dinner. Unless we stand vigilant or feed her in a separate room, the boys get more than their fair share.

Wayne is a big cat, but he’s also rapidly becoming a fat cat. Feline obesity is a serious problem worldwide. The current consensus is that a dry food diet coupled with a sedentary lifestyle is causing our cats to become chubby. We’ve started feeding them more canned food and switched the dry to a low carb version. The theory is that a cat’s natural diet consists of hunting live food that consists mainly of protein and little carbohydrates. It’s been nicknamed the Catkins diet. It makes sense and seems to be helping.

Cat Feeder with too much food!
Cat Feeder with too much food!

We also realized that they beg for food all through the day when we’re home. We work long hours on most days and they go for a long stretch with no food. We purchased an automatic feeder that has six compartments that rotates at programmed times. Now, while we are gone they get a little dry food at regular intervals. Wayne has lost a little weight and he no longer waits by the door howling to be fed the moment we enter.

Here’s the formula that seems to be working:

  • Canned food (has more protein and water)
  • Low-carbohydrate dry food
  • Feed small portions at more frequent intervals
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Choosing a Vet

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Wayne at the Vet

Part of the responsibility in owning a cat is ensuring its good health. Cats are quite good at hiding illness, which is likely a survival instinct. An ill animal is much more likely to get attacked out in the wild. Often any symptoms your cat may show will be subtle until something is acutely wrong.

This is one of the reasons why it is important to find a¬†veterinarian¬†you trust long before you need one. You don’t want to be frantically searching through the yellow pages looking for a veterinarian during a crisis.

What To Look For

  • Proximity
    If your cat does not travel well, you may want to find one close to home. This is not the most important criteria, but something to be considered. Try to lessen the stress on your cat.
  • Friendly Office
    It’s nice to find an office where both the staff and veterinarian not only care about the animals they care for but care about you. A smaller office may be more likely to remember you and your pets. The downside is they may not be open on the weekends or evenings.
  • Someone You Trust
    Take your cat in for a general check up. See how they treat you and your cat. Are they gentle with your cat even if he fusses? Do they push treatment options on you without explaining the necessity? Do you feel comfortable asking questions?
  • After Hours Treatment Options
    Cats always seem to get sick on the weekend or at night when the offices are closed. Does your veterinarian have after hours options, even if it’s a recommended emergency clinic they work closely with?
  • Affordability
    Veterinary care can add up quickly. Is your veterinarian conservative in treatment while still putting medical care first? Do they give you estimates and payment options if treatment is prohibitively expensive?

Conclusion

In general, trust your instincts. Get recommendations from fellow cat lovers and try a few veterinarians out. You will be happy that you have spent the time finding a partner in your cat’s health.