I need help with setting up a good diet for my cat (amount, brand,etc.). She is indoor only, 2 years old, active (but getting fat). She has been on Wellness wet food, as well as a mix of 1/2 Wellness dry food and 1/2 Royal Canin Gastrointestinal High Energy dry food (prescription). She has been refusing to eat her wet food for a few months. I want to be as organic/holistic/natural/grain free as possible, but don't have the time for a raw diet. She drinks quite a bit of water daily. She had started to eat less of her dry food, but started eating that normally again after we started using food puzzles (to keep her busy!). Suggestions? Tips? Also, ideas for treats would be excellent. She has been getting freeze dried liver/chicken/shrimp, but some things I have read have said I need to be careful with that.
Pet's Gender: Female
Pet's Age: 2
Name of Cat: James
I've tried switching to different Wellness flavors, and have tried Avoderm wet food. She HATES any wet food with a gravy or liquid. We are easing back into a scheduled feeding pattern, rather than food being out all day.
Hi, Customer and welcome back to Just Answer.If James seems to enjoy the dry food better than the canned, since the canned food is healthier for her, try to stick with the healthier and grain free brands like Wellness CORE (the canned doesn't have much gravy/liquid at all), the Royal Canin prescription food (I'm assuming she had a GI problem or sensitive stomach?) and other brands which are well recommended are EVO, Innova, Blue Buffalo, Felidae and many others available in your local pet supply stores. Try mixing the wet food with the dry and see if she likes the 'combo'.I'd stay away from the freeze dried shrimp as this can result in urinary or kidney problems. This is due to the minute particles of sand that may still be in the shrimp and also, shrimp is high in cholesterol and does contain iodine.The freeze-dried liver and chicken should be fine, if she enjoys it, and that can be used as her treats.Setting up and sticking to a feeding schedule is excellent! However, you can leave a measured amount of dry food down at night and during the day if you're not home, and feed three meals of canned food for breakfast, lunch and supper. If you're using the larger 5.5 oz cans of wet food, 1/2 a can would be a nice portion. If she doesn't eat it all, leave it on the dish for 20 minutes and if she doesn't return to the food within that time pick it up and throw it away. You can give a smaller amount than 1/2 a can if it seems to be too much for her at one sitting. It's healthier to offer smaller amounts in more frequent meals during the day, if you're able.Just make sure that any new foods you look at have real meat (no meat by-products) as the first ingredient and contain no corn, soy, gluten, wheat or artificial preservatives or flavors which are common allergens for cats.You and your vet can keep an eye on her weight and try to reduce it, plus make sure she gets enough exercise, as you wouldn't want to put her at an increased risk of diabetes as she gets older. I think the fact that you're looking to improve her diet now, is wonderful!I hope all will be well with James!
Feline Healthcare & Behavior Specialist 40+ years Experience
Thank you for your help. She actually used to love the wet food, then only certain flavors, now won't touch it. So, I thought I'd switch it up (I've read that can help when a cat gets finicky), while recognizing that a feeding schedule will help. As for the prescription dry food, she was very ill when I got her as a stray and after massive amounts of antibiotics, she required a special GI food. The vet recommends that I not take her off of it, though they begrudgingly allowed me to do a mix because the GI food was having such an affect on her weight. So, my follow up questions are: 1) When feeding combo wet and dry, how much dry should be be given along with the wet. You mentioned 5.5 oz of wet food throughout the day is good. 2) How much dry food is okay to leave out while I'm at work, or sleeping?
Hi again, and you're most welcome!It's my pleasure to be of help to you and James and I thank you for your reply with additional information about her unfortunate past illness when you found her as a stray. What a lucky girl, to have such a caring, loving cat-mom, looking out for her, now! Depending on how much she weighs and how much she's actually eating of the wet food each day, leave 1/4-1/3 cup dry food out for 'grazing' when she wants to nibble, at night and when you're at work. Try mixing 1 TBS dry food and 2 TBS wet food and see how she likes this mixture. Don't be surprised if she tries to 'extract' the dry food only! Cats are very adept at that if they don't love wet food! : )I meant to mention to you yesterday, that the food puzzles are great and I'm so glad you decided to use them to keep her busy and interested! The similar foraging toys are also good for this purpose:http://www.pawswhiskersandclaws.com/pwc%20foraging.pdfThe following articles will help with feeding guidelines, but keep in mind that every cat is different, foods are different and cats' weights vary; it's the 'K-calories' that matter, according to the cat's weight:http://catinfo.org/http://www.2ndchance.info/catfood.htm
Wonderful! I see that you are a behaviorist as well...and I have some other questions other than diet. Is it okay to ask now (I'll pay additionally for your help), or would you prefer I submit a separate question?
Hi again, and thanks for your reply.I'm glad you found my information helpful! : ) If you could please rate my previous answer first, so I am credited for my help, then I would be happy to discuss any behavioral issues with you and you can ask now.Regards,Cher
Hi again, and thanks very much for your positive rating and most generous bonus; they are greatly appreciated!Please feel free to post your behavioral question at any time. I'll be standing by.Regards,CherJessesmom41089.0805326736