How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dr. John Your Own Question
Dr. John
Dr. John, Texas Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 11011
Experience:  Over 14 years of clinical veterinary experience
Type Your Cat Question Here...
Dr. John is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

We have six cats, all rescues, one special needs, all shapes

This answer was rated:

We have six cats, all rescues, one special needs, all shapes and sizes and types and ages (from 3 to 14). All very playful and affectionate. My question is about how much we're feeding them. They are on a grain free diet. They get three 5.5 ounce cans shared between all six of them in the morning and two cans plus dry food (grain free) at night. We were told that most of the cans tell you to overfeed and we had some chunky babies for a while that have now slimmed down on this new diet (we've been feeding them this way for over a year). However, two of them seem to be hungry a lot. Our oldest and one other have gotten quite thin (both females). It's confusing because four of them seem satisfied with the amount they are getting (even our largest male cat) but the two thinnest (and smallest) seem to beg every time we run towards the kitchen or sit down to eat. Is this behavioral or are we not feeding them enough? (for the record, all except the blind cat beg at feeding could set your watch by it) One other thing of note, several of them are aggressive around feeding time and will gobble their own food and try to run towards the slower eaters' dishes. But once feeding time is over, they all clean themselves and nap and play the rest of the day. I'm just afraid I'm starving my babies but also know I may be socialized to not really know what a "healthy cat" looks like in terms of weight. In the smaller cats we can feel their spine and that always makes me edgy. Thanks in advance!
Hello. Thanks for writing in.

You mentioned that your oldest cat is very hungry. How old is the other cat that is very hungry?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

The oldest is 14 (Tabitha) and the other is 7 (Birdie). Birdie is one of three siblings we got at the same time and was the runt of her litter.

Thanks for the information. My suspicion with Tabitha is that she has hyperthyroidism. It is a very common problem with older cats. It is the first thing we think about with increased appetite and weight loss. Birdie is a little younger than cats we usually see with hyperthyroidism, but it is entirely possible that she could have it as well. There are a couple diseases that will mimic the signs of hyperthyroidism, though. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and gastrointestinal lymphoma (type of cancer) can present with weight loss and increased appetite as well. You usually will see some vomiting, diarrhea or both with these disease processes, but that may be difficult to evaluate with 6 cats. My best recommendation at this point is to get some routine bloodwork, including a thyroid panel, ran to screen for some of these issues. Please let me know if you have any other questions. Hope this helps.
Dr. John and 2 other Cat Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you. I will do that ASAP. If IBD or cancer were an issue would we see behavioral problems? Birdie is our most spirited and active cat. Very, very energetic and playful: wrestling, tearing around the house with toys and just to run, the first to chase anything we throw, etc.


In general if the others seem satisfied with the amount of food, we should not worry that we're underfeeding the other four?

You are welcome. You may not see any behavioral problems with IBD or cancer. You may see more behavioral problems with hyperthyroidism. They could be more agitated. If the cats are holding their weight, I wouldn't be too concerned. If there is significant weight loss, though, I would be worried enough to have them checked out. Hope this helps.

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

Texas Veterinarian
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I have an appointment scheduled. I will report back. Thank you for asking!

You are very welcome. Let me know how it goes.