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Old October 17th, 2007, 05:00 PM
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Iamacatservant Iamacatservant is offline
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Question Feeding multiple cats with different nutritional needs

Hi, I am brand new to the forum, and I have a question regarding the feeding of numerous cats.....I have 7 cats right now, 6 are adults, 1 is a 14 week old kitten. The kitten is getting canned kitten food, mainly the natural pricier brands, none with any tuna in them, as I have never ever fed any of my cats tuna. I have read articles that indicate that it is a very bad food for cats, and can turn them into "tuna junkies".....

Anyway, the adults cats all get a mixture of Science Diet light senior formula, mixed with cat chow for overweight cats...they are free fed, as the Alpha cat gets all the food if I don't leave it out for everyone to nibble. They also get canned low calorie food, the brand varies depending on what can I grab from the pantry, and they usually get this once or twice a week as a treat, as my vet told me that the tartar buildup they were getting was from too much canned food, and not enough kibble.

So, here is my question, how can I feed the appropriate low calorie food to the 2 older, overweight cats, and still give the 4 other adults a regular diet? And how do I keep the dog out of the cat food? She just loves to eat it, and I have to put the cat dishes away at night, or else she fills up on it.

Any good advice would be most appreciated. Thank you!

and
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Old October 17th, 2007, 05:35 PM
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Winston Winston is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iamacatservant View Post
Hi, I am brand new to the forum, and I have a question regarding the feeding of numerous cats.....I have 7 cats right now, 6 are adults, 1 is a 14 week old kitten. The kitten is getting canned kitten food, mainly the natural pricier brands, none with any tuna in them, as I have never ever fed any of my cats tuna. I have read articles that indicate that it is a very bad food for cats, and can turn them into "tuna junkies".....

Anyway, the adults cats all get a mixture of Science Diet light senior formula, mixed with cat chow for overweight cats...they are free fed, as the Alpha cat gets all the food if I don't leave it out for everyone to nibble. They also get canned low calorie food, the brand varies depending on what can I grab from the pantry, and they usually get this once or twice a week as a treat, as my vet told me that the tartar buildup they were getting was from too much canned food, and not enough kibble.

So, here is my question, how can I feed the appropriate low calorie food to the 2 older, overweight cats, and still give the 4 other adults a regular diet? And how do I keep the dog out of the cat food? She just loves to eat it, and I have to put the cat dishes away at night, or else she fills up on it.

Any good advice would be most appreciated. Thank you!

and

Hi There! The best money I ever spent was at Costco for a small table that has the legs that fold down..and about 4ft long..they also have an 8ft table as well...it is the perfect height to keep my goofy dog from surfing for food! I free feed my 2 cats as well...As for the 2 older cats perhaps you could feed them seperately from the other 4..the only problem I would see is the free feeding part because if there is food left from the 4 then the other 2 might get smart and eat that kibble too!

Hmm this could be a challenge! Maybe someone else will have a better solution! The table is great though!

Cindy
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Old October 17th, 2007, 05:51 PM
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First of all, from another Albertan, welcome to pets.ca!!

Now, hate to tell you this, but your fat cats are not going to lose any weight free-feeding on dry diet food. In fact, they shouldn't be eating dry food at all, but most especially not the diet formulas. Cats are carnivores, and all of the "light", "indoor", or "less active" dry foods have WAY to many carbohydrates (Science Diet Light is 41% carbs, and felines shouldn't be eating more than 10%). Guess what cats store excess carbs as? FAT. The best weight-loss program would be all wet food (high protein), despite what your vet says (most vets really are not up-to-date with feline nutrition, by the way). Here's some more detailed info for you to check out:
http://www.catinfo.org/
http://www.catinfo.org/feline_obesity.htm
http://maxshouse.com/feline_nutrition.htm

The best food for all of your cats would be wet food, but I realize that could also be quite expensive, given how many you have. Buying the large cans (12-14oz) and buying by the case might mitigate costs, as would alternating cheaper brands with better quality. The thing with nutrition though, is that if you can pay more now, you'll be less likely to pay lots later in the form of vet bills. Trust me on that one!
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Old October 17th, 2007, 10:11 PM
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I free feed my 4 cats and my neighbours cat Orijen dry and they'll only eat fancy feast pate type foods, believe me I've tried everything, and there are worse foods than fancy feast, so they each get a can of that in the morning and a can in the evening...the big indoor/outdoor male gets 2 cans morning and evening. Yes it's expensive to feed wet, but I think it's important. 3 of my cats are normal weight, Mookie is a little stout. She isn't getting bigger and I try to get her more exercise which is helping. Exercise will help more than a calorie reduced diet.
As for keeping the dog out of their food, you have to put the food where the dog can't get it.

Cindy
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Old October 18th, 2007, 02:27 AM
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sehrita sehrita is offline
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I used to have my cats free feed (diet kibble) until I noticed that one of my cats was so fat he couldn't lick his own butt. A vet told me I must put him on a diet or clean his butt for him for the rest of his life. yuck! Free feeding is bad news bears.

All but one of my cats (I have 4) are fairly overweight so I feed them two times a day. Once in the morning and once at night. I watch over them to make sure that they don't try to sneak each other's kibble. Its a bit of a pain in the beginning when your so used to free feeding... for you and them! In the beginning, they ate hardly anything and I worried so much. They had to adjust to their new eating style. Now they eat the portion that is recommended on the bag and seemed to be doing well on their diet (except for one with dandruff issues). I also use a laser light for the cats to chase to get some excersise and leave toys out for them to play with when I am not at home.

Also, to make it fun, I created an excel spreadsheet to monitor their weight loss. One cat went down from 21lbs to 18lbs..

good luck!
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Old October 18th, 2007, 10:58 AM
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Kristin7 Kristin7 is offline
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Wow, you have quite a crew! I am in a similar boat, though with less animals. I have a cat that eats very fast and the other slow, plus a dog. My solution, which has worked fairly well, is to not free-feed any of them. They get fed 2x a day, with the cats in separate rooms (the slow one goes in my bedroom with the door shut until she is done). While they eat, my dog is usually outside, but if inside, he generally stays out of the food while the cats are eating, though there have been a few times some unsupervised food was eaten by him - that's my fault for allowing him access. When the cats are done, he does lick their bowls clean, which is fine as not much except crumbs remains. All this is definitely more work than free feeding, but really not a big deal.

When I had one cat and one dog, the cat was free fed on top of the 'fridge, so no issues with the dog getting into her food. I'm sure some dogs are capable of getting at it even up there though! Good luck!
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Old October 18th, 2007, 11:18 AM
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Iamacatservant Iamacatservant is offline
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Lots of great advice

Thank you sugarcatmama, I read all the articles you posted links to, and they were certainly an eye opener for me. All this time I thought that I was doing the best for my cats, and I see now that I need to make a gradual transition to canned food, and better quality. It will be more expensive than their current food, but a whole lot less expensive than vet bills. I am a bit worried about the state of their teeth, though, when switching to canned food. How does one keep the tartar from building up? 2 of our cats in particular seem to be prone to that, and need their teeth cleaned occasionally, the rest are fine, and don't seem to have that problem. The vet says that it is like some people, some have great teeth, no matter what they eat, and some have terrible teeth, even if they floss and brush regularly.

I will start by mixing the new food with their old, I guess I will just have to be hard hearted and not give in when they whine for their old food....maybe it won't take that long for them to get used to being fed twice a day instead of free feeding, I will probably be the one who needs to get used to it!!!

Thank you for the excellent advice, and I really enjoyed reading the articles. I can't believe how many pet food companies have been "feeding" us a line of goods. I appreciate finding a site where there is real science backing up the nutritional information.

and of course Lucky Dog
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Old October 18th, 2007, 12:01 PM
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want4rain want4rain is offline
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also keep in mind that the sugars from grains cause a great deal of damage to their teeth.

id strongly suggest looking into a homemade diet or even a raw one. ive noticed a huge difference in my cats weight and teeth when switching to a raw meaty bone (idea is to get them to rend and tear it with their teeth) and offal diet.

do soem serious researching into both. if you want to grind the raw meat thought, you are loosing the (IMO) biggest bonus of it... its teeth cleaning abilities.

i would imagine you could also get some good teeth cleaning from whole pieces of cooked chicken. they would have to chew that too.

good luck with it!! with so many cats, i would think a home made diet would be more time consuming but far far less expensive!

-ash
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Old October 19th, 2007, 02:31 AM
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Although canned is the best, if cost is an issue then you can supplement with a grain free kibble. There are several out there but Orijen (www.championpetfoods.com) is my favourite.
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Old October 19th, 2007, 08:10 AM
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Love4himies Love4himies is offline
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I have recently switched my cats from a supermarket brand to a higher quality grain free food (Wellness canned and Core, Instinct and Orijen), one cat who has always been very lean, has been eating less, but not loosing any weight (8lbs since she was 1 year, now 11 years) and much more active, my other cat was borderline overweight (he was 14 lbs and now 11lbs, large framed cat). They get fed canned twice a day which they eat, and free fed kibble. My larger cat lost the 3lbs just by switching to a grain free, high protein kibble and eats about half the quantity as he did before!

IMHO, feeding grain free, high quality food is the best way to get your cats to loose weight and they feel better too! Unless your cat has medical issues, these quality foods should be good for all your cats. Although it may seem expensive at first, if your cats eat half the amount, then it becomes comparable to supermarket brand prices.

Good luck.
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Old October 19th, 2007, 12:15 PM
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My cats (like Love4himies) also were switched to Wellness Core kibble and I've been experimenting with wet food. Aside from one can one of my cats turned her nose up at, the canned food incorporation into their diets has been going well. They are getting it at their nightime feeding and have kibble in the morning. I've been keeping a food diary, as I cannot remember what they like otherwise. One of my cats has a food sensitivity issue, too, and will throw up certain foods. But so far, the canned Wellness and Eagle Pack Holistic Select foods were tolerated fine. I haven't been weighing them, but one of them at least seems to have lost some of her belly, which I noticed when I picked her up the other day... now for the other one! Both are more active now, though part of that could be the changing weather. Someday I'd love to get them on a raw diet. Growing up, I had a cat who ate a lot of mice and her teeth were in great shape her whole life (she was 15 when she passed away).
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