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seperate diets for multiple cats

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I have 3 cats. Just before the holidays we discovered that one of the cats has UTI and an imflamed pancreas.

He has to be on a special diet for approx 1 month, and maybe longer.

Our cats have always been nibblers (dry only) so I set out a dish of food for them each morning and they just snack and day and night, there are no set feeding times.

Now that 1 cat has to have a special diet how can I control this? Do I need to train them to eat at feeding times? If I put out dishes of food there is no way to control which cat eats which food.


post #2 of 8
could you close them each in a room(or the two not on a diet in one room and the other in a separate room) and leave their bowls down for like 10 minutes at a time like 2-3 times a day
post #3 of 8
I, too had 5 free fed kitties when one by one, they each needed their own special diets. I have two cats that live upstairs who aren't on any specific diet, so I continued free feeding them. I have 3 cats downstairs that were on 3 different diets. I set one boy up in the bathroom, one girl in my bedroom, & one girl in the hallway. I feed them 2x a day. They get however long they need to eat(one girl needs at least 20 minutes to eat).

Your best bet will be to transition the kitties to being fed at certain mealtimes. I would suggest setting up a feeding room that you will always use for the kitty on the special diet. Mine learned to go to their rooms when it was suppertime quickly! You will want to set the food bowl down for 15 minutes. If the kitty doesn't eat, then pick the bowl up & try again in an hour or so. The two kitties that aren't on a special diet you will want to feed the same way. Set them up in a room & give them 15 minutes to eat, then pick up the food. If you kitty takes longer to eat or is still eating after 15 minutes, let them eat until they are done.

If you don't know how much to feed the kitties since they were free-feeding, then start off by following the guidelines on the food bag. I always went for the highest measurement for a dialy period & then decreased it so the kitties didn't waste food.

Good Luck!
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Ah thank you! I wasn't sure if it was ok to give them set feeding times as I thought it was better for them to snack through out the day.

I will have to get them on a feeding schedule. My concern will be that they eat properly, I'd hate to rush them, but with my work schedule this might get tricky.

I am also worried about the sick kitty, the vet says that the inflamed pancreas is due to stress. This "stress" is caused by the other 2 cats in the house. Unfortunately my home is not large enough for them to have their own little spots to avoid each other.

The vet agreed that this is likely the problem and suggested trying to keep them separated. As it is, the cat is the "odd man out" and ends up spending most of his time alone in the spare room. I know he's not happy about this either as he is a real "people kitty", he just doesn't do well with other pets.

I fear that it may be best to find him a home with no other pets, otherwise the vet advised the pancreas issue may continue. He is already a rescue cat, and from what I have seen locally online it doesn't look very promising in finding that good home for him.

What to do?
post #5 of 8
Although feeding multiple cats in separate rooms works for a lot of cat owners, it wasn't effective for my boys. One of my cats eats by competition and put on a lot of weight when we go the 2nd cat. Realizing that feline diabetes is strongly associated with obesity, we decided to put him on a diet through a weight management diet and by decreasing the amount fed to him per day. However, this required separate feedings. We tried putting them in separate rooms, but both of them are very needy and waited by the door for 20-30 min without eating until we came in to get them! Scheduled feedings are a must in our household so we tried feeding both cats with staggered portions. Both cats were given 1/2 of their rations in the AM and then the thin cat was given the rest of his food in the PM. While the thin cat ate, we played a game with the fatter cat by throwing kibbles down a set of stairs, thereby keeping him distracted and giving him more exercise. It worked out quite well, Pico lost some weight, but this schedule required a lot of work.

Pico was diagnosed with struvite crystalluria (UTI) in November so now they're on separate canned and dry diets. It's not that much of a change for us, but they have to be watched while eating in the same room. It takes about 20-30 minutes per feeding, but ensures that one doesn't get into the others' food.

Although free feeding is great and more natural for cats in terms of their food consumption patterns, it can be troublesome when you have obese cats or separate diets. We haven't had any problems with our scheduled feedings. When it comes to food, cats will adapt.

Some food for thought....good luck!
post #6 of 8
Here's a dumb question - did you ask your vet if all the cats could eat the special diet food for a month? When a diet is temporary and it doesn't harm the general cat population, I have switched the entire crew over for a short period of time.
post #7 of 8
Before you consider re-homing the poor "odd man out", I suggest you look into reading "Cat vs. Cat". You might also look into Feliway diffusers, & getting a couple of cat trees to create more space in your home. It might help give your kitties more space for each other.
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Here's a dumb question - did you ask your vet if all the cats could eat the special diet food for a month? When a diet is temporary and it doesn't harm the general cat population, I have switched the entire crew over for a short period of time.

--We did think of this but unfortunately one of the other cats is small and a couple of years ago we changed his diet and he instantly got very sick to the point that we almost lost him. Ever since we switched to Innova 2.5 years ago we have had no problems, until now.

The behaviour issue is more complicated. The 2 brothers hunt and beat on the 3rd cat at least 3-4 times a week. The brothers have claws, 3rd kitty does not. (we rescued him already declawed, I would never!) I used to interject in the fights and protect the victim cat but then within a few days he would take advantage of this and start to provoke the other 2.

Since I noticed this I just let them duke it out with each other and don't take either side. This is why I think it may be better to find him a suitable home where he can be King of the castle.

Am I handling this wrong? I had gotten to the point where I assumed this is "cat behaviour", and accepted it. After all, not all people like one another and get along, right? Now that these health issues have arisen and that it's largely due to stress I'm concerned about the affects of this long term.
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