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Feeding wet food--Looking for helpful tips & ideas

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi All.....

I'm wanting to start feeding more wet food. I've got a couple here with health issues that could certainly benefit from the added water and a few overweight ones who could stand to lose a little.

With 8 kitties, plus the fact that I work all day, there are various challenges to this: Some eat faster & are much more aggressive about inhaling what's out faster than the others--leaving a few with crumbs or left-overs. There's also the added challenge that not all of them will eat the same food--though I can work around that. Plus, coming home to 8 bowls of dried out cat food to wash every night is not appealing either.

Instead of washing the bowls every night, I've tried paper plates.......my cats are very messy eaters & the plates slide all over the floor when they try to eat, as does the food. So instead of washing bowls when I get home, I get to clean the floor. I tried using large glass baking dishes which will feed about 3-4 kitties at once--again, lots to wash.

So I'd love to hear if you've got any hints or tips to share as far as feeding wet food goes--especially multi-cat homes. If I just had one or 2 kitties, this wouldn't be so much of an issue but with 8, the challenges are definitely there! What have you done to make things easier on yourself while still getting your gang to eat wet food? Have you been able to simplify the routine? I'm open to all hints & suggestions for streamlining feeding time with canned food.

post #2 of 7
Ok...this is a loaded one because there's all sorts of things to try.

But before I even address that, why not do wet food when you come home (so you can referee and clean up) and do dry in the morning?

OR if you want more wet, do you have time to do wet food before you go to work, even if it's smaller portions, then wash bowls and leave dry for daytime grazing....then do wet again once you come home?

I actually avoid wet food in the morning because 2 of mine tend to puke canned food in mornings and it's too chaotic here with 2 toddlers to referee the meal and follow up with puke findings.

I am also incorporating more wet food--and with 5 cat have a speed eater, slow eater, eater that like to leave a bit, go lick their whiskers then come back for their leftovers (which I have to monitor so it doesnt' get eaten), a couple pukers, and a stubborn "THIS SUCKS!" cat

So to better meet everyone's needs I feed the canned food when I dont' have the toddlers around (napping or in bed for night) . I use premium dry now, little to no grain drys for when I feed kibble.

I know there are lots more posters with even more cats than I have, who have similar issues -- you'll get lots more advice!
post #3 of 7
Hmm...are you wanting to ideally go to "all wet"? Initially, that was not my plan, but because of various challenges, that turned out to be the most practical way to go for us.

When wet food was just an added bonus meal for them, I did have some that would inhale, others wouldn't get any, others who would return a couple hours later to eat in peace, etc. I feel your pain on those issues.

I wanted to get more wet food in them, and by trial and error realized that the best way to achieve that would be to eliminate the dry food. Mine were accustomed to free feeding on dry. As long as those "troughs" of food were still available, I had trouble.

I switched mine to all "wet" about 2 months ago. I have the advantage of NOT working all day, so I know that makes it easier for me.

As far as getting them to agree on certain foods, I have been able to refine that to the point that I have 2 that agree on one certain flavor/brand, one that eats only raw, and the other 5 eat what I put down each time...a rotation of about 15 or so flavors from several different brands. All but one of them eats some raw as well, but for the sake of simplicity, I'm leaning on the canned food mostly. It all took some experimentation.

Peace and order at mealtimes was a challenge for me. 4 of mine are young (11 months) and so they eat a lot, and they tend to be aggressive about their food. So now my 4 most aggressive eaters eat in a row, facing the cupboard, my 3 slow eaters eat on the counter, and Beandip has a little office/printer table he eats on...for various reasons.

I tried doing 2 meals and it didn't quite cut it. So since I'm home pretty much all the time, I feed them 3 times, 7am/2pm/9:30pm. I know some people who work all day do something like first thing in the morning, again when they get home, and again around bedtime. Or, wet in the am, a little dry for snacks during the day, then wet in the evening.

Plate washing...hmmm. It's a job. I use Corelle saucers for the most part. I hand wash those after breakfast and lunch, then put them in the dishwasher after dinner. For the handwashing, I use one of those Dawn foaming soap pumper things, so I don't have to make a sink full of soapy water. Mine are done eating within 45 minutes...so the food isn't stuck on the plates yet. Within 10 minutes, about half of them are done eating...so at that point I start consolidating the food and rinsing the plates. After 20-30 minutes, there are just 2 plates still there for the slow ones to pick at for a little while.

Getting them to eat within a reasonable amount of time was hard at first. I just set the times, stuck with them, and pulled the food after 45min to an hour. Then it was no food till the next meal. It got the point across pretty easily. They started eating more at each meal. At each of the 3 meals, Precious and Momma each eat about 2 oz of "their" food, Beandip eats his 1.5oz raw, and the other 5 share a 13oz can (or 2 5.5oz cans) and/or some canned and some raw. At "lunch" they eat a little lighter.

I don't know if I've answered your questions or not...let me know.
post #4 of 7
I started switching my crew from all dry to all wet in December. They were already used to meals at the time so initially I served dry food in the morning and wet in the evening. When Eric was diagnosed with diabetes in January I went all wet because an all wet, high protein low carbohydrate diet is better for his diabetes. I also went to three meals a day- 6:30am, 3:00pm and 9:00pm. Like beandip, I'm home all day so that schedule is not a problem.

I serve in standard cat dishes. I wash the dishes after my breakfast and dinner and the late meal dishes when they are done. It goes quickly and has not been a problem.

I do have to referee at meals. Eric, Tiggy and Fluffy are the fast eaters. They then wait for Torty and Stumper to leave so they can eat the extra food. I pick up Torty's and Stumper's dishes because I know they'll be back to finish the food they left. In the morning they are often done within 20 minutes. Other meal times I try to keep it to 45-60 minutes.

Initially I was serving a rotation of foods- Innova, EVO, Avoderm, Merrick, Natural Balance and Wellness. Now due to the recall and the need to limit carbs for Eric I've gone grain free. I also went fish free because Eric and Kolohe are fighting crystals. Of the foods available here that limits me to Wellness and Natural Balance. They also decided they didn't like Merrick or EVO after eating them for a few weeks.

I hope that helps. Let me know if you have questions. Good luck transitioning your cats to more wet food.
post #5 of 7
When i was feeding my neighbor's cat, she had to eat all wet since she had no teeth. i would go give her some love then give her a can of wet in her bowl. I'd come back later take the bowl and put it in the sink. I'd fill the bowl with hot water and leave it there for a few hours. Next time i came back I'd just dump out the water and almost all the food had come off. Then with a quick rinse it looked clean again. You should still probably do a good bowl cleaning with soap and scrubbing once a week or so though. it worked very well when I did it.
post #6 of 7
My cats get two cans of wet in the morning before I leave for work. When I come home from work, I put the crusty plate in the sink and soak it and give them two cans of wet before I go to bed. In the morning I soak the crusty night plate, and give two cans of wet food before I leave for work. I rotate between two plates, one serving, one soaking. Yeah...I need to get a life! Fortunately, all three are grazers...eating a little and coming back throughout the day (or night.) Cleo is the alpha cat and always nibbles first. When she's done, Lola will nibble a little. Maggie is a stealth eater...I never see her eat, but I've smelled food on her breath, so I know she does eat There's often a little food (maybe a tablespoon) left on the plate when I get home from work, so I know the amount is sufficient for them. Trying to figure out how much to feed 8 cats of varying weights and doing it on a 12 hour schedule might be a daunting task. The easy part is going to be the dishes!!!
post #7 of 7
My boyfriend's mom has 5 (including my boyfriend's cat). They get segregated into two or three groups for meal times. The fatest and the middle weight cat share a room since they get along, and they both eat pretty quickly. The oldest who is most in need of food and the slowest eater is pretty much hand fed right now. I think the other two either share a plate or get their own. I personally use bowls for my 2 that can be thrown in the dishwasher--I know she uses normal plates for the same reason. They're heavier and less likely to go all over the place than paper plates.
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