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Compulsive eating problem

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
One of my cats is going to eat himself into an early grave if I don't stop his eating behavior right now! "Harley" is approx. 2 years old, a neutered male, who was a feral up until last year when I rescued him and brought him home to my other 2 cats. My other two cats are normal weight. I leave dry food out all day for all cats - this is a Max Cat light formula I use. They each get a feeding of 3 oz of Fancy Feast moist food twice per day. Treats are only given occasionally. I play 1/2 hr per day with Harley to exercise him...heres the problem...he won't play unless there's dry food around and he has to break every 5 min. during playtime to munch on a snack of dry food!! I don't know where he picked up this strange habit (perhaps he's seen me on the computer eating potato chips) Anyway, he's getting pretty pudgy around the middle. Any ideas on why a cat may be turning into a compulsive eater and what I can do to get his weight down?
post #2 of 3
Well, you may have something there when you mention him seeing you eating potato chips -- cats are very smart and observant, after all! Personally, around here, it's about 1 oz. of wet per cat in the morning, and 2 oz. in the evening. Dry food is free-choice, and there's the probable cause of Harley's girthiness. Most nutritional experts would probably advise you to NOT have dry food down free-choice, but to put food down for 15 minutes and then take it up until the next mealtime, period. I feel conflicted on this, as cats in the wild are not regimented feeders and they can and do eat "free choice" when they can. But of course, they're not in the wild in our homes, and to keep Harley healthy, it does sound like he needs to diet some. Be very careful in doing this, though; I would strongly recommend talking to a good vet and getting his or her recommendations, or at least, getting some feedback from some of the experts here on TCS (I don't claim to be one!) as to what they would recommend. GOOD LUCK! (And we'd love to see pictures of your cats, including Harley!)
post #3 of 3
Feral cats grow up thinking of nothing but where their next meal is coming from and how to get it. If you leave food lying around, it'll be gone right away. That's where he's coming from. However, if you change all the cats over to meals only (+/- treats), and stop the free feeding, you'll be in control of who eats how much... problem solved. I've never free fed any cat at all in probably longer than you've been around :-), and have never had a fat cat, just comfy ones.
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