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Odd eating behavior in my 10 mos. old cat! Why??

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I have a concern regarding my new cats eating habits, but let me give you some background about him first.

I recently rescued this cat in September. He's a handsome and sweet gray male tabby with BEAUTIFUL blue-green eyes, so I named him Jade.

Now, Jade has most of his shots and will be getting neutered on Nov. 12 and getting his boosters. He did not have anything when I got him, though.

He's a very good cat, very nice personality, loves to sleep with me, uses the litter box for everything, has not sprayed (thank GOD) but I need to watch for clawing the furniture/rug so I take him outside on a leash and harness and let him get some air and claw on the trees (he loves that!)

I got Jade from a friend of mine who's Mom wanted to get rid of the two cats they had (the other cat, a solid black male has a home too, so it's all good.)

Jade was outside all the time, they did not like to have him in the house because he would pee in their basement, etc so he was outside all day and night. Since I got him, I have not let him out and I want to train him to be an indoor cat. He got out once, I had a heart attack when I couldn't find him, but I did--he was WAY out towards the woods!! (We live in a very country area.) I have to watch when I go out and come in as he's always at the door, ready to take off. I gently shoo him away from my foot as I come in or go out, he does back off.

Jade is always at the door crying to go outside, but I just ignore him and tell him, 'No.' Anyways, now when it comes to eating, forget it. He's like, insane. He LOVES to eat, he eats very quick, gets very, how do I say it....excited? ecstatic? He's like, wild. He won't even let me pour the dry food in his bowl because his face is like, in the way, trying to eat. It's like, I have to hold him back as I serve him or take the bowl, put the food in there and then place it down and boom, he's digging in. I have no idea why he's like this. He's even on the kitchen counters at night while I'm upstairs (I came downstairs I heard him jump down and run off with something. I went after him and he was wet and had a piece of spagetti in his mouth. I took it away from him and took him upstairs to my room to go to sleep.) But I want to find out why he's acting like this. I need to help curb this habit because this will drive my parents nuts. It was hard enough getting my parents to let me keep him, lol. He's a sweet animal, I love him to pieces, he's my baby boy, but his aggressive food hoarding NEEDS to be tamed.

I thought about a few things:

1. Maybe once he's fixed, his hormones will slow down
2. He was an outside cat basically all his life (he's 10 months, according to the vet)
3. My aunt and I think he was not fed right since he was a kitten
4. He was not fed the proper food--the family I got him from fed him dog food because they could not afford cat food
5. He's a male--are males bigger eaters than females?

I have another cat, she's about 7, who's not like Jade at all. Sure, she perks up when it's time to eat and cries for her food, like most cats, but she does not act like Jade at all.

These are just a few factors to consider. I would appreciate some advice/diagnosis! lol.

And yes, the vet did give me something to put on the back of Jade's neck for worms, I did think maybe he still has worms. I will be taking a stool sample with me when I take him to the vet for his surgery on Nov. 12th.
post #2 of 12
Dog food?

He probably was never fed properly, from what you describe, and he probably had to fight the dogs for any food he got. His eating habits will probably change once he realizes he's not going to go hungry, and will always have food.

Male cats who aren't yet neutered will sometimes eat like "pigs" - especially if they go outside, b/c they usually just come in to eat, and then go right back outside. So they have to eat what they can get while they can...

He may also have worms: does he have a bloated tummy? Do you see any little white specs in his feces that looks like rice?? Sometimes they have worms and you don't even know it: Taking a stool sample to the vet is a good idea to rule that out..

I don't blame Jade for peeing in the previous owners' basement. It sounds to me as if he wasn't being treated very well, and he was letting them know how much he disliked their treatment of him. Cats will pee on things when they're not happy...

post #3 of 12
I've got 8 fixed farm cats. All of them exhibit the behavior you are describing. I see it a lot in strays. They often do not know when the next meal will come, if it ever will. Eventually, they do calm down some.

My suggestion is to prepare the food in a room with the door closed. Then walk to where you feed the kittes & set the bowl down. He'll dive in, but if you were often starved you would do the same thing.
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks SO much for your prompt replies! It's pretty much along the same lines as me.

I know, they were feeding him dog food. I immediatly went to the store and bought a box of cat food and made sure they were fed every day. (I was staying at their house for a few days.)

No, he doesn't seem to have a bloated belly, although he does seem a little healthier since he's been eating better. Maybe very slightly after he eats, but nothing unusual. Yes, he DOES eat like a "pig" lol! I hate to call him that, but, it's how he acts. I did not notice any fecal worms, which was one of the first things I watched for when I got him.

He does seem to feel comfortable living with us. He follows me everywhere and is well-behaved and I'm always paying attention to him and he loves attention. I was afraid he would spray, but none of that has happened and god is his urine odor TERRIBLE. I had no idea male urine was that bad. Jade is my first male. My grandmother does not like male animals because she says they're not clean, I hope once Jade is neutered, she'll see that male cats are a lot like females! We have another cat, Carmella and two dogs, both females. Jade gets along a lot better with the dogs than he does with Carmella. They're doing better, but have their moments, lol.

I do need to feed them in separate rooms and I make sure Jade stays away from Carmella's bowl since it does not belong to him. He's learning, I have to say. They say you cannot "train" cats, but I believe you can if you're patient and persistant enough! Cats might have a mind of thier own, but they're very intelligent and very curious animals. He's into EVERYTHING. I tell him a firm "NO!" and I clap my hands, he listens pretty well. My grandmother's like, 'Take a newspaper and smack him!' (She's old fashioned, lol.)

Jade begs for food, but I push away and tell him No. After a few times, he eventually wanders off. I hope his obsessive eating eventually tapers off. It's been a month. I'll be sure to take a stool sample on Monday when I drop him off at the vet to get fixed. I cannot wait because that urine odor's GOTTA go! I make sure the litter box is cleaned at all times, too because the smell is ungodly. I use Scoop Away and arm and hammer litter deodorizer. Works great!

He might have been a stray. They told me he just appeared on their door step one day. The other black cat they had their daughter picked it up from a shelter, I think, as a kitten. But I don't think either cat was fed properly. That's what I hate. Why get animals if you're not going to take the responsibility and commitment? Animals are like kids/family. They deserve the same love and care. When I get my own place, I'll be getting more cats, preferably males because I love how affectionate they are. Jade cuddles with every night while I asleep. He's like a teddybear that keeps me company. I just love it!
post #5 of 12
Be consistent on keeping him in. Eventually he will adjust to indoor only. As far as feeding (he may slow down once he's neutered); try feeding him a smaller amount 2-3 times a day.

For example; if you are feeding him a cup of food, then break it up into 1/3 cup in the morning - 1/3 cup in the afternoon - 1/3 cup in the evening. That should help him slow down and know he doesn't have to fight for food and will eat a little slower.
post #6 of 12
GoldenKitty45 has hit it; food more often can help tame the hungries.

Our kitten was like that two months ago, but he had been so starved he didn't have his downy underfur, and his eyes were all sunken in. The only way to convince a cat that the food will keep coming is to keep the food coming.

We feed him his canned in the bathroom because he would inhale it and raid the other cat's bowls. I was feeding him small portions six times a day, and now he's at two a day, with a bowl of good dry food, Innova Evo, available all the time.

I'm glad you don't take your grandma's advice about cats

You are doing all the right things, and neutering as soon as possible will calm him down some and also get rid of some of the urine smell. Also, his "products" will be more normal when he's eating good food for a while.

You are working so hard to make this work, as soon as he feels more secure he will be even better. It does end, but starvation in a kitten is something they never forget. Dear Husband will say "It's been two months, doesn't he know now?' but I point out, "Why should he? We still haven't had him as long as the shelters did."
post #7 of 12
Yeah, your grandma is "old-fashioned".. Male cats aren't any "dirtier" than female cats are, except I think they have a tendency to get dirtier faster b/c they're always tom-catting around before they get neutered, and will fight for the "fair maiden's" hand! I don't think any cat is dirty, period: look at how often they clean themselves!

Cat pee is cat pee, and it all has a strong oder. But an unneutered male cat's pee is definitely a lot stronger: that problem will be solved once he gets fixed..

Before all my strays were fed on a regular basis, they were all little "piggies" too. Any animal who is not getting fed enough is going to be a pig - it's only natural. None of my strays are pigs now, now that they know that there is always going to be a regular meal coming their way.. And when we first got Spencer, he was a pig, too. We rescued him from the local Wal-Mart parking lot - the poor guy had to fight for every scrap of food that he got: he was so hungry he even ate cigarette butts (I think he may still have an "addiction" to them, b/c he's always taking cigarette butts out of the ashtray! .) My s/o called me from work one day, and told me he couldn't stand to see the poor baby suffer any longer, and brought him home (this coming from the same guy who said, "No more cats!" after I adopted Geronimo. :....not that I was going to listen to him...). Anyway, once Spencer realized he was always going to have food whenever he wanted it, he quit being a pig.. Your furbaby will readjust too, once he realizes how loved he is, and will no longer have to go hungry..

Cats being untrainable is not true: you can train a cat to do almost anything. They just do it on THEIR terms!

post #8 of 12

It's been my experience that most stray cats generally end up being the most loving of all. I think it's b/c they are so appreciative of having a good home after being abused and mistreated. Spencer & Winchester are two of the most loving cats that I've ever had , and they were both abused strays.

post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
Wow, thanks for all the wonderful replies.

Well, Jade got neutered yesterday. He's doing fine so far, ate his dinner and peed in his litter box, lol.

It turns out, he has worms and will be started on de-wormer hopefully tomorrow. I was on the way to do some errands with my mom after we picked up the cat from the vet and I was reading over the directions and medication and saw the de-wormer was for CANINES!

I called the vet and told them that I believe I got the wrong type of worm meds. They apologized and told me to return it. I'll be doing so tomorrow. I was going to return it today, but it getting late and we had to get home. I figured I'd start tomorrow anyhow and let him rest for a night and get all those boosters sink in, etc. I just hope this meds won't make him sick.

I know for sure I will be getting more cats once I get my own place, lol. I had to BEG my parents to keep this little guy. Mom still hasn't grown on him yet, but she will over time. She didn't want anymore animals, period and is still getting over the fact that we have ANOTHER animal, lol. It's just a cat, he's not a bother at all, really. He's a lover. Males ARE more affectionate than females. I will also adopt my cats from shelters or take in strays. I had a teacher who had 13 cats, all strays. Depending on what I can afford, I dunno how many I would have, but definetly more than 2 or so. (I have 2 now--I want more!)

Anyways, I think once the worms are gone, he'll be eating better. I did not see any fecal worms, but apparently it's some parasite. I'm lucky I brought in a stool sample. He's been sleeping all day in my bed. I'm keeping him in my room for the week since he's not allowed to act like a monkey, lol.

He just jumps up and down from the bed to drink water or eat, but I won't let him jump anywhere else and placed items on top of places he liked to jump on. He sees his favorite places are 'blocked' and won't try to jump. So he just snoozes in bed and I just leave him be. I was told also the urine smell will decrease in a few days after it all passes through.

I would like to give him a bath or something of that sort once he is completely healed, but I don't know how I'm going to attempt that, lol.....any tips without getting scratched up and my eyes clawed out? LOL
post #10 of 12
Good job you spotted that you'd been given the wrong wormer

Neutering should hopefully calm down his desperation to get outside, at 10 months old he was probably wanting to go out to find a mate. It does take a few weeks for the hormones to settle though, so don't expect an overnight improvement in that!

Hopefully he won't feel as hungry once his worms are sorted out. I have to say though that some cats are just plain greedy. My Sonic tries to steal food, although he's always had plenty. I asked his breeder about it and she said he's always been a greedy guts, even trying to force his littermates away from his mum's teats so he could get more milk for himself I find the best thing to do is make sure never to leave any human food out where he can get to it, and shut him out of the room while we're eating.
post #11 of 12
I'm sure glad you noticed that the de-wormer was the wrong kind: good job! I had an incident several months ago where the new receptionist at my vet's office gave me the wrong stuff for fleas: if I wouldn't have read the label before I applied the stuff, all my furbabies would have died. The stuff she gave me was Advantix - for dogs; not Advantage, that's meant for cats. I figured she couldn't have been right when she gave me the stuff, even though I asked her and she assured me it was okay to use on cats, b/c I've always gotten Advantage for my cats. Anyway, I'm glad I listened to my "gut" feeling, and didn't use the stuff. I told my vet about the incident, and she was fired. I felt badly about her getting fired, but if she didn't know what she was doing, she shouldn't have been working there. Anyway, beware of de-wormers & flea stuff: some can be deadly if applied to the wrong animal..

I've found that male cats are generally more affectionate than female cats are, too. I don't know why that is. That's not to say that female cats aren't affectionate, but most males are more affectionate! That's been my experience, anyhow...

Your furbaby's urges to go outside will diminish after awhile, so don't worry about that! Winchester was an outdoor cat when I got him, and after we moved to a new place, I wouldn't let him outside b/c I didn't know the peeps in the neighborhood, and who could or couldn't be trusted. So I wouldn't let him out, and he just about drove us nuts with his whining and all. Once he got neutered, he quit his whining and didn't have the urge to go out much anymore. Now he could care less..

As far as getting more cats is concerned, I say, the more, the merrier! One can never have too many cats! But be careful when you adopt any strays, and make sure you have them tested for any feline diseases before bringing them into the house. You wouldn't want to take any chances of infecting those that you already have. I had to learn that lesson the hard way..

I'm glad that everything is going well w/ your furbaby! Keep up the good work!

post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
I'm sorry I never got back to this, I took the meds back, but they said the meds they gave me was fine to use. It did work, but I think he needs another treatment, grrrr. I cannot afford it, so, I posted a thread in the health section for any alternatives/help!

He's doing well! He's my lover, hehe.
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