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My cat can't eat by herself!

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I adopted my cat a year ago from the humane society. They believe she had been abused and living in a house with multiple animals. I noticed right away that she really preferred to eat with me petting her. As soon as I come hope she will go straight to her food bowl, as if she was waiting for me. If I was gone for a long period (12-14 hours), I would come home to vomit. I think she is waiting so long to eat, that she becomes so famished that she gorges herself, making her throwup.

Unfortunately, my life isn't stable enough to do feedings at specific times, so I don't want to just not leave food for her. And anyways, she won't finish her food. I think she wants to always leave some behind for later.

I've just simply resorted to being home often enough, and being with her to eat. Any suggestions?
post #2 of 4
If you are feeding her wet food, try dry food.
post #3 of 4
It is preferred to feed cats wet food whenever possible due to health concerns. Is this your only cat? You might be an ideal candidate for one of those timed food bowls. You fill the compartments and set them to open on a schedule. You could also try the Kitty Kitchen Treat Machine, or those treat balls where you put food in and they have to work to get it out. Check out the automatic feeders and treat machine at Drs Foster & Smith http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...fm?c=3261+1910

Unfortunately, I think you are reinforcing the behavior. Try building her confidence by maybe just being in the room with her without petting her as she eats. Occasionally praise her for eating, but not too much attention.
post #4 of 4
I've never heard of a cat not eating food that is out and then gorging on it! Poor baby!

The gorging behavior is usually the result of a kitty not having regular access to food, so it tries to eat as much as possible when it's available. The way to correct this behavior (usually) is to make small amounts of food available frequently, and on a very regular basis. Once kitty understands there will always be food, then free-feeding isn't a problem, because the instinct to gorge is gone. But cats naturally need to eat small amounts frequently, so free feeding is always the best if we're not around a good chunk of the day.

Given that you have a schedule that prevents regularity, I'd consider doing a couple of things.

First of all, the timed feeder sounds like a great idea. However, I'd go one step further - because she likes to eat when you're there, help her by getting a t-shirt or something REALLY stinky sweaty with your scent, and put it under the feeder.

You can also try foregoing the timed feeder when you're going to be around for a day or two (maybe a weekend?) and do the same thing (sweaty t-shirt under the food dish) with her food dishes - but put them up on something - a small box or something - so she can get at it, but it's not totally comfortable - like it is when its on the floor, where she can put her head down and really gobble. Hopefully the raised dishes with the t-shirt that smells like you will help her eat slowly - and not gorge.

Hope these work,

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