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How to Feed 2 Cats w/ Diff Eating Habits

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi all! I haven't been around in ages, but I used to post every now and then. I have two cats, both around 1.5 to 2 years. I'm including a picture to refresh memories. (Also to bribe you ). Don't let the cuteness fool you, though: they don't cuddle very often.

The gray one, Audrey, is very solidly built. She's not overweight, but she definitely shouldn't be gaining any. She looks a lot like a Burmese in terms of her body. I would guess that she's around 12 pounds, which seems good for her.

Marlon, the medium-haired orange guy, is long and lanky. The last time we measured him he was about 37" from nose to tail tip. When we first brought him home from the shelter he was rail thin, and even though he's bulked up since then, his body seems more interested in growing lengthwise than widthwise. (Yes, he's still growing.) We'd love to be able to pack some more meat on his bones.

They're both on a diet of Innova wet (not Evo). The problem is that they have completely different eating styles. It took us forever to titrate Audrey's servings. She absolutely cannot be free fed. Our vet told us to feed her twice a day for twenty minutes at a time, and whatever she managed to pack in would be a healthy amount for her. I swear, she must have gained a pound in under a week. Marlon, on the other hand, would probably be best off with access to food all day. He likes to eat small amounts very frequently.

These days, we go through one big can of the Innova a day. We feed them at least four times, and Audrey is still getting more than her fair share. Marlon scarfs down a small amount in about thirty seconds, and then takes off. Audrey eats everything he leaves. Half an hour later, he's hungry again. We really want him to gain weight, but if we leave out more food, Audrey eats it all. We're trying to feed them more frequently and in smaller amounts, but we're both at work all day, so it's hard.

Any suggestions?
post #2 of 7
If you or someone you know is crafty, you could rig a special eating area for Marlon. They make special cat doors that are activated by a device that attaches to a collar. You could set up an eating area by installing one of these cat doors in a box or other confined area (like a closet) so that only Marlon can get in--that way he can eat at his leisure.
post #3 of 7
That is a good idea I might try that myself.
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hmm, that's an interesting idea! We're moving soon, and should have the space to set up something. We've been thinking of buying enclosed endtables or something to hide litter boxes in, so maybe we could do something similar with food.

My one concern in that case is that Audrey would be absolutely horrified by the situation. I have never seen a cat as eager to overeat, so if she could smell the food (and her precious dry food that we rarely let her have, no less), but couldn't get to it, we might have a bit of a situation on our hands. Do you think she'd eventually get over it?

We'll definitely look into that. I'm going to go check prices on those special cat doors.

post #5 of 7
Hi ! I have many cats at home, they all eat the same food... but when they get them their canned food he just want to eat it all from everybody and he pushes everybody awaty like he was just starving for a week ! So I just put him in a separate room till the others finish eating.
Good luck !
post #6 of 7
Odo looks crushed if I feed dry food to Zekkie and not him, so I feed them at the same time but with drastically different quantities--Odo get's most of a film canister full of dry food, while Zek gets half of a cup. That way, Odo doesn't feel left out, but he doesn't overeat either.
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Okay, I think we might have found a solution!

We were nervous about the electromagnetic kitty door idea, because we figured that Audrey is smart enough to figure out what was going on and squeeze in behind Marlon some day, then get stuck while we're both at work or something awful like that.

We ended up buying some Innova dry food (we usually only feed wet, with occasional dry as a treat), and for the past two nights, we've been giving a tiny snack to Audrey and a half a bowl or so to Marlon. The trick here is that Audrey usually sleeps in our bedroom and we lock Marlon out. This is partially to give her a break (Marlon drives her crazy every now and then), and also because Marlon has perfected the art of knocking things off the dressers (camera, lotions, etc.) and onto my head (hairbrushes, full glasses of water , etc.). As a result, he can eat as slowly as he wants, and there's no Audrey to swoop in and steal his leftovers.

I guess she can't smell the dry food through the door or something, because she hasn't freaked out about the situation. In the morning, Marlon has eaten a decent amount of food, but definitely left some behind (I guess we were right about the free-feeding). A nice benefit of this is that he no longer starts crying for us to feed him at 6am.

He's currently having a bit of digestive distress as he adjusts, but I'm pretty sure that's worse for us (you wouldn't believe the stench this morning) than for him. He's his normal self, only less irritating in the mornings. We're hoping it might even relax him a bit since he'll be getting enough food and won't be starving all night.

So thanks for all the suggestions! It ended up that the solution was sort of a combination of a bunch of different ideas from you guys.
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