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Zane's neurotic food behavior

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
We have an 8 year old neutered male cat.
Zane is a sweet guy and gets A LOT of attention.

Up until 2 years ago, he got wet food a few times a day and unlimited
dry food. At that time he was thrilled any time a wet food can was opened.
He became significantly overweight (18 lbs.). We brought him in for a checkup
and the vet gave us a feeding chart which defined four 3 oz. cans of
Purina wet food as optimal and dry food not healthy as a primary food source
for a cat. He has lost 5 pounds and is now stable around 13 lbs (his vet's target weight)
Unfortunately this process has made him into a neurotic cat.

We feed him wet food 4 times daily at 9am-2pm-7pm-12am.
He licks the gravy off the top and then is gone. In the next 1/2 to 3 hours
after, he cries for dry food
(which now is the food that thrills him) and rushes over
to the feeding area even though wet food is there. Not all the time, but often.
He jumps up to investigate any time we walk toward the feeding area (maybe they will give me dry food).
I think I understand what's going on. He wants the kind of food to which he has limited access.
He usually eats more wet food a half hour before being given a new can.
Generally he eats no more than 1/2 to 2/3 of the can, so we throw out a lot of catfood.

He's increasingly crying at 5am for food (usually having eaten most of it).
We've tried giving him dry food at 12am but he wolfs it down without chewing
(he did chew it when it was in unlimited supply) and
often throws it up. With dry & wet food available at night, he won't
eat the wet. This is making us crazy. I'm grateful for any suggestions.
post #2 of 5
What I've done forever (lotsa cats), is some canned and some dry at every (3) meal plus treat time. If you are careful about how much dry food you give him (rather than free feeding) he should be able to have more of it. Also, he may eat more canned stuff if it's varied by brand and/or flavors - at every meal. Use little can covers in the fridge and keep the uneaten part of a can for ... not the next meal in a row, but one after that, so he's not bored (or so conscious of the food not being 100% 'fresh' (even tho' it's perfectly good). Cats get bored SO easily, so variety is really important, and that means texture, not just taste.
post #3 of 5
I'm not an expert about feeding or anything, but have you considered play & treat balls with dry food? I use them for my cats and they like to bat these balls around and "work" for their dry food. Maybe the novelty of it would interest Zane? You can put the dry food amount in them that you prefer and you can also only make them available at certain times, e.g. at night if he cries for food early in the morning.

Here are some links:


post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hi Larke and Sheeba07
Thanks for your ideas on this.
I guess he's neurotic for understandable reasons.
This might be a step toward recovery if he understood English.
I find he will often eat his old can if I don't put out a new can
when he's due to be fed. Actually eating seems to be Plan B.
Just another finicky cat...He's a 'lover boy' so all is forgiven :^)
post #5 of 5
Hi again Quadropenta.

Too bad that there weren't any more replies to your post. I think a lot of cats are finicky/semi-neurotic about their food. When I switched my cats diet, from wet and dry, to almost an exclusive wet I had some of the same issues you are describing; meowing for food, obsessing about dry food and limited interest in the wet food provided. With time and patience the behavior went away and they now enjoy their canned food. They still like to nudge their puzzle balls around, but it really is a limited amount of dry food that they eat. I've also started feeding them treats every day (Feline greenies) and they like the crunchy sound.

Now, about the rushing to the feeding area - mine does that too, and I think many cats do this. Whenever I walk into the kitchen they come racing and think it's food time, even if I do it 10 times a day

Good luck with it!
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