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Question for Cleopatra - free feeding?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hi all! I've been absent for awhile (afraid I got pretty busy with school work), but I'm back with a new question:

First, I might mention that the last time I was here, Cleopatra had just been prescribed Lysine to clear up the residue from her URI, and I was in the process of getting a cat tree off of eBay. Well, I still don't have the cat tree (seller ran out of stock, and said it would be back in stock in October - I just contacted them again), but Patra appears to be a happy, loving little kitten. She's taken to scratching at the carpet more lately, but I'm hoping the cat tree will take care of that if I can get it.

But, to the main point: Patra's about 7 months old now, and approximately 7 pounds in weight, which I understand is good. A month or so ago, I got her off of the IAMs kitten food I'd started her on, and put her on Royal Canin kitten food instead, and she loves it. She is still free-fed, and also gtes her first dose of lysine in a little catmilk, and her second dose in a bit of plain yogurt. I also try to give her a spoonful of wet food mixed in water every other day or so, but she won't always eat it. I'm guessing that sometimes she's just not hungry because she may have been eating the Royal Canin dry food soon before - it's really more of a treat at this point.

Now, I believe she's still got a pound or two of growing to do before she's fully grown (I was told that she'd probably be about 8-9 pounds fully grown), but I've heard that it is bad to free feed kittens/cats after a certain age, or they risk becoming overweight. I don't think she shows any signs of it now, but I'm going to be paranoid and ask: approximately when should I stop free feeding her and giving her timed meals instead? And when I do that, what is the best way to wean her off of being free fed? I think when that happens, I'd like to give her one meal of dry food, and one meal of wet food each day, or something like that.

I'm planning to call my vet to ask about this as well, but I'd love to hear anything you have to say about it. Thanks in advance!
post #2 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magycmyste View Post
Hi all! I've been absent for awhile (afraid I got pretty busy with school work), but I'm back with a new question:

First, I might mention that the last time I was here, Cleopatra had just been prescribed Lysine to clear up the residue from her URI, and I was in the process of getting a cat tree off of eBay. Well, I still don't have the cat tree (seller ran out of stock, and said it would be back in stock in October - I just contacted them again), but Patra appears to be a happy, loving little kitten. She's taken to scratching at the carpet more lately, but I'm hoping the cat tree will take care of that if I can get it.

But, to the main point: Patra's about 7 months old now, and approximately 7 pounds in weight, which I understand is good. A month or so ago, I got her off of the IAMs kitten food I'd started her on, and put her on Royal Canin kitten food instead, and she loves it. She is still free-fed, and also gtes her first dose of lysine in a little catmilk, and her second dose in a bit of plain yogurt. I also try to give her a spoonful of wet food mixed in water every other day or so, but she won't always eat it. I'm guessing that sometimes she's just not hungry because she may have been eating the Royal Canin dry food soon before - it's really more of a treat at this point.

Now, I believe she's still got a pound or two of growing to do before she's fully grown (I was told that she'd probably be about 8-9 pounds fully grown), but I've heard that it is bad to free feed kittens/cats after a certain age, or they risk becoming overweight. I don't think she shows any signs of it now, but I'm going to be paranoid and ask: approximately when should I stop free feeding her and giving her timed meals instead? And when I do that, what is the best way to wean her off of being free fed? I think when that happens, I'd like to give her one meal of dry food, and one meal of wet food each day, or something like that.

I'm planning to call my vet to ask about this as well, but I'd love to hear anything you have to say about it. Thanks in advance!
Hi!

At 7 months your kitten is still growing and should continue eating kitten food till at least a year old, in my opinion.

Royal Canin dry food is *really* bad. It's full of grains, particularly wheat, gluten and corn = sugar, which is not very good at all for cats. It's junk food for cats. Also manufacturer's of dry food put something in it to make it smell *really* good to cats, which is why cats seem to prefer it, but in reality it's not very good food for them. It's really the equivalent of giving them dry cereal.

Check the ingredients on your IAMS kittens, if it contains by-products that is not good either because more often than not, the sources used to make the by-products is not the best and can include parts like chicken feet, beaks, intestines, organs that are considered unfit for human consumption. But the link below explains it all much better than I ever could.


http://www.catinfo.org/#My_Cat_is_Do...ne_on_Dry_Food
post #3 of 15
I call Royal canin a step up from Iams ... It does not have by products of meat.... As stated above it is grain heavy and there are many out there that are less$$ and less grain...

Corn is a grain and NOT all sugar , this is a tatic used to say it is bad for animals ( cats have NO biological need for grains is true)... Corn is the least digestable of the grains for a cat , 30-50% vs rice at 70-90% and chicken at 91%

the link given is to one of the more controversial holistic vets ..

Here is a link to another vet similar views but IMHO a better overall reputation among other vets

http://www.littlebigcat.com/index.ph...dmarketinghype
post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 
Oh, really? darnit. I wonder if they'll let me return an unopened bag of food - For some reason, I thought I remembered it being recommended as being a very good brand around here, which is why I switched her to it. I must have gotten mixed up. I just bought a 15 pound bag of the stuff because that was the only size they had available. And it was very pricey... If they'll let me exchange it, I'll take a look at the boards again and make sure I get my research right first.

Still, she seems to have been doing well on it...

But is it ok to continue free feeding her until she's 12 months old? (Free feeding is definitely convenient for me, with school and work, but I don't want her to become at risk for being overweight, either.) Or should I start limiting her food sooner?
post #5 of 15
Well, personally, I would see how she goes with free-feeding. My boys are both free-fed and are in great condition, according to the vet. Chay is 3, and Billy is 4. She might do just fine being free-fed all the time. Especially if she's getting exercise, she might not have a problem at all. The boys go through about a bowl a day, so maybe a cup? between the two of them. You can keep an eye on how much she's going through to tell if she's over-eating, I would bet.

I know how it is to be a college student and try to afford good food. Look into something like Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul - its not as good as the really expensive grain-frees, but at least there's no corn, and a decent amount of meat in it. I pay about $30 for a 20 something pound bag at the moment, and that lasts us a few months in an airtight container.

Where in Texas are you, if you don't mind me asking?
post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
Austin, at the moment ^_^

I think she's probably eating about a cup or less, per day - I have one of those Bistro free-feeders and I just fill it up about halfway, and she eats when she wants - I have to shake it a little to get the kibbles to come out - she'll eat as soon as the bottom of the bowl is covered up again. But I usually refill it about once a week or so, when it gets really low. And I don't think she's overweight right now, so I guess she's monitoring herself pretty well.

I'll see if the Petco at the Hancock Center has Chicken Soup. Petsmart is about the same distance from me, but it's in the opposite direction - I usually go pet shopping on my way home from class. On the other hand, it's also got a better selection.

I've looked at the analysis of dry cat foods, but I'm not really sure what to tell from it (I'm not very much of a numbers person, unfortunately). What I think I remember as other recommended brands are: Wellness Natural, Nutro MAX, Nutro Natural Choice, and Authority. Does that sound right? (Making a list of foods to look for at Petco.)
post #7 of 15
Most big pet stores don't seem to carry things like Chicken Soup. I have to buy mine from a feed store. Of the ones you've listed, I would go with Wellness - its the best of that bunch, to my knowledge, but that's Wellness Core, not so sure about Wellness Natural. Petco has started selling Avoderm, which seems pretty decent as far as dry foods go if I remember correctly. I've been using the "By Nature" wet foods - good quality, so I would expect their dry foods to be similar in quality.


With a really good quality dry, cats tend to eat less since they're getting more nutrition. Just keep an eye on how much she's eating, and her weight. If she gets plenty of exercise, she might be alright on a free-fed diet. As a kitten, she needs to eat however much she's going to eat, but eventually, she's either going to have to cut back, or be put on a measured diet.
post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandtigress View Post
Most big pet stores don't seem to carry things like Chicken Soup. I have to buy mine from a feed store. Of the ones you've listed, I would go with Wellness - its the best of that bunch, to my knowledge, but that's Wellness Core, not so sure about Wellness Natural. Petco has started selling Avoderm, which seems pretty decent as far as dry foods go if I remember correctly. I've been using the "By Nature" wet foods - good quality, so I would expect their dry foods to be similar in quality.


With a really good quality dry, cats tend to eat less since they're getting more nutrition. Just keep an eye on how much she's eating, and her weight. If she gets plenty of exercise, she might be alright on a free-fed diet. As a kitten, she needs to eat however much she's going to eat, but eventually, she's either going to have to cut back, or be put on a measured diet.
By nature IMHO wet is great and dry is almost as grainy as royal canin

avoderm is corn heavy in a dry good in a wet IMHO
post #9 of 15
Haha...well, I trust you on that, Sharky. I've only used them for the wet food. Thanks for correcting me.
post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
Well, I ended up getting Wellness Kitten Health. I looked at some of the other dry brands and ALL of them had corn gluten and ground corn in the top 3-4 ingredients.

I don't think I can afford to keep her on Wellness too long, though (I gave her one pellet when I got home, to see if she liked it - she ate it, but it took her a lot longer than it normally takes for her to eat a few kibbles of food - maybe because it's more concentrated, like you said, Sandtigress. But she started off just licking it, and backed off a couple of times before eating it. I'm also considering the idea of buying food online. So far, in most things, I tend to have better luck finding them online for cheaper prices.... Theoretically, it ought o give me much better options to choose from...

On the bright side, I'm good onwet food for now. One reason I was considering about when to stop free feeding her was that I thought maybe she would eat more of the wet food if she did not have the dry always available.

And thanks for confirming that, Sharky.

EDIT: I just found a feed store nearby that looks to have a really good reputation, so I might try over there tomorrow and see if I can get a smallish bag of Chicken Soup, since I have the day off. ^_^
post #11 of 15
Chicken soup usually has sample bags, and they sell little 2.5 pound bags, I think, for not that much, so you can see if she likes it or not. Good luck! I know that Wellness is pricey - that's why I haven't switched even though I know its a better food. Wish I could, but it will have to wait for a day when I'm not a grad student anymore.
post #12 of 15
Chicken soup and Wellness ( not core) IMHO are about the same ... both have multiple meats and multiple grains .. that is just IMHO

As for wet food : TRY the best but dont be suprised if mid grade is all kitty wants ( hopefully above grocery )
post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 
:: I've been using Nutro Natural Choice mostly for her wet food, with a couple of other brands rotated in to see if she likes them - she seems to prefer non-fishy foods (which is fine by me - I can't really stand the smell of fish).

I'm pretty sure I checked the ingredients of all the wet foods I bought to make sure there was little to no grain in them, at least. That seems to be harder to find in dry food than wet food.

Online, Chicken Soup appears to sell 1.5 pound bags, also, but shipping gets pretty expensive. I'm hoping I can get reasonable prices at the feed store, though if I move out of Austin after I graduate, I'll probably have to order it online.
post #14 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magycmyste View Post
I don't think I can afford to keep her on Wellness too long, though (I gave her one pellet when I got home, to see if she liked it - she ate it, but it took her a lot longer than it normally takes for her to eat a few kibbles of food - maybe because it's more concentrated, like you said, Sandtigress. But she started off just licking it, and backed off a couple of times before eating it.
My cats were not fans of Wellness. We only bought one bag and they didn't eat the whole thing.

I feed Iams Healthy Naturals (chicken) because after Nutro Max changed the formula my older cat won't eat it. Iams fits my budget like Nutro but they all like it. They are doing well on it. I have a sample of Chicken Soup but the store that stocks it comes in much higher pricewise than Nutro Max and Iams does. I'm also on a student budget but I have very picky cats too.

Edit: I'm also feeding the kitten Nutro Max kitten and she gets all-stages wet food with the guys. Nabu is also getting Royal Canin Active Mature, but after this bag I have to find him something else. The price is just too much for my budget. I had a hard time finding Senior foods that weren't restricted calorie foods for him.
post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
::grin:: I'm a little lucky in that my parents are helping me out with finances a little bit. But I'm trying not to impose on them too much with the cat, since they had no part in my decision to get a kitten.

Good thing I called ahead, but the feed store I was looking at did not carry Chicken Soup. I found one that said they could order it for me, and that their rep was coming in tomorrow and I could ask about pricing. If it turns out to be too expensive, I'll probably try her out on Nutro and stick with that (I remember one of the Nutro brands having 40% protein in it). On the other hand, if I can get one of the smaller bags, and she likes it, I've got a coupon for petfooddirect.com for 22% off my first order (you have to enter their contest for a year's supply of pet food), and I remember seeing other coupons that mention free shipping, though I'm not sure if they're still available.
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