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I be honest, I think a cat can eat as much as they want as long as they work it off.

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I'm always playing with my cat which is like exercising.

I guess they are human in a way.
post #2 of 14
That may work with SOME cats, but the majority would over eat and not really be working it off. Its better to put a set amount down and not free feed adult cats.
post #3 of 14
I disagree. Most cats will not overeat. My family always free-fed cats and the cats remained trim.
post #4 of 14
I think a lot depends on what kind of food is in the food dish. A low quality food is more likely to be sprayed with fat prior to bagging to entice the cat to eat it. I believe a low quality food is nothing more than junk food. We all know if you gorge yourself on junk food you get fat.

Another factor may be genetics. Some with metabolism faster than others.
post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by FuzMugly View Post
I think a lot depends on what kind of food is in the food dish. A low quality food is more likely to be sprayed with fat prior to bagging to entice the cat to eat it. I believe a low quality food is nothing more than junk food. We all know if you gorge yourself on junk food you get fat.

Another factor may be genetics. Some with metabolism faster than others.
Very few food s are NOT sprayed with fat after the extrusion process or baking process ... I can only think of two that claim not too...

A few years ago I would have said 75% could be free feed without issue ... now I am more toward 50/50 ...
post #6 of 14
Well, considering most vets would agree that we have an epidemic of obese cats here in the US and most, if not all those owners (unfortunately) free-feed dry food, I'd say it's pretty clear that cats will eat more then they need.

If you're going to feed dry foods, it's better to put your kitties on a schedule and feed them a set amount. Obesity leads to just as many bad things in cats as it does in people.
post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Howard View Post
I guess they are human in a way.
But they're not human, not in any way and cannot understand calories - most people fail at this as well...

And sharky's right - Practically every single food is tallow coated, it's to help preserve it and make it taste and smell better to cats. Set a piece of your high quality dry food on a sheet of paper overnight, you'll find a grease spot. Or simply handle it barehanded, you'll feel the fat on it. Without the tallow and powder coating you get something more like a dog biscuit as far as scent and how it would feel in your hand. (DH claims that uncoated cat food smells like bird seed?.. )

Mine are on scheduled meals. I have one that will overeat, if allowed, then barf his food up on the floor. Many others here have cats with this problem, too, so it's not just a few cats that do this. The same cat was also rather overweight at one point, restricting food and getting another high energy cat helped trim him down. My other cat shows signs that if allowed to eat all he wanted, he'd develop a rather wide back end....


A funny thing, though. Reptile keepers, particularly those with leopard geckos, claim that leos will not over eat. I have one, that as a baby, would eat too much in one sitting then regurgitate it. Because of that I had to break up her feedings into a couple smaller meals a few hours a part.
post #8 of 14
I think that maybe 25% of cats can free feed without over-eating. We could always free feed Freya and often and she'd just nibble as she was hungry but we've had to stop that with Cotton since, if it's down, he'll eat it all. We've finally gotten his weight stabilized and if strict mealtimes are what does that, I'm fine with them. Both of them are really active cats.

Both of my parents' cats, OTOH are horrible at free feeding. They gorge on whatever's around and they've been struggling with the weight issue for years. Really, I think it just depends on the cat.
post #9 of 14
Growing up our cats were free-fed, but always did seem to be a bit heavy. They were indoor/outdoor and very active, but also very large and we often referred to them as "fat cats". The idea of serving canned food to my cats for anything other than a treat never occurred to me until I was older and did my research for my own cats.

I believe some cats will gorge themselves and become obese, where other cats will eat only what they need and stay trim. Just like everything else with cats, there is no "one size fits all" answer. So whatever works for you and your cats is the best answer .

Since Mulder is still a kitten and I believe it is important for him to have constant access to food my cats are fed a combination of wet and dry food for now. I keep a bowl of dry kibble available 24/7 and then feed them their canned food twice a day. At least with my boys, they just nibble on the dry food and eagerly chow down on their wet meals.

Both of my boys went to the vet this weekend – Spooky (1.5yrs) weighed in at 14.5lbs and Mulder (8Mos) at 10.5lbs. He said neither of them was disproportional or overweight and recommended I maintain my current feeding habits.
post #10 of 14
Breeder perspective:

I only free-feed my pregnant and nursing queens. ALL of the other cats are on scheduled feedings, to include the kittens. The adults eat a full balanced meal twice per day, the kittens get 4 meals per day.

There are no fat cats and there is no barfing due to over-eating. My cats are muscular and healthy.

IMO, free-feeding non breeding cats isn't a very good option, unless you have a very picky eater or a nibbler.
post #11 of 14
I've always free fed my cats and never had a one that was over weight. The two I have now are both between 8 and 9 lb. and that's about what all my Persian's have been at in the past too. I'm not saying it doesn't happen! Because obviously it does! I must have just gotten lucky over the years.
post #12 of 14
All of ours are fed a poor diet (one that I am STILL trying to get my parents to change, with no success, obviously), and free-fed, and only one of the seven is a healthy weight, and that, I suspect, is because she was recently sick and she runs around like crazy a lot.
post #13 of 14
Howard, you may have a point when the cat is an outdoor cat that hunts. Being outdoors and hunting takes a lot of energy, and burns up a lot of calories. But I don't think that observation translates for an indoor cat. No matter how much you play with your cat, the exercise it gets just isn't enough to burn off all those calories.
post #14 of 14
Well I guess this works for some cats and others not so much.

I did the free feeding thing with Gizmo for a while and ended up with a 15 1/2 pound cat. Now I have him on a two meal a day schedule and strictly wet food. He's down to 14lbs now but he's still has a ways to go
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