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Kitten is hungry all the time

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 

I have a seven-month-old (almost 8 months now), formerly feral kitten, that I adopted from a rescue a couple of months ago. He has a HUGE appetite. When I first adopted him, the rescuer / foster mom said she had been feeding him 9 oz. of wet food (three 3 oz cans of Fancy Feast) a day to "fatten him up" since he had been feral, but I could take him down to six ounces once I adopted him. She had him about a week and a half before I adopted him. Prior to that he was with another volunteer foster person for a few days (not sure what she had been feeding him). And when he was feral, a woman had been leaving food out for him and his mom and brother.


Anyway, I switched him to a rotation of higher quality, grain-free, high-protein wet foods when I adopted him. He gets one full can a day (5.5 ounces), plus a VERY small amount of Blue Buffalo Wilderness duck dry food (this is just so he will take to a dry food if I am ever going to be out of the house and miss a feeding so I can leave him a little food out). 


Anyway, Magnus loves food. Not a picky eater at all. I have yet to determine if he has a favorite flavor or type of food because he just scarfs it all down indiscriminately, it seems.


Anyway, as soon as he eats a meal, he's crying for more food, literally within minutes after eating. I started giving him some raw giblets earlier this week as a snack (on top of what i was feeding him) and he seemed to really like that, however, I am not sure if I am overfeeding him by adding this to his regular meals. So now he's raiding the trash can looking for scraps so we have to hide the trash - otherwise, he's grabbing bits of egg or meat scraps out of it. And once he even stole a bite of pizza we were eating. 


I told my husband not to feed him table scraps so he wouldn't get into bad habits but now he's begging whenever we're at the dinner table or I'm cooking. (I know begging for food is normal though). 


Should I be feeding him more? He acts like he's starving.

My vet warned me former ferals can balloon up with weight because they will overeat if they can get it.


I had brought him to the vet a few weeks ago and his weight was perfect at that time. He still looks a good weight, he just has a ferocious appetite. He also has very good energy level. We play with him after dinner and after breakfast and get him leaping around after stuff to work off his energy. He's been climbing up his cat tree like a little panther and leaping around after his toy mice - doing flips in the air etc. So he's got good energy and plenty of exercise.


Here is a recent picture. Three weeks ago he weighed 7 pounds, 12 ounces. I'm not sure what his weight is now, but he looks longer I think, so he's definitely still growing. The vet thinks he'll be about 14 to 15 pounds when full grown.


Here's a few pictures from a few days ago that show his body shape. He's mostly fur at this point. I felt around his middle and don't feel a big belly or anything (not does he seem super bony either, but feels about right)










here you can see his big feet :)



post #2 of 34

Awww what a sweet looking guy :) I'm assuming he's been to the vet etc. so I'm not even going to go there.  Is he on a scheduled feeding schedule?  Kind of sounds like it.  You may want to try feeding him smaller amounts throughout the day more times.  Instead of twice maybe try 3 times.  You can also feed his kibble at a different time than his wet.  This will break the meals up a bit for him as well. You can try one of those automatic kibble feeders and program it to feed during the times you want to.  Just some random thoughts here ;)

post #3 of 34

I'm not sure what to say, our Ella is 4 months and eat's all through out the day because she has one of those automatic food + water dispenser's. I was told that kitten's should have the opportunity to eat through out the day..

post #4 of 34
Thread Starter 

HI Mike

Thanks for replying.

I do feed him three times a day, and this past week, I started trying out four times a day. He gets fed in the morning when I get up, then at noon, and then around 5 PM. This past week I started giving him a little bit of raw giblets around 7 PM or so.

Also I do wet food, and not dry, as I am told dry is not good for them. I just give him a very small handful of dry in the morning (maybe 15 pieces of kibble) as an extra snack. So the automatic kibble feeder wouldn't work really. And he was at the vet's three weeks ago and he had flying colors all around.

If he's getting the 5.5 oz of wet food a day, plus the small bit of dry as a snack, plus the occasional giblet or treat as an extra, is that the right amount of food? Or is that too much? I assume he's on a growth spurt for a little while longer?

post #5 of 34
Thread Starter 

@ Lana

Hm. Do you know at what age you don't free-feed the kitten?

He's almost 8 months now

post #6 of 34

I'm no expert, but it seems to me he's still a kitten since he's still growing. Kittens are fed more than adults. An equivalently sized adult is fed a 5.5 oz can per day. Maybe you can up it to 1.5 cans a day?

post #7 of 34
Thread Starter 

So give him 7 oz a day of the wet instead? I could do that.

post #8 of 34

Yeah. If he seems to be putting on weight you can decrease it, of course.


He looks like he may have some large cat (Maine Coon or Ragdoll??) blood in him. If that's true he may not finish growing 'til he's 2 yrs old.


He sure is a cutie. I wanna hug the stuffin' out of him. 

post #9 of 34
Thread Starter 

Ok thanks for everyone's advice. I will feed him more then and just monitor his weight.

@aeevr. He's a moggie as far as I know. The rescue lady said he was party Maine Coone, however, I notice she calls all long-haired cats as Maine Coon mixes. Looking at his face shape, he does not have that square muzzle look that they have (His face shape looks more like a Siberian to me, but I know that is rare. He's basically a big floofy moggie, no pedigree, but I don't care :) I hope he does get big though as I like big cats. :)


Anway, i will give him hugs for you. It was so hard when we first got him and he was shy with us and all I wanted to do was snorgle him. lol. Anyway, he's used to us now and is a lovebug with us. (still shy with strangers though!)

post #10 of 34

Also, I just want to add that with kittens, you're supposed to feed them as much as they want. It should say this on your food cans if the food is appropriate for all stages - which I think all the grain-free foods are. I really wouldn't worry about his weight until he's full grown especially if he went through a period of deprivation.


I've been feeding my cats as much as they want and now that their growth is tapering off so are their appetites, thankfully. They seem to be at good weights.

post #11 of 34

I'm thinking maybe when the cat's a year old? i know that's when you can switch from kitten food to Cat food. I'm not an expert either. How about try asking a vet? i'm sure they will be able to help you.

post #12 of 34
Thread Starter 

The vet told me he should be on adult food now. As for what to feed him, he wanted me to switch him to science diet, 1/2 cup a day dry food plus some science diet wet as needed.

I looked at the ingredients on Science Diet and I really prefer the food I've been feeding him as the ingredient list looked better. I've been feeding him a mix of grain free foods by Wellness, Authority (the PetSmart brand), TraderJoes brand and Blue Buffalo. His coat is shiny and he's healthy with good energy so I figure if it ain't broke....  And then I had been looking into a some supplemental raw feeding on occasion (feeding him chicken giblets sometimes for extra protein.)


Anyway, I will take your advice and give him a little extra and just watch to make sure he's not getting tubby.

post #13 of 34

Nuthin' wrong with a big appetite! Give him a big fat bloody slice of raw beef liver. Mmmmmmm.........

post #14 of 34
Thread Starter 

welll, I started feeding him 1.5 more oz of wet food (for a total of 7 oz daily), and then I also treated him with some giblets or a sardine (sardine was canned in water, no salt). Plus he still gets the very small helping of dry Blue Buffalo wilderness formula (maybe 15-20 pieces of kibble).

Then I read that sardines can give cats crystals? Is that only if you give them too much? How much is too much? I was planning on giving him one can over the course of a week (about three or four sardines I think).

post #15 of 34

Where did you read that?

Originally Posted by redvelvetone View Post


Then I read that sardines can give cats crystals? 

Like tuna, I think administered as a treat, sardines are fine. Sardines would cause harm if fed as a dietary staple because they lack essential nutrients (taurine comes to mind first, of course).

post #16 of 34
Thread Starter 

so like an entire can over the course of a week would be considered a "treat"? (as long as he has other food sources).

post #17 of 34

You're still feeding him the prescribed amount of cat that (hopefully) provides him with all his essential nutrients. Everything you feed on top of that is supplemental - a treat -  and should probably be less than ~10% of his total caloric in take. It's like dessert.

 1/2 a sardine a day  seems like a great treat for a cat - way better than Temptations or Pounce - rich in omega3 fatty acids without the mercury.


post #18 of 34

Has he had a thorough fecal test done recently?  Poops normal?


Ritz lived on the streets for the first five months of her life, and I worry (too much) about her weight.  She is around 2.5 years old now; I adopted her two years ago.  She seems hungry a lot.  I notice that on the days I can fed her a bit of food in the mid afternoon, she is less hungry (MEOW MEOW MEOW) the rest of the day.  I'd always rotate the foods you feed her.

I too have read that feral cats may have a hard time self-regulating even when they are fed regularly.  So I'd just watch her, weigh her about once a month.


PS:  he looks normal weight to me and a real cutie.

post #19 of 34
Thread Starter 

HI Ritz

He had a fecal test when I first got him, and also when I brought him the the vet again a month ago they gave him another dewormer just in case, even though he was not showing any signs of anything. His bathroom habits seem good to me. He goes normally. The vet said his weight was perfect. At that time his weight was 7 lbs, 12 oz. I don't know what it is now ( I don't have a scale) but I'd guess he's more as even though he does not look fatter, he looks longer / bigger to me overall so he is obviously still growing.


I know ferals can get fat once they get access to regular food because, as you say, they don't self-regulate. My last cat was overweight (I didn't know as much about cat nutrition then and didn't realize I was doing a bad thing by free-feeding him dry food). Anyway, now that I am a little mroe informed (though FAR from an expert) I don't want to overfeed him and make him overweight, BUT he is a kitten so I don't want him to go hungry either.


Basically, whenever I go anywhere near the kitchen he is whining for food.

I started, this week, giving him about five meals a day. His biggest meal is at breakfast (I give him 3 oz of wet at that time, plus the small amount of kibble).


Mid-morning I give him a little snack (of either the sardine or a bit of raw giblet).


Mid afternoon  he gets 1.5 oz of wet.


Dinner time he gets 3 oz. of wet


Later that evening he may get another bit of giblet, depending if he seems hungry.


I am going to watch to see how he does. If he looks like he is getting tubby I'll cut out some of the food. 


Hopefully by a year old or whenever he stops growing he''ll be OK if I cut him down to 5.5 oz of wet a day plus some treats of raw food. I'm just trying to figure out what is the right amount for him to keep him satisfied but not to get fat.

post #20 of 34
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by aeevr View Post

Where did you read that?

Like tuna, I think administered as a treat, sardines are fine. Sardines would cause harm if fed as a dietary staple because they lack essential nutrients (taurine comes to mind first, of course).

I have to looks to see where exactly I got it but I had googled "sardines for cats" or something and came across some vet site where they said not to give cat fish.


post #21 of 34

He is probably still growing and hence needs a lot to eat.  If he is growing he will be putting weight on so you need to learn to judge if he's getting fatter or bigger - longer / filling out.  While he's still growing he needs pretty much as much to eat as he wants.  For example, all cats have a fold of skin between their back legs, but is it an empty fold or one that's gradually filling up with fat?


However as a former feral, he might also have the habit of filling his stomach whenever he can simply because he never knew where the next meal was coming from - or he learnt the habit from his mother.


And, of course, both things might be going on at the same time!


So, keep an eye on his condition, and think about finding him some things to eat that will take longer.  Some cats seem to simply hover up kibble and wet food.  One of mine gets a raw chicken wing (never, ever give him cooked bones) each day (the other isn't interested) which takes her quite some time to deal with.  However, a raw wing isn't a complete diet so he can't just have raw wings.  I would try him on one and if he's interested (at least for the time being!) look into what they need to become complete.  BTW my cat has the most beautiful clean white teeth and fresh breath!

post #22 of 34
Thread Starter 

So is giving him a raw wing (with bone) OK even though he is getting enough calcium in his wet food? I.e. will he get too much calcium if I feed him raw with bone in it on top of his regular food.

Right now the raw food he gets is giblets (but not the necks because of bone), and also canned sardines.

post #23 of 34

I think a raw wing 1-2 times a week is fine.


Organisms can deal with nutrient imbalances quite well.

Tolerances form a very wide band.

For instance, it will take a very long time (like months) for you to come down with the symptoms of scurvy if you stop ingesting Vitamin C.


With 'treats' (foods that may be lacking/excessive in nutrients), you don't make them the cornerstone of the diet. Like you shouldn't have ice cream sundaes your breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday - eventually it will catch up with you. On the other hand, if you eat three good, balanced, healthy meals a day and then a sundae after dinner every day, you'd be fine.


This is why it's a good a idea to eat a wide variety of foods, to cover all your possible nutritional bases.

post #24 of 34
Thread Starter 

Ok thanks for this info!

post #25 of 34
Thread Starter 




One good thing is i notice he's definitely getting stronger. When i first got him he was super timid about everything and seemed even afraid to climb things. Now he can climb up (or leap up) to his cathouse at the top level pretty easily (before he had to go up in stages via different levels). Also when I play with him his leaps off the ground are getting much higher than they were. 

post #26 of 34
Thread Starter 

also aeevr, i have to say the kitties in your avatar are SO cute! 

post #27 of 34
Thread Starter 

I just took this video of Magnus about an hour ago, so you can see him better



post #28 of 34
Thread Starter 

So I guess it's been a couple of weeks now. I've been feeding him 5.5 oz of wet plus a feeding of raw food (poultry - either giblets or breast meat from a chicken or turkey). Plus one half a sardine if I have some available for his coat.


He's DEFINITELY gotten bigger (noticeably) over the past couple of weeks. When I pick him up he feels heavier. I don't have a scale though so I don't know how much he weighs. So far he does not seem fat though, just bigger, and he does seems like he's filled out more overall. I guess i'll keep doing what I'm doing until I notice him not growing any more (or getting belly fat). He's also been getting CRAZY active at night,usually after he has the raw food feeding, and / or much later around midnight or so, when he goes on a tear racing around the house. lol. I was thinking of opening up the door to the staircase in the hallway (it has a door at either end) and tossing a ball down the steps and letting him run up and down the steps until he tires himself out.... ;)


Here's a sideview picture of him, practicing his Halloween pose.







post #29 of 34

Magnus is great!  Sounds like you are getting the feeding thing worked out clap.gif

post #30 of 34
Thread Starter 

Thanks Mike. He does still beg whenever I go anywhere near the kitchen (sometimes even wrapping himself around my leg and nibbling at my ankle to get my attention if his meowing doesn't have the effect he wants), but I'm trying not to give into him or else I'll teach him bad habits. I know he's getting fed enough, he's just trying to wheedle some extra out of me lol. (Sometimes it works, I admit ;) But I'm trying not to teach him bad habits or make him into a giant butterball....

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