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New Cat: Feeding question

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Greetings all!

I adopted a new 1 year old cat 2 weeks ago.
She is full grown per the vet and is petite - weighs 5.5 lbs only (or at least she did).

The first 10 days or so, she ate lightly, and I'm sticking to the 1/2 cup in the morning and 1/2 c. at nite, as I've heard is the standard for feeding an adult cat. She gets dry Iams food, with tuna used as a treat for training only.

Now, in the last few days, she is eating fast, and then finds me to cry for some more. I want to be strong, for I've lived with overweight cats before and ones obsessed with food/feeding (and the bugging never ends). I want to avoid a food-obsessed pet, and have one who stays a normal weight.

I dont know if she is actually hungry or not. I of course want to feed her if she needs it, but I've lived with cats who would eat their own weight in food everyday if they could get away with it, as if they ignore their hunger/full cues.

She is an indoor cat who only sleeps/dozes about 10-12 hrs a day, and is v. active when playing. She goes *crazy* for three hours in the morning - running and climbing and attacking toys like crazy. She is less vigorous the rest of the day, but still energetic in her play, whether with me or alone.

How do I know Smidge truly needs to eat or she is just playing me?
How do I know what is enough?
post #2 of 18
Hi,

One way to tell is to use this chart to assess her weight over the course of her life.

You could consider adding some wet food to her diet - a bit (as in 1/2 of a 3 oz. can) in the am and a bit in the pm to see if that will hold her better between meals.
post #3 of 18
I've always free fed mine.. never had an over weight cat...
post #4 of 18
Some cats are very good at self-regulating, while others will always go overboard. I think it's a very good idea to stick to meal-feeding if you have a consistent schedule. That way, if you have issues later on where you need to give medications or if you add another cat to your household who eats everything in sight, your cat is used to being fed on a schedule. (Since I have a work schedule that doesn't allow me to feed them at the same time everyday, I give "meals" of wet food when I can and have dry food available while I am gone.)

That being said, every cat's metabolism is different. The standard feeding suggestion may not be enough food for your cat. You could try adding a little bit more at the meal time (maybe 2/3 of a cup) to see if that satisfies your cat. You might also check with your vet to see if you could weigh her in a few weeks to see if she's gaining too much weight. 5.5 pounds is rather small, depending on the cat's body type. Hissy's suggestion of adding wet food might also be helpful since it can keep the cat feeling fuller than the dry food, which is high on carbohydrates.
post #5 of 18
It really depends on how your cat rates on the scale given in the link by Pat & Alix.

If your cat is eating too fast, elevate their food bowl so they have to eat more slowly and can't woof down their food.
post #6 of 18
do you think maybe she's eating out of bordom rather than hunger being an indoor cat?

i free feed and my cat is still tiny at 5 pounds. her kitten on the other and is huge and i know i wont be able to free feed him for long as he stuffs himself silly.

2 weeks is still early days, she might settle down once her insecurities fade a little and she realises shes safe and will be well fed. have you had her vet checked to rule out medical problems eg worms?
post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 
I thought I would try adding the moist food, havent started yet.
I'll see how that goes for now.

She is a petite cat in bone structure and, which is why she weighs 5.5 lbs (or more now). She has the frame of maybe a 9 mn small size kitten, not very long at all, and small paws.

I did the free feed day 3-4 - she gobbled about 1 cup of food in 20 min. I do the schedule feed that follows my schedule feed, same time am and pm., with a bedtime snack.

maverick - I adopted her from a true rescue place.
They do all the necessary vet stuff, like altering, treat for fleas/worms/ear mites, and other injuries (my cat had a puncture would on her paw, which she still isnt walking on). The pets also come with a money-back health guarantee. I get to see their vet free of charge for the paw problem, so I may take her back. Her slip was signed off by a vet as "healthy". I also think it is possible her age was screwed up and she truly is a kitten, and not full grown as they stated. If that is so, she needs to eat all the time of course.

I thought of worms too - as far as you all know, the treatment works and lasts? She doesnt go outide or live with other animals.

She has gained weight though. I can't feel her ribs anymore.

I've only met one cat in my life who didnt overeat if the option was there. Her sis weighed 22 lbs, ate all day/night, yet she was very slim and interested enough to satiate only.

Smidge gets pouch tonight!
post #8 of 18
Another trick I've learned here is to spread the dry out on a tray so it takes longer for her to eat. Also, check the feeding directions. Its based on the weight/age of the cat. You may be underfeeding her!

Quote:
thought of worms too - as far as you all know, the treatment works and lasts? She doesnt go outide or live with other animals.
Most worm treatments take 2 doses. About 3 days after the dose, completely empty the litter and clean it pan with bleach to kill anything.
post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thx sweets.

Get this - she is only to get like 1/2 cup for ALL DAY per the food package.
But she does go for the food with gusto - like she hasnt eaten in days.

I think the vet would to the max treatment, but I will verify.
I've seen no worm signs, thankfully.
post #10 of 18
You won't see the worms, but if you cat has fleas, she has worms. She could also get roundworms even with not being outside. I would run a fecal into your vet just to be safe for testing, but really her behavior is typical of rescued cats. They will eat everything in sight and cry for more because their life outside was one of survival and that is how they survive. She hasn't been with you that long, feed her small amounts several times a day, or buy an automated feeder. If you can, set her up on a schedule so she knows at such and such a time she gets food. Once she has a routine, she will start to relax and not be so fearful that food isn't going to be available for her anymore.
post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hissy - thank you. I was thinking the v. same thing.

New problem though: I reviewed the paperwork from rescue place.
The vet that signed off on it states age: 0-12mns.
Of course this means kitten.
I was told verbally by the staff she is 1 year at least, adult, yes to feed adult food, and they tell age by her teeth. I did not want a kitten, I prefer older cats, so when they said 1 year and Smidge rubbed her whiskered face scent markings on me the first moment I held her, I knew she belonged to me.

Now, how do I tell, if she indeed is a kitten, when she is full grown?
She seesm to be exploding in size, mostly by filling out.
I fed her a lot last night, at least 3/4 cup dry and 1/2 Iams pouch, and she ate 2/3 of it in the first few minutes, then 30 min later finished it. I'm feeling guilty, if she indeed is a kitten, that I've underfed her. Wah! If so. (I want to be a good mommy).

I'm on the fence now - feed her alot "just in case" she is a kitten?
Or feed her as an adult cat with controlled amounts?
Ack!
post #12 of 18
If she were at least 9 to 10 months old, it'd be fine to be feeding her adult food, I think I'd stick with a good quality adult.
post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
thank you pat/alix.

should I be feeding then at all times - like with a young kitten?
I've been feeding the Iams 1+ year dry, with a few pouch bites (Iams) starting last nite.
post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by hissy
I would run a fecal into your vet just to be safe for testing, but really her behavior is typical of rescued cats. They will eat everything in sight and cry for more because their life outside was one of survival and that is how they survive. She hasn't been with you that long, feed her small amounts several times a day, or buy an automated feeder. If you can, set her up on a schedule so she knows at such and such a time she gets food. Once she has a routine, she will start to relax and not be so fearful that food isn't going to be available for her anymore.
I wholeheartedly agree. I've had this experience with rescued cats and dogs, some of whom actually stole any food in sight. They usually settle down and start eating normal amounts within a few weeks or months. We took in one dog who was so bad that he'd steal whole loaves of bread, right after his normal dinner. One day I had just made up a huge pot of home-cooked dog food, enough to feed three dogs for 2 days, and decided to see if I could make him "full". He finished up three huge bowls of food, and when I piled the food in his bowl a fourth time, he sort of looked at me like, "You win - I'm full and can't eat any more."
Small, regular meals spread over the day may allay your cat's fears of not getting enough to eat.
post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by CDubbie
thank you pat/alix.

should I be feeding then at all times - like with a young kitten?
I've been feeding the Iams 1+ year dry, with a few pouch bites (Iams) starting last nite.
I would follow what Jcat suggested since this is a rescue kitty...small regular meals several times over the course of the day, (adding some wet food at one of the feedings as well if you wish).
post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thank you everyone,

Smidge has calmed down her eating!
I got home last night - and there was still dry in the bowl!
The addition of a bit of pouch/can seems to be doing the trick. She also doesnt even finish that, and I give only about 2 Tblspoons at a time.
She is having a vet visit in the next 2 weeks for her paw...I'll try to get a verificatin of age then too.
(of course, she only like the expensive kind! Grrr...wouldnt touch the friskies can)

jcat - that was a funny story! LOL
post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by CDubbie
Thank you everyone,

Smidge has calmed down her eating!
I got home last night - and there was still dry in the bowl!
The addition of a bit of pouch/can seems to be doing the trick. She also doesnt even finish that, and I give only about 2 Tblspoons at a time.
She is having a vet visit in the next 2 weeks for her paw...I'll try to get a verificatin of age then too.
(of course, she only like the expensive kind! Grrr...wouldnt touch the friskies can)

jcat - that was a funny story! LOL
You'll probably find in the long run that the more expensive food actually isn't, because the quantity fed is less than with cheap brands, and also there's less waste, meaning lower litter costs.
post #18 of 18
Thread Starter 
ty - I never heard that.
I really dont mind, I believe in quality for my own products, why not her?
I was caught off guard and only friskies was available. I'm well stocked on the dry though - and she poops an awful lot!
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