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Feeding advice needed

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I am in need of advice concerning the feeding of my cats. I have 3, Sammi, a 18 year neutered male, Callie, a 5 year old spayed female, and Kiki, a 5 month old female. They are all fed twice a day. Kiki, was switch over to Royal Canin kitten food from Purina kitten chow, shortly after she arrived here and I have had no problems. Sammie, because of his age, the vet suggested we go with an all canned food diet mixed with water, he has responded well to this although he still likes to munch on dry food. Callie is the one I am concerned about. She is very overweight, at around 19 lbs. Underlying medical issues have been ruled out concerning her weight gain, and the vet believes the cause is hormonal. Our vet had prescribed the Hills feline m/d for her. However, after a year strictly on that food, Callie has not lost any of her weight. This concerns me greatly. In addition, the Hill's foods causes an unpleasant odor to eminate from Callie. She smells just like the food. Not a pleasant aroma.

Since I have read so much about the benefits of the premium foods, I thought that perhaps switching Callie to Wellness lite, might be better for her. I have tried to do the switch gradually over the pass 3 weeks, mixing the new food with the old, and decreasing the amount of the old food. Each day though, I found that there was less and less food being eaten. Mind you, that Callie has never shown herself to be persnickity about her food before. Previously, bowls were always emptied between feedings. Now we are offering the new food 100%, and Callie just is not interested in it. It has been 3 days, since she has only been offered the Wellness food, and she has not eaten it. Today, she was scavaging the few bits of the old kibble that evidently had fallen out of her bowl. Made me feel really awful for her. She has also taken to helping herself to any of the food that Sammi does not finish.

Obviously the Wellness is not her cup of tea. So what now? Should I continue mixing the old and new food for a while longer, to see if she will start to eat the new food 100%? or would it be better to switch her back to her original food? I had thought that maybe I should try another brand of food, but worry that trying to switch again so soon would not be helpful either. Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated.
post #2 of 6
I have a couple of comments. One is that waiting to see if she'll eat 3 days is not the best route to go. It is not true that cats will eat once they get hungry enough, they can in fact lose their appetite and become anorexic just from not eating - leading to a new health issue and risking hepatic lipidosis(HL) if the lack of eating goes too long. Cats are unable to live off their fat as we humans can, and quickly (within a week I believe) be at serious risk for HL.

So..I would advise trying a different lite food, with your vet's approval, I'd suggest trying Innova Lite. Here is the link to ingredients and guaranteed analysis for Innova Lite Dry

I personally will not feed any food containing garlic - as with onions there is a risk of cauing Heinz Body Anemia with feeding garlic. The amount it takes to cause damage varies cat to cat, and there are no studies showing (that I know of) that cooking garlic or a "special" variety of garlic removes the risk. Wellness brand uses garlic.

Have you considered feeding her a lite canned food as part or all of her diet regimen? Link to Innova Lite Canned Food information It is lower in calories, though the tradeoff is lower fiber content. Again, let your vet be your guide as to an appropriate rate of loss, it needs to be gradual. I would personally, consider using both the canned and dry Innova lite as part of her weight loss regimen.

I'd put her food bowl in a place where she must go up or down a flight of stairs to get to it, and try to have an interactive play session with her daily using a wand toy to get her chasing and running a bit.

Best wishes with this, I hope some of the above will be of help.
post #3 of 6
For the moment, just get her to eat something. She is at very high risk for hepatic lipidosis due to her obesity if she goes more than a couple of days without eating. The fact that she has nibbled some kitten food today means that she is okay, but it is important to know that an obese cat must eat something every day. Even a couple of bites is enough to protect the liver.

Then you can start experimenting with various premium lite foods. I don't feed lite foods but I can tell you that my cats flatly rejected regular Wellness canned food. However, they love Innova. So I'd definitely recommend giving Innova Lite a try.

She also may benefit from a diet of mostly canned food since it is much lower in calories per volume and it is easier to regulate how much she eats.

One thing I've heard people try for overweight cats is to give them a measured amount of dry food as a treat and make them work for it. Throw each kibble across the room for her to chase down before she can eat it. This may be especially beneficial because Callie is still relatively young and is likely to still have some of the youngster's playfulness.
post #4 of 6
Don't give up after only trying one food. My 4 cats are extremely picky so I know exactly how you feel! I had always fed my cats (and dogs) Purina One. I thought it was a good food until I started researching cat/dog food on the internet and found out about all of the super premium brands. I live in a very small rural town and if it wasn't for the internet I wouldn't even have known that these brands existed! The stores around here would never even think of carrying those brands. We're stuck with Purina, Iams and Science Diet. I work at a Veterinary clinic and I can get Science Diet dirt cheap, but I wouldn't use it even if it were free! It's so nice to be able to go to a manufacturer's website and search for stores that carry super premium foods. I do have to go at least 50 miles to find any of the super premium foods, but to me it's worth it. The first super premium food that I tried for my cats was Felidae. The store had a special (buy one 10# bag get one free). I was thrilled to get 20# of food for I think around $14.00. I tried mixing it half and half with the Purina One. My cats just picked out the old food and left the Felidae. They wouldn't touch it. I remember being so depressed because every one of them turned their nose up at it. I ended up donating the Felidae to the local animal shelter. I now make sure I buy the smallest bag available when trying a new food. The next food I tried them on was Eagle Pack Holistic. They loved this food, but as luck would have it the store where I found it had trouble keeping it in stock. I then tried Wellness which they did eat but weren't really crazy about. I then decided to try Natural Balance because it's available at Petco (about 50 miles away). They loved the Natural Balance (I have just switched them to the reduced calorie version because one of my cats needs to lose 2-3#). I will probably keep them on that for awhile, but eventaully I would like to try Innova light (because I have heard such good things about it). I also found by searching on their website that a health food store that is only about 20 miles from my house carries Innova & California natural. I would have never thought of looking for pet food at a human health food store!
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hi Thank you all for the responses. Please be assured that Callie has been eating, just not her food. I feed each cat in different rooms because each cat has a different type of diet. Callie is usually fed first, this usually keeps her from the other cat's food bowls and gives the two other cats first dibs on their own food. Since Callie had no desire to eat the food she was offered, she would wait until Sammi had finished his. Then, Callie will swoop in and finish off his leftovers. She has always had a tendency to do this, when she was on the Science Diet, though, she would eat her food first, and then go searching for Sammi's left overs. With the Wellness, however, she would sniff the Wellness, and go immediately to wait for Sammi to finish his meal ( he always leaves food in the bowl, regardless of the amount food I serve him). I have been letting her eat what Sammi has not eaten. I did think she would start eating the Dry Wellness, because what wet food Sammi left, wouldn't be enough to satisfy her. Last night was the first night that she was actually scavenging for food even though her food bowl had the Wellness food available. In the past, Callie has never turned her nose up to any food that was readily available, hence the reason for a diet/lite food. This morning I gave her the Science diet food and she ate her fill, and she seems happy again. Lesson learned.

I still want to switch her food to a better quality food, but for now we will stick with the Science Diet. I will look into the Innova. Right now the closest stores that carries Innova are a considerable distance away. Thanks again, Now, does anyone have any suggestions on what to do with an opened, slightly used 5lb bag of Wellness lite? lol, just kidding!
post #6 of 6
I always donate our food "rejects" to the local humane society. My four cats are so picky! A lot of shelter cats that would have never had the chance to taste super premium foods have had the chance because of my finicky cats!
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