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Are cats like cows???

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Although I didn’t grow up on a farm, both of my parents did. They told me when I was younger that if you kept feeding a cow it would eat and eat until it killed it’s self, and that you could only give a cow __(blank)__ amount of food (don’t know the amount) a day.

So my question is, are cats like cows?

I’ve never had a cat before and this whole experience with Sonny, the 6 month old kitten and love of my life has been very strange, while eye opening. On the bag of cat food it says 1/4 to 1/3 of a cup of food a day. I give him about that much and he goes crazy... he eats it all in about a half hour. I’m afraid to give him more because I don’t want him to get too fat. (Seeing fat cats around the neighborhood upsets me, its like their owners don’t care about them and it shows by how slow and unhappy the poor kitty is!)

What do I do? Should I feed him more? Should he just have to deal with only getting 1/3 of a cup a day? Please help!

Thanks, Trina!
post #2 of 15
How much does he weigh? Nearly all feeding guides go by weight. 1/3 cup doesn't sound like very much.

I've always thought that active, growing kittens should get all the food they can eat and that it's only as the cat matures that you need to worry about them getting fat. Even then, most cats self-regulate just fine and only eat what they need but a minority will overeat and get fat.
post #3 of 15
Pat will give you a professional answer but this is my opinion :

I personally think kittens need a good amount of food and that there is no problem in free feeding them. They are growing and need a good amount of food. That said, I have never seen a cat eat until they explode. Cats will eat until they are satisified then walk away (most of the time.) I keep dry food out all the time, and feed them wet food at night.

If you play with your kitten, and he is energetic it is fine to go a bit above the feeding guidlines if you really really want to stick with them. If he starts to gain too much weight then cut back a bit. Really every cat is different and its okay to see what amount works best for your cat.

If you are worried about him gaining weight, get him a fun interactive toy like a laser pointer, or even leash train him with a harness and lead and take him for walks (more like let him wonder around while you follow him, but same thing) as long as he is active, then he wont gain much weight.
post #4 of 15
Kitten are usually pretty energetic....that really does NOT sound like enough food to me either.
post #5 of 15
Most cats are pretty good about self-regulating their food intake. I free-feed my two and they are both a healthy weight at 6 years old. Cats will overeat if they are bored (i.e. nothing else to do...may as well eat!), some will overeat if they have been strays for a period of time and can't get over the "eat everything you can while you can" idea, and some cats just have no self-control LOL. As they get older and less active you have to watch them closer with the amount of food they eat, but as a kitten he's burning a LOT of energy every day.
post #6 of 15
My Dry food bag which is the Nutro Complete says 3/4 cup per day for a 5-10 lb cat, more for a kitten.

I don't give quite that much, I give about 1/2 cup dry, but I also give 6oz of wet food, and he is 7/12 months old.
post #7 of 15
I think you've already had some great answers. My feeling is your poor kitten is hungry! At this age, he's still considered a kitten, and I'd only worry about his amount of food if he were visibly getting fat.

I'd honestly consider either free-feeding him dry food instead of restricting him to the 1/3 cup per day, or add in two meals of canned food - one in the am, leave the dry out, and then a meal of canned food in the eve.
post #8 of 15
i dont even look at the amount it says on the bag my cats know how much they can eat ( a lot lately) so i just free feed them dry food.
post #9 of 15
I too think your poor little kitty is not getting enough food and is hungry. I somehow don't think cats or cows will eat until they burst.
post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thank you guys so much! I really wasn't sure! And Sonny says thanks too!
post #11 of 15
I'm glad you asked that question! Marlee has been the same way, I've already been feeding a little more than the bag said too. So thanks for asking, and thanks everyone for answering!
post #12 of 15
I've read that just like the humans in this country, who have a big problem with overweight and obesity, that there is a very large percent of cats in the US that are too fat for their best health. I don't recall the percent now, but it seems like it was 20% or 30% or so, according to the author I read. All three of my cats would be overweight if I had continued to free-feed. Red Cat is still about 40% over his ideal weight, as if I feed him less, he just catches more rodents, as he is an indoor-outdoor cat.

That said, all of my cats are adults. I've never had a kitten, but strongly suspect that the chances of an active six-month-old kitten being overweight are much lower than for an older cat. And just be aware that it is easier to keep a cat from getting fat than to get him to reduce safely.

Next time you take Sonny to the vet, ask what his ideal weight should be for his age and body structure. If you don't have occasion to see a vet soon, there are some charts on the web which show illustrations of a view from above as to what an overweight, underweight and ideal cat would look like. I used those as a guide when I was still a newbie at cat ownership. I don't recall where to find them now, but I'd guess that a web search on overweight cat or cat weight or something like that would probably find it.

If you do decide to control the amount he gets each day, split the total amount into several smaller feedings, rather than giving it all to him at one time. Some foods are more calorie dense than others, though I don't think I've ever seen a recommendation for any that is less than one-half cup per day for a ten-pound cat.
post #13 of 15
Okay, this isn't the site I was thinking of, the pictures aren't nearly as good, but it does provide some general information. Of interest, I thought, was the statement that in the survey of cats, 15% were already overweight at age one and 20% by age two.

post #14 of 15
I don't know about cows, but horses can eat themselves to death. They will just keep eating grain if they have access, and will end up deathly ill. That said, they can be in a pasture eating all day, and they are just fine.

Cats will not eat themselves to death. A growing kitten needs the energy from a good food to grow strong bones and muscles. I agree that people should not allow a pet to get overly fat and unhealthy. But I think most overweight animals are probably given a lot of junk food.
post #15 of 15
Go with your instincts too - obviously you could tell that Sonny didn't feel he was getting enough right? I felt that way with Tola at first too. The foster mum said to feed her 100 g of raw food twice daily. I fed her that for 2 days and instinctively felt that wasn't enough by her behavior. I started feeding her 150 g twice daily and wow, what a difference. She started acting much happier and obviously full!!
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