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Dog person has some cat questions...

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I feel a little out of place here -- kinda' like a cat would walking across a wet shower floor. Anyways... My girlfriend and I, who are both dog people, somehow have ended up with a Katrina rescue cat. This is new territory for us so we've got a few questions/observations about cat behavior and maintenance. We gave her a new name (Elsie), built a couple of cat trees, and purchased ALL the accessories. She's approximately 2 years old and is now an indoor-only cat. Please feel free to comment on any or all of the below topics. Sorry if these are FAQ's or I really should know better.

1. The 7PM psycho mode - What happens at 7PM each night that causes our cat to become a psycho? She races through the house making this little warbling noise. It seems like she's acquired some sort of feline whirling disease or something. Is this normal?

2. The starvation diet - Elsie sat in a cage for 3 months prior to us getting her, hence she's overweight. We feed her 1/4 cup of nutro weight management twice a day. No treats or wet food. She's VERY loud before she gets fed and ravages her food bowl before I can get it in front of her. I always thought of cats as picky eaters and am surprised by her appetite. Is this normal?

3. The budda belly - After 5 weeks of #2 (see above), plus #1 (see above), she doesn't seem to be losing any weight. Maybe she really is losing weight and we're not noticing it?

4. Drinks like a fish - Damn, this cat drinks A LOT of water (another cat misconception dispelled). Additionally, we kept finding these burger-sized patties in her enclosed litter box (Thanks, for that recommendation, Petsmart!) and thought our little princess was a big pooper. Then we realized they were from urine. Is this normal too?

5. The 5AM wakeup call - The cat typically wakes up at 5AM and wants to be fed. The problem is that we don't wake up until 7AM. Can you see where I'm going with this? Sorry, no bedroom door.

Anyways, thanks for your considered input. We've been impressed to find out that if you give a cat a couple of carpet and sissle rope scratching posts, and platforms, she'll leave the furniture alone. Although who knows what kind of trouble she gets into when we're not at home!

Dav
post #2 of 16
Welcome to the world of cats and to TCS. There are many people here more knowledgeable than me but I would ask one thing - is her current weight-loss diet a vet-advised food and amount? Just like people it is important that a cat lose weight slowly or you could damage her metabolism and liver function. So if you haven't already, consult a vet. Also, buy her lots of toys so she gets exercise indoors and that will help the weight. Cats who only eat dry food do drink more, so I would think that is normal. But ask the vet again if you are concerned. Have you tried her on wet food? Many people now use a mix, or even wet food only.

Good luck and congratulations on your rescue
post #3 of 16
Oh my, your cat must be starving! I'm not a crazy old cat lady, but someone who's had lots of cats, none of whom have been overweight, all of whom ate lots more than yours is, and I know if I tried to get away giving a full grown cat 1/4 of a cup of anything daily, I'd turn myself in to the SPCA and/or my cats would be skeletons. She may well have a nutritional or metabolic problem (however/whenever) acquired, but should have a proper work-up, and not just a continuation of whatever she got in a shelter, or even off the supermkt. shelf. She could be diabetic, or have ???? Anyhow, her other behaviour is not abnormal at all, so don't worry about that for now, though you may end up leaving her a little dry food overnight to stave off the 5 a.m. crazies (tho' I can't guarantee that now).
post #4 of 16
I dont see anything wrong with a 1/2 a cup of food a day. Heck my 50lb+ dogs only get 1 cup twice a day. I could be wrong though I dont measure my cats food out.
post #5 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by zirkel
1. The 7PM psycho mode - What happens at 7PM each night that causes our cat to become a psycho? She races through the house making this little warbling noise. It seems like she's acquired some sort of feline whirling disease or something. Is this normal?

5. The 5AM wakeup call - The cat typically wakes up at 5AM and wants to be fed. The problem is that we don't wake up until 7AM. Can you see where I'm going with this? Sorry, no bedroom door.

Dav
These two are actually related.

Cats hunt at dusk and dawn. Think about it, and it will be quite
logical -- these are the times the herbivores (food) gather at
water holes, etc. and are at their most vulnerable.

Thus the crazies at around 7 or so and the morning desire for
food. The cats hunting instincts are those they use in play --
stalk, pounce, exhaust, kill, eat. The cycle ends with the
absorption of the prey (protein) and then they can get on with
the serious business of digesting (i.e., sleep!) A cat who is
getting into hunting mode will often yowl - it's all part of reving
up the metabolism and getting excited - an excited cat is a
cat with all its senses at top notch condition. Hence the
evening crazies, with which all cat lovers are quite familiar!

One thing you can do is to deliberately play with the cat for an
hour or so (even longer, depending on the energy level of the
cat) before your bedtime. Use interactive toys that let the cat get
all the hunting behaviors in without hurting you -- toys that keep you at length, like Da Bird or Cat Dancer are ideal. Let the cat stalk, chase,
pounce, mouth and generally behave like the hunting predator
it is. Then, when it's tired enough to lay down and pant,
THEN give it some protein-filled goodie as a reward (I use
wet cat food to augment the daily freely-available kibble that
is the normal food.)

Over a few days or weeks, this will reset the cat's biological clock
to resemble yours, and you should be able to sleep through the
night.

The play will also lead to more energy expenditure (great for the
weight problem) and bonding between you and the cat (great
for socialization.)

Good luck -- and bless you for giving this poor feline Katrina
victim refuge!

Carol
post #6 of 16
Sounds like normal cat behavior to me. If you work and are not home all day then your cat spends alot of time sleeping.She wakes up and has energy to spare at night time. Most cats are more active at night. My five always have a crazy mood for a few hours in the evening.
I would feed her abit more then you are. Wet food is better then the dry. I would give her both.
The peeing and drinking alot could be normal or it could be a sign of kidney problems. Has she been checked by the vet and had blood work done? if not I would do that. Congrats on your new cat!
post #7 of 16
I would feed her an all-wet diet instead of an all dry, actually. If she's good with Nutro, many members here are very happy with the pouches.

I second the above advice about playing before bedtime. I have 3 that are like that by nature and if I didn't tire them out I wouldn't get any sleep and my feet would be a big bloody mess from being stalked and pounced on. I also try to keep them up during the day when I'm home between classes with play sessions, cuddle sessions, etc. At this point, they've adjusted to the idea of night being sleep time.

As for the water and urine issues, it sound like a bit much to me. I would contact a vet and see if they want to check her for FLUTD or something related to her kidney function. She's young enough that I don't think I'd rush her to a vet or anything, but I'd probably express my concern. If she starts peeing outside the box, that's a HUGE red flag that you need to get to a vet, and faster rather than later.

The food demanding thing? Seems pretty normal to me...she's probably and alpha female. 2 of my 3 are very dominant and demanding (the exist in a sort of a stalemate with each other) and they behave the same way. I don't tolerate getting on the counter to get the food faster or clawing my leg for the food. That results in being ignored anf the feeding being delayed in my house. Cats don't really respond to punishment...they respond to the level of attention they get and if it results in a desirable outcome for them.
post #8 of 16
Sounds like normal kitty behavior to me too. Play really heavily with her right before you go to bed. Maybe she will make it through the night. Give her time to learn your routine.

I also believe that wet food is less fattening then dry food. I would try a good, premium quality brand of Nutro as recommended above. There are a lot of good brandsd to choose from as long as you don't get it from a grocery store. Go to a pet store (like PetSmart) Their Authority brand is pretty good. I don't think they carry Chicken Soup for the Cat Lovers Soul though which is another great food. Solid Gold is good too, those are from Pet Supplies Plus.
Look for the first 2 or 3 ingredients to be meat. It should not contain by-products either. Everyone has their specifics on what they look for in a food. But the first three ingredients and no by-products are the 2 big important things to look for.
post #9 of 16
1. The 7PM psycho mode - What happens at 7PM each night that causes our cat to become a psycho? She races through the house making this little warbling noise. It seems like she's acquired some sort of feline whirling disease or something. Is this normal? you wake up at this time and she is excited to see you up and going

2. The starvation diet - Elsie sat in a cage for 3 months prior to us getting her, hence she's overweight. We feed her 1/4 cup of nutro weight management twice a day. No treats or wet food. She's VERY loud before she gets fed and ravages her food bowl before I can get it in front of her. I always thought of cats as picky eaters and am surprised by her appetite. Is this normal? If she was starved during her trauma, her behavior was changed to wolf anything in her path. Feed her at very fixed times each day so that she know to always expect food from you. She'll eventually figure it out.

3. The budda belly - After 5 weeks of #2 (see above), plus #1 (see above), she doesn't seem to be losing any weight. Maybe she really is losing weight and we're not noticing it? Encourage her to use the cat trees, play with her a lot, try to get her to chase down toys, and put her food/water bowls up high so she has to exert energy to get them. This is the cat version of exercise. Also talk to your vet about putting her on a special diet for a while.

4. Drinks like a fish - Damn, this cat drinks A LOT of water (another cat misconception dispelled). Additionally, we kept finding these burger-sized patties in her enclosed litter box (Thanks, for that recommendation, Petsmart!) and thought our little princess was a big pooper. Then we realized they were from urine. Is this normal too? May not be normal. Excessive drinking could be a sign of kidney disease or diabetes. Have your vet run a blood panel on her.

5. The 5AM wakeup call - The cat typically wakes up at 5AM and wants to be fed. The problem is that we don't wake up until 7AM. Can you see where I'm going with this? Sorry, no bedroom door. *snicker* *snicker* some call this the midnight crazies, and typically happens between midnight and 5AM. Play with her hard before you go to sleep, give her a late night feeding, and learn to sleep hard. Do NOT acknowledge the play when she does it - if you give her attention, she will continue to do this. Simply ignore her and she'll figure it out eventually.

Anyways, thanks for your considered input. We've been impressed to find out that if you give a cat a couple of carpet and sissle rope scratching posts, and platforms, she'll leave the furniture alone. Although who knows what kind of trouble she gets into when we're not at home! I have 11 cats in my house with full claws. Also have 6 large and 3 small scratch posts, along with a cardboard floor scratcher. My furniture is totally intact. If she ever starts on your furniture, redirect her to the scratch posts.

You are wonderful for taking this girl in and it sure sounds like you are the perfect cat parents!!! I too have dogs and am almost as much a dog person as cat person. You can love them both!!
post #10 of 16
Talk to your vet about how much you should be feeding her. Definitely play with her a lot and make sure she has lots of furniture. My cats love the cat tree and climb it all the time.
I'm not sure about how much she is drinking, but my cats leave burger size patties of pee in their litter box, and I think it is normal. When I had one cat he used to demand to be fed at 5 am too! When we got two cats the problem seemed to go away, don't aske me why.
post #11 of 16
My cats only get 1/2 cup of food a day if they are using dry only. I got monkey to loose almost 10 lbs this way. Something that i wish that i had learned earlier is that wet food is wonderful for weight loss. The way the cats metabolism works is that it doesn't process carbs. Dry food is full of them, and wet food is not. Sometimes my cats get half a can of wet in the morning, and then about 1/3 of a cup dry in evening (or vice versa).

The rest sounds pretty ormal to me. My cats LOVE the laser pointer. We actually use (and everyone laughs at us when they see it) one of those laser guided, digital tape measures. It has this little clicking noise (which is like a sonar) that it uses to measure. The second they hear that clicking they come RUNNING. It's great fun, and they will chase it all over the house. Thats how i got monkey to exercise, is running him up and down the stairs.

Good luck!

-Jade
post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by zirkel
I feel a little out of place here -- kinda' like a cat would walking across a wet shower floor. Anyways... My girlfriend and I, who are both dog people, somehow have ended up with a Katrina rescue cat. This is new territory for us so we've got a few questions/observations about cat behavior and maintenance. We gave her a new name (Elsie), built a couple of cat trees, and purchased ALL the accessories. She's approximately 2 years old and is now an indoor-only cat. Please feel free to comment on any or all of the below topics. Sorry if these are FAQ's or I really should know better.

1. The 7PM psycho mode - What happens at 7PM each night that causes our cat to become a psycho? She races through the house making this little warbling noise. It seems like she's acquired some sort of feline whirling disease or something. Is this normal? This could be her being hungry. Our kitties get that way when they're tummies are growling. Combine with the below answer for more.

2. The starvation diet - Elsie sat in a cage for 3 months prior to us getting her, hence she's overweight. We feed her 1/4 cup of nutro weight management twice a day. No treats or wet food. She's VERY loud before she gets fed and ravages her food bowl before I can get it in front of her. I always thought of cats as picky eaters and am surprised by her appetite. Is this normal? Question...did your vet recommend this amount of food? Usually if you have an overweight cat, the recommendation is to have a continuous amount of food out at all times, but in using a food specially formulated for overweight cats. Kitties know how much to eat, and considering it sounds like she's now getting PLENTY of exercise, I wouldn't worry about her losing weight. It'll start coming off with the combination of her getting enough food (which with only a 1/4 cup of food twice a day, she isn't right now) and her getting enough exercise. The overweight formula will take care of her getting too much fat in food, and give her just the right amount of everything she needs.

3. The budda belly - After 5 weeks of #2 (see above), plus #1 (see above), she doesn't seem to be losing any weight. Maybe she really is losing weight and we're not noticing it? In combining my answers for #1 and #2, put it together with a little information about how bodies handle fat. If the body is not getting enough food, it STORES fat instead of LOSING it. In her getting enough food, and it being an overweight formula, she'll start losing weight. Remember that her being overweight is not due to eating too much, it's from not getting ANY exercise. Now that she IS getting that exercise, she needs the protein to balance out what she's burning everyday in calories. I hope that makes sense. Feel free to ask anything if I haven't clarified enough.

4. Drinks like a fish - Damn, this cat drinks A LOT of water (another cat misconception dispelled). Additionally, we kept finding these burger-sized patties in her enclosed litter box (Thanks, for that recommendation, Petsmart!) and thought our little princess was a big pooper. Then we realized they were from urine. Is this normal too? Oh yes, this is definitely normal, if not a good indicator that she's getting enough water.

5. The 5AM wakeup call - The cat typically wakes up at 5AM and wants to be fed. The problem is that we don't wake up until 7AM. Can you see where I'm going with this? Sorry, no bedroom door. Cats typically sleep about 18 of each 24 hours. Unfortunately, most cats are awake for the day at about this time. If you follow my food advice, this might stop occurring. Does she try to play? Or does she meow, and then stop when fed?

Anyways, thanks for your considered input. We've been impressed to find out that if you give a cat a couple of carpet and sissle rope scratching posts, and platforms, she'll leave the furniture alone. Although who knows what kind of trouble she gets into when we're not at home! Ya know...that's the great mystery with cat owners. You KNOW they do all sorts of naughty, mischevious things when you're not home, but they're clever enough to erase any trace evidence (most of the time). I would LOVE to set up a surveilence camera and record what they do while we're gone. If I ever do, I promise I'll post the results!! LOL!!

Dav

Welcome to Kitty Parenting!

I've included my answers above in bold.

Don't worry about questions...we love to answer them!!
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momofmany

4. Drinks like a fish - Damn, this cat drinks A LOT of water (another cat misconception dispelled). Additionally, we kept finding these burger-sized patties in her enclosed litter box (Thanks, for that recommendation, Petsmart!) and thought our little princess was a big pooper. Then we realized they were from urine. Is this normal too? May not be normal. Excessive drinking could be a sign of kidney disease or diabetes. Have your vet run a blood panel on her.
The thing I would like to add to this is the fact that we haven't been informed of just how much kitty is drinking or how many patties are found in the litterbox. I wouldn't assume there's something wrong with your kitty until we have that information.

For instance, my sister's full-grown boxer dog drinks as much in a day as my two cats. If you take this information and apply it to a former dog-owner, now cat-owner's perspective on things, it makes sense that it seems like an enormous amount for a much smaller animal to drink. The fact is that cats drink MUCH more water than dogs.

So, now I ask...about how much water does she drink in a day? (For instance, how big a bowl, and how often do you have to refill it?) Also, about how many "patties" do you find in her litterbox daily?
post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by dicknleah
I dont see anything wrong with a 1/2 a cup of food a day. Heck my 50lb+ dogs only get 1 cup twice a day. I could be wrong though I dont measure my cats food out.
Yeah, that's the thing. Dogs don't stop until the bowl is empty, whereas cats stop when they're full. That's why it's recommended to just be sure they have full bowls consistently. Another good point you bring up is the fact that you can't accurately tell how much Kitty eats during the day. It very much varies per weight and per age, not to mention per cat.
post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by maherwoman
Yeah, that's the thing. Dogs don't stop until the bowl is empty, whereas cats stop when they're full. That's why it's recommended to just be sure they have full bowls consistently. Another good point you bring up is the fact that you can't accurately tell how much Kitty eats during the day. It very much varies per weight and per age, not to mention per cat.
Thats not true. a LOT of cats don't know when to stop. I have a cat that will SLEEP in a food dish that has food in it, he will eat so much that it makes him throw up, and then go back and eat more. 1/2c. of food is enough, but if you're worried, i say maybe go to 2/3c. The starvation act will go away with time. Mine don't even notice anymore. The one cat just goes into his bathroom that i have to lock him into while the other two eat, and everything is good to go.
post #16 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for your great advice and personal experience.

I gave Elsie a teaspoon of wet food last night before bed and SHE LET ME SLEEP IN UNTIL 8:00AM this morning (Sunday). Also, based on your comments, I'll also add some Nutro (NON-wt mgt) wet food to her diet. Additionally, she's going to the vet next week.

She was fostered by a vet in MI and delivered to us by a Vet Tech who said she eats 1/4 cup of dry food twice a day (that's where we came up with that amount of food). We also received paperwork indicating that she was subject to an array of tests and vacinations during her foster care.

She definitely gets A LOT of exercise when we're around. I can't wait to see how much more she'll get when we RESCUE A PUG!!!

Thanks again and look for me as a future regular on this site. I'll post some pics of Elsie when I figure out how.

Dave
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