Cats-Wheezing in one, enlarged kidney in other
Well I've been misfeeding my cats for a year or more! I got a plastic measuring cup for their food at the same time my mom got one for her dog and I mixed up the instructions. The dog gets 2 cups a day, the cats get 1 per day each. I've been giving 2 cups twice a day. Dustin is 16 lbs and Muffin is 11 lbs, but the larger male is wheezing a bit in both lungs. I've been feeding them Science Diet Adult Light but the vet says that is not going to help them lose weight. So I bought food from her to get their weight under control. The food I got from the vet's is:
IAMS Veterinary Formula Weight Loss/Restricted Calorie
both dry and canned.
I also got Medi-Treats Dietary Treats for Cats for snacks.
I was instructed to give 1 cup of dry in evening/at night and 1/3 can per cat wet in the morning. This will not be an issue for my female cat because she was a barn cat fed only once a day but the male is gonna have issues with it.
The vet said I could mix the new dry with their old for a couple of days but I'm concerned about disrupting their eating habits too soon, too fast.
Dustin didn't start packing on weight until he was fixed.
He also seems almost obsessed with his dry food. When I walk towards the basement stairs, I'm not always even going downstairs or to his food dish, he'll prance by me and go sit by his food dish (and most of the time it has food in it). Ok, call me weird but if his food dish is empty and I walk past it and ignore him I feel bad, like I'm hurting his feelings (can cats feel slighted or ignored?).
Another problem with Dustin is that I can't seem to get him to eat wet food. I tried once before to supplement his dry food with wet (varying brands and flavours) because I read cats get much of their water from their food and while he will sample some (mostly licking the juices) he will still turn and wait at his food dish for dry. He won't even take turkey or chicken (though he likes tuna but I have to cut that out now too). So if I put out wet food he'll eat a bit then leave and it goes dry. I'm not sure how to get him to eat it all in one sitting. Then Muffin will probably eat his wet so I'll have to monitor their eating carefully so both are getting what they need.
When I first met Muffin she was one of three 6 month old kittens (there were 2 older dogs there too) in a friend's barn and they got fed once a day. So when my dad and I brought over dog treats for the dogs, the kittens were all over us wanting food and I felt so bad for them that I was feeding them some dog treats. I felt terrible for them, maybe they were just hungry because it was first thing in the morning and hadn't been fed yet, but I was so upset that they seemed so hungry. And when Muffin let me pick her up and cuddle her, that was it, she was coming home with me! (I'd have taken all 3 but I couldn't afford it) When I took her home that day I made a promise to her that she would never go hungry again and I want to keep that promise. The vet said her left kidney is a bit enlarged and will take an xray of it but she's not showing any signs of problems so we'll just stay on top of it.
I know changing their eating habits is for their own good but I don't want to make a mistake and have them think I'm punishing them in any way. Would a cat feel like you're punishing them if you withhold food? Not by the act but by your behaviour, like if you aren't happy about it will they sense that and think something's wrong?
Maybe I'm overreacting but I am very sensitive and I want both myself and the cats to see this as a new way of being, not a stringent diet to shed pounds (ok I have weight issues myself too). I want them to be happy so any thoughts or advice you can give would be greatly appreciated!!