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Cat food amounts

Posted by sweetchastity (My Page) on
Wed, Aug 18, 10 at 21:22

I'm switching my cats from the calorie-reduced kibble from the vet's office to a healthier canned option, with possibly some kibble of the same maker to satisfy my kibble-addict, and I'm wondering how much to feed them? Muffin is slightly over-weight but not noticeably so. Dustin definitely needs to lose weight. I bought some Healthy Balance but after checking out http://www.catinfo.org/?link=cannedfoods#Commercial_Foods I searched and found a local pet store that carries Wellness, Merrick, Nature's Variety and Evo and am going down to check out what they have and the afford-ability. I want a healthier option but have to be careful since we don't have a lot of money so I'd like to buy bigger cans and possibly cases.

What I'd like to know is how do I know how much to feed them? The H.B. can said 1 can per day per 8 lbs of cat. The vet had me giving 1 cup (plastic one provided) kibble a day and 1/3 canned but I want them to eat more canned and I'm not sure if the vet will advise me since her knowledge is regarding the food she sells. If I'm playing around with the canned varieties to see what they like (keeping same kibble until they are adjusted) will each can have different feeding instructions? Can I trust what it says on the side of the can? Or should I give the same amount regardless of the brand (brands being the four I listed above)?

Thank you! Good news is that Dustin enjoyed the canned but still jumped for his kibble, lol.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Cat food amounts

A good place to start when switching to canned food is to feed 6 oz of canned food a day for an average size cat of average activity level. That, however, is the TOTAL daily ration of food, NOT including any kibble. So if you are also feeding kibble, you need to reduce the amount of canned food accordingly.

As I said, though, that is just a starting point. The best way to determine appropriate food portions is to buy a digital baby scale and weigh your cats regularly to see how theie food portions are affecting their weights.

I had a houseful of fat cats several years ago, and when I finally got serious about wanting to take off the extra pounds and bring them to optimal, healthy weights, I first bought a digital baby scale. After switching them to healthier foods and changing from free feeding to scheduled, portioned meals, I started weighing them every two weeks and charting their weights in a spreadsheet on my computer. For the cats who needed to lose weight, I wanted to see a weight loss of between .2-.4 lb every two weeks. If a cat lost less than .2 in two weeks, I decreased the food portion a little. If a cat lost more than .4 in two weeks, I increased the food portion a little. I started doing these weigh-ins and portion adjustments three years ago, and I continue to do them today. It took about two years to get all of my cats down to optimal weights, and I maintain those weights with continuing two-week weigh-ins and portion adjustments.

Can you trust the recommended feeding guidelines printed on commercial cat food packaging? In a word, NO! I have NEVER seen package guidelines that recommeded less than 33%-50% MORE than any normal cat actually needs to maintain proper weight. It's ridiculous! If I ever fed any of my cats (uncontrolled hyperT cats excluded) the amount recommended on a bag or can of cat food, I'd have a morbidly obese cat in no time flat! Ignore the recommendations on the packaging. Trust only how your cat's weights respond to the food portions you give them, and make portion adjustments as necessary to achieve the results you want.

Remember that weight loss in cats must progress slowly and steadily in order to keep their livers healthy. Rapid weight loss may trigger a potentially fatal liver disease called hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver). So don't rush the process.

Laurie


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RE: Cat food amounts

Laurie, I never did know how to measure out wet food for cats. I just tell people that a cat's stomach, when slightly distended after a proper meal, is only 1/4 to 1/3 the size of its head. The smaller size the more meals fed, the larger the fewer meals. That's what I've done for my own for years-and they're a hale bunch who the vets love for their vigor and perfect proportions. Now that you've revealed the measured mass I can dole out the cats' meals a little more accurately. Thanks!


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RE: Cat food amounts

Thanks Laurie! I'll definitely look for a digital baby scale though my vet's office lets us come in anytime to weigh our pets. I had a feeling that the instructions would be wrong. I think manufacturers want us to use the food up and buy more so they fudge on what you should feed them. So far they had one can between the two of them today but even that might be too much. I need to get them in to see how they are doing. Last time they did shed some weight but I'd like an updated baseline to go by.

I don't suppose you have any advice on how much to feed puppies? My mom fills the bowls and when Punkin inhales his food and looks for more she thinks he's not eating enough. The vet gave us instructions but different for each pup and mom doesn't seem to like the vet instructions when it comes to food, lol.


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RE: Cat food amounts

I'm afraid that my experience with puppies is extremely limited. I know that with kittens, you can feed them as much as they want to eat until 9-12 mos of age unless they get really pudgy, but puppies seem to be pudgy by nature, so I'm not sure how much to feed them. Perhaps Meg will read this thread and offer some sage advice about feeding puppies. Otherwise, your mom should be guided by her vet in terms of feeding Punkin an appropriate diet. BTW, what breed is Punkin, how old is he, and what is he being fed right now?

Laurie


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RE: Cat food amounts

Laurie,

What type of baby scale do you have? When you say 0.2-0.4 lbs, do you really mean tenths of pounds, or ounces?

Thanks,
Susan


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RE: Cat food amounts

I use a digital baby scale that measures tenths (and hundredths, and even thousandths) of a pound, not ounces. So .2-.4 is tenths of a pound. Oh, and my scale can also toggle between lb and kg.

I bought my scale off of eBay. It's similar to the one at the link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: digital baby scale


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RE: Cat food amounts

Hey laurief, Punkin is a Shipoo and Peanut is a Chihuahua/Terrier. We are feeding them Medi-cal Development by Royal Canin both dry and canned. I really can't say how much Mom is feeding them because she'll give them some then think they are still hungry and add another tablespoon or two. Then she'll think she gave Punkin more than Peanut and she'll give Peanut a bit more and visa versa. She's hung up on giving them exactly the same amount. If I feed them I try to give about 1/4 of a can but Mom will add after me because she doesn't think I give them enough lol.

We tried to move them to another brand but Peanut got bad diarrhea :( We'd like to give them a healthy, economical choice from a local health-food pet store nearby but we decided we'd wait until they got a bit older.


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RE: Cat food amounts

Unfortunately, it sounds like the puppies may be doomed to obesity and early onset arthritis if your mother refuses to be responsible about feeding them appropriately. If that's the case, the damage will likely be irreversible and permanent before she realizes what she's done to the animals. All I can suggest is that you convince your mom to take the puppies to a different vet so that hopefully she'll get a second professional opinion about how much they should be fed. Maybe it'll be harder for her to disregard two vets' dietary recommendations instead of just one.

Laurie


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RE: Cat food amounts

My experience with helping animals lose weight has been mostly from the standpoint of dogs- but I learned a good way to help animals lose weight.

Following food guidelines never worked for me after years of frustrating adjustments. All individual are exactly that- individuals.

Finally, when our dog was a few years old, I got this advice and it turned out to be the most helpful advice I'd gotten on the subject: Cut the amount you are feeding your pet by 10%. If they don't lose weight within a few weeks, cut the amount you feed by 10%. Keep adjusting this way every few weeks until your animal begins to lose a little weight- once they begin to lose weight keep feeding this quantity. When the animal is at an ideal weight- adjust quantity up as necessary to maintain a healthy weight.

Since you are switching your cats' food to a different brand, just be sure to make sure they are not losing too much weight too fast once you are rationing them. I think that was already mentioned by Laurie though.

Good luck. It's really hard when they start begging for food- but be strong for their health!


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RE: Cat food amounts

Thanks quasifish I think that is the route I need to go! I'm going to take them to the vet to be weighed every two weeks until I can get my own baby scale.

I am also a bit afraid of my mother feeding the puppies too much laurief but both Misty and Jessie had health issues complicated/resulting for obesity so I know she wants to avoid that with these puppies. We are firm with my father when he wants to give the puppies table-scraps and correct their behaviour when we eat so they will lie down near us and not pester for food. I think the two issues Mom has is knowledge, she doesn't really know how much to feed even when the vet gave us a post-it with instructions on it, and love, for her feeding Misty and Jessie was sharing in love and affection. She used to cook a huge pot of rice and take the scrap meat from whatever we were having (turkey, duck, all the fat and stuff we would throw out), as well as some nice pieces of meat and mix it all up into a large roasting pan and put it on the floor to let them wolf it down. Jessie was very food driven. They enjoyed his antics when food was around, knocking the stove/oven with his snout, talking, etc., so eating was love, social and entertainment. But I will see about getting a baby scale so we can weigh them and adjust their food accordingly.

I think Punkin's behaviour is also a factor since he inhales his food and then tries to eat Peanut's food. She'll take her time, sometimes faster, but usually twice as long as him when eating. Because he eats it so fast and looks for more Mom thinks he's not eating enough. She needs to let go of that worry to be comfortable with what we are feeding them.


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RE: Cat food amounts

Put a couple of clean, fist-sized rocks in Punkin's food bowl that he will need to eat around in order to slow him down. Also, feed Punkin in a separate room with the door closed, and don't let him out until Peanut is finished with her food. Not only will that prevent Punkin from trying to steal Peanut's food, but it'll also prevent your mother from seeing how quickly Punkin eats his food. Maybe that will help moderate her feelings of starving poor, pathetic Punkin.

Laurie


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