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Power-struggle between me and Dustin

Posted by sweetchastity (My Page) on
Thu, Nov 11, 10 at 7:03

My cat Dustin seems to be trying to push my buttons. Its almost always in the morning (5 am ><) and it involves food. If I get up he rushes to his dish. He's overweight so I don't leave a bowl out with food in it all the time. When I don't get up he'll start playing with the lamp cord and scratching the nightstand and wall. I wear a CPAP at night for sleep apnea and he's already chewed up 2 tubes and he goes for that too. I try shushing him, I'll give him a light smack on the butt if he's trying to get at the cord too much (he's a chewer and I worked hard to not let him play with cords of any type) and occasionally, if he's really pushing it, I'll grab a can of compressed air (he hates that sound and usually the sight of it is enough to deter him). A lot of times I also send him the noises he makes to me when I clip his nails and he's annoyed with me: hisses, spits and growls. I figure he'll understand that language more than me yelling 'No'. It seems to be worse now as he's also taken to scratching at my mom's door (she never feeds him).

I wonder if his behaviour is a result of the new puppies? Mom says I don't give the cats as much attention as I did before but I don't think that is the case. If I pass by either cat I always stop and scratch/nossle/kiss/hug/pet/etc them. Dustin more because he tends to sleep near me where Muffin will sneak off into the basement (she's never slept with me). Our Chihuahua/Terrier cross just loves Dustin and lays down next to Dustin while he grooms her. She does sleep at night with Dustin and I but I've also napped with both dogs and Dustin and he's fine with it.

Anyone experience anything like this or have advice I can use? If I give him more attention during the day will he be better behaved? I also want to put them both on a 2x/day feeding schedule. I feed them 4x/day now because Muffin only eats a little bit at a time then Dustin eats whatevers left over so I only give them small portions. Muffin was eating 1x/day til she was 6 months old so I know she'll adapt but its Dustin I'm concerned about.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Power-struggle between me and Dustin

Have you had the cats to the vet within the last year or so? I would take the overweight cat in do a blood panel and test for parasites.

Question - can Dustin jump high. Maybe put Muffins food up high where Dustin can not get to it. You might also check the contents of your cat food - A higher quality cat food might help your overweight cat by feeding higher quality food, which will satify it more. How overweight is your cat? Also do you have some cat dancers in the house or some other play toys so they can get more exercise???

RE: Power-struggle between me and Dustin

Since he's wanting you to get up and feed him, switch to a high quality food and leave a small amount in an automatic feeder. Set it to open at 5AM and it should satisfy him until you get up.

According to my cat vet, it's best to feed cats (especially those with a weight problem) small amounts several times a day than a larger meal twice a day. You can better control the portions and they'll feel more satisfied and less hungry.

RE: Power-struggle between me and Dustin

Seriously, I know you love your cats, but you cannot have Dustin chewing on your apnea thingy! I suggest you put him in the basement with Muffin rather than trying to break him of the chewing habit, which would also keep him from annoying your mom. I had a similar problem with a cat that would start yowling at 4 a.m. and NOTHING I tried broke her. Solution--I moved the cat 'bedroom' to the other end of the house so I could get some sleep! If you absolutely must have the cat in there with you, try brushing some diluted hot sauce on the tube.

As far as his weight problem goes, first consult the vet but I would get him off dry food completely. 2 of my cats were turning into blimps 1 and 2 eating a normal amount of a good quality dry food. The vet promised me that if I would switch them to a can each/day of regular grocery story wet food (and I'm think yech! cheap food!) they would lose weight and thrive. He said there was some current research showing the Fancy Feast and Friskies stuff was just as good. I didn't see how it could be true but I swear it worked! I split a can between them in the a.m. and p.m., with about a T of kibble for a midnight snack. They gradually dropped a couple of pounds each, now running around 11-12 lbs, and they have coats as lush and silky as they ever did on the expensive food.

RE: Power-struggle between me and Dustin

@mazer - Dustin has been to the vet but not really seen her, I just took him in to weight him. He's 16 lbs :( I'm feeding them 1st Choice Light Healthy Weight but they have a Mature and Less Active formula but I wasn't sure if that would be right for Muffin who's only 2 years old. I bought it at Global Pet Foods which specializes in healthy choices for pet owners.
Dustin cannot jump as high as Muffin does so that is an option. I'll check around the basement to see if I can find a good place but the first thing that comes to mind is the window sills. Not sure I want her eating on the fireplace mantel. I do have a cat dancer which Dustin loves, how many times a day and for how long should I get him active?

@annz - I'm not sure if an automatic feeder would help because he will act up and rush to his dish when food is in there. Once I fed Muffin and Dustin came by meowing and carrying on and I had to take him downstairs and show him the food dish and that there was food in it already. Maybe if its upstairs where he can access it easier he'll check it first before coming to me? Problem is that our puppies eat any food they find and Peanut makes a beeline straight for their dish when she can, lol. Do you think he would get accustomed to a feeder that would dispense food at exactly the same time everyday?

@bizabet - I thought of locking him in the basement but our house doesn't have a door to the basement. It just flows downstairs though there is an opening that would fit double french doors but we can't afford it right now after ripping up all the carpet and putting in laminate flooring. They do have covers to protect from pets but it costs half as much as the tubing so I was waiting until I bought new tubing. I taped up the holes but now it really does need to be replaced.

I read an article I found linked here and it said that even the cheapest canned food is better than dry food! My problem is that Dustin loves his kibble so much and he's very finicky, he won't even take turkey at Thanksgiving! But I think if I mixed kibble in with canned and fed it while its still crunchy then I could wean him on to the cans. I don't like them leaving the canned in the bowl outside so I was looking for a dish that had a lid I could put in the fridge if they don't finish their food. He did seem to like the beef flavour more than chicken or seafood so I think I'll grab a few cans from the store today. He usually just licks the juices up and leave most of the rest so I need to find really moist food I think. He will lick all the juice and leave the chunks behind so I think pattee is the way to go.

Thanks for the replies!!

RE: Power-struggle between me and Dustin

oh he'll get used to the timer all right--cats and dogs have an internal clock and they know exactly when it's time to be fed! (and will usually try to encourage you to feed a little early if at all possible!) It is difficult when you have cats that need multiple feeding styles. Right now I have pigs 1 and 2 that will eat anything and everything very fast--they are on the wet food. Then there is finicky old cat, that needs to eat a special food and likes to graze--so he gets fed morning and night and whenever he asks if I am home in a separate room, and THEN there is the new kitten who needs special kitten food, and also has to eat away from the others, partly bec they would eat her food, and she would rather eat theirs.!

I don't know what your apnea thing looks like, or how it's put together, but maybe if you went to the hardwear store you could find something that would work--there is a lot of new flexible 'pipe' used in plumbing these days that you might be able to cut to size and slip over the ends. Also try looking in the hoses for washing machines, or maybe even a piece of garden hose. Or how about making a tube of material--make it very loose and about 3 times the length of the tubing so when you put it on and scrunch it down it will be big and bulky so Dustin can't get it all in his mouth--and then you could put something on it that he doesn't like, like one of the sprays that they sell to deter puppy chewing.

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