One of the biggest health problems we see in cats is obesity. We humans are feeding our cats, we hold the keys to prevent obesity. Let's use those keys!
1. Meal feed 2-3 times a day small amounts of food at a time. It doesn't matter what you feed your cat (can or dry) as long as it is portion controlled.
A wild cat only eats when it catches something and it doesn't usually catch a meal every day or multiple times a day. We have made our cats lazy by filling up a food bowl and allowing them to chow down constantly.
2. The portions to feed on cat food containers are in excess of an indoor cat's needs. Here are some guidelines.
a. Dry food only for an adult cat: 1/4 cup AM and PM. You can divide this into feedings of 1/8 cup 4 times a day. If your cat is already "fat" (let's be honest), start at 1/2 cup dry per day and in a month decrease to 1/8 cup 3 times a day.
b. Can food only for an adult cat: one (3 oz) can AM and PM or 1/2 can (5.5 oz can) AM and PM. Canned food is 80%
water so weight loss and normal weight retention is easier to accomplish.
c. Dry and can combination for an adult cat: 1/8 cup dry AM and PM plus either 1/2 can (3 oz can) or 1/4 can (5.5 oz can) AM and PM.
Some cats do not like dry food and some cats do not like canned food. That is the way of cats. Some cats will have vomiting or diarrhea with can foods and some with dry foods.
3. You can purchase cat feeding balls. There are holes in the ball that allows dry food to fall out when a cat plays with it. Your cat has to exercise to get the food.
If there is a concern as to whether a cat is eating enough food, then the cat should be placed in a room by itself and fed measured amounts of dry and/or canned food for 24 hours for 2-4 days. Measure what food the cat does not eat to get a total for food consumed in 24 hours.
4. In multiple cat households, it is difficult to meal feed, but not impossible if you invest in equipment and invest your time. Cats will learn to go to their bowl in separate rooms to be fed, you have to close the doors so no stealing takes place. You can feed all in the same room with different bowls and be the "cat police" to ensure that each cat only eats it's allotted amount of food. No stealing!
You can purchase Sureflap feeders and train each cat to use a feeder. The cats cannot eat each others food.
5. Some cats will not over eat if food is left out. Use one Sureflap feeder for the trim cats and one for the over eater.
6. You can feed thin cats on a counter or washer/dryer for example where the fat cat cannot jump up to get more food. Feed the fat cat on the floor. It will learn to eat before anyone else gets it's food.
7. It is difficult to exercise indoor cats. Creating vertical space for cats to jump and climb can be helpful. You can build or purchase outdoor enclosures for exercise. Don't forget to apply flea, tick, mosquito repellents, and heartworm preventatives.
8. Feeding a "diet food" will not work at all, even if calories are less, if you just fill up the bowls. Cats will just eat more of the food and stay fat. You will have to meal feed.
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