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Old 08-10-2005, 11:37 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Diet for a starved cat

Hi y'all. I know, I've been posting like a madwoman of late, but bear with me. Tyson (who you can see in Meet My Kitty and CatChat) needs to gain weight before he can handle being neutered. That being said, how do I go about bulking him up without endangering his health? Right now he's eating about three times a day, approximately three 3 oz. cans a day (it seems a bit excessive to me, but this kid is all skin and bones). He has a great appetite and will eat both healthy food (evolve) and junk (fancy feast - wasn't planning on cat #3 so I ran out and got a couple of cans to last me until the next shopping trip). Is there any danger to letting him eat so much? And is it better to feed him kitten food since he's so emaciated? Or kitten milk?

I have to imagine that like people, sudden and drastic weight gain can't be healthy. I know he was meant to be a big guy, bigger than my boy Baz (maine coon mix weighs 10 lbs at 1 year). Right now Tyson is about 5 lbs and should weigh about three times that. So how do we get there?

Monica
PS I apologize for all the posts, I'm a bit of a spastic mom, still very new at this.
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Old 08-10-2005, 12:28 PM   #2 (permalink)
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With a starving cat no amount of food is too much. Let him eat all he wants but feed several frequent, small meals every day to make sure he doesn't end up with an upset stomach. Also, small, frequent meals make the work of the liver, kidneys and pancreas much easier. Treat him the same way you would treat a cat who is recovering from a very serious illness. If you possibly can, provide food during the night as well.

Right now his body is like a dry sponge, just soaking up all the nutrients from the food. When the sponge becomes saturated his eating will slow down and he will settle down eating a certain amount of food every day.

I've never fed kitten food to starving adult cats and based on the results adult formula foods worked just fine. In three months the difference in the cat's appearance and weight was nothing less than amazing. So I trust adult food to do a good job for a starving adult cat. However, if your vet advises you to feed kitten food, by all means, go ahead and do that. But please do ask your vet for advice.

After this kitty has been with you for about a year, take him to the vet, have bloodwork done and ask the vet how much his normal weight should be based on age, general health status and bone structure. Then, if you have to, adjust the amount of food you feed according to your vet's advice.
That way you can make sure that over time he won't end up gaining an unhealthy amount of weight from long-term overeating but on the other hand you won't try to feed less food than he really needs either.
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Old 08-10-2005, 12:57 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Yeah, I agree. Just let him eat as much as he wants to eat. If he vomits, then he ate either too much or too fast. I'd go with four meals a day, actually. Morning, noon, late afternoon, before bedtime.

But one comment: it appears you have a preconceived idea of what his weight should be. Every cat is different, even within a breed. So don't "bulk" him up until he reaches what you think he should weigh, because it might not be right for him. Let him gain weight until his body SHAPE is correct. Then maintain whatever weight that is.
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Old 08-10-2005, 02:02 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I will concede to the cat experts I will stick to adult food as suggested, Meowmie. And Tim, you're right. I'm going into this thinking that I know what size he should be when in fact the only definite statement I can make about Tyson is that he should not be as small as he should be. Now to rush home and give him meal number two.

Monica
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Old 08-10-2005, 02:48 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I think Tyson has a good cat mommy!!
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