Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: northern Minnesota
Re: I Need Some Bailout Money To Buy Cat Food!
I agree that canned food is definitely healthier for your cats, but it may not help much with your budget. Still, it is a lot closer to a natural feline diet than dry kibble will ever be. As mentioned, kibble tends to draw water out of the body which leaves the cat chronically dehydrated. That chronic dehydration can have devastating effects over the life of the cat's body and could potentially result in substantial vet bills later on. Just something to consider.
When I first switched my cats from free-feeding to scheduled meals, I fed them three times a day. I figured that'd make the transition easier than switching them to just two meals right off the bat. After a few weeks on three meals/day, I cut out the noon meal and took them down to two meals/day. It only took a week or so for them to adjust to losing the all-day buffet.
Since you are feeding both kittens and adult cats, you will need to be flexible in your feeding schedule. The kittens under 12 mos old should, of course, be eating a high quality kitten food, and they should be fed 3-4 times a day. You may also have adult cats with fast metabolisms who can't maintain adequate weight on just two meals a day, so you'll have to give them an extra meal, as well.
In my household, one of my adults, Footsie, has a very fast metabolism and has a difficult time maintaining weight during the summer when he prefers to spend almost all of his time outside. I feed him whenever I can convince him to come inside long enough to eat. The only time I can get him up to a healthy weight is in winter when he spends all of his time inside, lounging around.
My eldest cat, Billy, has both CRF and hyperT, so he gets fed anytime I can tempt him to eat.
Aside from those two, all of the other cats are currently on a twice daily meal schedule. But if one of the other cats required an adjustment in their food schedule, I'd be flexible to meet the animal's needs. With your eight cats, you may need to be flexible, as well.