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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-26-2016, 01:01 PM Thread Starter
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Question First time cat owner - feeding questions

Hello,

I remember us having cats when I was growing up but the last one died before I was old enough to take care of it. My spouse's family never owned cats. So we are total noobs.

We just adopted a 2 yo brown tabby domestic longhair from a rescue agency. She is a petite, fluffy, very gentle cat that was found on the streets downtown and was so friendly she was put up for adoption.

We've only had her for a few days. Have tons of questions.

The main one so far... we were told to feed her a small amount of wet food twice a day (she likes Authority), and give her grain-free kibbles in between. We were told that we can just put out a dish of kibbles and she will not overfeed. This does not seem to work very well, she's going through the kibbles in no time regardless of amount and then refuses to eat her wet food. The day we brought her in she pooped and there was practically no smell. The first full day in the house she had terrible flatulence and when she pooped it stunk so bad we were about ready to evacuate the building. I suspect we've overfed her. Once she stopped hiding under the bed she spends much of her time literally hugging the bag of kibbles, as if it was her safety blanket. That's cute but it doesn't seem normal.

She weights 8.6 lbs, which according to the paperwork from the vet is her ideal body weight. A site that I found says to feed a cat about 30 cal per each pound, so this would be about 255 cal a day split half way between dry and wet food - does this sound about right ?

We're gone most days from 7 am to at least 6 pm, so I am planning on getting an automatic timed feeder and I want to make sure I am feeding her the right amount.

Thanks for help !
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-26-2016, 03:28 PM
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Sounds as if you are really thinking this through.

I have too many to just leave anything out for free feeding but all of mine would overindulge in some things given a chance.

Any change of diet can cause smells to get worse and, while I have no scientific evidence, I do think that certain things do make it worse.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-27-2016, 03:21 AM
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Dry food is generally considered to be the worst of the food options for cats. Grain free kibble can be fed and is the best choice if feeding kibble but it's not recommended because cat's don't naturally drink a lot of water, they get it all from their food so cats eating a lot of dry food can have problems with hydration which leads to kidney issues. Dry food also has a tendency to cause weight gain. The other issue that I've heard of is that dry food actually digests at a slower rate than wet food, so combining the two can cause problems (though I'm not sure how that works). It's a huge misnomer that pets will automatically regulate their dry food intake themselves and won't over eat. It's a lucky few that do, the rest scarf themselves silly into big round balls of fur!

Two meals of wet food should be plenty for an adult cat. One in the morning and one in the evening. I'm not sure about amounts, also go for grain-free, because cat's are carnivores, they don't need grains and veggies in their food.

In regards to the smell, certain brands of food or flavouring can certainly make things smell worse. It's a matter of finding something of quality, that your cat likes and that works the best for her digestive system, as not all cats tolerate the same foods the same way.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-27-2016, 08:08 AM
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My Amelia would eat herself into oblivion if I left food out all day for her. She weighs 8.4 pounds and eats two three ounce cans of food per day, one in the morning and one at night.


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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-27-2016, 01:00 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for all replies (somehow I managed not to find my own post and started another introductory one but without all the info).

We've decided for now to feed her a can of wet food divided 2x day (that's 200cal) and around 50-60 cal of grain free kibbles in small portions throughout the day. We can't go all wet without leaving her unfed throughout most of the day. I ordered a 5 compartment automatic timed feeder on Amazon to keep her fed while we're out, without allowing her to stuff her face.

I have two more questions...

Given that she's in and out of the litter box and is very actively digging there to cover her business, and is already walking on our bed, should we do something to prevent her spreading litter throughout the house and in the bed - is there even anything that can be done ? I realize that cats love to sleep in people's beds and we don't mind if she starts doing this but I don't want to be rolling in her feces either.

Also, her being a strictly indoor cat, should be bathe her at all ? I've been given two completely confliction opinions - give her a regular bath once a month, vs don't do it at all since she's going to keep herself clean & bath will only hurt her skin. Which one is correct ?
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-27-2016, 10:33 PM
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She won't starve if she doesn't get food during the day while you're out. Wild cats may only eat once or twice a day, even less. They're not grazers so don't need access to food all throughout the day. Kittens need more frequent meals, but adults cats don't. Still if that's how you want to feed her, the timed feeder with set amounts is much better than free feeding.

For the litterbox issue, tracking of litter varies between litter types, some are more likely to get caught in paws and fur than other types. Some people put plush mats around the litter boxes which the cat has to step on after the leaving the box which helps to catch stray litter still on their paws when they leave the box.

As for bathing, cat's don't need to be bathed. Unless it's for a medical reason or they've got poop all over them, they don't need it. Cat's do keep themselves clean and a lot of pet shampoos can damage skin and make it dry or remove the natural oils which are present in the cat's fur. Your kitty will spend a great deal of time keeping herself clean.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-28-2016, 06:00 PM
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Cats do not need to be fed throughout the day. In fact, this is bad for them. Eliminate the kibble entirely - kibble is terrible for cats.

Think about wild cats and wild felines - they do not eat constantly. They rarely eat several times a day. A cat is designed, digestively, to go at least 12 hours between meals. If you leave food for them, letting them "graze", it can mess up their digestion and they will usually become fat. Also, since canned food and kibble digest at different rates/times, feeding her both in one day can lead to digestive upset.

Kibble is "junk food". Even grain-free kibble is terrible for cats. Companies spray it with chemicals and animal-digest so that it smells appealing to cats and so they want to eat it. Think of a child - if you offer him chocolate and candy and veggies at the same time/in the same day, which is he going to want to eat? He'll eat the candy and refuse the veggies. If you have the kibble in the house, your kitty is smelling it. She knows it's there. She's smart enough to "hold out" for the kibble and refuse to eat the canned because she knows she's going to get the kibble.

I feed my 18-year-old twice a day, once at around 11am and again at 10pm. Some days I vary things and feed her three meals, at 11am, 7pm, and 2am. Her weight is perfectly maintained, and she suffers absolutely no ill effects from going 10+ hours between meals. Your cat will be fine eating at 7am and again when you guys get home at 6pm. You don't need an auto-feeder.

Here's a great site on transitioning your cat to an all-canned diet and getting them off being a kibble "junkie" -

http://www.catinfo.org/docs/TipsForT...ing1-14-11.pdf

And trust me on this from experience - if you get her off of kibble and onto a good grain-free canned food, her poops will become smaller, firmer, and less stinky. As a cat digests/gets more nutrients from their food, they poop less because they're absorbing more of the food. Kibble is carbs, filler, grains, and crap - which pass through a cat's digestive system because they can't digest any of it. Hence, stinky poo :} My cat is on a fully-raw diet, and I am not being facetious - her poop does not smell. At all. She can drop a fresh one while I'm standing right next to the box and I wouldn't even know it. Her poops are also nearly white and dry (because she's digesting almost all of what she eats).

You can get a litter mat to put the litterbox on - when she jumps out of the box, she'll walk a bit on the mat and it will help clean bits of litter off her paws. I also use pet wipes on my cat - I wipe her paws and her heiny when she comes inside - but she's indoor/outdoors so I can control when she's inside and on the furniture. You can wipe your cat a couple of times a day and keep the fur around her heiny trimmed/shaved - that will help keep things clean too!

As for bathing - I bathe my cat every two weeks. I have done this for at least five years. My cat is almost 18 years old. She has not exploded, melted, combusted, died, lost all her fur, or turned into a huge scab XD However, I use shampoo designed for cats specifically, and I rinse her off really, really well. Since your lady is fully indoors, you can probably bathe her once a month or every other month, especially since she's young. Cats DO groom themselves, BUT - they have trouble with it as they get older/less limber, and even young cats can "miss a spot" or two. Especially longer-haired kitties. Plus, yes, they keep themselves clean, but they use their TONGUE! XD Which means they're clean, but covered in their own saliva/dander. I do recommend brushing her regularly, though - get her used to that. You can give her treats during the brushing/combing to get her used to it.

Sorry if I sound at all discouraging - you're doing a great job with your girl. You clearly want what's best for her :} However vets aren't taught about kitty nutrition and they still push kibble/think it's fine, despite the research/studies emerging now showing that it's harmful.


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