Hungry cat in the middle of the night - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-23-2010, 12:26 PM Thread Starter
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Hungry cat in the middle of the night

I got a senior boy from the shelter in early July. He was underweight and low on energy but all blood work has come back within range. Transitioned him to canned right away and not much changed, until I started giving him a snack of whatever meat we were having for dinner. After about two weeks I noticed his weight, energy AND appetite were better so I decided to try all raw. That was a couple weeks ago.

I probably overwhelmed him at first but we worked it out. There have been a couple vomiting episodes and I think Iíve figured that out, too. Iím still adding a tablespoon of canned to most meals but the majority of his diet is now raw. The problem is, he decides that heís starving to death at 3:00 AM and wonít let me sleep for more than 30 minutes at a time after that. Yesterday, I fed him 4 small meals (the last at 10:00 PM) thinking it would get him through the night but I still had the bony feet stomping on some tender parts while my face got licked, repeatedly. He doesnít give up so, unless I lock him away somewhere, heíll just go wake up my kids, who then get me out of bed to say he must be hungry..


Any suggestions for something I could leave out as a midnight snack? He still needs extra calories so I want to continue offering food whenever heís willing to eat, like I did with canned, but not so much in the middle of the night with raw food. I tried plopping frozen chicken in his dish a couple nights ago and got a better night sleep, but Iím concerned about it going bad. Help! This is the best cat ever, but Iím starting to get resentful about being a zombie when I see him sleeping most of the day.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-23-2010, 12:36 PM
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You say he is elderly . . . have you had bloodwork done? I would get that done (CBC, blood chemistry w/ T4, and urinalysis) ASAP before doing anything else. You need to make sure he doesn't have a good reason for this behavior. Hyperthyroidism is just one of several conditions that manifest themselves in ravenous appetite. . .

If he comes back clean for everything, I would then teach him that you will NOT get up to feed him during the night. Wear ear plugs and learn to ignore him. Yes, it's hard at first but it WILL get better and soon he won't bother bothering you. Never feed him in the a.m. until you have been up and about for at least an hour.

BUT be sure to get the labwork done first. This is, IMO, essential.

OK -- oops sorry - see that you had BW done. Did that include a T4?
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-24-2010, 12:34 AM
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ground meat stays good for about 4 hours, chunks of meat stay good for about 8. they get a little 'crusty' and your kitty may turn his nose up, but they're not going bad! I leave ground out over night with no problems

if you get desperate you could consider going with a freeze dried raw option at night. It is a little bit pricey, but it won't go bad in his dish.

here is a link to a good freeze dried food. Stella & Chewy's - Chewy's Chicken Freeze-Dried Dinner
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-24-2010, 09:00 AM Thread Starter
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He had a full panel at the shelter in June and I did another, plus thyroid (T4?), in July. He was not ravenous until he started feeling better a few weeks ago.

After I typed this yesterday, I found a couple places where he had been throwing up the raw. He also violently threw up his mid day snack of lamb, which had never bothered him before. His weight and energy had gone back down so I just gave him canned last night and he didn’t bother me once. I think the reason he was so hungry is that he wasn’t keeping as much down as I thought he was.

Until he’s back on track, I’m going to stick with canned and a raw snack in the afternoon. That is where I saw the best results and least amount of upset. Hopefully, if I go really slow he can eventually be all raw but I don’t think it’s in the cards for him right now.

Thanks for the advice.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-24-2010, 03:44 PM
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it could be possible that he may be allergic to one type of meat or that type doesnt agree with him for some reason. Have you tried just one protein source a day (ie- chicken one day, rabbit one day, pork one day) to try to narrow down the culprit?

-jessy
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-26-2010, 08:08 AM Thread Starter
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I started off with a little bit of whatever we were having for dinner and he had no problems. I also got a package of commercial raw (chicken) and he also did great with that as a snack. When I started replacing one meal with all raw, it was the same meat for a couple days and he did fine at first, except for trying to hold out for canned occasionally. I found mixing the commercial raw with his canned got him to eat a full meal so I did that every couple days because he really needs his calories. Then I noticed he was vomiting on those days and blamed it on the commercial.

This is really frustrating because he seems to do fine on everything the first couple times and then can never eat it again. Iíve found that to be true with turkey, steak, lamb, chicken, beef heart and gizzards. He was back on canned for two days (and sleeping through the night) so I gave him a couple bites of steak last night. It came back up right away. Could he just be too old to switch over?
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-26-2010, 09:44 AM
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I believe that no animal is too old to switch over! it's just going to take more time and love and patience.

start back to basics. if you're sure that every meat you've tried has been ok in his tummy try grinding them down to a mush or mash up a commerical raw medallion. Mix this with his wet food and then slowly wean him off the wet food onto ground and then start mixing chunks of raw into the ground, etc. until he is back to eating what he should be.

if you're using kibble try mixing the kibble with warm water to soften it up and mix it with the meat mash until it creates a 'soup' then just wean off the kibble and follow the rest of the steps!

it may take a couple of months but you need to just keep with it!!

-jessy
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-26-2010, 12:36 PM Thread Starter
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How slow should I go and how much vomiting is reasonable? This is likely a 15+ year old cat and he has loss of muscle already. Not being able to digest a couple meals makes him a bag of bones again. Honestly, I brought him home to make his last days peaceful so thatís what my priority is. Giving him raw snacks seemed to make him thrive so I wanted to give it try full time. Did my research, tried a bunch of things and now I have a freezer full of meals that he canít keep down. It started off so well (at the beginning of August) but now Iím not sure.

Between the vomiting, hunger in middle of the night and the weight loss Iím wondering if he just canít be switched at this point in his life. Or, what the benefit is of trial and error when heís been doing fine with canned. On the other hand, we are going to be getting a second, younger cat very soon and I plan to feed raw so it would be great to have them on the same food.

Iím open to any suggestions on how to work this out that donít include him not having those last peaceful days he deserves. Other than a couple chicken necks, Iíve tried chopping up his food really fine, in small pieces and extra chunky but he throws up that and ground turkey/chicken just the same. None of this was a problem until a week ago so Iím really at a loss now.

He hasnít had kibble since the first week I brought him home, although I was tempted to put some out when the middle of the night wake-ups started. Iím mostly feeding Wellness grain-free turkey and chicken and tried Nature's Variety chicken and Primal pheasant, neither of which seemed to agree with him.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-03-2010, 05:36 AM
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How is this going?

I've always been a pretty hardcore raw feeder, less for ideological reasons than for practical ones. But I'm more adamant about humans in the household getting their sleep. If canned food is what makes this possible, then that sounds like a good solution.

Who knows, maybe he'll switch himself to what the younger cat is eating.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-03-2010, 07:43 PM
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How large were the raw-only meals? In quantity, I mean. Sometimes, cats get so excited about their food that they eat too much or they eat too fast; both of these are likely to bring the food back up again.

I admire you for your dedication in ensuring this boy's last few years are happy, comfortable ones. He's a lucky kitty!

AC
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