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Discussion Starter #1
I live in a one-cat household, just me and my fiance and our 1-year-and-a-bit-old calico tabby shorthair, Mara, who is our first cat together (he grew up with family cats, I have had roommates with cats in the past, but neither of us has ever been the primary Responsible Adults for any cats of our own). We adopted Mara about three or four months ago. Since we got her, we've been feeding her a half a can of Fancy Feast Elegant Medleys a day, split into two small feedings morning and evening, with Science Diet Original dry kibble always available (I don't measure it, but about one-third to one-half of one of the large dog-kibble scoops per day, or slightly less). Well, since I've been on here for a few days, and doing some reading, I'm thinking perhaps it would be good to at least transition to a higher-quality wet food, and maybe also transition from mixed dry-wet to all wet food.

This is complicated a little by the fact that she's battling a persistent UTI - the first round of antibiotics didn't completely eliminate it, so we're doing a second round and the vet is doing a culture and will call us in a few days in case we need to switch antibiotics or something to make sure it gets taken care of - so I'm really concerned with making sure she gets enough water. I've been mixing a couple spoonfuls of warm water into her wet food morning and night, to make a sort of soupy gravy in it, which she loves. But again, doing the reading around here, I think adjusting her diet more toward wet food would also help.

My question is, how do you transition them from one to the other? Especially with a cat who's used to having dry food always available to graze on when she wants a snack? Because that's what she currently does, little snacky nibbles of it (a few bites or so, from the sound) every hour or two, with her wet meals twice a day. And I'm concerned that she'll get upset if we take her dry food away, even if we are giving her more wet food to compensate.

Also, I'd welcome advice about better-quality wet and/or dry foods. I've picked up small cans of Before Grain, AvoDerm and Natural Balance to try and see how she likes them. Science Diet is a pretty quality dry food, right? As far as dry foods go?
 

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You're definitely headed in the right direction! Given that she's already eating some wet food, I would gradually increase the wet and decrease the kibble over a period of a couple weeks. I have no idea how much kibble you're feeding from your description...but assuming your cat is about 10 lbs and a good weight for her frame...then with 3 oz of wet food and half of the amount recommended on the bag of kibble. You want to get her to 5.5-6 oz of wet food per day with no kibble. If her weight is significantly different post it so we can give you some different measurements.

There are many other dry foods I would recommend over Science Diet, but since your goal is to get to wet food only, I wouldn't bother switching the dry food now.
 

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Sounds like you're only feeding her 1.5 oz of canned food a day, in addition to free choice SD kibble. If I were you, I'd double the canned food (1.5 oz twice daily) and substantially reduce the kibble you leave out for her during the day. After three days, increase the daily canned food amount by another 1.5 oz ( 4.5 oz/day split into two meals), and proportionately decrease the amount of kibble. Three days later, increase the daily canned food to 6 oz (split into two meals), and eliminate the kibble entirely. If she seems to get hungry between meals, you can split the canned food amount into three meals, instead, though that really shouldn't be necessary. Most healthy, adult cats do just fine on two meals a day.

I also strongly recommend you buy a digital baby scale and weigh your girl every couple of weeks to see how her weight is responding to her meal portions. If she maintains ideal weight, keep the food portions where they are. If she gains or loses an unacceptable amount of weight, adjust her food portions accordingly to re-establish and maintain optimal weight.

Laurie
 

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Oops...I thought said she was currently feeding a whole 3oz can per day. But yes start with 3oz per day. Other than that, mine & Laurie's suggestions were pretty much the same, except she suggests doing it over a week and I said two. There's no set formula for something like this...see how your cat is doing with the change and adjust accordingly...if it takes a week fine, if it takes a month that's fine too...
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you both! It didn't occur to me to be more specific with her weight, I apologize. She's small, actually - about 8.5 lbs. She was tiny, only 6.5 lbs when we brought her home. She's gotten a little bigger since then, but I assume that's to be expected since she was still not quite a year old?

Having checked the can size real quick, yes, we're giving her 1.5 oz a day, 3/4 oz each morning and night (approximately, anyway - we just eyeball it). Actually when we first brought her home, we had been feeding her a full 3 oz. can per day in two meals; we switched mostly because my mom said that sounded like way too much for such a tiny cat. And I guess, when partnered with a full or nearly-full bowl of dry food every day, that probably would be too much.

Alright. I'll talk it over with my fiance so we're both on board with it - although really, I'm the researcher of the two, and if I tell him I've done the reading and think this is a good idea, he won't argue ;-) - and start in a few days, after I've tried her out on the few new canned foods I've brought home. Don't want to start changing too many things at once, y'know? I'd rather see how she likes the various new foods while her routine stays stable otherwise, and *then* start messing with other variables.

6 oz. a day is the goal, though? I'm going to have to start buying canned food in bulk, lol. Again, thank you both for the advice! :)
 

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6 oz a day is a general guideline for a 10 lb cat. Optimal weight and a healthy diet are the goals. Since your girl is so small, it may turn out that 6 oz is too much for her. However, if she's extremely active or has a faster metabolism than average, 6 oz may be too little. That's why I also recommend weighing her regularly with a digital baby scale. That will allow you to keep an ongoing chart of her weight and make food portion adjustments, as necessary, to achieve and maintain optimal weight in your girl.

Laurie
 

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6 oz a day is a general guideline for a 10 lb cat. Optimal weight and a healthy diet are the goals. Since your girl is so small, it may turn out that 6 oz is too much for her. However, if she's extremely active or has a faster metabolism than average, 6 oz may be too little. That's why I also recommend weighing her regularly with a digital baby scale. That will allow you to keep an ongoing chart of her weight and make food portion adjustments, as necessary, to achieve and maintain optimal weight in your girl.

Laurie
Wait, really? I have a 7-8lb male and he eats 5.5-6oz a day! If I try to feed him 2 3oz Nature's Variety though that's where he can't finish it. I think he eats around 160-180 calories a day and he's quite thin.
 

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Wait, really? I have a 7-8lb male and he eats 5.5-6oz a day! If I try to feed him 2 3oz Nature's Variety though that's where he can't finish it. I think he eats around 160-180 calories a day and he's quite thin.
If you read ALL of my last post and not just the first line, it'll put it into proper perspective for you.

Laurie
 

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Discussion Starter #9
After talking it over with my fiance last night, we've decided to do things the other way around - transition to all-wet first, then start messing about with other brands of wet food. His reasoning was that if we start trying to give her other brands while she still has her usual dry food to fall back on, she might not be as willing to try new things as she could be, when it's established routine that the wet food is All There Is every day.

So this morning, I only filled her dry food bowl 1/3 (previously I usually filled it about 2/3 to 3/4 once a day), and gave her a whole half of a can in her wet food dish. Which she set into pretty well, but didn't finish. I have two questions about that: one, is that maybe because she's not terribly hungry yet, given that she'd had full access to her usual dry food right up until this morning? and two, is there likely to be a problem with wet food spoiling during the day if she doesn't eat the whole portion? Or would most cats know better than to eat food that has gone off? Or does it not go off that quickly?

Again, thanks for the advice and help!
 

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After talking it over with my fiance last night, we've decided to do things the other way around - transition to all-wet first, then start messing about with other brands of wet food.
A very reasonable and well thought out strategy.

maybe because she's not terribly hungry yet, given that she'd had full access to her usual dry food right up until this morning?
I expect this is the case. Most of my cats get fed two meals/day - 1/8 c EVO kibble for breakfast, and between 2.0-4.0 oz of raw prey model at night. I could just as easily swap out an equivalent amount of canned cat food for the RPM meal at night. Most of my cats are over 10 lbs. Even though EVO is a very high-calorie kibble, I assume that you are feeding a LOT more calories of kibble even now that you've reduced the amount. I can't imagine that your girl is hungry.

is there likely to be a problem with wet food spoiling during the day if she doesn't eat the whole portion? Or would most cats know better than to eat food that has gone off? Or does it not go off that quickly
Canned food can spoil and/or dry out when left out all day, esp. if your house gets hot. Most cats will reject canned food that smells at all "off", so I don't think you have any worries there. To help keep the canned food fresher and more appealing longer, place it in the coolest spot to which your cat has access, and mix some water into it to prevent it from drying out.

Laurie
 

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When you do start trying out different types of wet food, I suggest keeping a list of each one and if she likes it or not. I started doing that just for fun, but I'm so glad I did and I refer back to it often. It's just a simple list I keep on my phone so it's always with me: brand and variety of the food, what she thought of it, and the price I paid. Sometimes the store displays are overwhelming and it's easier than trying to remember, "that brand with the blue or purple-ish label, and I think it was chicken, but might have been turkey..."

Good luck!
 

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If you read ALL of my last post and not just the first line, it'll put it into proper perspective for you.

Laurie
I read it, then bolded the line I was responding to. I was surprised at that guideline since I'd only ever heard an ounce of food per pound of body weight as a feeding guideline.
 

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When you do start trying out different types of wet food, I suggest keeping a list of each one and if she likes it or not. I started doing that just for fun, but I'm so glad I did and I refer back to it often. It's just a simple list I keep on my phone so it's always with me: brand and variety of the food, what she thought of it, and the price I paid. Sometimes the store displays are overwhelming and it's easier than trying to remember, "that brand with the blue or purple-ish label, and I think it was chicken, but might have been turkey..."

Good luck!
Agreed! I refer to my list every time PetCo puts out their sale items ;-)
 

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That would be WAY to much food in MowMow's case. 12 ounces... he gets half that amount.
Interesting! My comment was a general curiosity, I'm still learning about cats! I told a friend how much I was feeeing Hanx and she recommended I feed him much more, but he won't eat much more. I think we're good with this amount.
 

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I'd only ever heard an ounce of food per pound of body weight as a feeding guideline.
That could work for a growing kitten, but feed that amount to an adult and it will lead to a very fat cat very quickly.
 
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