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Thread: Cat always hungry, not worms..

  1. #1

    Cat always hungry, not worms..

    I have a 5 year old kitty, Halo, who is always hungry and has become very irritating, to the point where my husband is ready to lose his mind.

    As a kitten, she was fine. We did free feeding of kitten dry food and advanced as needed, and she did fine, but at about 1 year old we moved in with my mom who had 2 other kitties. My mom was not always the most responsible with their feeding and as a result has very fat cats. My kitty ended up getting quite chunky as well (about 15-16 pounds after my mom would feed them tons of wet food and dry food and treats, and whatever else). Halo also learned that she had to get her own food while she could before the other ate it. We did try to separate their feedings, but it didn't always work.

    My husband and I moved out 1 1/2 years later, and over the past 2 years have been able to get Halo's weight down into a good range (last check up she was 11lbs) through scheduled feedings, smaller measured amounts (1/4 cup per feeding x 2 feedings a day), and indoor formula, and we've been praised by our vet for that.

    Our problem now: Feedings had been scheduled at 6:30am and 6:30 pm, but starting at about 5, she starts crying and running and begging for food, and always waking us up, obviously she's hungry. What I thought was a logical solution was to, now that she's in a good weight for her size (she's larger framed to begin with), that we could increase her to 3/4 cup a day, separated into 3 feedings, to maintain her weight. And to decrease the early morning wakings, one of those feedings is at 11pm right before we go to bed. So now it's 1/4 at 6:30-7am, 1/4 at 4-5pm, and 1/4 at 10:30-11pm.

    But it isn't working. Nothing has changed. I'm worried about increasing her food amounts too much and her gaining too much weight again. The bag says for a 10-12lb cat to feed 3/4c to 1 1/4c per day, so perhaps I could increase to 1cup a day. But regardless of what we've done - feeding early, giving treats during the day, adding in more, etc - Halo still gets crazy about an hour before, running to the food dish every time we go in the kitchen, and when we put the food in the dish, she practically inhales it, so I definitely don't think free feeding again will be good.

    My husband is not a cat person, and Halo is really trying his patience, and something just has to change. Any advice would be wonderful and so appreciated!! Maybe more or less calories? I don't know. She's a strictly indoor kitty, there are no other kitties to fight for food with (and haven't been in over 2 years), she's not incredibly active either.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
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    Go to free feeding

    I would suggest going to a "free feeding" routine but NOT the old way. What I mean by "free feeding" is to keep the same amount of food your feeding now, just keep it in the bowl all day. Don't just put food in the bowl and then take it back up just for "feeding time". Cats have their own schedule for eating. They are NOT like dogs where you can feed them at assigned times. Cats need to eat throughout the day on their own time.
    Also keep in mind that animals don't wear wrist watches. They don't know what 5 am or 8 am is. They see the light coming up and it's morning to them! They don't observe daylight savings time either. Your ideal feeding times and theirs don't work.
    Feeding a cat or dog once day is okay. Dog's after they mature, like to eat once a day. Cats just like to "snack" throughout the day. In your case, I would set the food out before going to bed and let the cat eat whenever it likes. My animals have turned into "nocturnal" eaters. So they like they like eating at night.
    My cat is going through a "phase" where she doesn't seem to stop eating as well. The older she gets, her eating habits changed. My cat demands food in the morning as I am getting ready. She eats a few bites and then the dogs finish the rest. Now every time I go into the bathroom she demands food! So she seems to be eat all the time. She's just not eating alot a time. Making me extremely frustrated as well! One cat and I go through more bags of cat food than anyone with 3!!! I leave her food in her dish but the dog's sneak it out so that is why it isn't such a "free feeding" schedule.
    Scooby, Shaggy the "Dogs", Ms. Thang the "Cat" and introducing Measley Weasle "The Ferret".

  3. #3

    i'll try it!

    Thanks for the advice. My concern is that I'll feed her the daily amount all at once (definitely at bedtime so hopefully she doesn't wake us up) and she'll eat it all at once and make herself sick. Not that she's done it before, but my mom's cats have.

    Either way, I will definitely give it a shot. Thanks!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Maybe feed even smaller meals more frequently throughout the day?

    Double-Oh cries for food every time anyone goes into the bathroom (that is where we store his food, litterbox, etc to keep it away from the dogs). He only gets fed once in the morning nad once in the evening, same schedule as the dogs. But he will whine, cry, meow like CRAZY like he is starving and is never fed, though I know that is not the case.

    Remember: just because they act hungry does not mean they need the food. Dogs and puppies will act like they are still hungry after finishing a meal and that's when many owners make the mistake that "oh he looks hungry still, I'll give him some more food" and that is how they get overweight.

    If your kitty is at a good weight and is MAINTAINING the weight, and is healthy, I think there is no need to feed more. If he acts hungry... then you just have to ignore him. YOU are the boss, not him. He needs to know that he will only be fed at certain times nad at those times only and crying for more will not get him any. Its like the kid at the store begging for icecream eventhough he just ate.

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  5. #5
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    Try free feeding a weight control food....and see how her weight does.

    Too bad hubby is not a cat person - a fursib for Halo might help her! As it did my Oscar.

    Good luck!

    Catty1
    "If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door." -- Milton Berle

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Jessika
    If he acts hungry... then you just have to ignore him. YOU are the boss, not him. He needs to know that he will only be fed at certain times nad at those times only and crying for more will not get him any.
    That's the problem. We've been doing that for over a year now and it's just driving my husband insane to the point he's ready to strangle her every morning and evening when she's whining, and he's seriously contemplating giving her away. Over the past week I've been attemping 3 feedings a day instead of 2, but we're just not home during the weekday to feed her any more frequently than that. However, even that doesn't seem to be working.

    I'm fine ignoring it, because I'm a cat person and it doesn't bother me.. but I have trouble ignoring my husband and his constant yelling at my kitty, especially when she wakes him up. Thankfully he knows how much I love my cat and is willing to go along with trying new things, so that hopefully this becomes more tolerable.

    "Why can't we all just get along?!"

    She is on the purina indoor formula, which I believe has some weight control in it for less active kitties.

  7. #7
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    If it doesn't say weight control, it isn't.

    Purina should have a weight control food - and hopefully you can free feed her and keep everyone happy.

    hugs
    Catty1
    "If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door." -- Milton Berle

  8. #8

    I sympathise...

    We have a six-year old, otherwise happy and healthy cat who always complains for food. She is on a very healthy low-cal food that we purchase through her vet. When she was about 3, we did put her on a diet (vet monitored) and she went from 13 lbs to 10.5 lbs. It's understandable that she was hungry during that time, and the reason she got heavy is because we initially fed her too much because she seemed honestly hungry. But for 3 years, we have been diligently feeding her 1/4 cup of food at regular times, 3 times/day. For a while we gave two feedings of dry and one of wet, but it really didn't make much difference at all in her hunger level. She is playful, is indoor/outdoor and seems to think her life is pretty great...except for the empty belly. She does not have worms - we have never seen any signs but even so we give her regular de-worming pills because she hunts. The vet has continuously told me that her incessant meowing is just a habit. I understand behaviour modification, if that's what the vet is getting at, and after 3 years of us being really diligent about only feeding her a specific (and adequate) amount at a specific time (despite her complaining), it seems logical that she might get used to it. As much as we love her, I sympathise - it really is frustrating to have a cat who meows desperately for food. We want HER to be happy, and it's also really trying to have her complaining desperately for hours. She usually starts about 1 hour before her regular feeding times, sometimes up to 2 or 2.5 hours. When we have gone away overnight or something and put a full day's food in her dish, she eats it all right away. When she hunts, she eats ALL of what she catches. She really is nutty about food, and right from when she was a kitten, she did not seem to be able to regulate her own eating through free feeding. After three years of being really diligent with her feedings and not seeing her relax at all, we just tried upping it to 1/4 cup 4 times/day. She was very happy for about 4 days, and now she's used to it and starts complaining for food before this fourth feeding as well. We know that increasing her food intake again is not the answer. She's a well cared for, well loved cat with cat parents who have been firm but kind - we just wish she would not be do desperate for food. I am interested to hear any ideas.

  9. #9
    Don't take offense at this but are you sure it's hunger that's making her cry? She may have something physical going on that you're not aware of unless you've had her checked out by your vet and she checked A-OK. And if she has checked out OK, then perhaps talk w/your vet about her diet and see what s/he says. I know that her behavior indicates that she's hungry but it may be something else entirely. Good luck and please keep us posted. Prayers going up that all will be well w/Halo and things will calm down in your household.
    Blessings,
    Mary



    "Time and unforeseen occurrence befall us all." Ecclesiastes 9:11

  10. #10
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    Also - she might still have some kind of food panic stress after fighting for her food with your mom's cats.

    A vet checkup is a great idea...she may benefit from some Feliway calming spray. (The patent has come off it, so it is MUCH cheaper than it used to be!) One of my cats has to use it - He wears a stretchy collar, and I shake the bottle and put a tiny squirt right into the collar. Not supposed to go on fur or skin.)

    Please update and let us know how she is doing!
    "If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door." -- Milton Berle

  11. #11
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    I would get a wellness blood panel run at the vet's to rule out thyroid problems or diabetes.

    Thank you Wolf_Q!

  12. #12
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    This thread is over two years old, though I'm curious to know how the situation turned out

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  13. #13

    I have the same problem!

    My cat will eat until she throws up or until she gets really fat if I just leave food in her bowl all the time. So I feed her at regularly scheduled times, and she starts meowing and begging 1 hr to 1.5 hrs ahead of her feeding time. Some solutions I've used to prevent her from waking me up were, #1) I don't feed her until an hour after I normally get up so the meowing usually starts right around the time I want to get up anyway and acts as a back-up alarm clock, #2) At one point I used to keep a spray bottle of water next to my bed, so if she woke me up I would spray her, and that discouraged her #3) I give her one feeding late at night so she won't be so hungry first thing in the morning.

    Also if the pesky meowing gets really bad I sometimes squirt water at her with a spray bottle (even after I'm awake), which she hates and which will shut her down for a good 15 mins or so, or an idea I read on (I think) another blog was good - putting her inside a pillowcase for a little while or throwing a blanket on top of her. This distracts her and becomes a game, because it takes a while for her to find her way out, so it stops her from thinking about food for a few minutes. Finally, I also did find that putting out a wheatgrass plant for her to chomp on at her leisure did seem to help take the edge off her hunger a bit. The problem was I can't keep those darn plants alive so I had to keep buying new ones. Any tips on what to do with wheatgrass? They come without dirt in the box - are you supposed to plant them? I never could understand the logic there but then I don't have much of a green thumb.

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