How to adjust cat's feeding times over three weeks? Help!
May 12, 2022 7:13 AM   Subscribe

Our cat has a vet visit requiring anesthetic in three weeks. She can't eat anything after 10pm the night before...but she is accustomed to having food available and getting late night treats. What is the best way to adjust her diet now?

Cat tax will follow later today.

She gets wet food in the late afternoon and always has kibble available. She also gets treats late at night and when we get up. Even for a cat, she is very routine-oriented and will be extremely upset when she can't have her usual stuff. I'd like to minimize her distress given that the whole thing is going to be just awful.

What is the best way to adjust her feeding schedule? On what pace and how should I make changes? Have you done this?

How do you wrangle a sad, hungry, upset cat?
posted by Frowner to Pets & Animals (5 answers total)
For me and my two fuzzballs, the best way out is through -- keep the routine as long as possible, one super-unpleasant night and morning, then vet and it's over and back to the routine.

YMMV, and I'll be interested to hear others' thoughts.
posted by humbug at 7:38 AM on May 12 [14 favorites]

What I would do keep everything the same the day before, do the late night treats the night before at exactly 10 pm. If you can get the appointment to be first thing in the morning try to get her out the door as soon as possible after waking up. That way that's the only disruption & she probably won't even remember it happened.
posted by bleep at 8:04 AM on May 12 [2 favorites]

If she's really routine-oriented, I wouldn't try to change her feeding schedule over three weeks. I'd just let it be one sucky night/morning and then go back to the routine ASAP. She might get more upset if you try to move her schedule around for the next three weeks vs. a few hours of messed up routine.
posted by cooker girl at 8:11 AM on May 12 [1 favorite]

I have done the no food overnight thing with my very routine obsessed cat and I agree with everyone else who has commented so far that changing the routine for one night only will be far easier on both you and the cat than changing it for multiple days. You might not get great sleep that one night if she's hangry, confused, and loud about it, of course. But it's probably better for her to feel that way for one night only before her procedure than to be stressed and confused by routine changes for days ahead of time.

One thing I would recommend for ease of capture/transport on the morning of, is, if you haven't already done this: put the cat carrier out now, with the door open, in a place where your cat can easily access it. Put comfy towels or blankets in it. Toss a toy or a treat in it once or twice a day, so she has a reason to go inside it. Get her used to the idea of going inside it with no negative consequences. Then hopefully it won't be so difficult to get her in there on the morning of the vet visit, even if she's in a bad mood.
posted by BlueJae at 8:28 AM on May 12 [1 favorite]

Ooh, I totally agree that the cat carries gets put out now with the door wide open. It will make it far less stressful to get her in there on the day.

And agree with what everyone's saying: start giving her a 10pm treat now, leave the rest as is. On the night before the procedure, give her the 10pm treat, and leave her usual dishes out but empty. So she has one night of thinking you're the idiot who forgot to fill the food/water dishes. And then onward you go. Good luck!
posted by BlahLaLa at 8:35 AM on May 12 [1 favorite]

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