Cat Feeding
July 22, 2004 7:48 PM   Subscribe

CatFilter: We've just taken in a friend's cat for two weeks. Unfortunately, it turns out that this cat is fed dry food twice a day, while our cat just grazes at her dry food all day. The visiting cat has no self-control over food and so we can't just leave our cat's food out, as it'll get eaten and make the visiting cat sick. Can my cat adapt to regulated feeding on such short notice? If she doesn't get enough to eat, until she learns to adapt, will there be side effects? I'm at a total loss here as to what to do.
posted by livii to Pets & Animals (7 answers total)
If your cat goes hungry on this regimented diet, she will probably complain, but suffer few ill health effects. Depending on her temper, you might find some of your belongings soaked in cat piss as a form of protest, but most likely you will simply get hungry cat behavior: milling about the feeding area and vocalization.
posted by majick at 8:10 PM on July 22, 2004

Best answer: Keep food within your reach. Give your cat food when they ask, with some reassurance that the temporary measure is only due to the temporary presence of this other, less sophisticated and less beautiful cat. Assure your cat that he/she is the most fabulous cat alive.
posted by Goofyy at 9:47 PM on July 22, 2004

Be aware that you may get barfage. Kitties don't like feeling as if they are competing for food, and the stress can cause vomiting. We were on a schedule here and experienced much of the joy of regurgitation until we switched to free feeding.

It's nothing to really worry about, and if it happens, it will probably stop when you go back to free feeding. Just watch your step.
posted by frykitty at 10:39 PM on July 22, 2004

Hey, just a warning: leaving dry food out for your cat to graze at whenever she pleases can result in health problems for your cat. I recently had to help a friend deal with her cat's fatty liver disease, which was at least partially brought on by this style of feeding. If your cat is skinny this is probably a low risk, but a little canned food is better for the cat than all dry food, all the time.

Back to answering the question you actually asked, as majick suggests any side effects will likely be behavioral and not dangerous (to the cat, anyway).
posted by hashashin at 10:44 PM on July 22, 2004 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for the comments, everyone; I am much relieved.

Oh, and I know that grazing can be bad, but since our cat is so small and skinny, we have not discouraged it. (Especially since self-feeders are awfully convenient when you want to go away for the weekend.) So part of the problem here was that I did not want our cat to turn into a regimented eater! I like the idea of giving her food when she asks, though, and that should take care of it nicely.
posted by livii at 5:41 AM on July 23, 2004

Demand feeding is wonderful when you raise a cat to handle it. I've always done it and never suffered from over-eating cats. Reading these pages I know that some people get the opposite results. But some talk as if a fat cat were the only possible outcome, and it just isn't so.
posted by Goofyy at 7:47 AM on July 23, 2004

I went through this problem recently when consolidating households with my bride. My cat's a dry-food grazer, hers are on regular wet-food schedules.

For a while, I'd cover my cat's bowl except when she complained. Invariably I'd forget to re-cover it, and one of her cats would pig out on what was left, resulting in pukage.

We recently put my cat on the same food and schedule as her cats, to no ill effects, other than my cat complaining at 4:00 PM that it's time to eat.
posted by adamrice at 8:39 AM on July 23, 2004

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