Human Nature (meaning me) and Cat Feeding

Cindy eating

Cindy. She only ate a little of this.

My cats have only been eating a diet including dry food for a couple months or so. At this point, they seem no longer hungry. To me, they are not “normal” cats–for example, hungry for chicken. I cooked them a chicken and gave drumstick meat in broth to them this evening. Not a lot of the meat was eaten. They liked the broth.

I guess I need to cut out the dry food again because it is affecting my ability to sneak them pill quarters with treats. They had a round of upper respiratory infection and I have bottles of famiciclovir to combat it. The pill is very bitter. Usually, I can disguise it in food. But when they are feeling so fancy eating corn or wheat product with “animal digest” sprayed on it, they get picky. I can glue the dry food pieces to a pill pocket. Plain pill pockets aren’t enough. Then they pick them off.

My investigations into food started with my cat Chomsky getting fat. Chomsky, now deceased as of 2014, had dry food down all day and ate Nine Lives canned food and the like, often from the convenience store. I hated buying cat food after a night out but hey, you gotta do what you gotta do when you’re in your twenties–ahem!–thirties. Then Chomsky kept on needing to have dental cleanings. This was annoying and expensive. So I got the dental food that was in those really big pieces, and this dry food was free fed. He got so fat he had “cystic fat” which I felt as bumps beneath the layer of his skin. He had also had some urinary blockages, a couple of an emergency nature.

I only did some internet research into diet for felines when I had had Chomsky for approximately twelve years! I came upon the website Catinfo.org which explained animal digest–basically sweepings from the slaughterhouse floor that are pressed to make juice and then this is sprayed on dry food so it smells like the meatiest meat thing to cats–and many other things. The author said “any wet food is better than dry food” which led to a vet visit involving bloat and my second cat, Fletcher–lesson learned and I don’t recommend the Friskies canned with gravy–but overall the cat as obligate carnivore needing protein and hydration made sense.

The trainer Karen Pryor recommends schedule-feeding, and in her book Click! is adamant about keeping every area scrupulously clean and free of leftover cat food or coated plates–this excites the digestive system all day. She recommends keeping food around for only half an hour and feeding twice a day–and that leaves room for clicker training with an item of your choice. I’ve admired this approach for ages.

Now I’m trying to schedule-feed and my human nature says “well, I’m too tired to pick the food up that they didn’t eat after half an hour, I’ll let it go for an hour.”

“Oops, it’s nine-thirty and I haven’t picked it up yet..”

“They’re looking at me and meowing for dry food, let me pick up this wet food and set down some dry.” (I set down using a 1/3 cup scoop for each cat, but they move around.)

My human nature also says, “Wave is meowing at 4am. I just need to get him to shut up. Let me give him some food” and

“I’m in too much of a rush to clear and clean the plates in the morning.”

So much for human nature! I think this is one of those times where “I’m trying” means “I’m mentally stressing about this issue while doing everything just the same”! Tune in for updates on 1) schedule feeding and 2) wet food feeding. If I get crazy one day we may go back to raw food, which I used with new adoptees in 2015.

 

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