9 Year Old Senior Cat

jessica rae

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Jul 27, 2016
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Hi there I am new to this forum but after thorough findings and coming up with absolutely nothing, I am feeling rather frustrated, I am at my wits end and don't know what my next step is here. This will be rather lengthy to ensure all details that are relevant.

Because this post is so specific to my situation, I can't find anything that can help me out here. 

So my husband and I adopted an ex-friend of ours cat whom we were looking after while our ex-friend was looking for a new place, and a year after that he just left the cat with us. 

Gemini's History (Our Cat): 

      His previous owner got him as a kitten, and he was coddled a lot so this cat demands attention. His feeding was never scheduled or controlled. He was on a dry food diet (which he still is but I'll get into that in a moment) but his dish was always filled whenever it was empty. Then his previous owner switched him to nothing but cooked, lean chicken... ALL. THE. TIME!!! This cat gained 15 pounds of lean muscle. He was twice the size of a small dog. Then we went back to dry food. Possibly a HUGE shock to his system, poor cat. Nothing ever consistent. His bathroom habits were ill controlled which is another thing we are constantly fighting with. Poor Gemini did not have a proper owner before and now we are dealing with the consequences. Few years later I had to take him into the vet because he had 2 bouts of a urinary tract infection... that was fun... The vet said he was overweight but gave me no actions to take to put him on a diet. 

      I have a second cat who is also male and 6 years old. He is a Siberian Forest Cat, absolutely beautiful, is still growing, has 6 toes on each front paw and is totally active. He has perfect habits all around. Since he turned one we feed him 1 cup of food almost every day which he spaces his feeding times throughout the day. He eats small doses just enough so he maintains a comfortably full belly. 

     So having two cats at opposite ends of the feeding spectrum, Gemini is the tough one to break. I had them on the same feeding schedule in the same room and one day discovered that Gemini was getting bigger, Scooter was getting smaller in weight. I began to panic. This was when I noticed that Scooter was not eating the way he should because Gemini was eating both bowls of food, bone dry. Starting to cost money on food more often than required. So I got smart and separated the two of them. Scooter is now back on his regular and proper feeding schedule and went from 6 pounds up to a healthy 12 pounds where he should be for his build and size.

      Gemini is 9 years old now and getting him to eat properly is almost impossible. Here's the deal: I feed Gemini 1/2 cup of food per day, and limit his intake to 2 feedings a day.... When I do feed him he gets right into his bowl, literally inhales his food as if to think he will never get fed again. This cat doesn't even chew, just swallows it, which results in him barfing it up later. I've tried limiting his intake, I've tried getting him to slow down on eating by sitting with him to try to get him to properly chew his food, and digest it.... I don't know what to do, I am at a loss. This cat is close to 22+ pounds. When his dish is empty we CONSTANTLY bothers me, is at my feet all the time and acts like he is starving until I give and give him maybe an 1/8th of a cup just something light to leave me alone. 

     I give both my cats wet food 1 to 2 times a week depending on how much water they drink just to keep their hydration up, especially when it gets hot outside.

What the heck do I do with this cat? How do I get Gemini to eat properly? How can I get him to drop the weight? 

Any Suggestions Would Be Welcomed & Appreciated. Has anyone else dealt with this problem? Help! 


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Young Cat
Feb 12, 2016
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I have not dealt with a similar problem since the cats I own were both extremely skinny rescues, however I can say that you need to stop feeding the cats dry food. Dry food is filled with carbohydrates and is verrrrry fattening for cats. Cats need a high protein diet with little to no carbs whatsoever. Dry food is stuffed with carbohydrates, fillers and grains. I don't know what brand you're feeding, but I'd really recommend taking them off dry ASAP. Kibble is the worst thing you can feed a cat, honestly. Especially ones that have urinary tract issues or are obese. Male cats are also more vulnerable to urinary crystals as well, which commonly happen due to lack of hydration. Wet food 1 to 2 times a week is not enough to suffice a cat's hydration needs.

If you are under a budget, I'd recommend feeding Fancy Feast Chicken Classics to Gemini (what a cute name!) ... It's lower quality, but overall high in protein and has less carbs than the dry food. It's cheap too, around 65 cents a can. It's not the worst food in the world, but it's definitely better than dry. Additionally, you mentioned that Gemini has issues chewing his food. Feeding him a wet diet will definitely help him out with this issue.

If you're willing to spend a few extra dollars on a higher quality wet food, I'd suggest Merrick, Soulistic, TikiCat, Instinct & Wild Calling. Wet food is your best friend here. Dry will not help this kitty lose weight. It's simply too high in carbohydrates to do so. Here is a list of other high quality cat food brands.

I'd rather see a cat on low quality wet food than high quality dry food; since all dry food is unhealthy for cats. Mostly due to the lack of moisture, high carbohydrates and questionable ingredients. It's just not biologically appropriate for them. 

If you really want to sit down and do some reading in the regards of cat nutrition, I'd highly recommend this website. Lisa Pierson goes over everything about feline nutrition and is extremely educational; I think it'll definitely help you out here. 

Furthermore, feeding your cats on a timely basis is a big step in helping them lose weight, so good on you for doing that! Free feeding isn't good at all, and it's a shame so many people tend to feed that way. Cats can become addicted to their dry food, and it may take some time for you to transition Gemini over from dry to fully wet food. In regards to his begging, my cats beg for food a lot when it's being prepared or the fridge opens up. Honestly there isn't much you can do about it aside from not giving in and ignoring them. It's tough love, lol.

Have you ever considered feeding raw? There's some really good raw cat food brands out there that are safe and healthy. They're also pretty lean in fat and are low in carbs, which will help Gemini lose weight. 

I wish you the best of luck for helping Gemini lose weight and transitioning him to a better, healthier diet. :')


Every Life Should Have Nine Cats
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Aug 13, 2009
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Completely agree that you need to ditch the dry food and switch to wet.  It should be much more satisfying to Gemini without so many carbs,  AND you can monitor better, I think. 

I had an overweight cat, and the only way I ever got him to lose weight was to put ALL my cats on wet food, since he was such a sneak.  I still have to watch him to make sure he stays out of the other bowls, but that's easy to do because their dishes are only out for about 15 minutes, and I feed them all in different areas.

Canned food comes in so many different calories, you can find a 3 oz can with 45 calories, or 100 calories, so if you want to feed him say 180 calories per day (I'm just guessing here, I have no idea because I didn't compute anything), you could give him 4 cans of a certain food, or 2 cans of a different food per day.  That should make a huge difference to him
.  And since he skarfs and barfs, try to spread it out over as many small meals as possible.

Here, this is a wonderful thread for you to read.  At least read the beginning closely,then you can skip around later and then see the finale:  http://www.thecatsite.com/t/245236/mickey-my-27-lbs-foster-and-his-journey-back-to-a-healthy-weight


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Top Cat
Mar 23, 2014
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I couldn't agree more with what the others have already said! Low-carb wet food fed in small meals (preferably flattened on a plate to help prevent Gemini from eating too fast and barfing) is a good start for weight loss.

I'm also a big fan of Tiki Cat's foods: they're expensive but they're very low-carb, excellent foods, you really do get what you pay for with those. That said, Fancy Feast classics/pates really are a good option, too, particularly because cats generally love them, making it easy to switch to wet food.

laura mae

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Alpha Cat
Jan 1, 2016
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If your athletic kitty can get to places than Gemini cannot, you can try feeding him at that spot. That will protect his food from the stealer.