Cat howling for food ahead of mealtime

Chris C

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Hello, first post here... I'm sure this is a common story and I will try to do some more searching for others with similar experiences.

I have two cats, siblings, Miles and Ella, who are going on 12. Last December I clued in to the fact that Miles had lost a lot of weight and the vet diagnosed him with diabetes. This led to a change in diet from all dry "fat cat" formula to all wet food. Since then this has prompted Miles to cry and howl for food - generally starting about an hour before breakfast (breakfast is around 7 for him, so unfortunately yes he starts crying at 6), and as much as 2 hours before dinner.

I guess some of it may be a perception of lack of attention in the sense that responding with petting can satisfy him for a while - maybe that's encouraging him? Unfortunately I have some anxiety issues so ignoring him doesn't work out too well for me (I get angry) except that I have learned to use earplugs or to put in earbuds and listen to music to basically just screen him out.

I'm afraid I'm going to ramble on a little bit about potentially related factors. I've also seen - I think - a bit more friction between Miles and Ella. A potential contributing factor - but I don't know?? - is that last year the apartment building owners replaced the windows with a style which doesn't let the cats lie or sit as close to the screen as they used to. Ella does look out the window sometime but I feel like in general they spend less time looking outside than they used to. Miles also seems to have gotten a bit creaky in the legs which doesn't help. I got them some stairs up to the window in the living room but ... well I haven't been able to teach them to use the stairs.

I've always just fed the two cats together and have been continuing to do so, even though I have been giving Miles (because he's diabetic and not yet in balance) a lot more food. Recently I was just thinking about the fact that they try to poach food from each other's bowls - would it help to feed them in separate rooms or opposite ends of the kitchen?

I've even been contemplating putting blackout curtains or similar up in the kitchen and living room to try to keep the room darker in the mornings, to convince Miles it isn't time to get up yet. But I'm not even sure it would help!

Any advice?

Chris
PS I should note that they also give me lots of joy :)
 

susanm9006

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I assume Miles is on insulin and what is the frequency? It could be his blood sugar is going low and it is making him feel ravenous. If that is a possibility then you want to talk to your vet about moving him to three meals a day
 
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Chris C

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Well, yeah, that's a factor. Per the vet's instruction he's on insulin twice a day. I think we're close to his ideal dose but not there yet.
 

susanm9006

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Well, yeah, that's a factor. Per the vet's instruction he's on insulin twice a day. I think we're close to his ideal dose but not there yet.
Then I would talk to your vet about the premeal howling. It is possible to check a cat’s glucose at home and if he is indeed running low then he may need a meal sooner or insulin adjustments.
 

LTS3

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You should join the FelineDiabetes.com message board for more help and advice on your diabetic cat.

How much canned food are you feeding your diabetic cat? A few small meals daily works for most diabetic cats. Unregulated diabetic cats are always hungry so you generally feed them more than the usually suggested 20 to 25 calories per pound of ideal body weight daily.

If the insulin dose is too much and the blood glucose levels are dropping too low, that could also mean increased meowing. I assume you are not testing blood glucose levels at home? Blindly giving insulin without knowing the blood glucose level is is dangerous. Some vets discourage home blood glucose testing for whatever reason but you can ignore the vet and do what's safest for your cat.
 
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Chris C

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Lord, I do not want to get into the details of Miles' insulin treatment here. The FMDB people mean very well but I am an anxious person and the types of things at least one person there was advocating I do made me anxious to the point that I had to stop frequenting the site, and just work with my vet, and that is why I am feeding him exactly twice a day at 12 hour intervals. I don't expect him to agree with changing to a more frequent feeding routine.

Never mind.
 
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