Cats drive for food- what’s normal?

Katdog

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We adopted a cat at 2.5 years old. She’s been with us for 5 months now. She was previously a stray that was found with her litter of kitten. (Though not 100% feral cause she sweet and does exhibit some “house trained” cat behaviors so I think she had an owner at one point) She’s progressively gotten more bold with her food drive. possibly because she’s gotten use to us and has fully adjusted, nonetheless, I need to understand what’s normal? And what’s possibly a sign of a condition ? And maybe no one knows for sure besides some blood work, but any insight would be appreciated.

she weights 6-7 lbs and def no more than 8. I give her half a cup of food (8 tables spoons) a day. 3 tablespoons for breakfast, 3 tablespoons for dinner, and 2 for a night snack before bed. She’s getting rabbit instinct cat food mixed with freeze dried or air dried toppers, which ultimately adds up to 200-250 calories. I exercise her twice a day, am and pm, for 10-15 minutes.

she jumps on our countertop pretty much multiple times a day, especially during and after we’re cooking. She’s licks Out of any pan with food residue in it. She knocked a covered plate of bacon off the counter (which shattered) and grabbed at the bacon.. This wasn’t her first bacon incident. She goes after closed bags of potato chips and Brown rice. She tries to grab at food off our plates when we eat. She licks dirty dishes from the sink. This has all progressively gotten worst over the last 4-6 weeks. It’s almost as if she tasted human food again, and now is reminded of days when she was a stray in the streets eating garbage.

I’m keen on not having her gain weight bc our mom has an obese cat that isn’t able to reach/clean her behind, so every few months our mom has to take her to the vet to get her fur shaven there cause it smells so bad. So from that experience and overall extending her (my cat’s) life expectancy- I don’t want her to become “fat”. She’s normal weight (prolly more on the pulp side), I’ve checked the weight diagrams and shes def normal. Her ribs and hips have a thin padding and (from the top view) her tummy curves in at the waist/hind legs.

what do you all think? Should I up her food serving? Is this normal and she’s poorly trained as she was previously a stray? Can the freezes dried or air dried food be making her extra “aggressive”? Depending on what y’all say, I might just take her in for blood work but would rather not and save the money instead.
 

Mr. Meow

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2 of my cats were previous strays and they both are more bold in finding/trying to sneak food that they shouldn't. I feel like it's a product of being a stray and having to fight for survival. Some cats may never lose that though of "I need to eat what/when I can because I don't know when my next meal will be", even though as humans we know that they will never starve with us around.
You can try to put her in a spare bedroom during your meals and maybe starting a good habit of cleaning up all dishes right after meal time will lessen the chance of her getting "rewarded" for finding people food somewhere. I also think it wouldn't hurt to add wet food to her diet, or even add some cat gravy toppers to her dry food to make her meals more appealing and filling. It wouldn't hurt to bump up the amount of food she's getting either. As long as she's getting exercise on a regular basis and she's not becoming obese, letting her have more won't hurt.
As far as the freeze dried or air dried food making her more aggressive, I don't believe that's the case at all. She may just have poor kitty manners. The good news is, since she seems to be very food motivated, you can check out videos of how to train your cat, smooth out those rough manners and keep her mentally stimulated by teaching her a few cute new tricks.
It never hurts to have a vet do a complete check-up, because science can find things that our observations can't.
I hope all goes well and we'll be here if you need anything 🙂
 

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Hi. The 'stray' background in her probably does have something to do with her 'drive' to eat. At least that is what I experienced with Feeby, who was somewhere around 2yo when she found us.

As a very general guideline, cats need somewhere around 20-25 per pound of body weight, some data even takes it as high as 30 calories. So, on that basis, an 8 pound cat could eat easily eat 200-250 calories per day.

But, if she hasn't had a thorough check up with a vet, I still think that would be a very good idea. Full scale blood work & a urinalysis is a good thing to have done, not only to ensure nothing is currently amiss but to use as a baseline for comparison with future testing as she ages.

And, lastly - here is a TCS article on tactics you might try to get her to stay of your counter tops. How To Keep Cats Off Counters And Tables – TheCatSite Articles.
 

She's a witch

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You could experiment by giving her more filling food. Dry food isn’t really species appropriate as cats would normally eat moisture rich food. Wet food has usually less carbs than dry which makes it more filling for cats. If you can’t switch to all wet diet, I’d replace at least one meal with meat based, high protein low carb canned food (without any fillers like grains, legumes, potatoes etc).
 
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Katdog

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Mr. Meow Mr. Meow FeebysOwner FeebysOwner She's a witch She's a witch I went into the calorie counts and did the math and idiot me messed up on the freeze dried food calories. I thought it was per cup but it was per ounce! big difference! once I did the detail math, it appears I accidentally fed Korra Kat 320 cal/ day for 3 weeks! and then when I switched to the air dried food it cold turkey went down to 200 cal/day this week- in which case is probably why her behavior ramped up so much! huge facepalm. now I'll just have to wean her from 320 to 200 a day, hopefully it won't take long and she'll adjust. ugh.

on a separate note, do you all know if its bad to switch up cat food often? I'm still trying to find the right balance between cost / quality food / her allergies.
 

Mr. Meow

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Yes, if you switch quick, you'll be cleaning up diarrhea. And not just in the litter box, but probably all.
As far as switching often but slowly, you'll have more of a chance to come across an ingredient your cat is allergic to, your cat doesn't like, or one that upsets her tummy, just making her not feel well.
 

FeebysOwner

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It's just me, but tbh, I don't switch unless I have to. Since Feeby has transitioned herself to totally canned and refuses dry (which she ate the same thing for 10 years without issue), she has gone though bouts of getting tired of her canned foods. I have been through quite a few different foods.

Right now (knock on wood), I have 7 different flavors (and three different brands) that I feed her - so, she only get the same thing once a week. Those are all pates, as that is all she will eat - Fancy Feast, Purina True Nature, and Wellness Core. I do supplement those daily with Sheba Perfect Portions, Nutro portions, and am trying to add Crave portions, because her main meal is only 3 oz, so not enough for her to eat just one of those over the course of an entire day.

It's not a bad idea to have a couple of back up foods in case she really gets sick of one, but I hope you don't get to where I am with Feeby, especially if you have allergies to contend with.
 

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My cat Maggie eats a different protein every day. No problem with litter box.Peaches I slowly change her proteins. They react to food switching differently. Some can take it some not. All wet food. Peaches is 7 pds. She will chew plastic,card board, cheetos are her fav, but any food left out or in bags she will try to get at so I have to immediately put it away. They only eat canned. At night I use food timers. Freeze dried or any food with artificial sweeteners or fish oil will make my cats crave food more. Once they finish the fancy feast I will no longer buy it for that reason. Peaches was found in a hole 5 weeks old and Maggie a stray 3 months old.
 
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