Switch from free feeding to twice a day

Kareywood

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Hello. I found a 7 month old stray kitten in April 2021. Nobody claimed her and we couldn’t find her owner so we kept her. She surprised us by turning out to be pregnant. She had 4 kittens and they just turned one year old a couple months ago.

we opted to keep mama and all four kittens. we have been free feeding ( leaving dry kibble down all the time) plus giving them canned food once a day. Our vet told us to let them eat as much as they wanted to while they were under 12 months old.

now, all four kittens are chonky ( overweight) and are bigger than their mama.

how do I switch multiple cats from free feeding to twice daily feeding ( to encourage a little weight loss) but make sure they don’t lose too much weight?

attached is a pic of mama and two of the babies 😀

thanks!
 

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Furballsmom

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Hi!

Can you instead give them more canned food, and less kibble? The wet food, especially if it's the only type of food that's fed, will help them to lose weight slowly, which is the only safe way for cats to lose weight.
 

mrsgreenjeens

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Here are a couple of articles on transitioning food:


Transitioning Your Cat From Kibble To A New Type Of Food – TheCatSite Articles You may not need this one since you already feed SOME canned food, but I sent it along just in case. I totally agree that if you can feed ALL wet food, it will be easier for them to feel full and lose some weight. That's the only way I got my chonky free fed boy to lose weight. He was four pounds overweight at his one year check-up :eek2: (and they say "let them eat all they want while they are kittens. Hah!) Of course, it helps if the wet food you feed is more protein than carbs, so try for it not be full of potatoes, peas, rice, wheat, etc. Pates are usually much better in that department, but not always.
 
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Kareywood

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Thanks for replying furballsmom! The babies don’t seem to be big fans of canned food-we’ve tried all types of meats and many different brands. we put out just half a 5.3 ounce can for the four of them each morning and they always leave a little bit on the plate which we pick up and throw away.

maybe if we started feeding the kibble four or five times a day (and slowly reduce it to twice a day), they would eat more canned food? Maybe switch to diet kibble?

complicating matters is that we also have a 16 year old cat with cardiomyopathy, IBD and stage 2 ckd sp we have to try really hard to encourage him to eat to keep weight on!
 
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Kareywood

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Thanks for sending links to the articles, mrsgreenjeens!

will review them this evening.

oof! 4 pounds overweight at one year! I don’t think my kittens are quite that overweight (yet anyway). They go to the vet for their annual exam next month so we will see…
 

Furballsmom

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16 year old cat
oh, honey-cat!! Can you feed him in a separate room, or maybe obtain a feeder that is activated by his microchip?

Are you using filtered water for them?

In case you aren't already familiar, let me post a couple of links - felinecrf has an amazing quantity of info but I'll just post the diet page so you can see what is suggested to aim for regarding certain nutrients.

Tanya's Comprehensive Guide to Feline Chronic Kidney Disease - Diet and Nutrition Overview

Feeding foods with higher protein is now advised, but as you may know the phosphorus can be an issue. Young Again Zero Mature, and Blue Wilderness True Solution Perfect Skin and Coat as well as Acana Meadowland and Dr Elseys clean protein salmon are dry foods you could consider for him.

IBDKitties suggests that commercial raw is a possibility in the treatment of IBD but you'll still want to check the nutritional analysis to ensure it works for all of him. Somewhat in this line of thought/food, The Honest Kitchen's Minced Turkey Chicken and Duck in a bone broth may work if he can tolerate poultry.

Getting back to the phosphorus issue for canned food, Tiki Cat After Dark Grain Free Chicken, Dr Elsey's clean protein pork, Forza10 Neutraceutic actiwet renal support and Weruva Truluxe Steak Frites with beef and pumpkin are canned foods that could work for him.

Any Good Tips To Get Your Cats To Eat? Share Them Here!
 
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mrsgreenjeens

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Is the 16 year old with the health issues eating wet food or is he mainly eating kibble also? I ask because for IBD AND CKD and best foods are highly digestible wet foods. I've had three kidney cats and quickly learned that wet food, with extra filtered water added to that food, is the best way to go for that issue. And as pointed out above, the less phosphorus in the food the better, but if they don't like those foods, don't stress over it. Our Vet said "just get them to eat, period".
 
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Kareywood

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Our 16 year old cat Zax is mainly eating canned/ wet food. We also leave a bowl of kibble out for him all the time because vet said getting anything into him is better than nothing. He sees an internal medicine specialist tomorrow so hopefully she will have some good suggestions too!

Zax has free run of the house while the kittens are in a large three season room most of the time (they get to run free in the house a couple times a day for a couple hours at a time). We are trying to keep things low stress for Zax! He seems to like the mama and the kittens. Here is Zax!
 

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