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Unread 08-12-2009   #1 (permalink)
JamMasterClay
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Question Am I not feeding my kitten enough?

For the last couple months there has been a stray kitten hanging around my house. He got into some dehydrated food in our garage one day and had been hanging around since then. A couple weeks after that we decided to put some food and water out for him. We have been cat sitting for my cousin so we had 9Lives Plus care, which is what she feeds her cat. That's the food we were putting out for the stray kitten. Last week I finally caught him and took him to the vet for a checkup and vaccinations and everything.

The kitten has been limited to a bathroom at least until my cousin takes her cat sometimes this or next week. When we were feeding him as a stray he pretty much got unlimited food during the day but we brought it in at night because raccoons and possums were getting into it. The first couple days he was living in our house he had food pretty much around the clock, while I was doing a lot of researching online as to what food is best and everything. I finally decided on the Authority brand sole at Petsmart because although the ingredients aren't as good as something like Wellness, they are better than all the "supermarket brands". So I bought a bag of Authority brand for kittens. The bag said that for his age (the vet said about 4 months) and his weight (~4.5 lbs) he should be getting 1/2 cup of food a day. So the first day I fed him 3/4 of the 9Lives and 1/4 Authority. Next day I fed him 1/2 each, next day I fed him 3/4 Authority and 1/4 9Lives, and finally today I fed him 1/2 cup Authority.

The first day the 1/2 cup lasted him until the evening, the next day only about half the day, the third day he had eaten it all within a couple hours of putting it out and today he had finished it all within an hour of me giving it to him.

I was under the impression that they will eat less of the foods with better ingredients. Also, everything I've read said to leave the food out for them because they like to eat a little bit at a time all day, but he has been eating it all in one or two sittings...

My question is, if he finishes it all that quickly, should I give him more? If so, how much more, and when?

I am a student and paying for college on my own so money is pretty tight. I would rather not have to buy wet food because it is so much more expensive. Some websites I've read said that feeding wet food is essential, where others say that both wet and dry provide equal nutrition but that wet food simply tastes better and will turn the cat into a more finicky eater.

What should I do? Thank you for your time, my kitten and I both appreciate it!
 
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Unread 08-13-2009   #2 (permalink)
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Hi to you and your kitten, well done for rescuing him - what is his name?

Being in the UK I am not familiar with the brands you mention, but I know that the what the books say often does not relate to the reality of cats feeding!

They say that cats only eat what they need and it's fine to leave food out all the time - and it is true most of the time, however as he was a stray, after a few days his tummy will have expanded and he can eat more but he may be still be thinking that he doesn't know where his next meal is coming from so is eating as much as he can each time.

I feed my two wet and dry food, but these days good quality dry food gives them all the nutrients they need as long as they also have a good supply of water.

I wouldn't feed over and above what is recommended for the time being and see how he gets on. Once he knows food is regular hopefully he will make it last a bit longer

Do let us know how it goes
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Unread 08-13-2009   #3 (permalink)
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Hello and welcome, and hurray for you for rescuing the kitten, vetting him and everything already!

I will add to Heidi's excellent advice, that some cats will not self regulate. Especially strays. The guide on the bag is a guide only, and adjustments may need to be made.

I have two rescue cats who I would never be able to free feed, even if I wanted to, as they would be gigantic. My other cat, also a rescue, but much younger at the time (he was only 5 weeks old) has very little interest in food at all!

I advise to you feed him twice a day, 1/4 cup in the morning and 1/4 cup in the evening, rather than all at once.

This may help reduce his stress about food, once he understands he will be getting food twice a day. Three times is even better if your schedule will allow it. To make sure you are giving the proper amount, you can always premeasure his kibble each day, keeping the day's quota in a covered container.

If you can, stick around when he eats, and when he finishes, give him some special attention. This also will help reduce his anxiety about food. He won't be thinking about if there is more food available, instead he will be focusing on the Games you are playing, or the brushing he is getting, or whatever you choose to do....and you will be helping to strengthen your special bond with him.

As I mentioned, the guide on the bag is just a guide. If he seems thin, increase the amount just a little at a time until you feel he is gaining as he should for his age. If he seems to be getting too fat, cut back a little.

And please, keep us updated!


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Unread 08-14-2009   #4 (permalink)
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Thank you both for your responses.

I think I'll do the 1/4 cup in the morning and evening. It's been exactly a week as of today since I rescued him and only about 5 days since I started feeding him the better, kitten formulated food, so I don't know if that is soon enough to see any weight changes or not but so far he seems fine. The morning and evening are usually when I spend the most time with him already, so that's perfect. And he does seem to be drinking a fair amount of water so I'm not too concerned about feeding him dry food.

Oh, and his name is Shadow. (I attached a picture of him)
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Unread 08-14-2009   #5 (permalink)
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Hi JamMasterClay ! Warmest welcome to you ! I'm proud of you for rescuing Shadow (he is an absolute cutie pie !! Concats !!) , despite your tight financial. May God bless you abundantly !

I'm Irene from Taiwan. I'm glad that 2 of our most prestigious members here, Acer and Heidi gave you their brilliant advices. I just want to add this : Please make sure that the food you give him is KITTEN food, not adult cat food. And if you find him to be a bit plumped up, try to help him exercise using laser pointer or a weather wand.

Big furry hugs from my furry babies for Shadow !
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