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Author Topic:   should food be left out all the time
needabrk2
Member

Posts: 36
From:Knob Noster, Mo
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 03-15-2004 12:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for needabrk2     Edit/Delete Message
Im just curious. My kitty was 14 weeks old when we got her and she has been here 2 weeks. During the 2 weeks, I have noticed that she is getting alot bigger... well in the belly area. She was really skinny before, now you can definantly tell that her belly is full and round. I leave food out all the time for her and she eats well. I am wondering if this is wrong, I have not fed her soft food at all. Im not sure if the guy who had her before me was feeding her all the time or only once a day. Whats the norm? Thanks

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MaryNH
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Posts: 240
From:Campton, NH USA
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 03-15-2004 01:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MaryNH     Edit/Delete Message
what I've always done with mine is free feed dry food and give canned in the morning and again at night. None of mine are overweight...but if they were I'd have to change plans.

I wouldn't worry about weight on a kitten...like weight on a baby. Chances are once the kitten gets a little older and a bit more "bouncy" the weight would come off anyway.

It's been shown that dry food only can cause cavities in cats and if your kitten isn't much on water drinking canned food also helps gives needed moisture.

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footsie
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Posts: 123
From:Vancouver, WA USA
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 03-15-2004 02:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for footsie     Edit/Delete Message
Everything I've read suggests that cats are good self-regulators and most will not over-eat. If he wasn't used to having food all the time he may still be overwelmed and over-eating, but he should back off once he's used to it.

Kittens do grow extremely fast (about 1 lb per month is normal), so I wouldn't be surprised if his weight gain is perfectly normal. He could just be growing in strange places, but will all balance out in time. My kitten's head grew really fast for a while, and then his body caught up. And you said he was skinny before, so it could be that he was underwait and is now catching up.

Have you taken him in to the vet for worming? If he has a case of round worms, then that can cause a "pot belly" appearance sometimes. Conversly, if he had tapeworms, but they were treated, then its natural to gain some fat that he would have been lacking.

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nern

Moderator

Posts: 1591
From:NY, USA
Registered: Oct 2002

posted 03-15-2004 05:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for nern     Edit/Delete Message
I have always free fed my kittens. If you think she may be over-eating you could always schedule feed her instead (2 - 3 meals daily measured out). I agree with Footsie on having her checked for worms if you have not done so already.

[This message has been edited by nern (edited 03-15-2004).]

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needabrk2
Member

Posts: 36
From:Knob Noster, Mo
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 03-15-2004 06:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for needabrk2     Edit/Delete Message
The vet did do a stool sample when I took her for her shots. She must not have had worms cause I never heard anything. I think Ill just keep food out and see how she does. Thanks

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Chessmind
Member

Posts: 701
From:CA
Registered: Nov 2003

posted 03-15-2004 06:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Chessmind     Edit/Delete Message
Hi. I told myself that I should never give advice on how much to feed a cat, as my cat Handsome eats way more than most cats do (in oz per day). He's not heavy, he just has a speedy metabolism. Anyway, I do have dry food for him out at all times and he gets soft food 3X a day. I agree with Footsie and Nern about getting your kitty checked for worms.

If there are no worms you could try to get her to exercise a bit more. Maybe two 10-15 minutes a day of playing. Lazer pointers are fun and those poles with toys at the ends. Handsome goes nutty for wadded up paper balls. He has loads of fun chasing that and swatting it around the house. I think cat trees are great too, to get them to climb and exercise. Especially the really tall ones that go to the ceiling. Handsome has a new favorite toy. I actually have a question about it, but I'll post a seperate message for that.

Also you could try what Nern suggested about feeding 2-3 times a day, but a little less. How does everyone here feel about diet cat food? I'm not informed on them very well. Other than they contain more fiber. Are they just as healthy as regular food?

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MaryNH
Member

Posts: 240
From:Campton, NH USA
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 03-15-2004 06:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MaryNH     Edit/Delete Message
I wouldn't feed a kitten diet food...I've never had to resort to diet food with my cats (well I did have one that should have been on diet food) the cats I have now stay pretty slim (one is a nervous twit and weighs a whooping 6 lbs. and eats like a horse, other is at a great weight and is a picky eater, Zeus...well he's just a big boy).

I would only feed diet food if it was recommended by a vet the chubbo I did have ended up with CRF and it might have been weight related - I mean she was chubby she once fell over and rolled down a hill (years ago) you'd see her back, then her feet, then her back again - finally she hopped up and acted like she meant to do that LOL

sorry didn't mean to hijack the original post - but it was fun remembering Tami

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nern

Moderator

Posts: 1591
From:NY, USA
Registered: Oct 2002

posted 03-15-2004 07:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for nern     Edit/Delete Message
quote:
How does everyone here feel about diet cat food? I'm not informed on them very well. Other than they contain more fiber. Are they just as healthy as regular food?

I don't think a diet food would be a good choice for a kitten...diet foods are often lower in calories but are also often lower in protein & fat which would not be suitable for a growing kitten. I would just look for a kitten food that has less calories per cup than the current food has.

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Chessmind
Member

Posts: 701
From:CA
Registered: Nov 2003

posted 03-15-2004 08:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Chessmind     Edit/Delete Message
MaryNH (funny story about your kitty) and Nern, thanks for the info. Good to know. So, at what age do any of you think a cat could start going on diet food?

Also, do you think it's more healthy to not put them on diet food and just try and feed them a bit less and try to include a bit more exercise in their daily life? I'm just wondering what the down side of diet food is, if any. I have done zero reading on diet food.

Needabrk2, hope you don't mind if I ask a couple of questions on your post. It is post related. Lol

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fleafly
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Posts: 996
From:sheridan, wy
Registered: Aug 2003

posted 03-16-2004 04:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fleafly     Edit/Delete Message
I have always free feed my cats and have only had 1 that was really overweight. A few of my girls gained weight after being spayed and took a long time to slim back down. Most cats do self regulate. And cats like to eat small meals throughout the day. Mine go by the food and take a mouthful periodically. I heard this simulates their eating in the wild where they catch a mouse and eat throughout the day.

I have heard the suggestion of mixing diet and regular food half and half. So they aren't getting quite as many calories. I think I will start doing that once my kitties are all healthy again.

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nern

Moderator

Posts: 1591
From:NY, USA
Registered: Oct 2002

posted 03-16-2004 04:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for nern     Edit/Delete Message
quote:
So, at what age do any of you think a cat could start going on diet food?

IMO, no younger than at least a year old.

quote:
Also, do you think it's more healthy to not put them on diet food and just try and feed them a bit less and try to include a bit more exercise in their daily life?

Yes. Diet foods are usually quite high in carbs and that is exactly what an overweight cat (or any cat for that matter) does not need from what I understand. Extra fiber is used to add bulk without adding calories and has been thought to help cats feel full but this has not been proven.

Calories are what's most important. When calorie intake exceeds calorie expedeniture weight gain occurs. I don't feel that lite diets are necessary since there are plenty of regular foods with lower calories that can be used. Lite foods are low in calories but a majority of those calories are provided by carbs where regular diets can also be low in calories without carbs providing the bulk of them. All dry cat foods are high in carbs but the lite formulas are often much higher than the regular. Its my understanding that weight loss can be best acheived with a low calorie, low carb diet. Canned food seems to be highly recommended for weight loss.

You may have seen this article before but I figured it was worth posting again anyway for others reading this thread. It talks alot about carbs and obesity in cats: http://home.earthlink.net/~jacm2/id1.html

Obesity in Cats
Although figures vary, it is estimated that 25 to 33% of cats are overweight or substantially obese.38 In fact, obesity is the most common nutritional disorder in dogs and cats in the United States. There are a large number of factors that contribute to this problem, including sex (sexually intact vs neutered; male vs female), age, activity (indoor vs outdoor), and feeding style (meal feeding vs free choice).39 Neutered male and female animals require fewer calories (estimates of 25 to 30%) for maintenance than sexually intact animals.40 It has also been suggested that neutering may increase food intake, especially in male cats, and result in disordered leptin control of body fat mass.c Furthermore, many people prefer to feed their cats dry food that is available free choice. Active cats with a thin body condition that effectively self-regulate their intake may be fed food free choice. However, many inactive cats cannot be fed this way, because they tend to overeat as a result of the increased amount of fat and palatability of commercially available foods. There are a variety of possible explanations for obesity in pet cats, including hormonal changes (eg, neutering), boredom (eg, indoor cats), type of diet (eg, dry CHO-based food), inactivity (eg, decreased energy expenditure), or simple overfeeding. However, although a combination of these factors is likely to be important in the development of obesity, the role of diet in this problem is increasingly being scrutinized. Regardless of the cause, obese cats have many health issues, such as development of diabetes mellitus, joint disturbances or lameness, development of feline lower urinary tract disease, IHL, and nonallergic skin conditions.
One dietary factor that is receiving increased attention in obese cats is the role of CHO-dense diets. Cats housed exclusively indoors and consuming energy-dense, high-starch, dry foods are provided with more energy than they can effectively use. Any dietary CHO not used for energy is converted and stored as fat. Diets that are severely restricted for energy (eg, traditional low-fat, high-fiber, weight-loss diets) may result in weight loss, but it is often to the detriment of lean body mass.41,d Many of these diets contain high concentrations (> 15%) of insoluble fiber, which increases fecal bulk and volume, potentially increases fecal water loss (eg, increase risk of dehydration in cats not consuming an adequate quantity of water), and has detrimental effects on nutrient (eg, protein) digestibility.42,43 Ultimately, successful weight loss requires maintenance of lean body mass, because lean body mass is the major determinant of basal energy metabolism and is a major influence on whether weight is regained.44
Several investigators have evaluated the use of a high-protein, low-CHO diet (protein, 45% or higher; nitrogen free extract [NFE], < 10%; energy, 3,030 kcal of metabolizable energy [ME]/kg of food on an as-fed basis) for weight loss in cats. In 1 study,d weight reduction in cats on a high-protein, low-CHO diet was compared with that for cats fed a commercial hypoenergetic diet (protein, 34%; NFE, 45%; energy, 2,600 kcal of ME/kg of food on an as-fed basis). Cats in both groups lost weight, but cats consuming the high-protein, low-CHO diet maintained lean body mass during weight loss. Additional studies are necessary, but this approach to inducing weight loss in cats makes metabolic and nutritional sense providing that they are fed appropriate amounts of food (ie, food is not available free choice).
Canned foods generally are best to provide a high-protein, low-CHO dietary combination. Most dry foods are energy dense and have greater CHO concentrations (CHO > 25% on a dry-matter [DM] basis), because starch is necessary to make the kibble. The typical nutrient characteristics of canned foods formulated for kittens are 45 to 55% protein (DM basis), 8 to 15% starch (DM basis), and 15 to 25% fat (DM basis) with little dietary fiber (< 1% [DM basis]). These characteristics are not far removed from that of the natural diet of cats (Appendix 1).

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Chessmind
Member

Posts: 701
From:CA
Registered: Nov 2003

posted 03-16-2004 09:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Chessmind     Edit/Delete Message
Nern and Fleafly, thanks for the info. Very helpful info Nern. Thanks again. One more question, does it say on the bags/cans of diet food that they should not be fed to kittens? Just wondering.

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Samsintentions
Member

Posts: 944
From:Columbus, Tx ,USA
Registered: Dec 2003

posted 03-17-2004 07:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Samsintentions     Edit/Delete Message
First of all if the belly isthe only thing getting bigger,worms can be the cause of that.

As for the food. Both my cat and Dogs get free feeding all day. Then at night they ahve the Raw diet.

I do this, for one, my dogs are wking dogs, they snack when they have the chance to keep them satisfied. 2 The cat sleeps and wonders off, Ya never know when he's gonna be there at that moment to eat. Tom, well he likes to hunt (never leaves our property) but he wonders around and finds those "hiding" places in tree's, and nooks to nap in...

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nern

Moderator

Posts: 1591
From:NY, USA
Registered: Oct 2002

posted 03-17-2004 05:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for nern     Edit/Delete Message
quote:
One more question, does it say on the bags/cans of diet food that they should not be fed to kittens?

Not exactly but all foods must have an AAFCO statment on them which would help an owner determine whether or not a food is suitable for kittens. Some companies might have a statement on the bag with a recommended age to feed that particular brand at or might state that the food is not recommended for growing kittens or lactating mothers but I don't think they are required to do so.

Foods that are suitable for kittens usually state something like this on their labels:

*Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate that (product name)provides complete and balanced nutrition for gestation, lactation, and growth.

*Animal feeding tests using Association of American Feed Control Officials procedures substantiate that (product name) provides complete and balanced nutrition for all life stages.


Foods not suitable for kittens might state something like this on their labels:

*Recommended for: Adult cats one year and older.

*Animal feeding tests using AAFCO* procedures substantiate that (product name) provides complete and balanced nutrition for adult cat maintenance.

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Chessmind
Member

Posts: 701
From:CA
Registered: Nov 2003

posted 03-18-2004 07:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Chessmind     Edit/Delete Message
Thanks for the info Nern.

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