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Two cats - one fat, one skinny. Help!

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  • Two cats - one fat, one skinny. Help!

    The title pretty much says it all - I have two cats, one - named Mr. Chubbykins, aka Chubs - is pretty fat (like, feline body score of 7 on this chart: http://www.purina.com/cat/weight-con...condition.aspx) and the other - named Cookie - is skinny (feline body score of 3 or 4 on the same chart). They both eat the same food - free choice Authority hairball and weight control. The difference, honestly, is Cookie runs around all day while Chubs sits in my window, and Cookie doesn't eat as often or as much as Chubs either. I'm working on a cat tree and some cat grass or catnip (Chubs loves catnip, and gets hyper from it).

    Anyone have any ideas to get Cookie's weight up or Chubs' down other than more toys for Chubs and switching to normal food once he's no longer in danger of becoming even more ironically-named?

  • #2
    I have a variation of the same problem and I can tell you how I solved it.

    I have two cats who inhale their food, and two pickers. One of the inhalers will literally eat until he makes himself sick, if I give free choice food. The two inhalers are also inclined to be chubs, understandably. They both will eat their food, and then go for the food of the pickers, if given the chance.

    So, I segregate them. They get three meals a day. For two of those meals, the two inhalers go into a bedroom with a set amount of wet food. There is a litter box and water in there, also. They stay there for an hour, sometimes more. They don't seem to mind, and go into that room of their own accord, when they see me carrying their dishes.

    Meanwhile, the two pickers have the run of the rest of the house and access to their food. They have that time to eat in peace, to wander back and forth from their food dishes as they want. When it looks like they no longer have any interest in their food, and they have found their daytime sleeping places and drifted off, I pick the dishes up and let the greedy ones out of the bedroom. Any leftover food is thrown away and dishes are washed.

    The third meal, by the way, is a very small amount of dry food that I give them just before bedtime, to tide them over until morning. They're on their own for that, but, because the amount is so small, I have found that the pickers do manage to clean theirs up, most of the time.

    It's a pain in the neck, frankly, but it's the only thing I have found that works. I'll be watching to see if someone can come up with a better idea.
    If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
    Desmond Tutu


    • #3
      I don't think there is going to be a good solution without becoming the food sheriff one way or another. We have an older cat with a very sensitive stomach-who is also totally food absorbed, especially if its the other cat's food. In order to keep expenses down somewhat, the other cat gets a good kibble for breakfast and dinner. Sensitive stomach cat only gets a grain-free canned food. Was on presription Science Diet but we found the Wellness was actually better tolerated and less expensive, so vet said to go ahead and keep feeding it. As an older cat, having problems keeping the weight on, in spite of food obsession. This cats clock for meals is also working all the time.

      Breakfast and dinner- older cat gets canned food and the other cat kibble. We have to watch to make sure he gets all the kibble eaten, which is usually the case. Other, food obsessed cat will literally eat a mouthfull of food, then try to wait behind the other cat to finish or try to move cat out of his bowl. If we have time, we make sure the kibble cat does not finish up the canned food too, right away, as food obsessed cat will make several trips to its bowl. Food obsessed cat will throw up any kibble it eats. It gourges on it really fast, especially if its "the other cat's food." Other cats food is always more interesting. Kibble is also grain free but it doesn't matter, anything in kibble form will just come back up.

      To keep the food obsessed but cannot eat it all at once cat eating more, we snack them at noon and bedtime. It's canned food for both but same behavior from food obsessed cat- as long as it's the other cat's food, its way more interesting even if from the same can. The kibble cat is pretty good if we tell it "No" staying away from the wet food left in the dish. Food obsessed cat, on the other hand, ignores you until the water spray comes, and then will sometimes only back off a few inches. Should I say this is an older Calico? Because the kibble cat is male, we do feed wet food for lunch and bedtime snack and he cleans up what Calico doesn't if it's left in the dish long enough. Feed grain-free Taste of the Wild kibble.

      Other than being the food police, I don't know what else might work in a household with differing needs. It's a bother for sure. With our schedules though, we get it to work out most of the time.

      Putting them in different rooms is not an option. As bad as food obsessed cat is, it would just stand at the door and demand to get out to see what the other cat is eating and if it can get any of it. No, Calico has never wanted for food.

      There is a reason for, "Catsdorule-sigh"......


      • #4
        don't feed "free choice". There's no reason why the cat, a predator, needs to be nibbling at food all day- unlike your horse, your cat's body is designed to function on the occasional meal with fasting in between. Nibbling is very unnatural for a cat.
        Putting out a buffet of dry cat food is going to make most cats fat. Dry cat food isn't very good for cats anyway, and most folks suggest cats should only be fed wet foods for a number of health reasons.
        So just feed each cat meals of wet food, with the proper amount per cat. Problem solved.


        • #5
          My fat cat can't jump very well, so I put the free feed up on top of the cabinets. Skinny cats can eat all day long, fatty gets fed when I feed him. When he's skinny enough to get his fat butt up there, then he can eat all he wants as well.


          • #6
            One of my kitties is a chub too, but she eats a lot less than what the package of Wellness Core recommends for her body weight. She's free choice and I've never had a problem with her gorging herself.

            I honestly think it's just lack of exercise. She's extremely lazy to the point of even using scratching posts while lying down. About the only time I see her really get the lead out is when she hears me open the front or back porch doors, when I leave a room she's in and she makes a mad dash to get to the next room before I do, or now since I got a new kitten, to chase him around and give him a beat down.

            The kitten has helped her lose a bit of flub. She'd get bored after about two minutes playing with me -- he gives her more entertainment.

            Originally posted by crewgirl34 View Post
            My fat cat can't jump very well, so I put the free feed up on top of the cabinets. Skinny cats can eat all day long, fatty gets fed when I feed him. When he's skinny enough to get his fat butt up there, then he can eat all he wants as well.
            This would never work for my chub since she's still spry enough to jump up on everything but I could see it working well for a real waddler.


            • #7
              My uncle had a cat door cut into the basement for the cats to go in and use the litterbox and eat. Well, when one cat ended up shaped more like a bowling ball than a cat, it ended up working out well since the skinny cat could still get in. Obviously, the litterbox had to be moved and a little bit of food for large cat was put out, but skinny cat had her all-she-could-eat fiesta going on.

              Interesting idea to me!

              I just have one kitty currently and she absolutely isn't free fed. Just a palmful of kibbles in the am and usually a can of wet food in the evening. If she is still begging and hungry, I'll try and have her sit on her hindquarters and jump for a treat or chase kibble down the hallway (toss it and off she goes running). Helps give her a bit of exercise while going to eat something.

              I had a cat food cube too (chase it and food falls out), but stupid me, forgot that it's not dog proof and the dog pulled it off the counter when I had put it up. But in a cat only household, I wonder if a playful, thinner kitty could use that as a food dispenser too?
              Semi Feral


              • #8
                The five barn kitties split two cans of Fancy Feast every night. One cat is food obsessed and will push/growl other cats away or pull the food dish away. So he eats in the carrier and is let loose once lithe slow eaters are done. Usually 10 minutes max, long enough for me to feed the soaked alfalfa cubes and finish with the horses.

                Indy kitty knows he is special , he gets fed first and in the carrier plus the other kitties can eat in peace.

                FYI - it was six kitties earlier this year but our Garbo kitty crossed the bridge in May.
                "Never do anything that you have to explain twice to the paramedics."
                Courtesy my cousin Tim


                • #9
                  Welp, when I first started feeding wet only, my skinny cats gained weight and my fat cats slimmed down. So wet only might be an interesting option.

                  Now, several years in, I have one FAT cat (not even the cat that was fat before, natch) and three kitties that are in great weight. I have no idea how to approach slimming down my fat cat, short of rigging up something interesting on the treadmill.


                  • #10
                    Although it can be more difficult with cats than dogs, I would recommend getting them on a set feeding schedule. Separate dishes, perhaps even separate rooms or in crates. 10 min to eat, then pick up food.

                    Beyond being able to feed different foods this way, being on a set schedule with a set amount of food also allows you to keep track of what they're really eating (or not eating) which can be an indicator of illness.

                    They may protest at first, but typically within a week, even the most stubborn critters will get on board with the schedule.
                    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                    Might be a reason, never an excuse...


                    • Original Poster

                      Alright, I'm sorta trying the separate feeding thing (poor Chubs gets moved from food when Cookie's eating, because she lets him chase her away, and is allowed to eat only once she's done - but he does get lots of petting while this is happening) and I'm going to buy a food-dispensing toy, because I bet that'd get Chubs to actually move from his window every once in a while, too. Slowly introducing wet food so it's easy on their stomachs (and they LOOOOOOOVE it). If holding Chubs back while Cookie eats becomes too complicated, I'll start putting him in the bathroom while she eats, or vice versa, but I don't think either of them will like it too much, so giving Chubs adoration while Cookie eats might be the ticket.

                      Guess I should have mentioned I don't have another room except for my bathroom, because my bedroom is kept cat-free (all the breakables are there, and my boyfriend needs it to be cat-dander free or his face explodes at night - it'd be funny if it weren't so pitiful) and I'm in a 1/1 apartment.

                      A note for anyone with fat cats and a patio: my old apartment had a screened-in patio that we got a sliding glass door insert for, so the kitties came and went at their leisure, and Chubs lost plenty of weight (he was almost sleek). We just kept some toys and their litterboxes out there, and he spent all day happily lounging and playing and losing weight.