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How to manage a grazer (feline) and an instantaneous eater?

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  • How to manage a grazer (feline) and an instantaneous eater?

    If you read my other thread on what to feed one of my easy keeper cats, I ended up finding some good quality wet food via the suggestions I received and the local pet shop. They've started getting wet food at night and a little dry still in the morning. I'm seeing what wet foods they prefer.

    The issue is that my female cat is a grazer in that when you put her food out she may eat a few bites, and then come back to it later and eat a few more at her convenience. My male cat eats all of his food the minute you put it into the bowl. He gets rather defensive over food and will hiss and growl a bit if she were to go near his food or if you take him away from hers.

    I can't fully blame the male because he was a barn cat who at with a bunch of others at a set time. They'd have to find their own pile of food/small bowl and eat it before someone else did, basically. I don't know his history before the barn as he just showed up there one day. The barn owner had him neutered and vaccinated. He hung out there for a few months before I took him home last week. He loves being a house cat and this is the only real issue.

    Should I teach her that she has to eat at a set time when the food is put down otherwise she doesn't eat at all? Give her some time and then take it away if she isn't finished (otherwise he will go for it. He gives her some time but after an hour or two if she snoozes she loses. He's being fed properly according to his weight so he doesn't need the extra food. While she can stand to lose maybe a pound or two, I don't want to stress her too much. How would you manage this?

  • #2
    I already described how I handle this in your other thread. Short version: separate using crates, leave food down for 30-60 minutes and add a lunch for the grazer if she doesn't eat enough of breakfast. She will adjust to meals.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      We tried the crate method and he flipped out. Almost busted the crate apart. Flipped over his bowl and everything. Odd because he is pretty mellow and was mostly okay in the cat carrier coming home. They're fed in different rooms, and hopefully she'll catch on to eating the food when it is put in there..

      Comment


      • #4
        How you separate doesn't really matter. You could put the grazer in a crate or either of them in another room... whatever. You just have to have them each eating their own food and pick it up after a reasonable interval. If the grazer isn't eating enough at first, feed her more frequently until she adjusts.

        It's not particularly difficult but may take some time.

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Thank you for your inout


          I figured an approach like that would probably be the best and easiest.

          Comment


          • #6
            Feeding them in different rooms is a good start.

            I have a similar challenge with my two. My girl will eat anything and everything I put in front of her, while my boy is not only a grazer but quite picky. Is there any food your grazer really likes, and therefore will eat faster? My boy will eat some foods a lot faster than others. Maybe feed the slower cat their favorites for a while, once you figure out what they are, at least until they're more used to scheduled meals? You may also want to start with 3 or 4 meals, and then get rid of the extra meals after they're more used to the schedule.

            One thing to keep in mind is that, unlike dogs, you can't use tough love with cats. They can get pretty severe liver damage if they don't eat for a long enough period of time (I think 24 hours is the max a cat should go). As tempting as it is, you can't just go with the "they'll eat when they're hungry enough" approach. Just make sure your grazer has enough uninterrupted time to eat something, even if it's not a full meal.

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            • #7
              If you can't leave her food out because he will eat it, try taking hers up when she walks away from the dish and offering it to her again when she comes looking and/or asking for it. Stay with her her to make sure he doesn't get it.

              I have one slow, picky, sometimes nervous eater and one gobbler and sometimes I have to stand around and supervise the slower eater or even offer her her dish in another room and stay with her while she eats.
              Founder of the People Who Prefer COTH Over FB Clique
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              • Original Poster

                #8
                It's hard giving her more meals since we do work 8 hours during the day but I can supervise a bit in the morning and evening. I'll try to feed her when he eats in the evening and what she doesn't finish I will offer to her again. She has been eating this food since we adopted her a year ago, and does actively eat when I put it down. She just doesn't finish in that sitting. Same with any kind of wet food.


                Good to know about the liver damage issue. The most I could see them ever going would be 12 hours, and that would not be a regular thing, at all. I think I'll make the meals a little smaller so I can break them up into 3 or so instead of 2.
                Last edited by ThoroughbredFancy; Apr. 16, 2013, 07:16 AM.

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                • #9
                  I have two very hearty eaters, two confirmed, and very slow, grazers, and one who grazes but usually finishes her meal in an hour or so. Twice a day, the hearty eaters go into a separate room for their meals, while the other three are allowed to graze for a set period of time, usually the hour or so that it takes for the one to clean everything in her dish up. Then, all dishes are picked up.

                  I keep a supply of dry food in the bathroom. The two grazers have learned that bathroom breaks mean that they can come with me and get just enough pieces of dry food to satisfy them at that time (bathroom door shut). The ones who eat their food in a timely manner don't get bathroom privileges. I figure that, since cats seem to have a fascination with the bathroom when their human is in it, I might as well use the time to make sure that they get enough food to keep them in good shape. That might work for you, at least when you're home.
                  If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
                  Desmond Tutu

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by Louise View Post
                    I have two very hearty eaters, two confirmed, and very slow, grazers, and one who grazes but usually finishes her meal in an hour or so. Twice a day, the hearty eaters go into a separate room for their meals, while the other three are allowed to graze for a set period of time, usually the hour or so that it takes for the one to clean everything in her dish up. Then, all dishes are picked up.

                    I keep a supply of dry food in the bathroom. The two grazers have learned that bathroom breaks mean that they can come with me and get just enough pieces of dry food to satisfy them at that time (bathroom door shut). The ones who eat their food in a timely manner don't get bathroom privileges. I figure that, since cats seem to have a fascination with the bathroom when their human is in it, I might as well use the time to make sure that they get enough food to keep them in good shape. That might work for you, at least when you're home.
                    That's clever about the bathroom.

                    I'm in and out of the house more on Tuesday and Thursday. What I am noticing is that he only really goes after the wet food. They get some dry AM and wet PM. He does give her an hour or two until he goes for it. So, I think she'll learn. I was going to switch them completely to wet food but I may keep the dry in the morning so she can graze it throughout the day. Usually he goes into a food coma after he eats, so that helps some of the time.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ThoroughbredFancy View Post
                      It's hard giving her more meals since we do work 8 hours during the day
                      Breakfast, meal when you arrive at home and meal before bed. Really not that difficult to add in a third, even working 8-5. I've always found they'll eat again with this schedule.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I have a grazer.

                        She will also puke it right back up if she eats too much first thing in the morning

                        The treatment hasn't been that hard - she gets a little bit, about 1/4 of the full meal, first thing. Then she gets a chance to eat the rest of it before I go to work.

                        At night, she gets a chance to eat her whole meal, but the minute she leaves it, I take it up and then put it back down for her at the end of the day.

                        It IS more work, it does mean not leaving food out for others to eat, but it only takes a few minutes
                        ______________________________
                        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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