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Our cat is driving us inSANE! Help!

rainydaze

Ideal_Rock
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May 1, 2007
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Please, somebody help us! We adopted AJ three years ago, and he was three years old at the time. He's a big fella - 14lbs when we got him. I free-fed our other two cats, just kept their bowl filled (dry food) and they ate when they wanted and how much. Never had an issue with their weight.

AJ started gaining weight right away and knew no limits with his food. So I started just giving him his servings (again, dry food - he hates wet) in the morning and at night. He went up to 17lbs! And I did a lot of research to give him a quality food. Anyway, not good. Turns out I was giving him too much. Worked with the vet to figure out what amount he should be eating for the food I was providing (less than 1/4 cup vs. the almost-one-cup I had been giving him), and he's back down to 14lbs. But he starting meowing more constantly, and LOUDLY. For at least an hour, sometimes more. Starting at 5am. And then all over again around 4pm.

Okay. Got an automatic feeder so that we didn't have to wake up to feed him. Still meowing... AFTER he eats! And again in the afternoon. Tried setting it up so that he got half in the AM and half in the PM (and since he's getting so little, added a tiny bit more to each). Nope. DEMANDING, annoying, constant MEOWING.

Did some research. Have been making sure to give no reinforcement to the meowing - don't look at him, don't talk to him, and don't give him more food or treats (never did that one anyway, but we would sometimes verbally respond or look him in the eye and ask, sorry tell, him to stop). I have tried the air compressor - no dice, but my poor dog was shaking in her boots so I stopped that right away.

UGH! I'm now trying wet food again to see if that somehow satiates him better. He is not having it. I have tried some different dry foods to see if more protein sustains him longer. Nope, nope, nope.

He's been meowing for three hours straight. I have been isolating him when he starts up, and letting him out when he is silent for more than say 20-30 seconds. Soon as I let him out, he's back to yelling at me.

I'm at my wits end. Anyone got some ideas?!

PS - This has essentially been going on for the three years we've had him. It's not a recent thing where I just haven't given it enough time.
 

missy

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Oh I'm sorry Rainydaze! Our Bobby does this too. We cannot leave any food around. They have their mealtimes and snack times and I must be there to keep a watchful eye nobody eats the others share. He has been checked out too and there are no medical issues so if your cat is healthy otherwise as in no underlying reason he's always hungry and/or meowing my rec is distract him when he is crying. That's what I do with Bobby.

Rescue cats are more anxious and needy than cats who have always had it easy so require more love and attention from us IMO. So when he meows for food give him attention and keep doing it and eventually it should improve. Attention as in giving him hugs, picking him up, playing with him, talking to him, etc. He loves it. And often talks back. Meoooowww. :halo:


Sending you big (((hugs))) and lots of kitty dust!!!!


Oh just thought of this. Have you tried the Feliway comfort spray? It's supposed to help calm kitties down. Check it out. Hope it helps!!!!
 

Timm

Rough_Rock
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Oct 27, 2016
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Cats are so easy to condition. I agree that if he's crying for food, and you know he's not hungry, then distract him with attention. Play with him for a while and soon enough the behavior will straighten itself out.
 

siamese3

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Jul 27, 2007
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Rainy.. so sorry you are dealing with this! I have a problem cat and I spent 2 1/2 of the last three years getting up in the middle of the night to feed my cat Kiki. I am assuming that because you mentioned the vet, that there is no underlying thyroid problem or other health related issue. My saga started because I was annoyed when Kiki woke us up on the weekend to eat at 7 am . Crying (Siamese crying), knocking everything off the bedside table, dresser..etc.. It was making me crazy, so we decided to try to endure a few weeks of "torture" to "train" him not to do this anymore. Long story short, he ended up with pancreatitis (maybe from the anxiety, but maybe just because) and then we had a year of absolute hell. Which has kind of turned into 3 1/2 years of "the new normal." As it turned out, my cat has food intolerances (ibd..which often goes hand in hand with pancreatitis) but I guess where my story is going, is that we eventually had to put him on Prozac.. which turned out to be the best thing to happen to both him and me :) I went through the playing at night, giving him attention and all sorts of things It was hard for me to decide to medicate him, but we quite easily found a dose that worked to calm him down. I think that anxiety was kind of an underlying problem for him. He has always needed a lot of attention.. more that normal..even for a Siamese cat.

Anyhoo.. none of this may be applicable to you or your situation but I thought I would throw it out there in case it might help.

Hugs!
 

PierreBear

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So sorry to hear about your cat woes. I'm not a vet so I don't have much wisdom to share but I would recommend going to several vets to check on your cat's health to ensure it's not an health induced problem. Then after determining it is a behavior issue, I'm not sure what to do as it seems that cats sometimes just do what they want to do. Hope this helps though...

We have a cat that's about 8 years old now and he was similar to your cat that he loved food and would engulf everything and wouldn't graze or portion. He had a routine of meowing in the morning and in the early afternoon to tell us he was hungry. It was a bit endearing but of course a pain. It recently changed as he started throwing up almost every other day and after some vet visits and changes to a special food, he was back to normal. One of the changes we made as you have done already was using the auto feeder to hopefully not allow the stomach acid to build up if he gets too hungry that might cause vomiting. Since the auto feeder has been out, he digs out food throughout the whole day even though it dispenses twice a day. He's gained a little bit of weight but due to the access to food, he stopped meowing for food. I wonder if one of those devices that dispenses food with some activity might be a good and cheap solution to try? Never used it before but just did a quick Amazon search. Good luck and hope ya'll find a solution!

https://www.amazon.com/PetSafe-SlimCat-Meal-Dispensing-Blue/dp/B0018CG40O
 

CJ2008

Ideal_Rock
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Dec 31, 2006
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First, thank you for adopting AJ. He's a lucky boy.

But sorry that you're going through so much craziness with him.

My boy is a pain in the butt too. In so many ways. So I understand.

Aside from what others suggested, do things to make the actual eating take longer.

Like...

1. put a bit of water in the dry food (good to do anyway when you're feeding dry)

2. use food mazes that will force him to have to dig out the food like this https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=food+maze or this https://www.amazon.com/Outward-Hound-Feeder-Bloat-Large/dp/B00FPKNRF0/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1479396546&sr=8-2&keywords=food+maze

3. spread out the food in different spots so he has to hunt for it

4. get him things to chew on my favorite ones are these pretzels https://www.amazon.com/Petstages-333-Catnip-Plaque-Pretzel/dp/B006XE35YU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1479396657&sr=8-1&keywords=cat+pretzels

5. Give him things in between that are low calorie but might satisfy his cravings, like lettuce (my boy loves lettuce especially the cruncy parts)

Good luck rainy - I hope it gets better. I know how much patience this takes. Sending you hugs and one for AJ.

If you get a chance and you're OK with it post pictures of this sweet boy so we can see him. ::)
 

House Cat

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Timm|1479389074|4099703 said:
Cats are so easy to condition. I agree that if he's crying for food, and you know he's not hungry, then distract him with attention. Play with him for a while and soon enough the behavior will straighten itself out.
This actually made me chuckle.

I don't know about any of you, but I am the one who is conditioned by my cat. She rules the world.

:love: :love: :love:
 

Matata

Ideal_Rock
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It's possible he's not getting the nutrition he needs from the dry food. Even the best kibble is carbohydrate rich and relatively protein poor which is not good for cats and contributes to them becoming kibble addicts. Also when dry food is left down all day for cats to free feed, the aroma of the food actually messes with their digestion cycle keeping it always "on". So if you can get all the cats on the same 2-3x per day meal schedule and stop leaving dry down all day, that may help.

Transitioning cats to a different type/brand of food should be a slow process. If you want to get him on canned food, you'll need to start by adding a teensy amount of wet to his kibble. Grind up some kibble and sprinkle it over the canned. Once he starts eating the wet (it could take months), slowly decrease the amount of kibble each meal by the same amount of wet that you increase. So if you give him 1/4 tsp of wet, decrease kibble by 1/4 tsp and keep doing that until he is eating mostly or almost all wet. And keep sprinkling the ground up kibble on his wet food until he accepts the wet without any powdered kibble. If he never gets to that point, it's still better for him to eat wet food even if there's some kibble topping it or mixed in.

One of the best sources on cat nutrition is http://www.catinfo.org/
 

azstonie

Ideal_Rock
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You have solid help here from those who really know their stuff. I want to thank you for adopting your rescue cat too, though, and I want to validate you :lol: because I know what you are experiencing here. My female Westie can't get enough food to be satiated. I give her organic pumpkin puree as 'filler' in her dish with her ground meat on top of it so she has to eat it. She eats my male Westie's food if allowed to :naughty: If she doesn't get a certain amount of food each day, she will wake up in the night and barf up some liquid, I take it to mean she has empty stomach upset (she sees the vet constantly for skin issues and we have her bloodwork done every 6 months so I am reasonably sure she is in good baseline health, no pancreatitis for example). She tends to be overweight which is very bad for her crappy knees and her two hip replacements so its a constant battle between overweight and too hungry.

At 6 PM each evening she goes into our living room and starts barking her head off until either my DH or I go in and play with her and her toys. She will also air lick. I think she has anxiety in the evenings and needs a distraction so I give that to her.

Let us know how things are going, okay? :wavey:
 

rainydaze

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Oh my gosh guys, THANK YOU! This is such a minor problem, in the grand scheme, yet I can’t tell how much better I felt seeing your responses.

missy & Timm - okay, this is totally manageable! I was ignoring him because I didn’t want to positively reinforce all the meowing, but I think I get it now. By giving him affection *when* he meows, I would be reconditioning him to know that meowing gets attention, not food. He’s not an attention fiend per se, but he does like it and seek out a little every day, and he’s smart, so this could work!

siamese - wow, I feel for you. That sounds… pretty miserable! How lucky is he to have someone like you to love him and look out for him. I do believe it’s more to do with conditioning than a health or mental concern, but I am glad you brought this to my attention. I’ll be keeping this in mind in case there is more to it!

PierreBear - ‘cats sometimes just do what they want to do.’ SO TRUE! And this guy… he is a big lug and an ole softie, but I suspect he’s got one helluva stubborn streak… because he’s SMART, too. He’s just going to meow me to death knowing he’s the cat and cats just get their way. Period. LOL! Thank you for the input and the link, I’ll be considering that!

Thanks CJ! Right now I’m not sure how lucky he feels, he seems pretty hungry and annoyed, lol! I would have never thought of ANY of these ideas, and I never came across any suggestions like this when I googled. He’s not very playful, but even so, that food maze is standing out as something that would work with him. He tends to wolf his food down, so yeah, slowing him down might be the solution! I’m definitely going to try the pretzels and the lettuce right away too.

House Cat - Don’t you know it! I’ve never minded with all my other cats, because somehow they had respectable boundaries with me. This one…. aaargh!

Matata - good advice! Indeed, I do lack the patience to take the time that is really needed to make the dry-to-wet transition. I had wanted to give him wet initially after researching and understanding how much better it is for them. But he rejected it, even with mixing… although like I said, I never took it as slow and steady as I should have. Slow, but not that slow. Oh, and he’s the only cat we have now… our other two passed away before we got him. So there is no other food out for him to get into, thankfully. It’s funny, if our dog doesn’t eat her food right away, and AJ is meowing like he’s still hungry, he still usually won’t touch hers. He’s very set in his ways. You know, a cat. :lol:

Thanks so much guys, I really, really appreciate all your advice. I’m going to try some of these things right away. Fingers crossed for me (and him)!

aj1.jpg

aj2.jpg
 

siamese3

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Messages
721
Thanks for posting the photos! AJ looks so sweet. "Dust" to you guys for getting this under control :) It can be very trying when your pets make life "challenging" I always say my cat is here to teach me unconditional love, patience and acceptance.
 

CJ2008

Ideal_Rock
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awwww rainy thank you for posting those pictures he is absolutely adorable.

I know what you mean about feeling like he couldn't possibly be happy right now :(( but rainy he's safe, he's loved, he *is* lucky.

Just some of these little creatures have...issues. They're just like us. Some of us are more of a pain in the butt than others. ::)

I honestly don't think that any of these ideas are going to be THE solution - unless of course the behavior comes from a nutrient deficiency, like matata suggested.

But you just have to try everything you can and see what works sometimes the least likely idea might help. And it might be a combination of things.

Keep us updated on this little guy and come back to vent any time.
 

rainydaze

Ideal_Rock
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aztonie - that’s exactly where I find myself, trying to find some balance between angry healthy cat and happy unhealthy cat who can’t clean his butt. I will definitely keep you updated, and thanks for the support!

siamese - he’s super sweet! Such a mellow guy (except when he’s decidely *not* mellow, as per the subject of this thread). Two days after we adopted him, he went to the vet for his first appt with us. Just flopped himself down on the exam table and spread out, not a care in the world. Even the vet was taken aback. He’s super soft too, very silky.

CJ that's nice to hear, and I sure hope so! Good point about *the* solution - thinking that way will only set me up for further frustration which could prevent me from appreciating any progress, even if they're just small steps in the right direction.

You guys helped me to take a step back and feel less desperate. Again, than you - from me *and* AJ!

Oh, I have to share with you guys that as intense as his meowing can be, he has an equally loud and wonderful PURR. Oh my gosh, it's so loud and deep, and he doesn't hold back - nearly the instant I start to pet him he just gets busy purring. When we adopted him, he was in a room full of cats, and his purr all but drowned every sound out. Couldn't help but win us over! :)
 

Nitedula

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One of our cats will happily eat dry food, but if we give her wet food she just licks away all the gravy and leaves the bits. My husband discovered that she will eat it, but only if it has been mixed with some water and blended into a soup. So you could try that!
 

cmd2014

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Our Max is a rescue cat, and we've opted for the happy fat cat option. He was just too stressed/angry/annoying (seriously, want to kill him yowling for hours on end and refusing to calm down annoying) and it was either feed him or find a new home for him (which is not an option for us). So now he's a Chubb-Wubb who is a happy cuddle bunny. We get lectured by the vet, but he's happy and he is 9. My previous rescue cat couldn't tolerate good rationing either. He'd get stressed and then gorge and barf everywhere. He got big too, but lived to 15. I think rescues might just be a bit food sensitive.
 

Gypsy

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I think you've had some great advice here.

I would do two things, personally.

One: I would call the best animal hospital near you and ask them for a reference to an animal behaviorist. We had to have one come in with Lucy and then with Jack... this was years ago. But it was worth the 200-300 for the consult.

Really they train you. Not the animals. But it is very helpful.

Does he like laser pointers? Distraction with play and affection is a fabulous way to start off.

Two: I would take him to a different vet and have them do a full, advanced, work up on him to see if he has any deficiencies.

I am sorry you and he are having so much trouble.

Oh, also I know you said he won't eat wet. BUT have to tried a raw diet? You can buy them at some stores. It might be a good thing to try. The highest protein diet possible and, as someone recommended some type of veggie supplement to fill him up, might help.

That said, cats are a lot finickier than dogs. I used to be able to put cans of pumpkin, green beans, peas, you name it in my dog's food when she want on a diet to fill her up and feel like she was getting a lot more food than she was. But if I tried that with my cats... forgetaboutit. And mine LOVE wet food.
 

rainydaze

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Update: progress! I wanted to give it enough time before coming back to update to be sure his improvement wasn't temporary. I think I can safely say that he is no longer driving us insane, and we are no longer driving him insane.

I went back to giving him his full meal in the morning vs. splitting it up. He's just happier getting a full tummy at once, and stays happier throughout the day. He meows for no more than five minutes after eating now, and I think it's because he wants company while eating. He'll save a few morsels, meow at us, and run over to his bowl if we go anywhere near it to gobble down the rest.

We have all been giving him lots of lovin' as soon as he starts meowing. It seems to be working! Much less meowing overall, and it's slowly becoming less associated with food. So far as I can tell, anyway!

I am giving him treats on schedule (still have to get some lo-cal ones, and want to try the maze with these), when we eat dinner. He is hungry then, but not ravenous and constantly meowing like before. His food table is in our dining room, and he just goes and sits up there *very* expectantly. But no meowing! Before there was hardly a break in the meowing that allowed me to get him treats without him associating meowing with treats. Now, he gives me a chance! He'll meow a couple of times after the treats, but quickly heads back to his cat tree for some more napping.

And finally, I fill the water bowl at night now too. Before it was just in the morning, and I think some of his meowing had/has to do with wanting a fresh bowl after eating (he's actually a great water drinker, nothing fancy needed to entice him). So, fresh bowl before going to bed and fresh bowl in the morning, and this also seems to be helping.

Gypsy, lots of good advice. I'll be keeping it in mind if he seems to be getting unhappy again.

Oh, no-go on the lettuce. I can leave out a plate of food within his reach, and he'll barely give it a sniff (even during the insanity). So far, none of the usual suspects my other cats have loved over the years tempt him. Not even yogurt! Just *his* food and *his* treats, delivered exactly to his specifications, thankyouverymuch. Ha! God I love him. :))
 

siamese3

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Rainy. thanks for the update! Glad to hear things are going well :appl: :appl: :appl:
 

azstonie

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Oh I'm so glad things are going well!! :wavey: :appl: He sounds like a real character :lol: :lol: :lol: Love personality!! LOL to *his* treats and *his* food to his expectations!!! We should all be so lucky, right??!?!?!
 

lambskin

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I learn so much from you all. We have a rescue cat and at times he barfs. We attributed his sick to fur balls but actually the barf was not that hairy. I think it may be stomach acid. We try to regulate the amount of food he eats and keep treats to a minimum. He gets dry food-grain free- and we feed him at least four times in a 24 hour period-small quantities. Some times the barf is undigested food but most of the time it is more liquid. He is a super quiet cat and rarely meows. If he is hungry in the night he will wake up my husband who will give him some food to hold him until morning.
 

rainydaze

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Thanks siamese & az! :wavey: And, right!!? Sure seems like the life to *me*! ;-)

Aw, lambskin, poor buddy. Sounds like you guys are working through it... I hope his acid (if that's what it is) settles down thanks to your efforts. We called AJ 'stinky cat' the first two weeks we had him because he had constant, super smelly flatulance. I put him on a limited ingredient food right away, thinking maybe it was gastro issues related to food. It could have been nerves being in a new home and all, but aside from being stinky, he seemed incredibly chill and happy. Either way, it stopped within a week of the food change and he's been fine since - no more stinky cat! Anyway, so hopefully what you're doing also addresses the problem and your buddy can get some relief!
 

chrono

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Awwwww. :)) Sounds like everyone has adjusted and are doing well. I love to read success stories like this on a Monday morning.
 

missy

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YAY! Rainydaze, so happy your kitty is calming down and accepting the extra loving throughout the day. And I hear him on wanting a full stomach. I am the same way. :lol:

That is great he is an enthusiastic water drinker because IMO it can be challenging to get kitties to drink enough water so good for him!
And kudos to you for persisting and finding the secret combination recipe to making him happier, more content and calmer. :appl: :appl: :appl:

And please give him lots of extra hugs and kisses from his Aunt Missy OK? (((((HUGS)))))) to you too!
 
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