Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Looking at Food From a Cat's Perspective

Looking at Food From a Cat's Perspective

Yo! Welcome to this month's edition of From a Cat's Perspective™. Say hi to Savannah sitting to my right. We've gotten a great response to our first two shows and hope you enjoy what we're doing. We're talking about one of my favorite subjects this week: Free Food.

Looking at Food From a Cat's Perspective
I love free food!

There's a woman in the Dunkin Donuts near us who always gives TW a free donut or two when she buys her coffee. On those days, Pop always says "free always tastes better" and it does. Right now I'm eating some new kibble that Chewy sent me and it's nommy and … what's that Savvy?

Savannah: The topic, CK, is free feeding not free food. You know, when your human leaves food out all day so you can nosh whenever you want. Free feeding is also a problem for community cats.

CK: Oops! That's different. Thanks for setting me straight. *clears throat* Gramma always left food out for her cats—Faith, Chizzy and Autumn. They'd get a 6-oz can of food in the morning when Gramma first got up. It was left when Gramma went to work. After Gramma came home, she'd pick up whatever was left and dish out another 6-oz can of food which would stay out all night. There was always dishes full of canned food on the floor. By the time, it was picked up, it was crusty and stale. Gramma threw out a lot of cat food. This is known as free feeding and frowned upon among vets and cat nutritionists.

Looking at Food From a Cat's Perspective
TW's vet tech friend changed her mindset on how to feed a cat. She mentioned how free feeding adds pounds to your cat resulting in health issues. Nicky wasn't free fed. He was given a third of a can of stinky goodness both morning and night and a bit of kibble which he had 20 minutes to eat it. All the food was eaten. Nicky still gained weight due in part to the fact that he went outside the first few years TW had him and he ate the food that was left out by the neighbors for stray cats.

That's where leaving food out for community cats becomes an issue. Do you know who's eating the food you leave out? Not all cats roaming the street are hungry and underfed. Some have owners and those owners may be particular about their cat's diet or the cat may have to eat prescription food. If that's the case, I for one feel those owners are irresponsible for letting their cats roam the mean streets. Cats left to their own devices will eat whatever is available even out of garbage cans.

Looking at Food From a Cat's Perspective

Then I entered the picture, I'm an only cat and a notoriously slow eater. TW continued to feed me the same way and the same amount as Nicky. He was a couch potato and I was an active cat who burned a lot of calories. I did not prosper; in fact, I went downhill fast. Within a year, I was dehydrated and hungry. The v-e-t gave me fluids and TW had to change the way and the brands of food she fed me.

I have free standing kibble but TW only gives me a little bit and takes that away when I won't eat my stinky goodness. The longest any stinky goodness stays out is 4 hours and there's none out overnight. She feels this is a happy medium cos I'm such a slow eater and there are no other cats to steal my food. It boils down to what I'm always telling cat humans—you have to know your cat.

Looking at Food From a Cat's Perspective
Savannah: That is all well and good but our readers want to know is "free feeding" really free or does somecat have to pay?

CK: I certainly don't pay for my food. It's free to me but TW is always griping about all the green papers she wastes when I make her throw out a can of food.

As I mentioned above, Nicky had to pay with his weight and his health because those good samaritans left food on their back porches for the stray cats. In those days we didn't call them ferals or community cats. He got so obese, he couldn't fit under fences and couldn't jump over them so he got beat up a lot by the cats that were homeless.

Savannah: When "feeding free" must a cat invite others and why or why not?

CK: What is that even supposed to mean? If it's a colony, of course, the other cats will want their cut. Wouldn't you? My posse wouldn't let another posse have any of our food. There were fights and gang warfare. I just dare a Tom to horn in on Tuna Katt's turf or his food.

Looking at Food From a Cat's Perspective
Ramona is sharing her "free" food with a neighbor cat who lives in the liquor
store."Cow Cat"'s owner thanked TW for feeding the cats.
Let's hear from my smart co-anchor Savannah. Ms Savvy Do will answer your really tough questions about free feeding. You've been telling me TW is making mistakes when she tries to feed feral cats she comes across. How so?

So how does free feeding work with community cats? What if TW sees a kitteh standing on a corner holding out its paws with a sign saying "I'll mouse for food?" Should TW donate or turn and walk away?

When TW is free feeding community cats, what the heck happens to their leftovers? She tries to come back and throw away the empty cans but can she do more? Do the cats get "cat baggies to go"?

Go over and visit Savannah's Paw Tracks and then we want to know your opinion and to keep the conversation going. Leave a comment or join in on Facebook.

24 comments:

  1. We are big NON believers in free feeding - we get fed meals at home that we are expected to eat in about 10 minutes. And leaving food out for the feral kitties is just not sanitary or safe.

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  2. Yo BFGF. High paws for another fun fab From A Cat's Perspective news show. TW has the kindest heart to immediately help any street cat she sees. You got yourself a great home CK

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  3. I don't have cats, but I do believe in helping to feed any feral animals. My Mom used to have 2 feral cats who relied on her for their meals. There's nothing wrong with that.

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  4. There's no free feeding here in our house- Mickey Mouser and Rufus the Red have regular meal times and eat everything right away. Also - there's very little dry food involved - after struggling to get enough fluids into Tommie when he was fighting kidney disease.
    We had feral cats living on our deck for many years in a heated cat house. It was always a problem feeding them and not every raccoon, possum, and blue jay in the area. The blue jays loved the dry cat food and would dive bomb the cats! The feral mother and daughter finally died off after 12 years. I miss them but not the constant worry about them and their safety.
    xxoo
    Maggie

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  5. We are not free feeders in our home. I do leave the dish down longer than a lot of people though. Manna is a little bit of a grazer and likes to take her time eating her meal over about half an hour. Of course, I believe there are exceptions to every rule, so it's possible that free feeding is a better idea for some cats. It is all about knowing your cat and his/her specific needs.
    -Purrs from your friends at www.PlayfulKitty.net

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  6. I leave dry food down all the time for my 2 cats but they get soft cat food (which they prefer) rationed once a day. I also feed 4 feral cats that are in the barn everyday. They've all been spayed and neutered as well. Great post. Thanks for sharing!

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  7. When I got my first cat, KaChoo,22 years ago I did free feed and continued with all new cats until Sammy and Joanie arrived in 2010- they would eat everything in sight and throw it all up. I was ignorant about so many cat issues back then. I would never free feed now.

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  8. CK......we graze heer in de land oh trout....well, me, tuna..... & boomer due....dai$y never haz liked kibble...cuzin boomerz on hills KD & me mom haz a spazzed never de same werk schedule & haz stuff goin on rite now that makes her get in afturr like ......well, a looooooooooooooooong time....sew she makes sure eye gotz foodz...just in case....

    tuna of moon ♥♥♥

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  9. Me's sorry 'bout Nicky and glad TW learned kitties shouldn't go outside in da furst place. And me's really glad you get purrlenty to eat. Me's a slow eater too, cuz there's always somethin' goin' on at meal time. MOL

    Luv ya'

    Dezi

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  10. Free feeding should depend on your cat. I am a mostly free feeder, but when the belly stretches some my food gets removed during a portion of the day.

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  11. We're with Summer. NO free food, ever. WE gobble it all up and probably break the land speed record in the process! Well, at least Allie does.

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  12. We don't free feed here, although my kitties would love us too.

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  13. Mudpie definitely eats differently than most cats. She's such a picky eater that several times a day I'll offer her a small forkful of wet food or a small handful of kibble. It works for us...

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  14. My pets all have regular meal times and eat their food in 15 minutes or less. The cat eats in a separate room, so he can have all the time he wants, but once it is gone, he has to wait for the next meal. I used to try free feeding with my Maltese and the cat, but they would just eat each other's food. Not healthy for either of them.

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  15. We do somewhat free feed here and hopefully the Dad won't start charging us. Y'all really rocked this post!

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  16. We don't get free fed...but the mom let's us eat or portioned food for as long as it takes us...which sometimes can take a while.

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  17. Gracie and Zoe always do a good job of finishing off their wet. They DO get a little dry in their dish to graze on throughout the day. This is more for Zoe, who is a much slower eater than her sister.

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  18. We'll pop over to see what Savvy has to say. Even though we have a locked catio, we can never leave any food out. The resident raccoon knows how to climb the side of the deck to the upper deck and then come down the stairs to get the food. XOCK, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Jo

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  19. Great post! We'll head over to Savvy's blog to read the answers to the other questions.

    The Florida Furkids

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  20. I feed my kitties on a schedule. Joey is disabled so I have to be careful that he doesn't gain a ton of weight. It'd put too much pressure on his joints. Sadie likes wet food occasionally but Joey won't touch it!

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  21. The Farm cats are definitely grazers. Maybe they picked it up from the goats. A bowl of chow sits out all the time. I put their wet food down in the morning and usually by the time dinner rolls around the four of them have managed to eat it unless they are protesting that particular flavor then none of it gets eaten. Of course Harry supplements with gopher.

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  22. Truffle and Brulee get 1/2 can each of wet food at night. They do have some dry kibble out during the day because Mom Paula is on a difficult schedule. We don't overeat, so we're okay with the free feeding of the dry. There are many times there is wet food left over after the initial eating and they come back a little later to finish it up.

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  23. There's no free feeding at our house, it's all on schedule - our kitties would eat till they explode if we did.

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  24. Izzy gets a good sized tablespoon of canned food in the morning and when I get home for work. Then I do leave out a small bowl of dry for him throughout the day. That's all he will eat at a time of canned. Plus he loves water. He is constantly yelling at us to turn the water on in the tub for him. I have got to get him a water fountain!

    I agree that you need to know your cat. Our last cat would eat until he just threw it up also. He wasn't particularly fat, just liked to eat!

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