So you’ve got Fluffy moving, but now it’s mealtime, and you expect her to scarf down her food then beg for tuna, right? Think about how you’re feeding her. Here are a few strategies for feeding time:
- Portion Control: Give the cat two meals twice a day. This helps burn extra calories.
- Teach her to hunt: Buy plastic balls that come in two halves. One of those halves has a small, round hole. Show your cat one of the halves, and put some food in the other half and feed her from there. Gradually, she’ll learn that the ball is associated with food. The goal is to switch the cat from eating from the bowl to the ball. Take the balls and hide them around the house. Now it has to hunt for the ball. The disadvantages are that you have to remember where you hid the balls, refill them, and make sure your cat is eating the food (don’t make the hunt so tough that she can’t find her meal).
- Deli Dome is another food-dispensing device. Its timer dispenses a ball every two to four hours, so your cat gets meals on a schedule. The five balls in the Deli Dome contain the daily allotment of food.
The tips listed above are handy for single-cat households, but multicat families face a different dilemma. Here are some suggestions:
- The best way, not the easiest, is to train each cat to eat a meal, and feed them in separate rooms. Feed the overweight cat twice a day. After about 30 minutes, pick up whatever food is left over. Because cats are nibblers by nature, you may have to train him to eat his meals within that timeframe.
- A lot easier, determine how much all the cats together would eat in a day. Put half of that in the bowl in the morning, and leave it out there. In the evening, if it’s gone, put out the other half. If they’re nibblers, this can work, but it takes a long time to lose weight. However, the control you have is that over the course of the day, they won’t get more than two cats can eat. The downside of this is that the cat will gorge. But it can work. I tried this method when I had three cats, because I didn’t have time to separate them.