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Would this be a cruel thing to do to our cat?

(55 Posts)
Dieu Wed 06-Jan-16 23:43:42

Hi everyone. Your thoughts would be most valued, as I'm not so much a cat person ... my children adore our cat though! We have had our rescue cat for around 4 years now (picked by my ex, who has now left!), and he's a lovely boy on the whole. When we brought him home from the rescue, he was on 3 Felix pouches a day. Soon after, I thought it would be better for him (and my purse!) if I cut it down to 2 pouches a day, but with a bowlful of good quality dry food for in between times. So that's what I've been doing since way back then.
He absolutely loves the Felix pouches, and therein lies the problem. The stuff is like cat cocaine to him, always has been. I can't go into my kitchen without him following me, crying for more, sometimes only an hour or so after the last pouch. I am fond of him, but he's doing my head in with this. It didn't used to be so bad in our old house, but we're now in a much smaller flat with the main living area right beside the kitchen, so it feels like there's no escape from his begging!
So here is my evil thought: would it be ok, do you think, to cut them from his diet completely and replace with a top notch dry cat food (one that's highly nutritious and tasty - it's pretty much Iams at the moment, but I assume there's better out there?)? I could jazz it up sometimes with a bit of tuna, his most favourite thing in the world (beside Felix grin).
I understand that rescue cats may well be a bit more food fixated than the rest, but this is something else. And I find it so difficult to ignore the crying - for me, it's quite frankly the equivalent of nails down a blackboard.
I want what's best for him, and he deserves that, but don't want my relationship with him to suffer. I know it sounds daft and dramatic, but that's what I feel is happening, in my role of feeder. He has no other health issues.
What do you think about this? My reasoning is that he would get used to the change in diet; he is a big boy so probably does have a voracious appetite, but is looking porky, so it may even be good for him? And he would probably beg for more Felix no matter how much I gave him, so in a way I might as well remove from his diet??
Oh, and if you concur that this might be a good way forward, some dry food recommendations would be very welcome.
Sorry, didn't realise this would end up so long, and many thanks in anticipation.

sweetkitty Wed 06-Jan-16 23:47:05

I switched our old moggy onto Millies Lionheart (same company that make Millies Wolfheart) it's 75% meat or fish, no carb fillers or anything nasty. The change in him is unbelievable he's like a new cat, his coat is amazing and he has a new lease of life, the litter tray has changed completely before the smell was terrible but his poos now are half the size and don't smell that bad.

Catzpyjamas Wed 06-Jan-16 23:48:35

Pouches work out really expensive compared to tinned food. Pyjamacat gets a tin over 2 days plus dried food. Dried food is better for his teeth but he loves his meat in jelly tins. He isn't brand conscious so he doesn't get Felix, just supermarket own brand tins but for dry food he does like Go Cat crunchy and tender when I can get it on special offers.

patienceisvirtuous Wed 06-Jan-16 23:51:05

What about an extra pouch or two of Asda Tiger (cheapest) or equiv (still with his biscuits to supplement).

He might be miserable if you take his beloved pouches away sad

patienceisvirtuous Wed 06-Jan-16 23:52:02

I have read on here that Butcher's Classic tins is pretty decent stuff (but cost effective)

AnotherEmma Wed 06-Jan-16 23:54:59

If he's "looking porky" maybe cut down his portion sizes gradually. Overweight cats can get associated health problems.

I've come to the conclusion that a mix of wet and dry food is best - wet so they get some moisture, and dry for their teeth (as well as the convenience). I get high quality cat food with a high meat content, which is much better for the cats' health as they are carnivores. (Most cat food available in supermarkets, including Felix, has shockingly low amounts of meat in it.)

AnotherEmma Wed 06-Jan-16 23:56:38

Oh and to stop him miaowing you probably just have to ignore him, he should get the point eventually! Give him food at fixed times and don't give in and feed him if he miaows for food at other times.

Dieu Wed 06-Jan-16 23:59:46

Thanks everyone, for the helpful and supportive replies. Funny you should mention Millie's Sweetkitty, as that's what our dog is on! It's great stuff and I didn't realise they did a cat version too!
Patience, I totally appreciate your point about him being miserable if I take the pouches away, but it's the only thing I could think of to stop his Felix fixation.
I think he'd be the same with any other wet food, so it wouldn't really solve the problem. It would still be in his head the whole time, which only complete abstinence would solve!
Okay, so the choice is to increase his wet food intake ... or ditch the wet food completely, in favour of a top quality dry food.
Food for thought ...

sleepymum50 Thu 07-Jan-16 00:00:43

My cat has the same as yours - wet food in pouches plus a bowl of dry food. He often meows for more while ignoring the dry food. Sometimes I only give him half a pouch but mix the dry food into it. He seems to like the dry food biscuits more when it's got the gravy/ jelly taste on it. Also I change the dry food variety quite a bit and will have a couple of different brands on the go. When he gets a new one - he eats much more of it.
I know the pouches are expensive - sometimes I have to just remind myself how much more I spend on human food.

DingbatsFur Thu 07-Jan-16 00:00:55

Read that male cats need a mixed diet of both wet and hard food or it can cause kidney issues in later life.
I found that our cat screams for food more when he needs more liquid like water or milk.

Dieu Thu 07-Jan-16 00:01:19

Thanks AE, I really do try to ignore, but it's so much harder if you're not a cat daft person! (although I am really very fond of our boy).

Rpj16 Thu 07-Jan-16 00:02:06

We discontinued wet food for our cat for expense reasons. It says on the back of name-brand dry food how much to give your cat if they only have dry, so see no problem. We used to give our cat gourmet cat food which is why it was expensive and she didn't like any other wet food, but it kept giving her runny poos (TMI) which was another reason behind stopping it.

Just keep the food in an old cake tinand don't store in kitchen and make sure you don't feed the cat anywhere near the kitchen either - this also helps! :D#

SO annoying to have cats miawing when you are trying to prepare your own food in kitchen!

Dieu Thu 07-Jan-16 00:04:36

Yes, it is. Desperately trying to think of where else I could put his bowls, without greedy pup getting to them. Space here really is rather limited.

Thank you all very much again for your help.

patienceisvirtuous Thu 07-Jan-16 00:06:02

Does he always have access to water?

Mine have a constant supply of dry and get half a pouch three times a day (morning, after work, before I go to bed). They're in a set routine so only whinge for food when it's due.

Do you do set times?

Maybe try that?

patienceisvirtuous Thu 07-Jan-16 00:06:32

Half a pouch each three times a day that is...

patienceisvirtuous Thu 07-Jan-16 00:07:31

Bowls up a height? On bench but on feeding mat?

Jenda Thu 07-Jan-16 00:07:42

My cat is the same, has access to biscuits all day and eats them but will cry and cry for meat. Infant he gets so obsessed that if he hasn't seen me put it down he cries until I walk him his bowl to show him! He loves Gourmet but we've introduced cheaper brands. I would love to have him on dry but it seems to make him happy and as we don't have kids yet i can justify the expense grin

Dieu Thu 07-Jan-16 00:13:14

Always, always, always has fresh water ... well, cooled down water poured from the kettle as he dislikes it too cold! I can't honestly say that he ever drinks very much though, so I'm hoping he gets some from the many puddles around (Scotland).

AnotherEmma Thu 07-Jan-16 00:18:20

Just be aware, cats don't tend to drink much, and if they just eat dry food it can make them more prone to urinary problems - especially if they're overweight as well. Trust me, a bit of wet food each day could be a good investment compared to the potential vet bills!

Rpj16 Thu 07-Jan-16 00:39:56

Feed in upstairs bathroom? if you leave the door open when not in use? We did this in our old place, so we'd get miaws when brushing teeth,haha. its less annoying though!

Rpj16 Thu 07-Jan-16 00:40:36

..I'm not much of a cat person either, but I do love our one!

Dieu Thu 07-Jan-16 00:51:49

There is no upstairs, and that's so funny about your bathroom!

Right m'dears, here's what I've decided. I have just ordered Millie's Lionheart from the Millie's Wolfheart website, and I am going to try him on that.

Tbh, it did always bother me slightly that Dieupup was getting the creme de la creme of food, and he was not! This way they will be total equals grin

It really is good stuff, very high in animal protein and grain free. I know with the dog version, it's often what breeders and raw food fanatics feed their dogs when they're on holiday etc. (so it's seen as a good back up).

If anyone did fancy trying it, they are currently doing 'buy one get one free' on their sacks of dry food. They are slightly short dated at March '16.

This is an absolute bargain, particularly for those of you who may have more than one cat ... or a greedy * like mine!

Hope the dog likes it if he does not ... 8kg of the stuff coming my way!

I will let you know how we get on!

Dieu Thu 07-Jan-16 01:01:53

got that wrong, have ordered 4 kilos in total. Phew!

MsMims Thu 07-Jan-16 01:16:58

Really wouldn't advise moving him on to a 100% dry food diet. In fact it's best if you cut dry out of his diet altogether. Dry food is far more inferior.

Cats don't have the thirst drive to compensate for dry food, leading to urinary problems, blockages and worse; life threatening illness. Male cats are more prone to these issues. This would be an additional bad move when your cat already rarely drinks water OP.

As for dry food cleaning their teeth - rubbish! The majority of cats don't chew their food anyway, that's why if you're lucky enough to find cat vomit the pieces of dry food will still be intact rather than chewed up into little pieces. For the minority that do chew, dried biscuits arent abrasive enough to clean teeth anyway. Do you rub a hobnob on your teeth to clean them? This article even says for the few cats who chew, the dry food simply crumbles at the tips of the teeth:


That link also shows academic studies proving dry food isn't helpful for dental health. Dry food keeping teeth clean is a myth pedalled by pet food manufacturers. In reality, the best thing you can do for your cat is get them used to toothbrushing.

OP: I would move your cat onto a medium-high quality wet food, it should contain more meat and less fillers so your cat feels fuller for longer. Do you feed him at set times? Mine are fed at 8am, about 5pm, and sometimes 11pm, like clockwork they appear about half an hour before feeding time and start congregating but they don't pester for more food between meals. Better quality food is more expensive but pays off in other ways - it lasts longer and helps fend off expensive vet bills.

Hope you manage to get him settled down, I adore mine but can sympathise with the nails on a blackboard sound of meowing for food, although ironically for me it was the other way round (trying to wean newly adopted cats off dry food and onto wet!). Persevere, it does pay off smile

MsMims Thu 07-Jan-16 01:22:23

Just spotted another good link on the same site about dry vs wet food

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