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My 86 year old Mom has a sweet cat who is great company for her, and we love him so much. But she overfeeds him, and now he's overweight. He was abused about a year ago as a stray, and had his mouth wired back together, so for a long time, he was only able to eat canned cat food. He is healed and able to eat dry food as well, but she is constantly putting a little can of food in his bowl every time he meows at her. He probably eats double/triple what he needs......I'm not sure if she's just giving in to him too much, forgetting she fed him, or what. I've fussed to no avail. Told her his obesity will lead to health issues, but she either doesn't understand or care. I feel her mild dementia plays a role, and impulsive behavior. She lives alone, and I see her once or twice a week. I wrote a note and taped it to the shelf beside the canned food that says "Feed one can in morning and One can in afternoon) - nothing seems to work short of taking away all canned food and rationing.

Quit buying the canned food (if he can eat dry). Or bring it with you when you go to give him a treat. If he only eats canned, then put the Mon-AM, Mon-PM on the can so she can keep track. Maybe she forgets that she gave him a can
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disgustedtoo Mar 15, 2020
My advice is to stop buying the dry food. THAT very often leads to not only over-weight, but other medical issues. I ditched that many years ago and feed everyone here multiple times/day, usually about a heaping tablespoon/meal. No one is overweight!
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My mother adored her cat and also overfed her. At first she did it herself and later, when she wasn’t able to do it herself, She instructed her caregiver to feed the cat when the cat would meow. I argued with her until I realized that it did no good. It only created conflict between us. My mother’s cat had been abandoned and abused before my mom got her. Feeding her was how my mother comforted her and bonded with her. I also came to realize that as my mother’s world shrank and she had less ability to do things and less control over her own environment, this was one area where she still called the shots. This was her baby and she was mother. It was also a bit of an exercise of power over her caregiver, who she would direct to feed the cat she was feeling powerless. I came to accept it. I did what I could - playing with the cat to give her more exercise and quickly picking up the plate of food when the cat walked away with the meal unfinished. I instructed the caregiver to do the same. I started bringing toys for my mother to give to the cat so that my mother would have other ways to feel the gratification of caring for her cat.

Years later, when my mother had to go into a rehabilitation center and then a nursing home I took the cat. I fed her the same type of food but reduced the amount and frequency and she adjusted. She’s healthy and slim.

Perhaps the day will come that your mother will no longer be able to have the cat as her companion and dependent. Until then you can try to watch out for its welfare but also recognize that there are probably psychological reasons for your mother’s over feeding behavior.
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lisah13 Mar 15, 2020
This is the best advice and pretty spot-on. It's pretty much the last area of control she has - she's always been a nurturing, "take care of others" person, and he's the only thing she has left to nuture. Thank you for your kind words.
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No. The cat isn't hungry. He's a pig as many cats are. Meter out the food to mom to give to the cat. If you're there every other day, 4 cans. Not more. You could visit mom more often to oversee this. My mom's current cat knows when caregivers change shifts, and was previously able to beg 3X the proper amount of food b4 getting caught.
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TouchMatters Mar 14, 2020
Cats are not pigs.
They are animals depending on responsible guardians to care for them.
Pigs are very intelligent - and clean - animals.
The cat, as with people, could be traumatized. Showing compassion for the cat - and the person (over) feeding the cat will assist all concerned. Cats, pets, like people, strategize and manipulate to get their needs met. In the case of pets, food often is a huge motivator - for attention. If the adult managing the food doesn't provide a nutritious amount, blame is on the adult(s) providing the food, not the cat (unless health issues).
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Honestly, I'm not sure there's a sure-fire solution. The suggestions here are good, but nothing I've tried with my grandfather has worked. Despite attempts to meter out their daily allotment, he gives each of his cats a full cereal bowl of food every day, and calls a neighbor to take him to buy more when he runs out.

His cats look like sausage rolls, but I comfort myself that they're happy and otherwise well cared-for.

You have to choose your battles.
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lisah13 Mar 15, 2020
I’m learning that choosing battles is the way to go. Thank you.
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I suggest putting the cat food you want her to give her cat on the counter each day, and hide the rest in a cabinet she doesn’t normally use. This is similar to managing medications for the memory impaired. Only give her access to what she needs when she needs it.
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I think that’s a dementia thing my mother probably would be feeding our 2 cats more food but she is immobile she keeps telling me they are hungry. My cats are free eaters food is available all day they eat when hungry neither is overweight. He probably has been trained to eat everything all at once cause it goes away.
i don’t know how to fix this because of her dementia she probably thinks she didn’t feed him cause the dish is gone.
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When my Mom started this behavior, my brothers and I had to lock up all the animal food, we had a metal cabinet in the garage with a locking handles. We would get up 4am to 5am in the morning and place the days pet food in the cabinet in the kitchen. Just a NOTE*, we ended up having to lock up everything, Meds (over the counter and RX), Dry Food, Freezer, ALL Cleaning Products. As for daily foods available to Mom, we would stock the kitchen cabinet every morning, just like the pet food. We did not lock the refrigerator, we just did not trust anything perishable. I had to buy more pots and pans, she would throw them in the garbage can, when we were not watching. Then she began throwing out anything she could not figure out, or in her mind, she did not need it.
Sorry you have to go through this, PLEASE, take care of yourself.
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lisah13, how does your Mom deal with the litter boxes? Is she scooping them out 2 or 3 times a day? If yes, then when it comes to food, she is feeding the cat out of love as he is saying he is hungry.... thus, not a memory issue.

Regarding eating, since the cat was a stray, he will eat any type of cat food put in front of him as in his mind he fears this could be his last meal and would need to forge for food.

How great that he and your Mom get along so well, he surely lucked out when he found her :)
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Cats don't need 2 cans of food a day. If u saw what my daughter feeds her cat you would say she is starving him. But he continues to be a healthy weight.

I suggest 1/2 can in the morning and the other half at dinnertime. Hard food can suppliment the cat in between. There are feeders that can be filled for that purpose even for water. I fed my cats (4) for years like this. No overweight cats.

Does your sister stop in in the morning and then in the evening then maybe she can feed the cat. That way the food can be kept out of Moms reach and out of sight. Or, the cat can eat the dry food during the day and sister can open a can for the evening.
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Invisible Mar 15, 2020
"You can feed your cat wet food daily. Check the can or consult with your veterinarian for feeding recommendations. In general, you can feed an average-sized adult cat one 3-ounce can per 3 to 3-1/2 pounds of body weight daily. You should adjust this amount depending on whether you also feed your cat dry kibble and/or treats."

This (above) is more in keeping with what the vet has told me. My 19 yr eats a lot of wet because he cannot metabolise well. The plump cat only likes a small amount of weight control dry. Go figure.
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You're going to have to have a plan B...and maybe a C. Check with the vet, the church/temple, the neighbors and find/ hire someone to stop in once or twice a day to put food down...food that you put in a cupboard and get a childproof safety lock on. Or you might want to check into some of these auto feeders and the canned food is left by you as a treat. Lastly...this is no doubt a sign of trouble brewing...as far as your mom's functioning and her own eating habits. Is she eating enough? Is she overeating grazing?
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