A Little Cat Advice is Needed, If You Please

I need your help.

I have three cat-related problems that I am hoping you have some experience with, and can share how you dealt with them.

PROBLEM 1:

Yella Fella needs to lose some weight.

At the vet’s office yesterday I was told he could develop diabetes. I knew he needs to lose weight, and have taken some steps to help him, but they’ve not been enough. So he’s going on a special food- Prescription Diet Metabolic (which is OUTRAGEOUSLY expensive!) and eating separately from the others.

Have you helped a cat lose weight? Was this in a multi-cat household? What worked for you and what didn’t? 

PROBLEM 2:

I bought the cats a food maze in hopes it would appease the ‘hunting for food’ desire in them.But guess what? They won’t eat from it!

Even if i knock the food out myself, they don’t want to eat from the feeder.

I asked the vet about this yesterday and she cautioned me to make sure they do eat daily, but to keep trying to get them used to the maze.

Have you helped your cats develop a new habit, particularly with eating? What did you do? How long did it take?

PROBLEM 3:

I cannot stand cat litter scattered all over the floor. In our last home I had one room dedicated solely to litter boxes, but in this smaller apartment that’s not realistic. I’ve tried mats, covered boxes, different litters, but so far I’ve not managed to find a solution that we all can live with.

What has worked for you to minimize (or eliminate) litter scattered all over the floor?

I know I usually don’t ask for advice, but this time I am, so please share with me what has- and has not- worked for you. Has nots help me know what NOT to try. No idea is too crazy, provided it’s not expensive and it works.

Thank you in advance, and here’s hoping together we can find something that works for me and the cats.

34 thoughts on “A Little Cat Advice is Needed, If You Please

  1. My cat Hazel is overweight by a lot. I’ve tried a lot of things. All are hard on me and she figures out a way to steal food. My best is to feed the other cats up high (she can’t jump higher than a chair seat) so she can’t access it. It helps. Diet food did not work and was not worth the $$. My cat wouldn’t eat it. I had success with her losing weight a few years back but when I adopted a new (very finicky) cat last January, I had to put the food on the floor until she got strong enough to jump on a counter. Hazel cleaned up and gained again so we are back to high places. I have a food ball that makes her play to get kibble out but I haven’t tried it yet. For problem 2 good luck. I’m never successful with that. They either like it or not. Problem 3, I put a doggy piddle pad (big one) in front of the litter box which is where most of the kicked out litter goes. It’s easy to dump it back in the box. It also catches the last pee drop as they jump out. Covered boxes haven’t worked here. It promoted peeing “outside the box.” Good luck!

      1. My vet is not a fan of dry cat food so she recommended wet. No one ate it. Of course, my cats do not like anything that’s good for them. 🙂 I do feed them grain-free dry when they get it.

  2. I have been trying to figure out the cat litter problem for almost 2 years, since we kept the two kittens we found. It doesn’t matter what I put under that litter box to try to catch stray litter, Salem just pulls on it and plays with it until she drags the box around and makes a huge mess! She also drags their water dispenser all over creation and dumps water everywhere. I finally just gave up and we vacuum a lot. As for the food, I went to a local pet store H3Pets and they were so helpful! They have a grain free weight control food that I feed to both cats, even though Oreo is the one that needs it. I also split their food into two meals, morning and evening. I don’t let them graze anymore. Once again, Salem would drag the bowls around or flip them over if they had too much food in them lol. Once I started splitting the meals, Oreo was limited to how much she got and couldn’t go eat her sister’s food too. Salem is much more active, so my daughter sneaks her into her room to give her a bit more food. Both cats are now very healthy and at a good weight. Oreo also is more active than she was when overweight. That probably helps, too.

      1. I got a large box at Home Depot and cut a door out of one side. I put the litter box inside the box. It hasn’t totally stopped litter tracking, but boy has it helped! We always had a pile of litter right outside the litter box where they got in and out and now it is in the box. I take it outside and just dump the litter that has collected in the box as part of our clean up routine. It takes a few minutes, but I think it will save our carpet.

  3. One of the best ways for a cat to lose weight is to feed less, and not to free feed, and one of the best ways to avoid diabetes in cats, or even put a cat in remission, is to avoid dry food and feed only pate-style canned which has no starches to turn to sugar. I know this puts a crimp in a schedule. I quit free-feeding in the late 80s, and have fed either canned only or one brand of dry food when Namir’s heart condition got too expensive. I’ve had a few cats who got a little extra plump, but never heavy enough to risk diabetes, and I can always adjust how much food I give them. Also, I like to give them grain-free and better quality foods, but we serve up plenty of 13 oz. cans of Friskies pate.

    I quit using clay litter years ago too. I do have a basement for most of my litterboxes, but I’ve always had one in the bathroom initially for my geriatric cats so they didn’t have to run down two sets of steps in the dark, and for fosters or cats who need to be confined for some reason, and sometimes one on the first floor for a cat who was ill and wanted to stay with me while I worked. I use hardwood woodstove pellets. They don’t clump, but when the pellets get wet they swell and then break down into sawdust. I just put a small amount in the box each day and pull out the solid stuff and the sawdust. Nothing ever sticks to the box, and nothing tracks aside from the stray pellet that might fly out or some sawdust on paws. The pine litters are different–they break down to sawdust really fast and that does track easily. The hardwood pellets hold together better. They also handle the smell better–the tannins in the wood break down the urine smell pretty effectively. I get them at Lowe’s or Home Depot and they cost about $5.50 for 40#. Sometimes I use paper pellet litter, no tracking, no dust. It can be difficult to get cats accustomed to a new type of litter so you just use it in one box and keep the other two.

    Good luck!

    1. I’ll check out the pellets. Thanks!

      And I always worried about the canned food affecting their teeth, and I read canned food was associated with mouth cancer. But cancer is a maybe and obesity is a definitely. So I’ll be checking into the right amounts to feed them. Thanks!

  4. Not a cat, but we had a morbidly obese dog we rescued. In congestive heart failure. The vet suggested supplementing a smaller portion of food with cabbage. It worked and we didn’t have a flatulence or any major complications problem. I didn’t research how this may work on cats or problems it might cause but wanted to pass along this info. Good luck with the above issues.

  5. I don’t have advice about the other two, but I had a cat who would not eat or drink anything out of plastic. It’s possible the new feeder has a odor that puts them off it.

  6. pinterest.com/explore/cat-litter-mat/
    I use these mats with holes to trap litter.
    As to weight control, we feed 1/2 cup kibble a day,. That’s it. Vet says that’s plenty for a 16lb cat. Fat boy lost 3lbs over several months and looks quite svelte for a big old Main Coon.

  7. Sometimes, I think the prescription diets are a scam. I had a rather skinny cat that got diabetes and a fat cat that did not. Weight is not always the determining factor. If you are worried about blood sugar, cut the carbs (kibble) and try a canned diet. That’s expensive, too, but maybe not insanely, if you do half kibble and half canned, it’s not so bad.

    As for introducing new things? We “catified” our home by adding ramps and hiding places above the dog zone. It took them a year to start using it regularly. Yup, a year to get used to it. Good luck.

    1. A year? Wow!!!!

      As for the scam, I think you’re on to something. A commenter on our Facebook gave a link to a site dedicated to cat feeding, and it seems Friskies flaked tuna is nutritionally better for cats than a lot of high-dollar foods. Who knew? 🤔

  8. I know Speedy isn’t a cat but he does have a weight problem and I have to keep it below 3kg which its not at the moment.I only give him a 1/4 cup of his pellets which a light version plus he only gets one treat a day the rest of his diet is hay and greens.his dad was always sneaking extra treats so he is under strict orders now no extra treats and we try to get him to run about by taking him on his walks and get him to be more active indoors too,the weight is slowly coming off….I guess what I’m saying is cutting back on the amount they eat and increase their activity as much as you can which I know with working 2 jobs is difficult and I find sticking to a routine with smaller meals works better too as it increases their metabolism.I can’t help with the other 2 as Speedy gets board with mazes and he makes a mess full stop….all rabbits do and I never found a solution even when I had cats either,xx Rachel

  9. Regarding losing weight, you need to feed a wet food. Dry food is much higher in calories than wet food. Portion control is important as well…no free feeding. And exercise helps! Lots of play time. I had one of those food mazes and the cats wouldn’t touch it either. I ended up giving it away. What might help is a puzzle toy…like a ball that you put treats in (this is where you can use the dry food). The cats roll it around to get the food out. As far as litter, I have always said if someone invented a non-tracking litter, they will make zillions of dollars. I have yet to find a litter that doesn’t track, even the ones they say are less tracking, track. ~Island Cat Mom

  10. I cannot answer all your questions, but I have my own cats and have fostered 100s of them over many years. I’ve tried all kinds of litter (I can only use clay-based litter with kittens). The best I can recommend for less tracking is Jonny Cat litter, clay-based. The worst for tracking in clumping is Tidy Cat (even though that is what I use for my cats as it creates less odor than any other). I use a mini hand-held broom and just sweep up the mess that comes out. If you are looking for cheaper costs, I highly recommend Chewy.com, I buy all my food for my cats and the foster cats from there. It is substantially cheaper. You’ll need an Rx from your vet to get the prescription kinds, but that should be fine in your situation. Sorry about the other issues.

  11. Well Jenn I have no ideas! I do know NONE of my cats liked eating off plastic so maybe the feeder is not a great idea in practice.
    I’m not sure about diets for losing weight/avoiding Diabetes.. I’ve been told to NEVER feed Fancy Feast or Friskies but Siddhartha Henry has IBS so he does need Vet kibble & food.
    As for the scattering of the litter, again no help there….my ‘littul man’ flings it all over bathroom & into hallway…I sweep up ALOT!!! LOL…..
    Fat lot of help I am right???
    Sherri-Ellen 🙂

  12. To help a kitty lose weight, you could get him playing more with a wand toy like da bird.
    I have never solved the scattered litter problem 🙂

  13. Winston is part dog and will eat all day if we let him. He is a big boy and has been up to 15 pounds. The vet said he needed to lose weight but if one changes cat food too fast you know what happens in the litterbox – it is not pretty. What I did to keep him at 14 pounds was to put canned in his bowl twice a day and one bowl of Purina gentle for grazing. Since he is a kitten at heart, I bought him a special toy with feathers on a stick. He’s still walking flat-footed since Bob died but he likes to play.
    The litter box deal – oh how I sympathize! I have used a special pad but since I am immuno-compromised due to chemo it’s up to my husband to scoop and change the litter. Since Winston is almost twice the weight Bob was, we noticed he would have more spillover accidents so I got a larger pan– one that is not too deep because of the flat-footed thing. That helped some but litter still gets out and if my husband does not clean the box in time – or the litter catching pad, he will use it because there is litter there. I have lined the edges of the outside of the litter box with puppy pads but you have to be careful with that also as if it lies flat, the chemical smell encourages cats to use them like a litter box.
    Another problem I have with Winston is “flushing” or burying. Previous owners had him declawed which makes them stop burying poop because they remember the pain of doing so after that particular maiming. He has actually come to get me to bury his poop for him!

  14. Sadly I have no experience or expertise where cats are concerned but suspect it’s similar with peeps or dogs losing weight. Less food, more activity. My vet suggested the ridiculously expensive food for my overweight sheepdog that I could not afford so I did research on the highest grade of food I could and began offering a bit less with each meal. Surprisingly she began losing weight and got back to the ideal in reasonably quick time. Better quality of food resulted in less waste coming out which might help on the litter box thing. Any chance you can ‘add’ some higher walls to the box to help on that front?

  15. MasterB is on a special diet to control the crystals in his bladder to stop him developing cystitis. It’s expensive and it’s by Royal Canin, a company that dos not have the best record for using meat from humanely reared animals. MasterB could also do with losing a few grammes.
    So, I am experimenting with giving him Applaws, expensive but from a PETA approved company, on alternate days. Applaws isn’t a complete cat food, so I am supplementing it with a supplement called Fellini and another supplement to curb the crystals. So far, so good. To slow down his biscuit consumption he has his biscuits in a biscuit ball, a catcher, or, when we are afloat, in the part of the egg box the eggs sit in so he has to oik them out. It didn’t take him long to get the hang of any of these. He also likes games where you place a biscuit somewhere ad point to it. He gets to run about, and only has one biscuit at a time. There are kong toys for cats if you have hard floors you can wipe clean easily.
    Others who have used Fellini report their cats less demanding of food than before. I am still waiting for that to happen, but it may. There’s a lot of info out there about the merits and otherwise of commercially produced food. A lot of people recommend feeding their cats the raw diet and again supplementing it with Fellini. This is something else that has been said to help with weight loss.
    As for litter, well MasterB tracks his around the flat. But his tray is in the bathroom where there is no carpet and most of it stays there. I sweep up several times each day.
    Good luck!

  16. PS MasterB has a more complicated toy that makes it harder for him to get the treats. He loves it if I sit with him and help him practise. There’s lots of purring and he sticks with it. Now he has managed to get the treats from nearly all the places. So persevere!

  17. Our Chris has gained too much weight and I am pretty convinced it is because he is a dry food addict. I think dry food is like a high carb diet for people and it causes weight gain. I wouldn’t trust the dry diet foods either because they just eat more of it.

    I want to eliminate dry food, or at least just leave it out when we will be gone a long time, but Chris will only take a couple of bites of the wet food and then quit, so I feed him the dry because I’m a sucker. I do limit the dry food and allow his bowl to stay empty for hours at a time and usually overnight. That has helped a little.

    We had the food maze too but it does not work with food, only treats. Try buying freeze-dried food like Stella and Chewy’s and put ten or twenty morsels in there maybe once a day. It is a treat for them and they will use the maze.

    The litter is a tougher problem. We just sweep a lot. Good luck.

  18. Your query about the litter tracking is the million dollar question. As in you would make millions if you came up with one that truly doesn’t track. We have a plastic litter mat and a “runner” rug in front of the litter box. This seems to cut down a lot on the tracking.

    As for helping Yella Fella lose some weight, will he eat wet food? It has less calories than dry. Also, portion control and no free-grazing will help.

  19. The fastest way to help a cat lose weight is cut out the kibble and feed wet food. Prescription kibble doesn’t work. Kibble expands in the cat’s stomach when they drink water. If you don’t have one already, buy a wand toy and set aside some interactive play time. I know that can be tough since you have 2 jobs. You can also get a bolt laser toy which is electronic so he can play when you’re not home. Hope others have advice on cat litter b/c it all seems to track. The worst in our condo seems to be Arm & Hammer w/baking soda crystals.

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