TL:DR: any thoughts on the idea of deliberately putting down far too much dry food so there will always be more than 3 cats can realistically eat?
(hate to be wasteful but it’s the next thing I’m considering trying to solve the problems I’m having with my cats).
We have 3 cats, 2 of the 3 are vomiting so regularly that we are cleaning up piles of sick on average once per day. One of the cats is prone to vomiting during the act of eating wet food, the other is most likely to vomit fairly soon after the morning dry food.
This is not a hairball thing, the piles of sick only occasionally have hairballs in them.
All 3 cats have had recent check-ups at the vet and have been found to be in good health. Beyond that all 3 cats seem generally happy and in good spirits.
2 of the cats are male and age 7, they have grown up together. The one that is being sick now has always been prone to vomiting, but is certainly not getting better and possibly getting worse.
The 3rd cat is a recent addition within the last 3 months, a 2 year old female cat. She is the one who tends to vomit right in the middle of consuming wet food (like back into the bowl). She also has a history of vomiting quite a bit (in her previous home), but it has certainly increased lately.
The 3 have adapted to each other quite well socially, they play together, will sit/sleep close to each other, but shared grooming is not yet universal.
‘Traditionally’ the dry food is handled by an auto-feeder that dispenses food 3 times per day. The wet food is given once per day around human dinner time.
On the matter of food/brands: when the new cat arrived what she was getting would have changed, but her tendency to get sick didn’t escalate until after she had been around for over a month. For the other two, well, erm, being aware that changing a cat’s food can either provoke sickness or have them reject the new food, from day 1 they have been fed ‘mixed food’. What I mean by this is I will take a few different brands, mix it together, then put it in the feeder, likewise I will have a variety of wet food, and they never get the same brand 2 days in a row. By extension I give them a range of food qualities anything from round Felix up to Royal Canin/Hills, avoiding only suspiciously cheap or ridiculously over-priced brands.
And finally, they all drink a decent amount of water.
The 2 cats that keep puking are vigorously competing with each other for food and eating too quickly and this is making them sick.
Solutions that have not worked:
• The boy with the history of puke has been specifically checked by his vet regarding his overly frequent vomiting and the vet said he seems to have no medical issue that would cause this. (This check was before the addition of the 3rd cat).
• Spreading the food across multiple dishes and multiple locations. The 2 hungry-holes just go on a treasure hunt to see who can eliminate the most plates fastest.
• Adding a significant amount of gastrointestinal dry food to the mix.
The current, not really working, solution:
Feeding them in very small amounts scattered throughout the day. I mean 1 teaspoon of wet food at a time, on an hourly basis, until the full amount has been served.
The auto feeder has been reduced from serving size 8 portions to size 3 portions and we are supplementing that by adding pinch of dry food anytime we see the bowl completely empty (which seems to be around 10 times per day). This has slightly reduced the problem, however its untenable because it means that anytime the home is devoid of humans for multiple hours the cats are all legitimately very hungry by the time we get back. This in some ways exacerbates the issue, and is furthermore cultivating a situation where we are worried the other cat (the one who never pukes) is not getting his fair share because unlike the other two he is very laid back about getting his food so it’s usually gone by the time he checks in.
Next ‘solution’ we are currently considering:
Since the cats are trying to out eat each other they perhaps perceive a lack of food.
We are considering basically putting on a constantly full buffet of dry food and doubling or tripling the amount of wet food that is served (and serving it all at once).
This would almost certainly result in a lot of piles of sick in the short term, but the logic is that maybe if we do this for a week or two the cats will get it into their heads that there is plenty of food and they don’t need to try and out eat each other.
Is this just completely wrong headed? Or is it worth a try?
Certainly eager to hear other suggestions!