Is the cat next door being fed enough?

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catslave16
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Is the cat next door being fed enough?

Post by catslave16 » Thu Oct 20, 2016 6:38 pm

This is a trivial issue compared to some of the health issues some of you and your fur babies go through, but I'd appreciate some advice.
My next door neighbours are a nice young couple, both in work, two little girls of five and ten. I get on really well with both of them but the girl is the one with the 'smarts'. About three years ago they got a little black kitten for the girls. Kitty is still little, but feisty. She's not a cuddly cat at all and very much lives her own life, much to the girls' disappointment. So they got a dog a year ago and he satisfies all their cuddling needs.
When my beloved Blake was still alive Kitty used to come in through the cat flap and scoff all his food. Blake didn't like it but didn't do anything about it (Rufus is a big lad too, and also a bit of a wimp...) It annoyed me because it upset Blake and I can't afford to feed other people's cats. Well, Blake died, and 18 months later I got Rufus. That's a year ago now. I had him micro chipped and got an electronic cat flap (when Blake was still alive the only electronic cat flaps available didn't work with his micro chip - nowadays they work with any chip) so Kitty can't come in, and neither can Frankie, who used to like Blake's company. Blake tolerated him.
But Kitty is still trying to get in: whenever I open the front or back door she tries to slip past me. She has a hoarse, insistent miaow and always seems to be starving. I raised this carefully with Anne-Marie, who assured me she is fed properly. They're responsible pet owners: they pay £10 monthly for flea treatments and any vaccinations, and they have pet insurance as well. And yet... In the past I have occasionally given Kitty a treat - very occasionally. I didn't want her to start regarding me as a food source - and she absolutely pounced on it and bolted it down. She's a very small cat and very slim, though not quite skinny.
I find Kitty's behaviour quite distressing. She acts like she's starving. I'm sure she's being fed properly and regularly, but I don't think she's getting enough. This is a tricky subject. I've raised it once, and I really don't want to fall out with my neighbours. I know I'm an absolute pushover when it comes to cats. Does Kitty know this and is she just 'trying it on'? She always seems to be there whenever I go out or come back. Nowadays I just say 'Hello Kitty' and then ignore her, and after a bit she'll walk away, but I'm finding it hard.
Am I being ridiculously oversensitive (yet) again?

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Ruth B
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Re: Is the cat next door being fed enough?

Post by Ruth B » Thu Oct 20, 2016 8:16 pm

Some cats will just try it on, my Saturn would eat me out of house and home if I let him, and end up as round as he is long in the process. Some also learn that they get better food and treats at neighbours houses and not at their own. One of my mothers neighbours only feeds their cats a specific type of dried food as advised by the vet, not for a medical condition but just because it was 'better for them' (I think it was better for the vets balance sheet as well, but that is just me). As my mother feeds the the cats for them when they are away she normally gives them a pouch of wet food as well as it means she can get out the door with out them following her. Unfortunately they have come to associate her with the wet food and one of them regularly tries to get into my mother's kitchen, just to see if her cats have left anything.

Its a difficult situation for you, if the cat is getting the proper vet treatment I would hope the vet is keeping an eye one her weight and would mention to them if she was losing any or was too thin. The only thing I could think to suggest is that you weigh her yourself regularly. That way if it does seem like she is losing weight you could have a word with your neighbours mentioning that she seems thinner than normal, suggesting they get her vet checked, 'just to be on the safe side'. If she has lost weight then the vets should say so, and coming from them they would hopefully increase the food accordingly, and thank you for being a concerned neighbour.

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Re: Is the cat next door being fed enough?

Post by alanc » Thu Oct 20, 2016 8:56 pm

As Ruth says, some cats will try it on - tubby Tay from next door for one! Tay behaves in much the same way as you describe Kitty as behaving. I know Tay is not being starved - you only have to see his girth - but his behavior would make you think he hadn't been fed for a week! If I open a window or the door, in comes Tay and heads for Tilly's food bowl. I can no longer leave food down for Tilly to graze on during the day as it would all disappear into Tay. I have a microchip operated cat flap too, but Tay learnt how to circumvent it by following under Tilly's long tail (and Badger's when he was alive)! (I have had other problems with the flap, so no longer use it as a microchip operated flap, but only as a convenient way of imposing a curfew on Tilly to keep her in at night.) So I would follow Ruth's advice and try and weigh Kitty every now and then and only raise the matter of feeding if he is loosing weight.

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Re: Is the cat next door being fed enough?

Post by Lilith » Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:00 pm

Yes, I agree with Ruth and Alan - I was once in a similar situation, where the neighbours actually said, 'oh we know if we're out 'Felix' can come to you' - why do some people think that if you've got cats you're running a cat hotel? You can understand the cats thinking this, but people??? 'Felix' was super-skinny and ate everything including the jam off my toast but I can vouch for it that he was well-cared for. When they were in. Oh and if I was extra lucky I got the child as well, muggins! But old Felix knew he was on to a good thing.

However, poor Kitty sounds to be like my Irish grandma's tenth child, three years older than me, who the midwife called 'poor little one-too-many'. Bought for the kids - ugh! Ok some kids are great but others not and I despise this notion of the 'family pet' as some families are great but others not, and it doesn't sound as if this 'family pet' is a happy camper. So when the novelty wore off they got a dog. 'Nough said.

How big is this dog? I hate to sound so depressing but I once knew someone whose cat was continually asking for food and she couldn't understand why - until she caught her Staffy up on the utility room worktop. Where she fed the cat. I just get the impression that poor Kitty is 'bottom feeder' in this setup and well-nourished or not, is seeking another home, sensible cat, but it's hard on you as you can't nick her from your neighbours and you can't afford another cat.

I WAS going to say, I'd be tempted to leave her a bowl of biscuits, discreetly, outside, but then you'll end up feeding the neighbourhood...there is no easy answer to this.

I sense that she may give up and try farther afield - do hope she finds what she's wanting, poor Kitty.

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Re: Is the cat next door being fed enough?

Post by Alice » Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:34 pm

You say that you get on well with these neighbours, so perhaps when you're chatting with one of them perhaps you could casually bring up the subject of cat feeding, waffling about how fussy they can be, what yours like to eat, how much they eat, etc, etc, without them guessing that you're trying to quiz them about the amount/brand/quality of food they provide. ;) If they realise that they're providing less than you give yours it might prompt them to give Kitty more, so she doesn't feel the need to turn to you to fill her tum.

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Re: Is the cat next door being fed enough?

Post by Kay » Sat Oct 22, 2016 1:38 pm

I'd be tempted to give Kitty some reasonable quality biscuits too, as if she always eats them up I would take that as meaning she is genuinely hungry

The two strays I feed always eat all the wet food l give them but sometimes leave biscuits

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Re: Is the cat next door being fed enough?

Post by Alice » Fri Oct 28, 2016 7:39 pm

How are things going this week with Kitty?

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Re: Is the cat next door being fed enough?

Post by catslave16 » Mon Oct 31, 2016 12:13 am

Thank you for all your posts. Kitty is just the same as usual this week... I think the problem can be, and is in this case, that people feed their cat a set amount, say a pouch in the morning and biscuits at night, regardless of whether that is enough or not. I've always fed my cats on demand, and none have been at all overweight. Maybe I've been lucky not to have had greedy cats! But a cat's appetite varies. I wonder if some cats are greedy because they've had times in their past that food was hard to come by, so they scoff whatever is available, whenever, whereas my cats learned that food would be provided when they wanted it so they were and are more relaxed about it. Any thoughts on this from all you highly experienced cat people?
(Of course Rufus will go on hunger strike if the food I provide is not up to standard - i.e. the less expensive stuff - because he's learned that sooner or later - okay, I admit it, sooner - he'll get something more to his taste. The little scamp.)
I would love to provide Kitty with supplementary food on the sly but the sad truth is that, living on benefits, I simply cannot afford to. I struggle to pay my bills as it is, that's why I occasionally try cheaper cat food on Rufus. A false economy, as it is likely to end up in the bin!
I'll try to raise the subject again with Anne-Marie. Maybe I can suggest the dog is scoffing the cat food - good idea, that!

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Re: Is the cat next door being fed enough?

Post by Crewella » Mon Oct 31, 2016 2:23 am

I tend to take on all the elderly ex-strays that come in to our rescue, and all of them are pigs and will gorge on any food they can find. Most have been elderly, so pretty set in their ways, but even Daz, who was 5 when he got here, has to be monitored closely or he'll end up a four-legged football. To be honest, I've yet to meet one that I could convince there would always be another meal at the next feeding time - they all treat each meal as if it were their last and attack it as if they've not eaten for a week! Paddington, as did Pugwash before him, gets so excited and mesmerised by the sight of his bowl coming that he walks into things and falls down the kitchen step because he will not take his eyes off it! :D

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Re: Is the cat next door being fed enough?

Post by Ruth B » Mon Oct 31, 2016 9:29 am

Some cats really do not know when to stop eating, a bit like some of us humans, and with similar results. Every time I go in the kitchen Saturn believes I am getting him something to eat, if I fed him on demand he would be as round as he is long, and he is a long cat. He is also happy to help himself to anything left out, last night I found him crunching away on some toast crusts that had been left over and not put straight in the bin. So much for trying to keep him on a wheat free diet.

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Re: Is the cat next door being fed enough?

Post by OHWS » Tue Nov 01, 2016 10:33 pm

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Last edited by OHWS on Sun Nov 27, 2016 12:44 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Is the cat next door being fed enough?

Post by catslave16 » Wed Nov 02, 2016 1:18 am

Crewella wrote: Paddington, as did Pugwash before him, gets so excited and mesmerised by the sight of his bowl coming that he walks into things and falls down the kitchen step because he will not take his eyes off it! :D
Oh Crewella that is as heartbreaking as it is funny... :( :D

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Re: Is the cat next door being fed enough?

Post by alanc » Wed Nov 02, 2016 9:32 pm

I think that having suffered hard times does cause some cats to go into "Eat everything in sight" mode. My old Misty didn't eat much for the first four months I had him. Then he got lost for 9 weeks and existed by scavenging. When I found him again he was a totally changed character regarding feeding for the rest of his life. Ate all his food and asked for more. Swiped Honey's food as well, if he could get it! Mind you, he never got fat, however much he ate.
Can't explain why next doors pair are such greedy guts, though - they have never had to worry where the next meal is coming from!

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Re: Is the cat next door being fed enough?

Post by Crewella » Sun Nov 06, 2016 4:43 am

catslave16 wrote:
Crewella wrote: Paddington, as did Pugwash before him, gets so excited and mesmerised by the sight of his bowl coming that he walks into things and falls down the kitchen step because he will not take his eyes off it! :D
Oh Crewella that is as heartbreaking as it is funny... :( :D
It is, and that's why I have such a soft spot for these 'old soldiers' who start to struggle at the end of what has obviously been a tough life. It's a real privilege to be able to provide some love and comfort at last. xx

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Re: Is the cat next door being fed enough?

Post by catslave16 » Sun Nov 06, 2016 12:04 pm

Oh gosh I actually have tears in my eyes reading your last post, Crewella. Good for you.

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