TT W4D5: My Cats On A Diet

I posted a while back that at their last check up, both of my feline kids were given the fluffy tag by their vet, and she wasn’t talking about their fur coats. I was given an instruction sheet explaining the importance of maintaining a healthy weight for my cats and why it was optimal to feed them small, set portions broken up into at least 3 servings a day.

Yes, indeed–Body-for-Life for Cats.

So Chris and I switched from free feeding to twice a day feedings about 12 hours apart at 6-6:30 am when I woke up, and again at 5 pm when Chris got home from work. This was all right initially while we were finishing up the bag of regular Purina One Salmon and Rice Adult Cat formula, but after I switched to the lower calorie density Purina One Weight Control formula, my younger cat Neville started to get hungry in the middle of the night. This resulted in him hopping up to my nightstand each and every morning between 4:30-5:30 am and poking or scratching me on any exposed bit of flesh he could reach, usually my shoulder or arm, until I groggily crawled out of bed to dump the morning ration of cat food into the two bowls in the kitchen.

Then I would crawl back into bed and attempt to fall back to sleep for another 1-2 hours. Chris, of course, never noticed any of this because he sleeps like the dead and Neville NEVER tried to wake HIM up.


Meanwhile, I haven’t had a full night of uninterrupted sleep in my own bed for the past two months.

I finally threw in the towel last week when Neville actually had the gall to do his breakfast puncture wound routine on me at 3:30 AM.

3:30 AM!!!!

I started researching automatic pet feeders that day.

Most of the models on and online had very poor or uneven reviews. Almost all of them were:

a) flimsy/poorly constructed – My cats are 12-14 pound bruisers. They would destroy one of these in a day.
b) battery-operated – I wanted one that could be used while Chris and I are away without fear of the batteries dying and the kids being left to starve, so an AC model was preferred.
c) unable to serve the very small portions needed
d) unable to do more than one or two feeding cycles a day
e) not feline secure – Cats could reach into the feeder and manually dig more food out whenever they wanted

They were also pretty darn expensive for such mediocre products–$50-$80 on average.

I was bummed. Nothing with decent ratings fit the bill.

Then I saw a recommendation for a commercial quality feeder in the comments for one of the pet market models on and clicked over to to check it out.

It was recommended by K9 dog trainers and used by government labs. The original model was designed to be mounted outdoors to drop food into koi ponds, which meant that it could withstand some serious physical abuse. It could dump out as little as a few pellets each feeding cycle, and was completely adjustable. It ran on a separate household lamp timer, so I could set as many feeding cycles as needed. It plugged into the wall, so I wouldn’t need to replace batteries every 2 weeks. The design prevented any paws from entering the food hopper. There was an optional 1.5 gallon hopper extension!

Super-Feeder with 1.5 Gallon Hopper

I was half in love with this gadget already. I clicked on the online store link.

OMG! $99.95 for the bundle with the feeder, 1 quart hopper, stainless steel bowl, and timer!



I dawdled. I deliberated. I checked my budget. I consulted two friends.

I thought about a lifetime of either being a bad cat mommy and letting my boys get fat, or the alternative of NEVER GETTING A FULL NIGHT’S SLEEP AGAIN.

I paid the $99.95.

The unit arrived on Friday, and Chris built a homemade stand and pedestal for it Sunday. It was indeed well-constructed, came with all the mounting hardware needed to hook it up to our own 2×4 and flat board, and only took a few minutes to calibrate. The timer was set up in even less time.

The boys now dash into the kitchen as soon as they hear the clink of food pellets hitting their bowls every 6 hours at 4 am, 10 am, 4 pm, and 10 pm. Ah yes, the sweet sound of automation!

I have slept like a rock from 11 pm to 6:30 am all week long.

That Super Feeder was soooooooo worth it. I’m going to order the add-on 1.5 gallon hopper next week.

Too bad nobody has come up with a 40/30/30 macro People Pellet food that tastes like cereal. I want a Super Feeder for myself at my desk. :prop:

7 thoughts on “TT W4D5: My Cats On A Diet

  1. You’re nuts! 😆

    Wouldn’t have been easier and cheaper just to buy them a better brand of catfood instead? If your vet recommends the Purina stuff, I guess it works but there are better “weight loss” catfoods out there that don’t contain as much ash, less fillers and other stuff that cats really don’t need.

    Iams usually is higher in fat than Science Diet, but both contain more fiber which is good for cats that are trying to lose excess fluff.

    Speaking of fluffy pets, Pfizer has decided to jump on the magic pet weightloss bandwagon. What irks me is the ASPCA is actually telling people this is a good thing as long as pets continue to get a proper diet and exercise.

    Is it just me or if pets ate a healthy diet and got plenty of exercise, they wouldn’t need Slentrol in the first place? Sheesh! You can find the story here ASPCA WEIGHS IN ON NEW DOGGY DIET DRUG

  2. Stacy – I did have the boys on Iams and Nutro Naturals/Max Cat for ages. They were enjoying the Nutro Naturals Indoor Cat formula when the vet told me they needed to lose weight. The main problem I had with the food was that Mr. Slinky would throw up at least once every other day when eating it. He has an easier time with the Purina One. I may give the Iams brand a shot again if they have smaller pellets now.

    I’m not giving up the autofeeder, though. Chris and I just aren’t home enough to do more than 2-3 feedings a day, and unfortunately, Neville would still want one of those feedings to be around dawn each day.


  3. I tried both my cats and dogs on Nutro. None of them could hold it down for whatever reason. I tried the cats on it first and blew off their vomiting to food allergies, but when the dogs did the same thing I decided that there is something in both formulas that simply doesn’t agree with them.

    I feed both of my cats Iams Weight Loss formula.

    Tool is 13.5 pounds but he’s considered to be within a normal range as he’s just a big cat.

    Oreo is between 14-16 pounds. He’s always been on the heavier side regardless of what I feed him. Tool is maintaining his weight while Oreo has been losing slowly over the past year. He’s an old man at 13 so as long as the weight comes off, all is good.

    I did have situation where the cat I had before Tool never weighed more than 8 pounds. Trying to maintain her weight while getting Oreo to drop weight became a major headache. For every ounce Oreo lost, Jinkx would lose just as much, if not more.

    Hopefully you’ll never have to deal with that as it’s a nasty cycle that doesn’t have an ideal or exact solution other than finding ways to get more calories into one cat while maintaining a healthy loss in the other.

  4. That feeder looks awesome – my cat wakes me up with these long, sad meows every morning at 5:45 – 6:00 … He gets messed up with daylight savings and wakes us up even earlier!

    I might just have to get one!

  5. Laura – I know it is kind of expensive, but I don’t regret buying it at all. The setup works like a charm, and my boys now run right to the kitchen when they hear the chink of their food dropping into their bowls. I haven’t slept so well in months. Daylight savings messes up my cats, too.

    Stacy – Well, at least my experience with Nutro isn’t isolated. I started buying it because it was rated so well on an article about premium cat foods. Slinky was 13 pounds at his last check up and Neville was 12 pounds. I think the vet would like to see them closer to 10-11 pounds, but they really are medium-large framed cats, not the wee little 6 pounder fairy cats I’ve seen. As of two days ago, they have flipflopped their weights…Slinky is now 11.8 pounds and Neville is the nearly 13 pound chubster. Sigh. Maybe I am doomed to have a combined cat weight of 25 lbs no matter how I feed them.

    Christina – Thanks for the cat food links. The regular stores over here don’t carry those brands, but there is a natural pet supply store that is affiliated with a local cat rescue that does appear to stock a few of the brands you recommended. I’ll take a look this weekend.

  6. Sorry to keep bringing this up, but I thought I’d share what I found out earlier in the week.

    We went and spoke with some people on the Cape that rescue / adopt retired Greyhounds. When we started talking about their diets, they mentioned that they feed all their animals a diet called Fromm.

    They make both canine and feline versions of their diets.

    Take a peek at the ingredients of these diets as they are awesome. These are organic diets that are good enough for people to eat, seriously.

    I just got back from a pet supply place that carries Fromm and another diet called Innova Evo for cats. There ingredients and food quality is the same as Fromm.

    Because my cats are so different in life stages or ages, I stuck with the suggestion I was given for them and went with the Innova Evo as the cat needs to lose will shed a pound or two, while the other will maintain.

    The Fromm won’t do much for my dogs other than giving them a considerably better diet which I’m hoping will clear up the dry skin issues they have and possibly help my German Shepard with her allergies. It won’t do much for her hip problems, but we got a good supplement that hopefully will give her some extra relief that the Rimadyl cannot.

    One of my cats couldn’t get to the sample portion of the new food fast enough and my dogs loved theirs as well.

    It’s official that my animals now eat better than I do. 😆

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