Rita (left) and Penny
I am a volunteer at an animal shelter and adopted my cat, Rita, about 4 months ago because I fell in love with her personality. She was surrendered by a family, but I believe they found her as a stray. She's a perfectly healthy (minus her small bout of worms) 1 year old kitty, and the most cuddly and talkative one I've ever had. I have 2 questions though . . .
1. What's the best way to feed a cat who eats like the world's coming to an end? I bought an automatic food dispenser because 1. she got into the habit of sticking her butt in my face (literally) at 4 AM to wake me up because she was hungry and 2. she acted like I was starving her if I didn't get home right at 5 to feed her. But she is so "hungry" that she's figured out how to stick her paw inside the machine and feed herself. It's also gotten so bad that I have to separate her from my other cat (that I got at the same time) when I feed them because Rita will each all of Penny's food. She's at a very healthy weight for her small frame and I feed her about 3/4 cup a day (1/2 is recommended for her weight, but she's very high energy). I've never had a cat I haven't been able to free feed before, so I'm not quite sure what the best method is. I'm thinking it probably results from her days as a stray and eating as much as she could when she could.
first check to make sure she still does not have some worms as this can make a cat very hungry as you know. If she
has suffered before she may have a return bout of them.
Also as you say stray cats can become very food fixated and the only way to solve this is to creat a a regular routine and stick to it. feed at certain times of the day only. Do not let her have access to other food and not to give in to the crying. this may sound harsh but it is not. It is the best way to help relax a cat into knowing that food is always available at certain times of the day. it may take some time and effort but stay strong and positive and remember that the crying and pestering is a learned behavior ie if they do this they get food. If you don't respond then they will stop the behavior.
2. What would cause a cat to waddle? Rita has no problem running, jumping, climbing, playing . . . but when she walks, her hind legs swing outwards. Basically it looks like she's walking with a stick up her little butt. Also, unlike most cats, she often sits/lies with her hind legs all splayed out (like a dog). It's cute, but I'm wondering if it could be because there's something wrong with her hips. It doesn't seem to be causing her any pain or problems, but I'd like to know what might be the cause.
Yes it could well be that she may have suffered some damage to her back in the past. It really is impossible to say without an examination by a vet. I am surprised that the animal shelter did not pick up on this before they gave her to you. I thought all animals had to be checked over by a vet before rehoming.
best wishes kate
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