Sunday, December 20, 2009

a feline dilemma

Dear Abby,

I need some advice. I have two cats. One is Daphne, who is about 11. Ookie is 2. Ookie was little when we got her but then got big, very big. Daphne had always been a grazer so we always had food out. Ookie is like a dog, and eats anything, and lots of it. We tried different solutions and finally have settled on this one. We have an automatic feeder so a little bit of food comes out 3 times a day. But now Ookie is just ever-so-slightly slimmer and Daphne is getting pretty skinny. Plus the worst thing is that it's made them competitive. EVERY time the food dispenses, Ookie runs like all hell towards it and gobbles up food really fast, the whole time growling. When Daphne gets there, she bops Ookie on the head, eats her little bit, then Ookie can finish. They've worked out a system, and Daphne is ultimately the one in power, but I don't like the consequences.

Daphne probably isn't eating enough, since she only eats a very little bit three times a day. Ookie is consumed by the attainment of food. She will sit in front of the cat dispenser for hours. Literally hours. She licks the empty bowl. She scavenges around the kitchen floor for crumbs. It's painful to watch. I think we've given her an eating disorder because I'm always telling her to get out of the kitchen, stop getting fat, and I'll pull her away from food so Daphne can eat something too. The cats, though never best buds, seem more like enemies, with a lot more catfighting.

We can't leave food out all day because Ookie will get REALLY fat. We're not here enough to monitor separate eating times/rooms (plus that's crazy). We're not going to get two automatic dispensers with their different names on it, because they can't read.

Any advice?

Confused in Catville

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