Posted on: January 28th, 2014 by Dr. Melissa Mustillo

Ben, a handsome grey cat , was about 5 years old when he was adopted from MCHS by his new family. As often happens, we didn’t know too much about Ben’s previous life, but he seemed to settle in well with the couple who adopted this (very) lucky kitty. But, while his parents were early risers, whatever time they got up, Ben decided that an hour earlier would be even better. Ben’s diet consisted of canned food twice daily. He also got t/d dry food and Greenies dental treats, for dental health.

Our suggestions included:

1) Feeding Ben at a set time in the morning that the owners decided, but not when they first woke up. This way, Ben wouldn’t think that if he ate at 5, best to wake everyone up at 4 so he could be fed even earlier.

2) Protein is more filling than carbs as we all know, so we recommended increasing Ben’s canned food by another ½-1 (3 oz) can. Feeding canned food 3 times daily: in the morning, when you get home from work and at bedtime lets you divide food into more frequent, small meals, which is more natural for cats (picture a mouse as a “mini-meal”). Depending on your cat, meals can be divided equally or you can feed more canned at dinner or bedtime.

3) We recommended decreasing the t/d to 10 pieces per day and eliminating the Greenies dental treats. While Greenies can be beneficial, they do add carbs and calories, and a “serving” is about 10 pieces, twice daily! Cats don’t metabolize carbohydrates well, so the dry food and treats can end up making the cat hungrier.

4) Ben loved his t/d, but feeding this first thing in the morning wasn’t helping the situation. So, we recommended feeding Ben his t/d in the evening, either at dinner or as a bedtime snack.

These are some of the suggestions that have worked for other clients’ early risers in the past. Does your cat also love to make sure you are up to see the sunrise each morning? Let us know if you’ve found something that has worked for you!