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rhino
February 20th 07, 06:47 PM
Does anyone have any suggestions on how to change feeding times for a cat
fairly painlessly?

I have been feeding my two cats breakfast at 8 AM since they came into the
house as kittens, almost 7 years ago. A few months ago, I took a night
shift - 4 PM to 1 AM - that has me getting home by 1:30 AM. I am usually too
wide awake to go to sleep right away though so I'm not usually in bed until
after 2 and not asleep until a while after that. But the cats insist on
breakfast at 8 AM and, as we all know, cats don't come with snooze buttons.

So, is there any way that I can get them used to eating later so that I can
get _all_ of my sleep before getting up? At present, I go back to bed after
feeding them but it can be a long struggle to get back to sleep at that
point. I know my mental health would improve if I could get my sleep in a
continuous block.

And please don't suggest that I change to a different shift. Believe me, I
would dearly love to do that and am looking for another job that would not
require these hours. But, for the moment, I am stuck with this shift.

Also, I should tell you that I have tried a timed-release feeder and it
didn't work out. The unit I bought had two lidded dishes; each lid had a
mechanical timer that you could set to open in a specific number of hours. I
first tried it on a day when I wasn't working, just to see what would
happen. Bebop smelled the food in it and went to work on it with a
vengeance. He flipped it up on the side, then onto its back, during which
the battery fell out. The battery had no cover over it to keep it in place.
And, of course, when the unit was upside down, the lids wouldn't have opened
anyway. Then he flipped it again, discovered that the dishes had a lip on
them and yanked them open and dug out the food in both of the dishes. That
took about 20 minutes altogether. The next day, I tried it again; this time
the dishes were bolted to a small printer cart that I knew he couldn't flip.
But this time, he didn't bother. He remembered the lip on the dishes and
pulled them open in 30 seconds flat. I phoned the manufacturer and asked if
they had any suggestions; they claimed to be completely stunned that this
was possible. Frankly, I don't believe it. I think any halfways clever cat
could have done the same. So the timed-release feeder is not an option for
me either unless someone has seen a much better designed one somewhere. The
one I bought was about $70 (Canadian) at Pet Smart.

I'd really like to minimize the stress on the cats of making a change in the
feeding schedule but I'm not awfully optimistic. I think 8 AM is hard-wired
into their brains somehow. It is VERY hard to ignore their attention-getting
tactics and they get absolutely relentless if I'm not up at 8 sharp. By the
way, I do give them a full-sized meal when I get home from work so it isn't
as if they haven't eaten in most of a day when 8 AM comes around.

Any suggestions?
--
Rhino

Rene S.
February 20th 07, 07:18 PM
rhino wrote:
> Does anyone have any suggestions on how to change feeding times for a cat
> fairly painlessly?

Do you feed them only once per day? A good strategy (for canned and
raw food) is feeding twice per day, about 12 hours apart. Something
like feeding at 2 a.m. and 2 p.m. might work better with your job
schedule.

Since they've had the 8 a.m. schedule for years, this won't be an easy
change. It will take some time, but you need to stick to your guns.
The key is to NOT associate you getting up/coming home with food. Say
you come home at 1:30 a.m. Don't feed them right away. Come home, read
through your mail, take a shower, etc. and then feed them. Same thing
when you get up in the morning. Eat some breakfast, etc. and then
feed. They will soon learn the schedule.

I did this with my cats several years ago and though it was hard at
first, it's much nicer now. The cats rarely bother me in the morning
(unless I oversleep by mistake or they're just playful). If one of
them acts up before I get up, I simply lock them out of the bedroom
without a word.

Rene

mlbriggs
February 20th 07, 07:49 PM
On Tue, 20 Feb 2007 13:47:28 -0500, rhino wrote:

> Does anyone have any suggestions on how to change feeding times for a cat
> fairly painlessly?
>
> I have been feeding my two cats breakfast at 8 AM since they came into the
> house as kittens, almost 7 years ago. A few months ago, I took a night
> shift - 4 PM to 1 AM - that has me getting home by 1:30 AM. I am usually too
> wide awake to go to sleep right away though so I'm not usually in bed until
> after 2 and not asleep until a while after that. But the cats insist on
> breakfast at 8 AM and, as we all know, cats don't come with snooze buttons.
>
> So, is there any way that I can get them used to eating later so that I can
> get _all_ of my sleep before getting up? At present, I go back to bed after
> feeding them but it can be a long struggle to get back to sleep at that
> point. I know my mental health would improve if I could get my sleep in a
> continuous block.
>
> And please don't suggest that I change to a different shift. Believe me, I
> would dearly love to do that and am looking for another job that would not
> require these hours. But, for the moment, I am stuck with this shift.
>
> Also, I should tell you that I have tried a timed-release feeder and it
> didn't work out. The unit I bought had two lidded dishes; each lid had a
> mechanical timer that you could set to open in a specific number of hours. I
> first tried it on a day when I wasn't working, just to see what would
> happen. Bebop smelled the food in it and went to work on it with a
> vengeance. He flipped it up on the side, then onto its back, during which
> the battery fell out. The battery had no cover over it to keep it in place.
> And, of course, when the unit was upside down, the lids wouldn't have opened
> anyway. Then he flipped it again, discovered that the dishes had a lip on
> them and yanked them open and dug out the food in both of the dishes. That
> took about 20 minutes altogether. The next day, I tried it again; this time
> the dishes were bolted to a small printer cart that I knew he couldn't flip.
> But this time, he didn't bother. He remembered the lip on the dishes and
> pulled them open in 30 seconds flat. I phoned the manufacturer and asked if
> they had any suggestions; they claimed to be completely stunned that this
> was possible. Frankly, I don't believe it. I think any halfways clever cat
> could have done the same. So the timed-release feeder is not an option for
> me either unless someone has seen a much better designed one somewhere. The
> one I bought was about $70 (Canadian) at Pet Smart.
>
> I'd really like to minimize the stress on the cats of making a change in the
> feeding schedule but I'm not awfully optimistic. I think 8 AM is hard-wired
> into their brains somehow. It is VERY hard to ignore their attention-getting
> tactics and they get absolutely relentless if I'm not up at 8 sharp. By the
> way, I do give them a full-sized meal when I get home from work so it isn't
> as if they haven't eaten in most of a day when 8 AM comes around.
>
> Any suggestions?


That will require some thought. The cats sound smarter than the gadget
makers. Best wishes. MLB

mlbriggs
February 20th 07, 10:37 PM
On Tue, 20 Feb 2007 19:49:45 +0000, mlbriggs wrote:

> On Tue, 20 Feb 2007 13:47:28 -0500, rhino wrote:
>
>> Does anyone have any suggestions on how to change feeding times for a cat
>> fairly painlessly?
>>
>> I have been feeding my two cats breakfast at 8 AM since they came into the
>> house as kittens, almost 7 years ago. A few months ago, I took a night
>> shift - 4 PM to 1 AM - that has me getting home by 1:30 AM. I am usually too
>> wide awake to go to sleep right away though so I'm not usually in bed until
>> after 2 and not asleep until a while after that. But the cats insist on
>> breakfast at 8 AM and, as we all know, cats don't come with snooze buttons.
>>
>> So, is there any way that I can get them used to eating later so that I can
>> get _all_ of my sleep before getting up? At present, I go back to bed after
>> feeding them but it can be a long struggle to get back to sleep at that
>> point. I know my mental health would improve if I could get my sleep in a
>> continuous block.
>>
>> And please don't suggest that I change to a different shift. Believe me, I
>> would dearly love to do that and am looking for another job that would not
>> require these hours. But, for the moment, I am stuck with this shift.
>>
>> Also, I should tell you that I have tried a timed-release feeder and it
>> didn't work out. The unit I bought had two lidded dishes; each lid had a
>> mechanical timer that you could set to open in a specific number of hours. I
>> first tried it on a day when I wasn't working, just to see what would
>> happen. Bebop smelled the food in it and went to work on it with a
>> vengeance. He flipped it up on the side, then onto its back, during which
>> the battery fell out. The battery had no cover over it to keep it in place.
>> And, of course, when the unit was upside down, the lids wouldn't have opened
>> anyway. Then he flipped it again, discovered that the dishes had a lip on
>> them and yanked them open and dug out the food in both of the dishes. That
>> took about 20 minutes altogether. The next day, I tried it again; this time
>> the dishes were bolted to a small printer cart that I knew he couldn't flip.
>> But this time, he didn't bother. He remembered the lip on the dishes and
>> pulled them open in 30 seconds flat. I phoned the manufacturer and asked if
>> they had any suggestions; they claimed to be completely stunned that this
>> was possible. Frankly, I don't believe it. I think any halfways clever cat
>> could have done the same. So the timed-release feeder is not an option for
>> me either unless someone has seen a much better designed one somewhere. The
>> one I bought was about $70 (Canadian) at Pet Smart.
>>
>> I'd really like to minimize the stress on the cats of making a change in the
>> feeding schedule but I'm not awfully optimistic. I think 8 AM is hard-wired
>> into their brains somehow. It is VERY hard to ignore their attention-getting
>> tactics and they get absolutely relentless if I'm not up at 8 sharp. By the
>> way, I do give them a full-sized meal when I get home from work so it isn't
>> as if they haven't eaten in most of a day when 8 AM comes around.
>>
>> Any suggestions?
>
>
> That will require some thought. The cats sound smarter than the gadget
> makers. Best wishes. MLB


After thinking this over, IMHO it might be a good idea to try skimpy
serving except for what you want to be the main meal. Let it get skimpier
until you can eliminate it altogether. There probably will be some
protests at first, but hold on. I am trying to do this now to see if my
cat will lose some weight. Could use a purr on this . MLB