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Raw Feeding Young Maine Coon -- How Much is Too Much?

Discussion in 'Cat Health and Nutrition' started by Maurey, Nov 18, 2019.


  1. Maurey

    Maurey butler to a spoiled kitty

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    Hey, all! I'm new around these parts, was hoping for a more cohesive answer to my question about limiting portion size, and when it's proper to move from letting Jumanji eat however much she wants to portioned feeding appropriate to her weight. Since Maine Coons mature so slowly, and Jumanji is very much a late bloomer (she didn't have her first major 'teenage' growth spurt until she came to live with me), should I let her free feed for longer?

    So a little backstory. Jumanji is now 9 months (born Feb 29th), and she came into my life around a month and a half ago. The breeder was having a hard time finding a home for her, because, for her lines, she was very small for her age (compared to most of her littermates, as well as other kittens the same age), and there wasn't any telling if she'd remain small, or is just a late bloomer. Fast forward to now, and she's grown almost a full kilogram while here with me, and, judging by her paw and ear size, she has a good bit to go. Here's hoping her head and tail catch up, or they're going to look comically small if her body grows much more xD She was brought up on raw from weaning, and the formula hasn't changed since she came home with me.

    Anyway. Based on her weight (~5.3 kilograms last weigh-in; take this with a pinch of salt as I'm using floor scales while holding her) and age, she shouldn't be eating that much more than 250 gram of raw per day. In reality, she's eating between 50 and, rarely 80-100 grams more than that, at times; yesterday, she did eat around 350 grams. That being said, she'll do this for a few days, maybe a week, then go back to portions sizes more akin to 250-275 a day, so it may just be her 'buffering up' for growth? I can still easily feel her ribs under her fur, and the groomer said she was at ideal form, despite not seeming like she COULD weigh over 5 kilo xD I.e. she doesn't look as big as she actually is, at least for a coon.

    My question is how long should I continue giving her open access to food? She eats fairly slowly, without scarfing, but tends to eat in one, max two 'sittings', so I'm not worried about the food going bad while I make sure she eats her fill. More concerned about her starting to overeat, or making herself ill. Or should I just feel confident in letting her free-feed till she's a year, which is the widely acknowledged age of most active growth ceasing? I would appreciate any thoughts and feedback, thanks!
     
    #1 Maurey, Nov 18, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2019
  2. carly87

    carly87 PetForums VIP

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    In short, I wouldn't limit a kitten's eating. In my experience, they generally self regulate really, really well.
     
  3. Maurey

    Maurey butler to a spoiled kitty

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    As true as that is, it's widely considered MCs, at least on commercial dry, are prone to overeating, so I want to make sure I start controlling her portions at the right time, so it's not an overly-sudden transition to smaller portions. With MCs, considering the fact that they grow and gain muscle into their third, sometimes fourth year, it's hard to establish a cut-off point for when they're no longer a kitten.

    Tentatively considering feeding her as-is until she's closer to a year old, since she's bound to actively grow in height and length until at least, then see how she goes, I suppose. I can always keep regularly checking her to make sure she's not gaining any unhealthy weight -- might be the way to go. Much as I like her as a 'mini coon' I don't want to harmfully stifle her growth by not feeding her enough.
     
  4. carly87

    carly87 PetForums VIP

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    I am of the opinion that they are still kittens whilst they are actively growing, so I would be allowing an MC to free feed until 3-4 years old, with a regular body condition score. With this however, you need to keep in mind that kittens go through periods of being podgy as a natural thing, so I would only worry if the extra remained longterm.b
     
  5. Maurey

    Maurey butler to a spoiled kitty

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    The most cohesive overall answer I've had, thank you. Very helpful!
     
  6. Rufus15

    Rufus15 PetForums VIP

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    I'm quite concerned about where you're getting your MC information from as its wildly incorrect. Maine Coons are not in the least prone to overeating, and certainly not compared to other breeds or non-breeds. All cats overeat on dry, they contain sugars to make the flavour more attractive.

    Major growth spurts happen at various points in an MC's development cycle, some are bigger than others.

    I have never controlled my MCs' portions, nor as a breeder would I ever advise any cat's portions be controlled.
     
    moomoowawa, lorilu and spotty cats like this.
  7. carly87

    carly87 PetForums VIP

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    Ooooo, congratulations on your first litter in that case! I didn't realize it had happened! What did you have?
    Sorry for the OT, but I'm kitten broody.
     
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  8. Rufus15

    Rufus15 PetForums VIP

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    I'm not surprised you're broody, your last litter was when?
     
  9. Maurey

    Maurey butler to a spoiled kitty

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    I had a vet mention it to me, and it's a very common notion online, for whatever reason. Good to know it's just misinformation. Might come from the fact that historically many people have judged MC size by weight, rather than their actual size, which made overweight MCs a pretty common sight to vets, at least in areas I've lived in. An unfortunate number of people wanted their kitties to reach that 'mythical MC size'. May be why the vet felt the need to warn me of it.

    My breeder suggested starting to portion control a bit as she got older, because Juma's dad is a bit of a glutton of a red tom, but she doesn't seem to take after him in that, haha.

    Will just keep letting her eat her fill, unless her condition starts to change for the worse. Thank you!
     
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  10. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    Get a baby scale and weigh weekly to monitor. You'll know then, when it's time for portion control.
     
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  11. carly87

    carly87 PetForums VIP

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    Rufus, it was 3 years ago. Do tell me about yours though. How many did your girl have? Did you get anything worth keeping?
     
  12. Rufus15

    Rufus15 PetForums VIP

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    I'm not arguing the toss with you over litters Carly :rolleyes: We've given the same advice, take your pettiness elsewhere
     
  13. SusieRainbow

    SusieRainbow Moderator
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    Please, keep this on topic and stop the sniping, it's not helpful and seems to be rife this morning !
     
  14. carly87

    carly87 PetForums VIP

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    Gosh, I do apologise. I've not been knowingly sniping. Have been quite out of touch with the wider forum for the last month due to family illness and bereavement, and was just trying to show a bit of genuine enthusiasm and happiness for someone who had managed to get their first litter. I'll get back in my box now I guess, and will remember not to be too pleased for people in future. I'm so out of touch with reality that I didn't even realize I was being sniped at back until admin pointed it out.
     
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  15. Maurey

    Maurey butler to a spoiled kitty

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    Sorry to be an overly worried pet parent again, but I just wanted a bit of reassurance that Jums isn't gorging herself more than she should all of a sudden. She's not had an sudden weight gain lately, in fact, she's been sitting at just over 5 kilo for maybe 2 weeks now. That said, she's suddenly eaten over 400 gram (around 420?) of raw today , which is nearly twice the portion I'd typically expect given her weight and age. She's plateaued the past week or so, eating somewhere around 300 to 350 a day, and not really deviating. Her morning meal was pretty as-expected as of her portion size lately (between 150 and 180 grams), but she really gorged herself this evening, with her belly feeling really full and taught, having eaten nearly 250 gram in one sitting.

    That said, I did attempt to change her feeding ritual today. I placed a portion that's on a high end of a normal meal for her (180 gram) in a bowl, and put the bowl on her feeding rack, instead of having her eat her fill out of one of the 500 gram tubs her raw is made and stored in on top of the kitchen counter where I typically handle raw meat. She eats cleanly out of her bowls, but is prone to being pretty messy out of the storage containers, hence my original decision to start feeding her on the counter, as I'd rather clean tile of blood rather than wooden floors that risk staining. In any case, she very quickly ate the entirety of the 180 grams and went to the kitchen to hop up onto her typical feeding area to search for the container, obviously still hungry.

    Did I just shoot myself in the foot, in the sense that I did change her feeding ritual to be closer to her original one (feeding at the station out of her bowl), or is this something I should keep an eye on/could it be medical? Alternatively, I suppose this could be a self-regulating thing, where she's suddenly realized she's not been keeping up with enough intake for growth, but hey, as I said, worried pet parent. Would really appreciate the reassurance. On a similar note, should I just keep feeding her on the counter out of the storage containers until I'm sure she's done dancing around with her portion size quite as much as she is?
     
  16. Rufus15

    Rufus15 PetForums VIP

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    She's probably going through a growth spurt, slow developing kittens will have periods of gorging in preparation to grow and then will go the other way and eat little, using long sleep sessions to grow
     
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  17. Maurey

    Maurey butler to a spoiled kitty

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    That makes sense! I was telling myself that, but it's always reassuring to hear from someone with more experience c:
     
    moomoowawa likes this.
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