Can healthy cat eat medical diet?


Q: I’ve had two senior cats who eat a dry renal diet prescribed by their veterinarian. I’m a flight attendant, so the food is available for them all the time, plus I have a big water fountain. Recently, one of them died, and I’d like to get the other a younger companion. But how would I separate the food? Is it bad for the younger cat to have a renal diet, supplemented with regular wet food when I am home?

— via email

A: I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. It’s never easy to say goodbye.

Regarding your question, your veterinarian is the best person to advise you about whether your proposed feeding plan will be all right for a new cat.

You could also ask about a new product I saw recently at the VMX veterinary conference in Orlando. The PortionPro RX, available only from veterinarians, ensures that each pet in a household receives only his designated amount and type of food. Eric Schreiber at Vet Innovations says the product controls portions and access using RFID technology to pair a pet with the feeder and allow access to the food while denying access to other pets. “If they approach, the door to the feeder will close, preventing them from stealing that food,” he says. “We have a small tag that’s worn by the pets that puts out a signal, and the signal is read by the feeder as either being allowed to eat from this feeder or denied.”

I’d also like to suggest that your cat may be at an age where she prefers to live a single life. My colleague Tony Buffington, DVM, says the behavior of survivor cats often changes with the loss of a roommate, and some do not do well with newly introduced cats.

— Dr. Marty Becker

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