Here are two comments from Kate Crimmins, the Coffee Kat lady of Views and Mews fame.
January 25, 2014
Kate’s Comment #1: (In response to Chow Down – the Oreo Gobble – Part 1) Oh dear. This is sounding familiar. I have one cat that eats everything in sight. She’s been with us for 8 years and I put her on a diet about 5 months ago. She gets around it by sneaking everyone else’s food.
Kate’s Comment #2: (In response to Chow Down – the Oreo Gobble – Part 2) Not much success in this house. One tubby cat on diet for 5 months and she hasn’t lost an ounce. She has learned how to sneak the other cats‘ food and I don’t know how. I have switched to “diet” wet food and withhold dry from her (although she does sneak my diabetic cat‘s 3 a.m. portion). I have threatened her with a gastric bypass but she wasn’t impressed. I am anxious to see if anyone posts something that might work. (Yes, I know eating less works, I just don’t know how to do it with a young active cat and a diabetic cat that is a grazer and yet another cat who only eats dry.)
Sandra’s Response: That’s quite the problem and sounds very much like our Oreo, although he is quite charismatic about the whole thing. Here’s what I do. I get all three dishes ready in their various proportions (Ling Ling gets the most food, Tilly gets the least). I make sure that they are all eating pretty much the same food (a mixture of soaked dry food (to soften it) and wet canned food, with the barest touch of table food for flavoring. I put each dish in its designated spot some distance away from the other two dishes and call each dog to his/her dish. I then stand guard in the kitchen to make sure there is NO SNEAKING.
If the two girls don’t eat some or all of their food, I assess if it’s too much for Oreo to be eating, at which point lift that dog’s dish, cover it and put it in the fridge for the next meal. If it’s not too much, I let Oreo finish the dish, but he knows he can only do that if the owner of the dish has walked away. It works out pretty well. I usually give Oreo less than his full quota of food to compensate for what he eats out of the other dishes.
If one of them is sick and I need to feed her/him a special diet for the duration of the illness, I then take the pooch into my office and close the door. I wait in there until s/he is finished and then pick up the dish. If she is reluctant to eat, I will feed her from my fingers. This works too, although it does cause a bit of hard feelings. I make up for it by a special play time or vigorous petting.
I know cats have different temperaments (due to their ceaseless plotting to take over the world, I believe), but perhaps some version of this might work with your truculent tubby tabby (forgive me for that flagrant use of alliteration – I couldn’t help myself.)
Thanks for commenting and posing your problem. I hope my answer was a little helpful. Maybe some of you readers have other solutions, which we would love to hear. Just put them at the end where the system politely encourages you to “Leave a message.”