Boris has no concept of self-regulation when it comes to eating. Left to his own devices, he'd eat all the food there was until it was all gone or until he made himself sick or both. For those of you who knew us in MA, you'll remember that he was well over 20lbs. Well, thanks to our amazing vet and our careful diligence with Boris's diet, he is now down to 15lbs and generally stays that size. Unfortunately, this involves feeding him wet food morning and at night and a cup of dry food in the afternoon. The other size effect of this is that Natasha, who does self-regulate, is on the same eating schedule as Boris and her food either has to be picked up when she is done or more lately, put in a place where he can't get to it.
Natasha is litter box picky. If it's not up to her high standards of cleanliness, she will go next to the box or by the front door or in the tub. Her standard of cleanliness is lower when it's a box that only she has gone in. Of course Boris likes to go in the boxes as soon as they are scooped to show dominance or something.
We have a partial solution right now. We have a very large dog cage with a water bowl, a drop feeder, and a litter box for Natasha. We let her in when we feed Boris or whenever she walks up to it. The biggest problem is then letting her back out. Too soon and she doesn't use the box, too late and she eats more. She's gained two pounds since last year, probably because she's stuck in the cage with nothing else for her to do other than eat.
While annoying, all of this is manageable when we are home. It's when we want to go on vacation that things get tricky because then we have to have someone come over at least once to twice a day. For cats.
So we've come up with a full solution that we hope will work. I got two spot bonus from work recently, which equals $200. Instead of spending it on fun stuff for me (boo), I turned it into amazon.com gift certificates so we could get things that shoudl make our lives easier in the long run (yay!).
For Boris we got an automatic feeder with a timer. The plan is to set it for his afternoon feedings, so we don't have to worry about getting home late. Then when we're on vacation we can set it up for 3x a day feeding. Sure it'll be dry food over wet food, but all dry once in a while won't kill him.
For Natasha we got a cat flap that will only open in response to a tag that we'll put on her collar (and not on Boris's). We'll take out a side of the cage and install the cat flap. Hopefully she'll take to it and then she'll have unfettered access to her food and litter box and Boris won't be able to get in.
For both of them we got a new water fountain because the old one is, well, getting old and is also hard to clean.
So hopefully this will all work and our lives will be way better and we'll be able to go away for the weekend without worrying about our crazy high maintenance cats.