Friday, June 27, 2008

NO Fat Cats!


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No, this is not a piece on oil company executives or politicos. It's really about fat (clinically obese) cats.

I don't want to reiterate the content of this fine article written by Dr. Lisa Piersen DVM on this subject, but I DO want to underline the importance of keeping a cat fit by feeding appropriate-to-species food. Dry food? Nope, never ever! Open feeding? No! No!

A few months or so ago, within a week's time, our rescue took in two clinically obese cats. These are hardly the first. Neither was able to properly groom themselves because of the fat, and one could not even jump onto a chair.

Tobie (neut male): 24 lbs. (estimate of proper weight: 9-10 lbs.)
Miss. Kitty (spayed female): 18.5 lbs. (estimate of proper weight: 8.5 lbs.)

Tobie has lost quite a bit of weight now, but still has a long way to go. He is grooming, and can now jump on the kitchen counter (enter training by me!).

Here is a chart we use to record and confirm weight loss. This chart is Toby's.

We thought it might be helpful to some if we actually showed the calculations and weights, over time, and how we dealt with them after you read Dr. Lisa's article.

Note that before we started the diet, we transitioned the cat to ANY kind of canned food he would eat, finally mixing in together Wellness chicken (a very high quality food) and Innova canned food. It took almost 2 weeks just to get him transitioned properly to a decent diet... not a bad amount of time--some cats take much, much longer. But be patient if they do or you will NEVER get this life-threatening weight off. But NEVER let a cat go without eating, especially an obese cat. It can have very dire--even life threatening--consequences.

Toby Target ounces: 160 ounces at proper weight.
Begin weight: 24 lbs = 384 oz. Weekly rate of loss: 1.5-2% of that weeks weight.


Week 1 weight 384.00 oz. lose 7.68 oz. weight lost: 4.50 oz.
Week 2 weight 379.50 oz. lose 7.59 oz. weight lost: 4.75 oz.
Week 3 weight 374.75 oz. lose 7.49 oz. weight lost: 6.25 oz.
Week 4 weight 368.50 oz. lose 7.37 oz. weight lost: 7.39 oz.*
note: at week 4, Toby began to lose more than 2% so we added more protein and very slightly larger portions.

Weight lost month 1: 22.87 ounces

Week 5 weight 361.13 lose 7.22 oz. weight lost: 7.20 oz.
Week 6 weight 353.93 lose 7.08 oz. weight lost: 7.20 oz.*
Week 7 weight 346.73 lose 6.93 oz. weight lost: 6.75 oz.
Week 8 weight 339.98 lose 6.79 oz. weight lost: 6.75 oz.
note: at week 6, Toby lost too much weight. He was also close on week 8. We again upped the protein and gave slightly larger servings the following week.

Weight lost month 2: 27.90 ounces
Total weight lost to date: 50.77 ounces or 3.17 lbs!!!!

I think you get the picture. Toby now weighs in at 16.8 lbs, with 6.8 lbs to go. As we approach that weight (10 lbs.), we will slow down his weight loss a bit to make sure we don't overshoot. As he has gotten thinner, he has gotten more active which is actually burning more calories, so we feed more protein and larger meals to compensate. He eats on a schedule, 2x daily. He is looking so much better already!

Good luck to you if you are starting your cat on a weight loss diet. Love is about taking good care of your cat or dog, and that includes a proper diet and a healthy weight. And don't forget teeth! Most dogs and cats must have their teeth cleaned annually to prevent organ disease. Take care of your companions teeth!