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Overweight Female Cat

Bailey_
January 22nd, 2010, 01:07 PM
We currently have an overweight female spayed cat - about 5/6 years estimated age.

She is at least five lbs overweight. Very small frame, but looks enormous. Her weight came to about 13/14 lbs on the scale.

I brushed her and got a HUGE amount of fur and dandruff off of her. Her fur feels almost waxy.

The vet looked at her and she is apparently in good health other than the weight. Vet suggested we put her on their diet dry kibble for her, but I'm not into that.

Any suggestions as to RAW feeding portions? We want to start her off with chicken.
Is there anything else we can do for her coat? It's a mess! A bit matted at the back, even though she is not a long-haired cat.

Thanks in advance.

Bailey_
January 22nd, 2010, 01:13 PM
Here she is. Not a great shot, but you get the idea.

sugarcatmom
January 22nd, 2010, 01:30 PM
Vet suggested we put her on their diet dry kibble for her, :wall: When will they learn??!!!


Any suggestions as to RAW feeding portions?

What does she eat now? If she likes the raw, I would just feed her as much as she wants for now and then adjust from there. Some cats simply lose weight going from dry to wet without having to do any portion control.

For her coat, perhaps adding some extra omega3 and vitamin E to her diet would help.

Bailey_
January 22nd, 2010, 01:45 PM
She came to us on your basic crappy grocery store brand. We have some dry orijen and some canned wellness that we started her on the past few days, but she's literally been rolling around her food dish. She barely leaves it, and she sleeps when she doesn't eat.

How much Omega 3 and Vitamin E can we put on her food? Where can we get some?

Should we give her scheduled feeding times? If so, how many times in a day?

luvsmallfurries
January 23rd, 2010, 10:08 AM
My girl Sparks had the same problem with her skin and fur due to weight issues (she was tipping 18 lbs) - lots of shedding, dandruff, felt greasy or waxy as you put it, and mattes everywhere (guessing she just couldn't reach......).

Once I found this forum, figured out what I was doing wrong with her diet, and got her eating an appropriate food we've managed to take about 5 pounds off her over the last year and a bit (1 or 2 more lbs to go!). The improvement to her coat - just from dropping the weight was DRAMATIC. Feels soft, no dandruff, I brushed out most of the bigger mattes and she's taken care of the smaller ones herself.....

I haven't taken the leap into a raw diet yet - but it's always in the back of my mind.

Funny thing - my vet didn't recommend any particular food - just talked about portion control and exercise - but the last time I had her in for a health check he was stunned at the change. Said he can't remember the last time he saw a cat go through such a successful weight reduction and took my suggestions about grain free, wet, or even raw diets to heart. He tells me that he's now suggesting to all his cat owner clients to get off the kibble.....:thumbs up

luvsmallfurries
January 23rd, 2010, 10:22 AM
By the way :) are you sure that's your cat?? She looks an awful lot like my Sparks what with that black patch on her shoulder :D

Sometimes I can't find her for hours (super napper :sleepy:) - maybe she's just visiting you!

This photo is from Oct. 08 so right around the beginning of the weight loss program.

http://i437.photobucket.com/albums/qq98/luvsmallfurries/Sparks/Sparks1-1.jpg

ancientgirl
January 23rd, 2010, 11:06 AM
I feed mine Innova EVO Venison canned.

They get a tablespoon when I get up in the morning 5:00 am.

When I finished getting ready for work, I give them another tablespoon.

When I get home from work, around 5ish, they each get another tablespoon.

Finally, at around 7:30 they get one final tablespoon.

I find in giving each of them a tablespoon at a time they each finish their plate of food. So everyone gets the same amount.

I've been able to keep their weight steady and healthy for each of their size and my vet recently complimented me on how wonderful they all look.

Good luck!:D

Bailey_
January 23rd, 2010, 04:42 PM
LSF, awwwhhh, you're right!! Our 'hefty ladies' sure do look a lot alike!! :) I'm attaching a better picture of her for you. You can really tell in this shot what her fur is like. :yuck: I've since brushed her and brushed her and brushed her, and got nearly close to a basketball size ball of fur off of her, and I know I could get much more.

AG, thanks for your experience with food rationing! I feel so busy sometimes, it's just really much easier for me to have someone say: "Do this". Would you reccomend for a cat like this to give her a bit more than 2 tblspoons, or do you think it will matter? Should I feed her until she seems satisfied or not?

Bailey_
January 23rd, 2010, 04:44 PM
here is a better picture. she is pretty cute!!

ancientgirl
January 23rd, 2010, 05:37 PM
4 tablespoons a day seems to have worked for me. Also, splitting their meals to 4 times a day also helps. I've heard many here on this board say that cats do well eating several times a day, so several small meals seem to work.

I also mix some water into their food as well. I feed my 5 with 2 13.5oz cans a day.

When I open a can in the morning, I mix about 3 tablespoons of water, then ration out their food, put the rest in the fridge. Before I leave, I put out the rest of their food. I keep it cold, so it stays fresher a little longer. By the time I get home, the food is gone.

Then, I start all over again. If you go by the recommended feeding amount given on the can or package, it's just too much. What I feed them, I think says to give half a can per feeding. Well, if I gave each of them half a can, they'd be huge! I suspect they do that so you are forced to buy food more often. It's just too much.

Tig's mom
January 23rd, 2010, 06:09 PM
Your kitty is beautiful.:lovestruck:
Tiger and his sister Ginger(RIP:() had to be on
Gastro type prescription diets beacuse of Ginny's allergies. I gave them both soft and hard food.Tiger has always been very fussy, but Ginger was
a 'food gobbler'? she also had somewhat of a weight problem so it was hard to
control her intake. I did it gradually (my vet helped me with that ) and they had reccomended 'serving sizes' for various weights &weight loss charts from the pet food companies. One thing I did do was play more 'cat chasing suff' games with Ginger so she would do more activity. I have losts of stairs in my house so we both got a work out.:) Anyways, sorry to ramble on. There is a soft vitamin Omega/Fatty acid supplement called Efa Caps, that you can add to the cat's food. It is from the Vets also , and it is not 'fish smelling' .It helped both Tiger and Ginger's coats a lot.That's all I have experienced with 'cat on weight loss'. I am sure the suggestions of others will work out fine.:)

TeriM
January 23rd, 2010, 10:50 PM
My cats each get approx 100g of raw food per day and that works for them. Fred gets the bigger half and Desi gets a bit less just due to their sizes. Desi is quite a small cat so needs a bit less.

Dr Lee
January 24th, 2010, 02:11 AM
Vet suggested we put her on their diet dry kibble for her, but I'm not into that.

Any suggestions as to RAW feeding portions? We want to start her off with chicken.

Most veterinary nutritionalists are recommended against dry kibble for several reasons; so I agree with you on this. :thumbs up I am not a RAW food supporter but am not going to ever dare getting into that discussion :laughing:

The reason why canned food is so vastly superior to dry food is that it is much closer to what they get in the wild. In the wild they would eat a couple life food meals per day. These meals have the following properties: a hydrated meal, high protein, and a single large volume. Dry kibble is the opposite: dehydrated meal, higher carbohydrate ratio, and often eaten in a grazed fashion. Eating a dry meal puts the cat 50% behind on its water consumption, and exposes the cat to a higher carbohydrate ratio than it is used to. The importance of a large meal at a time is that when a large, wet meal expands the stomach of a cat - it stimulates an elevated level of serotonin in the intestines. This helps promote intestinal motility - in English... it helps move all the food/ingesta/poop in the correct direction.

Dry food is implicated in the increased risk of obesity, diabetes mellitus, FLUTD (feline lower urinary tract disease), and constipation in cats.

So once again, at the current time, canned or wet food is strongly recommended for most all cats as the main or sole source of food.

So good luck with canned or raw food diets. Dry food is not so great.

I hope this helps. :pawprint:

luvsmallfurries
January 24th, 2010, 09:51 AM
LSF, awwwhhh, you're right!! Our 'hefty ladies' sure do look a lot alike!! :) I'm attaching a better picture of her for you. You can really tell in this shot what her fur is like. :yuck: I've since brushed her and brushed her and brushed her, and got nearly close to a basketball size ball of fur off of her, and I know I could get much more.

AG, thanks for your experience with food rationing! I feel so busy sometimes, it's just really much easier for me to have someone say: "Do this". Would you recommend for a cat like this to give her a bit more than 2 tablespoons, or do you think it will matter? Should I feed her until she seems satisfied or not?

Yep - looking at the second picture that's pretty much the state Sparks was in...the fur sticking up all over the place, the mattes :eek:

My dieting routine (and now the normal feeding routine) was the same as ancientgirl's - a large tablespoon first thing in the morning and then a second one just before I leave for work; a large tablespoon when I get home and then a second one later in the evening (like an hour before bed or so, which seems to have cut down on the 3 AM "I'm starving" head swat!). A bit of water mixed in to make it a 'stew-ish' consistency.

At one point I was concerned it might not be enough and upped it a total of 6 tablespoons a day but the weight loss stopped so I dropped it back down again. Today - if I give her any more than the 4 daily, she doesn't finish, so that seems to be both what she needs and what she wants as far as her weight loss and maintenance and her appetite goes. 4 is probably a good place to start if you're not quite ready to go all the way to raw. Adjust once you start seeing some weight loss - the sites I got directed to from this forum all seem to indicate that about 1/2 pound of loss a month is healthy; more than that and you risk some health problems.

One of the things my vet did say - is that cats don't actually need anywhere near the amounts the pet food companies put on their bags and cans. Especially indoor cats that are more, ahem, idle. Think about a cat in the "wild" eating 3 or 4 mice a day and how much actual meat there is on a mouse......

Here's another shot of her pre-diet:

http://i437.photobucket.com/albums/qq98/luvsmallfurries/Sparks/Sparks2.jpg

and one from this morning (sorry - iPod camera!):

http://i437.photobucket.com/albums/qq98/luvsmallfurries/Sparks/Sparks2-1.jpg

That 5 lbs gone makes a huge difference! Recently she started going over the baby gate on her own - actually jumping over it as opposed to trying to scale it - I'm SO proud :crazy: ! (The gate is to keep my bunny contained to the living room so I can keep an eye on her.....) The second really noticeable benefit is the fact that she's stopped wheezing and snoring in my ear all night too.....so we're BOTH sleeping better!

Good luck! All the work comes in the first few weeks - figuring out how much she needs to both lose the weight and feel like she's had a meal (as opposed to being completely sated......). You'll probably get some complaining in the beginning if it's much less than she's used to getting but that will stop once her body recognizes that this is a much more natural eating routine both in timing (couple of meals per day), and in food type and quantity (meat and not a whole lot.....).

Bailey_
January 26th, 2010, 03:03 PM
Thanks everyone for your thoughts/comments/experiences!

Peanut has been on the canned food for a day and a half, and we're noticing that doesn't seem to be able to finish the full 2 tblspoons morning and evening. More like a tablespoon and a little bit, and my cats will try to eat her leftovers so I have to remove it after about an hour.

I'm concerned because it's my understanding that cats will 'self regulate'. But I was under the impression that she was overweight because she was eating too much of the wrong food. Is it possible that she wasn't eating a whole lot of the dry kibble, but it was just the crappy brand that made her gain weight? She doesn't seem to be a big eater at all, so my concern is that something else caused her weight gain.

Or is it more likely that she's self regulating properly on the wet food?

Sorry for all the questions, and thanks in advance.

ancientgirl
January 26th, 2010, 03:09 PM
Thanks everyone for your thoughts/comments/experiences!

Peanut has been on the canned food for a day and a half, and we're noticing that doesn't seem to be able to finish the full 2 tblspoons morning and evening. More like a tablespoon and a little bit, and my cats will try to eat her leftovers so I have to remove it after about an hour.

I'm concerned because it's my understanding that cats will 'self regulate'. But I was under the impression that she was overweight because she was eating too much of the wrong food. Is it possible that she wasn't eating a whole lot of the dry kibble, but it was just the crappy brand that made her gain weight? She doesn't seem to be a big eater at all, so my concern is that something else caused her weight gain.

Or is it more likely that she's self regulating properly on the wet food?

Sorry for all the questions, and thanks in advance.

Could be it's filling her more, since it may be richer/heavier than the dry:shrug: Kind of like,if you eat a bowl of meaty soup you are full faster than if you ate a bag of chips, because the soup is heartier. I think.

Bailey_
January 26th, 2010, 03:20 PM
Phew! Okay, that makes sense. We'll keep an eye on her. :) Thanks AG.

ancientgirl
January 26th, 2010, 03:24 PM
I'm sure you'll find an amount that works best for her. Could be she really isn't a big eater. Hopefully, she'll lose that extra weight soon.:fingerscr

sugarcatmom
January 26th, 2010, 04:26 PM
Is it possible that she wasn't eating a whole lot of the dry kibble, but it was just the crappy brand that made her gain weight?

Absolutely possible. The high carb content of kibble can go "straight to the hips" on some cats, and just like in people, metabolisms vary.

She doesn't seem to be a big eater at all, so my concern is that something else caused her weight gain.

Careful that it's not a case of her not liking the food and therefore not ingesting sufficient calories. In fact, rather than focusing on the volume of food she's eating, keep track of how many actual calories she consumes. There is a general guideline of 20-30 calories per lb of ideal body weight per day (adjusted incrementally if there is considerable weight to lose - it's very dangerous for her to lose weight too rapidly, as hepatitic lipidosis can result).

Canned Wellness (is that what she's eating?) averages about 35 calories per ounce, depending on the flavour. Lets say for now her ideal weight would be 10lbs, which means she should eat at least 200 calories a day, or about 6 oz of Wellness (2 small 3oz cans or 1 bigger 5.5oz can). If she's eating way less than that, try rotating flavours and feeding her more frequently throughout the day. Or top-dress the food with pulverized kibble or treats. Parmesan cheese also works for some cats. Can you weigh her regularly (minimum every couple weeks) at the vet, or do you have a baby scale at home? If she loses more than 2% of her weight per week, you could have a problem. Here's some info worth reading: http://www.catinfo.org/feline_obesity.htm#Implementing_a_Safe_Weight-Loss_Program

Bailey_
January 26th, 2010, 07:35 PM
Careful that it's not a case of her not liking the food and therefore not ingesting sufficient calories.

I didn't consider this until you mentioned it SCM. And then when I fed her dinner, her immediate response was to turn up her nose and walk away; even though she was clearly hungry (rubbing up against me, and meowing when she saw the dish). I put a dash of parmesan cheese on top and she liked that - eating most of the first tablespoon, but not all of it.

Would it be better to try a different brand of canned instead of Wellness or just a different meat variety? She is about six years old too, so is she just very "addicted" to her dry food? The petstore owner said that they could never successfully put their cat on wet food - he turns his nose up at it all.

ancientgirl
January 26th, 2010, 07:42 PM
I didn't consider this until you mentioned it SCM. And then when I fed her dinner, her immediate response was to turn up her nose and walk away; even though she was clearly hungry (rubbing up against me, and meowing when she saw the dish). I put a dash of parmesan cheese on top and she liked that - eating most of the first tablespoon, but not all of it.

Would it be better to try a different brand of canned instead of Wellness or just a different meat variety? She is about six years old too, so is she just very "addicted" to her dry food? The petstore owner said that they could never successfully put their cat on wet food - he turns his nose up at it all.

I grind the gang's favorite treats, Whiskas Tempations. When they get picky about their food, I just sprinkle a little on top, and they eat it up. You can also try finding some Food Toppers, or Luv a littles by Halo. They are freeze dried chicken snacks, and I swear they are like kitty crack. Grind those up and sprinkle it on her food and you might get her to try it.

Only problem, she might not want to eat it unless you sprinkle stuff. Which is what's happened to me, but it's no biggie. Once they start and eat off the initial bit that's sprinkled, they finish their food.

sugarcatmom
January 26th, 2010, 08:19 PM
I didn't consider this until you mentioned it SCM. And then when I fed her dinner, her immediate response was to turn up her nose and walk away; even though she was clearly hungry

Was she ever enthusiastic about Wellness, like when you first gave it to her? If so, she could just be bored of it already. While many cats can eat the exact same crappy dry food every single day for years and years, they seem to need more variety when it comes to canned. Probably because kibble is coated in various flavour enhancers, whereas canned is not. The carb-content of dry food can also be addicting. Try offering her some different brands and flavours and see if that sparks more interest. With my guy, I have to give him something different for every meal or he gives me that "are you trying to kill me?" look. :rolleyes:

If she's never been very keen on canned, that isn't terribly unusual for cats. However, I firmly believe that EVERY cat can eventually be converted, with patience and time. Here are some more tips for transitioning kibble-addicts:
http://www.catinfo.org/#Transitioning_Dry_Food_Addicts_to_Canned_Food_

rjesak
January 27th, 2010, 10:56 AM
So how would you transition to the "tablespoon at a time" feeding? I've been concerned about how much my cats are eating - currently, I give the six of them two 12 oz cans of Wellness a day and they often don't finish it. With the tablespoon throughout the day, I'd be able to figure out who is eating more and less. Right now, though, they're used to having the food available to them through the day so they don't all show up at the feeding time (there are three that never miss it!:laughing:). Unfortunately, those three would eat all of what I put down if I put down that little and the other three may or may not get any.

Any thoughts?

Bailey_
January 27th, 2010, 12:01 PM
Thanks AG. I like the idea of grinding the treats for a little tasty topper. Peanut seemed to be fine about eating her food this morning, so I'm thinking it's the second meal that she turns her nose up at because it's "boring" or something. Maybe I'll do that for her tonight.


SCM, *awesome!* Thankyou for all the great info. She is currently on Wellness - I got the seafood one for her, thinking she'd like it as I've known her to like lobster in the past. Maybe I should've chosen something more simple? I will get a few other kinds and switch them up for her.

ancientgirl
January 27th, 2010, 12:36 PM
So how would you transition to the "tablespoon at a time" feeding? I've been concerned about how much my cats are eating - currently, I give the six of them two 12 oz cans of Wellness a day and they often don't finish it. With the tablespoon throughout the day, I'd be able to figure out who is eating more and less. Right now, though, they're used to having the food available to them through the day so they don't all show up at the feeding time (there are three that never miss it!:laughing:). Unfortunately, those three would eat all of what I put down if I put down that little and the other three may or may not get any.

Any thoughts?

You might have to start putting the food away until next feeding. The ones who didn't come or meal time will figure out, if they don't come, they might not eat.

It sounds mean, but was sort of dealing with the same thing. I'd feed them all, then they'd leave most of the food. I was winding up throwing away most of the food. So, I'd give them a little bit when I woke up, and whatever they didn't eat, I'd put away. Then before I left, I'd put it down again, and within a couple of days, they all came for their meals.

Breaking up the meals into several times a day has helped too. The food is fresher, because I keep what I don't give them in the fridge and they eat almost all of their food.

luvsmallfurries
January 27th, 2010, 03:57 PM
Thanks AG. I like the idea of grinding the treats for a little tasty topper. Peanut seemed to be fine about eating her food this morning, so I'm thinking it's the second meal that she turns her nose up at because it's "boring" or something. Maybe I'll do that for her tonight.


SCM, *awesome!* Thankyou for all the great info. She is currently on Wellness - I got the seafood one for her, thinking she'd like it as I've known her to like lobster in the past. Maybe I should've chosen something more simple? I will get a few other kinds and switch them up for her.

I have a similar problem with Sparks seeming to not want to finish all her meal at once. It's partially because she's just a grazer and it also seems to be a bit of a picky "not the same thing again today" thing. I keep a few flavours I know she likes open at any given time and she gets a new flavour for each meal. She doesn't always finish the whole meal at once but generally gets to it within a half hour or so. If I don't have a half hour to monitor (Yeti the vacuum cleaner jumps in the second Sparks walks away from the bowl) I do the trick with adding a bit of grain free kibble and that ensures she eats the whole thing at once. I do mix the kibble right in though so she doesn't just pick it off the top.......and I make sure if she doesn't finish any that has kibble mixed in within an hour it goes to the trash so it doesn't spoil.

Don't worry - you'll figure it out.....right now you're asking her to make a big change so you both need to be patient until you find the right routine.... :thumbs up