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Old May 16th, 2009, 09:04 PM
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Overweight Cat

I need some advice from the wonderful people on pets.ca.

Our cat Charlie is quite overweight. We adopted him a year ago from the Toronto Humane Society. He weighed 11.5 kg (approx 25 lbs). We've been feeding him Hill's Vet diet food for the last year (switched to Royal Canin diet food in the last 2 months). He had his annual check-up today and he's lost close to 5 lbs. I didn't think this was a lot but the vet said we were on the right track.

So I was browsing some of the topics on the boards today and found some interesting posts about dry cat food and how bad it is for cats. I had never heard this before and had been led to believe that wet food is bad! Anyway, now I'm considering switching (slowly) to wet food - shouldn't be a problem because Charlie has NEVER been a picky eater...clearly!

My question is this: is there a wet food that is okay to feed to an overweight cat? I've never seen diet wet food - but is it better anyway because it has fewer carbs than dry food? I checked out catinfo.org but couldn't seem to find any answers about this.

Also, if anyone has any tips in general for helping Charlie to lose weight, that would be great! He's very inactive and refuses to play...he likes the laser pointer but won't get up to chase it, will just paw at it if it comes close enough.

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!
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Old May 16th, 2009, 09:15 PM
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See if this section of catinfo.com helps........

Obesity: Obesity is an extremely common and very serious health problem in cats. For instance, overweight cats are four times more likely to develop diabetes than cats that are at an optimal weight. Obligate carnivores are designed to meet their energy needs with a high protein, moderate fat diet with little to no carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are minimally used for energy and those that are not used are converted to and stored as fat. The so-called “light” diets that are on the market have targeted the fat content as the nutrient to be decreased, but in doing so, the pet food manufacturers have increased the grain fraction, leading to a higher level of carbohydrates. Hence, many overweight cats eating these diets are still obese. These "light" products are among the most species-inappropriate, unhealthy diets available to cat caretakers. Many caretakers feed very small amounts of these diets hoping that their cat will lose weight but feeding a small amount of a diet that is inappropriate for the species is NOT the answer! The caretaker simply ends up with a crabby, overweight cat.

(See Molly’s story at http://www.catnutrition.org/obesity.html and also on this site's Feline Obesity page to read how this sweet cat went from an inactive obese cat that could barely walk and could not even clean herself, to a very active and happy cat simply by transitioning her to canned Wellness. Molly now runs through the house playing like a normal cat. She can finally clean herself, and no longer limps.)



Molly had great difficulty walking and cleaning herself due to her obese condition which was brought on by the consumption of dry food. Kittens, however, loved using her for a pillow.



Molly’s veterinarian had prescribed Science Diet dry r/d for her and instructed her caretaker to feed Molly only very small portions - and to put a shock collar on her to keep her away from her housemates' food. This is not sound - or humane - obesity management advice. Science Diet r/d is an illogical and poor quality diet that contains 33 percent carbohydrates and the following - less than optimal - ingredients:

Chicken by-product meal, corn meal, powdered cellulose 18.5% (a source of fiber), corn gluten meal, chicken liver flavor, vegetable oil, taurine, L-carnitine, preserved with BHT, BHA and ethoxyquin

There are much healthier and more logical ways to address feline obesity.


http://www.catinfo.org/#We_Are_Feedi..._Carbohydrates
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Old May 16th, 2009, 09:57 PM
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That is a huge help! Thank you so much. Molly's results are VERY encouraging. She went from 20+ lbs to 16 lbs in 5 and a half months! It's taken Charlie a year to lose 4 or 5 lbs, and that probably has much more to do with the portion control our original vet recommended. (Poor Charlie is only getting 3/4 cup of food each day...I feel so guilty now).

So once again, thanks! I'll post updates once we get him started on his new diet.
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Old May 17th, 2009, 08:53 AM
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Cats shouldn't lose weight too quickly or they might get fatty liver. There is a cat at the hospital where I work who has lost 10 pounds in 3 months. He now has fatty liver and is fed through a feeding tube - 1/2 can 6 times a day. His family has just given up on him and are just boarding him because they can't handle feeding him through a tube. So it may seem like a long time but it will come.

You could always try to divide his meal into a few bowls and place them in different places so he has to move to eat.

I'm not sure how much vets know about losing weight as we have 4 clinic cats and one is morbidly obese, one is not even a year and chubby, and the other two are on the chubby side as well.
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Old May 17th, 2009, 09:53 AM
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I have heard of fatty liver and I certainly am not trying to put my cat on a crash diet. I just thought 5 lbs over 1 year was not a lot to lose (given that he started at 25 lbs). The package of the Hill's Prescription diet food we were feeding Charlie said it was normal for a cat to lose 1/2 lb every 2 weeks or something like that (don't quote me on that one!). Either way, he was losing weight more slowly than what the package said was normal. Is 5 lbs a lot to lose in 5.5 months (as in "Molly's" case)? "Molly" was fed and monitored by a veterinarian (check out the link 14+ posted), so I didn't think it was too much too fast. I just did a quick search online to find out what is normal/healthy for a cat to lose each month and can't find much :sad:

As for vets and weight loss...yes, I hear you on that one! The vet clinic we used to go to was quite expensive, and the team there had a weight loss program for pets, complete with a bulletin board of before and after pictures. We found it impossible to get in touch with the vet tech who was in charge of this program, and she would never return our calls. Also, based on the form we initially filled out, it seemed their solution was to stop overfeeding (which we weren't), stop feeding treats (which we weren't), etc. Obvious things, you know? I expected more from such an expensive clinic (ahem...$600 for a neuter?!). The only direction they gave us was to convince us to buy the expensive Hill's Prescription diet from them.

Ah well, I'm going to try the wet food (don't worry, I will not starve him and I don't intend to try to speed up his weight loss beyond what is natural for him) and see what happens. I'll keep you guys posted
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Old May 17th, 2009, 09:56 AM
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Oh, as for dividing his meal up...sounds good! We already place his food dish as far from where he normally hangs out as possible, but would dividing it up work with scheduled feedings? (we don't free feed.) Sometimes we also take his kibble in our hand and scatter it so he has to chase it to eat it - I know that sounds cruel but he will only move for food and to go potty. Unfortunately that won't work with wet food, haha!
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Old May 17th, 2009, 10:06 AM
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Hi EndofFashion;

I too have a (ahem) "large" kitty. Sparks was tipping the scales at 18 lbs at the last vet check (December 2008) and the vet "gently" suggested some diet changes. My vet never makes brand recommendations (and does not sell any food in their clinic) but suggested this forum as a great resource. After reading through the uncountable threads re: food, diets, etc. I made the change from the so-called "premium" diets and kibble (we were feeding Hills). I did a bit of experimenting as to what brand my two would like and they settled on the canned Wellness (grain free).

Sparks' has been slooooowly losing weight. She's down 1 pound since I made the final transition and cut the kibble altogether (end of March) so that's a pound in 6 weeks. My goal is another 5 pounds but I'm in no hurry - she's "senior" and I don't want to push it with her.

Next step is to switch to a raw diet. I'm debating with myself over how big a step to take this time. I've sourced out a place I can get some Instincts Powdered Pre-mix as a small step toward deciding if I have the time (and the stomach) to go completely raw. My thoughts are to make a small investment in the pre-mix and see if a) I can manage it and b) the cats will eat it........

From everything I've read - an appropriate diet along with some concerted efforts at exercise (Sparks is still rather annoyed about the 30 minute aerobic session I force her to do every night!) should provide a healthy weight loss.

Good luck!
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Old May 17th, 2009, 04:19 PM
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Cats have no nutritional value for carbs like humans, they get their energy from meat fat and protein and kibble has much too much carbs. You are better off with a high quality protein food such as Wellness, grain free, or my favourite, Nature's Variety, Instinct.

http://www.naturesvariety.com/instinct_cat_can

http://www.wellnesspetfood.com/cat_w...can_index.html

Here is another good website on feline nutrition:

http://maxshouse.com/feline_nutrition.htm
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Old May 19th, 2009, 10:05 PM
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Originally Posted by EndOfFashion View Post
Oh, as for dividing his meal up...sounds good! We already place his food dish as far from where he normally hangs out as possible, but would dividing it up work with scheduled feedings? (we don't free feed.) Sometimes we also take his kibble in our hand and scatter it so he has to chase it to eat it - I know that sounds cruel but he will only move for food and to go potty. Unfortunately that won't work with wet food, haha!

Just divide each serving into several bowls at each feeding so that he has to move to different places.

Sorry, I didn't mean to sound like I was accusing you of speeding up his weight loss; just that it is normal that it would be slow. Plus, it's hard to get a cat to exercise; not like a dog who you can take out for a walk. However, maybe you can get him a harness and teach him to walk? I have heard of people doing this....


I would stay away from the prescription diets...if you want to go prescription, I would go with Wysong. At least their foods contain actual meat. Just google Wysong and there's a 1-800 number you can call. they have over the counter formulas and prescription foods. For the latter, you'll have to get a written prescription from your vet and fax it to them. They do have a distributor in Canada and if I could find my little book, I could give it to you.....I think the distributor is called Natural Pet Products. I know Ren's has some of their over the counter formulas.
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Old May 20th, 2009, 04:05 PM
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Flipgirl, I'm sorry if I sounded defensive! People I meet are often condescending towards me because of my age (you wouldn't believe the flack I get from other dog owners I meet on the street), so I sometimes have my guard up when I really shouldn't. Please understand that I do appreciate your concern and your advice!

I will definitely try splitting up his meals. Anything to get him moving! As for taking him outside...we have a fully fenced in yard (we weren't worried about him escaping because he can't move very fast and can't jump very high) and we tried to carry him out once, but he got very very frightened. We haven't tried a harness, though...I'll bring it up to my boyfriend and see what he thinks. My opinion is that it's worth a try.

I know what you mean about the prescription diets. I went through the list of recommended wet foods on the catinfo.org site, and found that two of them are carried at a nearby pet store, so we're going to try one of them - Wellness grain-free food. We're actually going to pick it up today, so I'll let you all know what Charlie thinks of it
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Old May 21st, 2009, 07:49 AM
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So I went to Pet Valu yesterday to pick up the Wellness grain-free wet food, and now I have some concerns.

The woman who was running the store (I don't know if she's a manager/franchise owner or just a cashier) wasn't aware of the wet food vs dry food debate and said she had never heard of feeding non-diet wet food for weight loss - though Pet Valu does carry their own brand of wet food which includes a diet variety (more on that later). I'm not too concerned about her skepticism in that area, since both her cats which were wandering around the store weighed about 15 lbs - and they were small-framed female cats! However, she said something that does have me worried; she said wet food is not good for feline dental health.

This is a problem because Charlie had bad teeth when we adopted him and on Saturday the vet found evidence of gingivitis. We can't do much about it until he loses a significant amount of weight because he can't be anesthetized, but the vet gave us some Vet Aquadent to add to his water. I'm really worried that his teeth will get worse on the wet food. Any suggestions? Should I mix a bit of kibble in with the wet food to act as an abrasive to "brush" his teeth?

Also, the Wellness food is quite expensive! At Pet Valu it's $1.99 for a 5.5 oz can. Is that a good price for Wellness? The only other food I recognized as good was Merrick, but it was the same price. So I have two questions: 1) Is there somewhere in Toronto that sells Wellness at a lower price than $1.99 a can? 2) Is there a good food that is not as expensive? Or could I buy a less expensive food (like the Pet Valu brand - it did have rice but it was quite low down in the list of ingredients) and alternate the two? I read that even the worst wet food is better than dry kibble...(not that I would buy Friskies or anything!)

Thanks for all your help everyone!

Last edited by EndOfFashion; May 21st, 2009 at 07:50 AM. Reason: typo!
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Old May 21st, 2009, 08:10 AM
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good food is goingto be more expensive however they need to and usually are satisfied with less food

is he losibg weight ? like a 1/2 lb a month if so thats what you want
any progrss on exercise?
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Old May 21st, 2009, 10:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EndOfFashion View Post
So I went to Pet Valu yesterday to pick up the Wellness grain-free wet food, and now I have some concerns.

The woman who was running the store (I don't know if she's a manager/franchise owner or just a cashier) wasn't aware of the wet food vs dry food debate and said she had never heard of feeding non-diet wet food for weight loss - though Pet Valu does carry their own brand of wet food which includes a diet variety (more on that later). I'm not too concerned about her skepticism in that area, since both her cats which were wandering around the store weighed about 15 lbs - and they were small-framed female cats! However, she said something that does have me worried; she said wet food is not good for feline dental health.

This is a problem because Charlie had bad teeth when we adopted him and on Saturday the vet found evidence of gingivitis. We can't do much about it until he loses a significant amount of weight because he can't be anesthetized, but the vet gave us some Vet Aquadent to add to his water. I'm really worried that his teeth will get worse on the wet food. Any suggestions? Should I mix a bit of kibble in with the wet food to act as an abrasive to "brush" his teeth?

Also, the Wellness food is quite expensive! At Pet Valu it's $1.99 for a 5.5 oz can. Is that a good price for Wellness? The only other food I recognized as good was Merrick, but it was the same price. So I have two questions: 1) Is there somewhere in Toronto that sells Wellness at a lower price than $1.99 a can? 2) Is there a good food that is not as expensive? Or could I buy a less expensive food (like the Pet Valu brand - it did have rice but it was quite low down in the list of ingredients) and alternate the two? I read that even the worst wet food is better than dry kibble...(not that I would buy Friskies or anything!)

Thanks for all your help everyone!
I wouldn't be too concerned about what most employees of a chain pet food store think. They are given the same line of **** that vets are as to what food is good and what isn't. Grain free wet food is healthiest, hands down. Unless you want to do raw which is a whole other subject.
It has taken me a very long time to start convincing the gals at the PV I go to that their thinking may be slightly skewed.
As for wet food not being good for dental health...... wrong. The BEST food for dental health is raw with bones. You could also, if you are concerned, start brushing your cat's teeth. Toothbrushes and paste are readily available. Kibble does nothing but harm to teeth. If you actually watch the way a cat eats kibble the piece actually is shattered by the tip of the tooth, not the top of the tooth where the tarter gathers. Dry food companies would love us to think it's cleaning teeth. It isn't.
As for cost - if you calculate the price of a larger can versus a smaller can it works out a little better. Large cans are pricey yes, but you probably won't find a cheaper price. You could get the Performatrin Ultra and alternate it with Wellness or anything else that is grain free. There are lots of good choices. I get Natural Balance occasionally for my guys/gals too. They like it for a change.
And Friskies - sometimes you feed what you can afford. The ones with gravy aren't that great for them. Pate is better. Even Fancy Feast is doable on an occasional basis.
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Old May 21st, 2009, 10:42 AM
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However, she said something that does have me worried; she said wet food is not good for feline dental health.
Kibble does much more harm to a cat's teeth than wet food ever will. We don't eat pretzles and cookies to clean our teeth, so why should cats? If dry food was so good for a carnivore's dental health, then why is dental disease such a huge problem in our pets when that's mostly what they eat? Completely illogical. Read these 2 links for more details:

http://home.ivillage.com/pets/cats/0,,p8ds,00.html
http://www.littlebigcat.com/index.ph...dcleantheteeth
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Old May 21st, 2009, 11:36 AM
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good food is goingto be more expensive however they need to and usually are satisfied with less food

is he losibg weight ? like a 1/2 lb a month if so thats what you want
any progrss on exercise?
Over the last year he's only lost about 4-5 lbs on the Hill's Prescription dry food diet we were feeding him. But I guess that works out to almost 1/2 lb a month so perhaps we weren't doing so badly! We only fed him the Wellness wet food for the first time last night so I'll keep everyone updated on how the change in diet works out.

As for exercise, we're going to try dividing his meals up and spreading them throughout the house like 14+/Flipgirl mentioned. And actually, last night I tried playing with him using his fishing pole toy and he ACTUALLY got up and moved to chase it (usually he just lies there and swipes at it if it comes close enough)...so we're making progress! Maybe it was the Wellness?
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Old May 21st, 2009, 11:41 AM
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yup the food will do that my 8 yr old runs around now like a kitten after eating welnessfor a while sounds like your doing a great job!!!
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Old May 21st, 2009, 11:43 AM
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Sugarcatmom and 14+, thank you! I suppose I just got cold feet about making such a seemingly big change, so the clerk's mention of dental health had me worried. But I knew if I came back on this board I could find reassurance that I was doing the right thing! Everything you both said about how dry kibble is not effective at cleaning teeth makes sense.

I might mix in Performatrin like you suggested..I actually think this is the Pet Valu brand that I mentioned (I couldn't remember at the time what it was called), but it looked pretty good. I knew I would be paying more for a quality diet, but the wet food is going to cost about twice as much as the dry food each month. We did buy several of the larger cans (I think they're about 12 oz) and one 5.5 oz can to use for measuring out his meals. It will just take some re-jigging in terms of what we spend our money on I love Charlie so much and only want him to be healthy.

As for brushing his teeth - yes, the vet did mention that we could try that. I don't know how Charlie would take it but he loves to be groomed and he's not really feisty, so that might actually go over well. Anyone have a recommendation for a good brand of pet-specific toothbrush?
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Old May 21st, 2009, 11:44 AM
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Thanks Jim Hall (and everyone) for your support!
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Old May 21st, 2009, 12:29 PM
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As for brushing his teeth - yes, the vet did mention that we could try that. I don't know how Charlie would take it but he loves to be groomed and he's not really feisty, so that might actually go over well. Anyone have a recommendation for a good brand of pet-specific toothbrush?
I actually found the whole toothbrush/toothpaste thing to be way too stressful for me and my two. We'd all end up hyperventilating and hating each other for the rest of the evening! So the vet recommended just getting some sterile cotton gauze pads (you can buy them at any drug store) and using them to rub down the teeth. It's not AS effective as a toothbrush in terms of getting under the gum line but it is definitely better than nothing. It's still a fight - they hate it - but I can get it done in a very short period of time. Charlie might just love it - every cat is different.

I did learn however NOT to try and do that AND clip nails on the same day........bad idea - bad, bad, idea!
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Old May 21st, 2009, 12:47 PM
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lsf, if the brushing doesn't work, the cotton gauze sounds like a good alternative! As for clipping nails and brushing teeth in the same day - haha, sounds like you know it's a bad idea from experience. I will definitely keep that in mind...
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Old May 21st, 2009, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by EndOfFashion View Post
As for brushing his teeth - yes, the vet did mention that we could try that. I don't know how Charlie would take it but he loves to be groomed and he's not really feisty, so that might actually go over well. Anyone have a recommendation for a good brand of pet-specific toothbrush?
Ya, even my vet admits she can't brush her own cat's teeth. And I've never mastered it with my kitties either. There is a great video put out by Cornell University on how to gradually get a cat acclimatized to the process, if you think Charlie might be receptive: http://partnersah.vet.cornell.edu/pe...brushing_teeth

Like luvsmallfurries mentioned, using a small piece of gauze or even a Q-tip can also help. You can put a bit of the C.E.T. toothpaste from the vet on the Q-tip, which will help dissolve plaque. My cat absolutely goes crazy for the C.E.T. or Enzadent dental chews, they're probably his all-time favourite treat (they look like wine corks and have special enzymes in them - I have to hold one end of it or else he tries to swallow it whole).
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Old May 29th, 2009, 07:41 AM
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Well, I promised an update. Since I'm home sick I'm going to be on the forums a lot today!

We bought Charlie several different cans of Wellness wet food (all grain-free, though!). He LOVES the stuff. We had absolutely no problem getting him to eat it, we didn't even have to mix it in with his dry food to start - honestly, Charlie is the farthest thing from picky (which I suppose didn't help his weight problem )!

I swear that he has more energy and his fur feels nicer (his fur used to be a little oily and dandruff-y because he's too fat to properly clean himself). The wet food has only created two problems:

1) It smells sooo delicious, that Milo stalks the food bowl waiting for Charlie to leave, and then likes to lick it clean when nobody is watching - so splitting up Charlie's meal and placing it throughout the house has been a huge challenge! It also seems to make Milo a little pickier about his own food...

2) It seems to give Charlie gas. We're used to Milo's frequent and gag-inducing bouts of flatulence, but now Charlie, too? Ugh. Well, we love him that much!

Thanks to everyone for your advice and encouragement! I really really appreciate it and I will keep everyone posted about Charlie's weight loss (it's only been a week but I'm confident he's going to get to a healthy weight eventually)!
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  #23  
Old May 29th, 2009, 10:51 AM
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2) It seems to give Charlie gas. We're used to Milo's frequent and gag-inducing bouts of flatulence, but now Charlie, too? Ugh.
The gas should eventually subside, it's probably just his digestive tract adjusting to the new food. You could try adding a pinch of probiotics (from a capsule) to his meals to see if that helps speed the process along (they might also help Milo too).
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Old May 29th, 2009, 11:04 AM
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Sugarcatmom, where can I get probiotic capsules? The drug store? Or do they have pet-specific ones at pet stores?
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Old May 29th, 2009, 11:15 AM
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Sugarcatmom, where can I get probiotic capsules? The drug store? Or do they have pet-specific ones at pet stores?
I like the human ones that you get from a health food store. My favourite is Natural Factor's Ultimate Multi because it has several different types of organisms and is high potency so you don't need to use very much. Plus it doesn't have a lot of dairy, which can be an allergy source for some cats. If you do find that one, you only need about 1/6th of a capsule per dose (which is around 2 billion organisms).
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Old May 29th, 2009, 11:22 AM
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Weight loss should be gradual. losing 2 pounds to a cat, is like us humans losing 20 pounds. so 2 pounds is like losing 20 pounds.

ACO22
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Old May 29th, 2009, 11:42 AM
Jim Hall Jim Hall is offline
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yah 1/2 albamonth or so is fine
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  #28  
Old May 29th, 2009, 11:56 AM
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SCM - I'll keep an eye out for those. Will they just help with the flatulence, or will they affect him in other ways as well? Of course I wouldn't want any negative effects!

ACO22 and Jim Hall - don't worry! I am NOT trying to push Charlie to lose an unhealthy amount of weight in a short amount of time. He lost about 4 lbs over the last year, as I mentioned before, and that's a 1/3 lb a month. If we can get him to lose 1/2 lb a month this year (so 6 lbs total), that would be even better. The health of my cat is my top priority, which is why I'm trying to get him to lose weight in the first place (it makes me awfully sad to see that he has trouble walking and grooming himself). :sad:
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Old May 29th, 2009, 12:28 PM
Jim Hall Jim Hall is offline
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not worried at allyou are doing an amazing job
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Old May 29th, 2009, 04:25 PM
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chico2 chico2 is offline
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EndOfFashion,I too have a somewhat obese cat at 18lb's,I feed them(3 cats)Wellness and no dry.
My little fattie(7yrs old)just had one tooth pulled and cleaning at the cost of $800,but I also have 2 others at 13 and 12yrs old,who never had their teeth cleaned and they are fine,no gingivities.
I believe cats teeth are like peoples,some are bad and some are not.
I rather have my cats teeth cleaned,than having them have urinary,or kidney-problems from eating crappy dry food.
I buy the larger cans of Wellness at $2,99 and between the 3 of them they eat one can/day,of course in between they get treats,the occasional chicken,beef etc..
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