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Fat Cat
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Fat Cat

II have a 10 year old cat, that I've had since she was 8 weeks old.  When she was a kitten, I gave her Iaams for kittens.  Perhaps I gave her kitten food too long.  I gave it to her until she was about 8 months old.  After she was fixed and front declawed around 6 months of age, she just started gaining weight.  Wasn't that bad at first, but she's about 23 pounds and not active at all. When she walks, her back legs, kind of point outward and she wheezes.  I brought her into the vet years ago and they did blood and xray, and everything was normal, although they said her heart looked slightly larger, but the doctor really didn't seem to be sure.  

Anyway, my concern is that her life will be shorted by the weight and inactivity.  I love this cat terribly and I've tried limiting her food before, etc....  No luck, so now I've been trying to keep the food bowl full, so she won't think that's all she's getting and scarf it down..  Besides, I have a second cat that doesn't eat too much and still needs the food.  Any idea?  Should I do something different?  She eats Iaams for less active cats.  Weight management.  She really doesn't care to play anymore, but seems content to sleep in her basket all day.
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234713_tn?1283530259
It is great that you are interested in getting your cat to lose weight.  Obesity can lead to diabetes, joint problems and more in cats.  

There are a number of ways to do this but I have found the following reliable if you are patient.

First you must establish a routine of feeding both cats 3 meals per day instead of leaving it down all the time.  Do this very slowly.  Leave ½ of what you normally leave down in the morning and ½ at night for a few days, than 1/3 of the amount for 3 times per day etc.  

Once meals are established than you must begin a conversion from dry food to wet food.  The idea behind this is that canned food contains much less carbohydrate than dry food, and since the cat originated as a desert animal they derive most of their daily water intake from their food and not as much from drinking. The best reducing diet for cats is the Atkins-type diet.  Cats do not have any need for grains at all and need very high protein diets with a small to moderate amount of fat and no or very little carbohydrates.  Some cats do like some vegetables, and vegetables do contain anti-oxidants, but since cats lack the taste buds for sweet they really are not interested in fruits very much.  If they like fruits it is due to the shape, texture or other flavors.

If your cats are not used to canned food, or don’t like canned food than begin with very tiny amounts of canned food (1/4 teaspoon) mixed in their dry cat food.  Gradually increase this very slowly until your overweight cat eat’s ½ to 1 can of low carbohydrate canned food and ¼ to ½ cup of dry food divided into 3 meals per day.  If your cat is still ravenous you may have to increase the amount of food until your cat is no longer ravenous.  This will be your cat’s maximum feeding amount and we will reduce from there.  Your cat could just eat canned food if she liked it.  Once they are totally converted you can decrease both canned and dry foods very slowly by teaspoons at a time.  Give one teaspoon less per day for one week for the first week, than 2 teaspoons less per day for the second week, etc.

The most important thing about cat reducing diets is that it must be accomplished very very slowly!  Don’t switch immediately to a different type of food quickly.  Obese cats that stop eating for any reason can develop fatty liver disease.  
A good reducing food available from your vet is D/M.  and many cats find it palatable.

This may sound a little complicated but it really isn’t.  It just takes a lot of patience!

To summarize:
1. Convert both cats to mostly canned food.  
2. Feed them three meals per day, this can drop down to 2 meals per day eventually.
3. Feed the last meal of the day as late as possible so your cat won’t keep you up.
4. Once you cat is on meals and mostly canned begin reducing very slowly.
5. Once she reaches her ideal weight you can begin increasing the amount but monitor her weight diligently so she does not gain the weight back.
3 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
I will try the canned food again, but the 10 year old does not like it, unless it's Tuna flavored.  I used to feed her 2 meals per day, but I stopped because she would gulp it all down, at least now with the bowls full, she only eats a bit at a time.  I think she already has arthitis and asthma.  And I believe that her overweight problem is due to inactivity.  She sleep all day.  

I will try your advice though.  Thank You.
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97628_tn?1204465633
Have you had her thyroid tested? If she sleeps all day it could just be because she likes it or it could be because she's tired from a condition.
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234713_tn?1283530259
Aleda M Cheng, D.V.M., C.V.ABlank
American Animal Hospital
Randolph, NJ
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