We have a 10 month old cat we adopted last summer from the Humane Society here in Hawaii. He is up to date on all of his vaccines and never goes outside.
We went on vacation over the holidays and were gone for about 18 days. A neighbor girl came every day to play with him and keep him company. Before we left, he was a typical-looking "teenage" cat. In other words, he looked pretty much full grown but still was thin and wirey. We have had many cats before and his growth pattern didn't seem any different than any of our others at this age.
When we returned and scooped him up to love on him, he seemed to weigh a ton! It was such a noticable difference that everyone was shocked at the effort it now took to pick him up compared to before. I am not sure of his weight before we left so I have no way of knowing what it was but it seems considerably more now.
I started tracking his weight:
1/23-- 12.4 lbs
We have been feeding him freely with dry food always available. He doesn't go through his food any faster than normal and it doesn't appear that he is urinating or defecating any more or less than usual. It is difficult to measure the amount of clumps in the kitty box but I can start watching more closely. I'm not sure how helpful that will be since I didn't every pay close attention to what it was before all of the weight gain.
He doesn't eat any wet food. He was eating Iams kitten food because I had read that they needed it for the first year of life. I have since switched him to Iams weight control food and have started to feed him the recommended amount daily instead of having it out all of the time. It has only been a day since I switched.
How long should I try the limited food strategy before I take him into a vet? Is this the correct treatment for this or should I take him to a vet right away?
Thank you for any insight you can give me to this problem.
You said he had food available all the time? That might be your issue right there. Cats should eat twice a day, or once. Feed him the amounts that he'll eat in 30 minutes. After 30-45 minutes, take away his food and feed him again at night. Your cat's diet and eating schedule seems to not be controlled. Hard food tends to cause obesity in cats, and Iams or Sciene Diet, or Purina will certainly not help him lose weight. In addition to that, you should get the cat evaluated by a vet. Some cats have hypothyroidism, which is rare in cats, but it does cause rapid weight gain.
I still think, though, that adjusting his schedule should do the trick for ya. See if you can incorporate canned foods with higher nutrient quality. Iams is not species appropriate. We have a document written by our community leader, Savas, which talks about canned foods and how important it is for our felines to have moisture in their foods. Go with brands that are more suitable for felines, with human intended meat. Cats function with fat, not carbs, which is primarily what you're feeding him. Carbs make people overweight if consumed at high levels. It is no different in cats.
Hi, I have had cats my whole life and I haven't seen that rapid weight gain in any of my cats. There are a few possibilites here. First, as PK said, hypothyroid disease could be a cause, liver disease-causes swelling in the stomach, and any disease that could cause swelling/fluid build-up could cause weight gain! Or, it could be innocent and the cat's just being a pig!! =D
If the cat's being a hog, then you're doing the right thing by giving him lower calorie food. From now on, I would start feeding him wet food everyday. But, to be honest, that rapid weight gain makes me nervous. Just to be safe, I'd go to the vet. Watch your kitty like a hawk to see if there are other symptoms.
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