Nutrition Management For Pets Forum
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Avatar universal

Too Darned Big

    I am looking for some advice to keep my cat from getting any bigger and to maybe get him to shrink a little.

    Can you offer any useful advice to keep my 25 pounder from getting any larger? I don't want to spend my whole day monitoring food intake, but I can take some steps. I have put his food up on the (unused) kitchen table so he at least has to go out of his way in order to get to the kibble, but I don't know what else to do. He eats when he is bored. I honestly think he needs some kitty SSRI or something.
Here are their foods in order of preference:
Dry Food
-Fancy Feast Gold Dry – poultry
-Iams Hairball formula
-Purina cat chow indoor formula
-Fancy Feast for the smaller cats
-Friskies for the big cats
The overweight cat is 25 pounds
Next largest is about 18 pounds, next is 15, next is 12, next is 10, then last is 7.
All are male except for the 2 smallest. All are neutered or spayed

Is there some kind of dry food that is as tasty (in cat’s opinions) as the fancy feast gold dry food but that isn't as calorific?

    I just think that if I could find something as delicious as the Fancy Feast Gold Dry, but with fewer calories, then he could obsessively munch on diet food instead.
He is 36 inches long including his tail and 25 inches long not including his tail.
His brother who lives with my father is about 20 pounds and diabetic, but indoor only and gets no exercise. My cat has gotten blood sugar tested regularly and is ok, but I worry anyway. My cats have a kitty door and spend as much time as they want in the back yard playing stalk and pounce in plain view, so I don’t worry about their exercise levels. But I don’t want my big guy to get diabetic.

Any advice to control my compulsive eater or to keep his compulsion from being harmful would be very much appreciated.

BTW, my cats really like me a lot.

1 Responses
Avatar universal
I am glad to help and here are a few suggestions to slim down your puggy cat.

Consider a blood test called a Thyroid Panel run by your vet to rule out hypothyroidism. Ask for a TSH, Free T3 and Free T4.

Do not free feed your cats. Give them 2-6 small meals daily, leave the bowls out for 15-20 minutes then pick them up.

Try to stimulate your cats to play and exercise, at least 4 times a day for 10 minute sessions.

Cat Nip (Nepeta Cataria) is an safe, natural herb that cats love. It’s available at pet food stores and may be stuffed into toys, and/or rubbed onto hemp perches/ the loose herb can be sprinkled onto food or used as a low calorie treat.  It stimulates the cat’s nervous system so cats feel good and want to play. Catnip is very safe and has no known adverse effects.

To successfully lose weight owners must reduce calories, increase exercise and monitor their cat’s progress regularly.

High quality lean protein like chicken, turkey, beef, or liver making up at least 50 percent of the diet is necessary to prevent the loss of lean body tissue. Protein levels over 50% help stimulate metabolism and promote weight loss.

Reduce dietary fat to less than 10 percent of the diet.  This may cause a dry skin and hair coat.  Fatty acid supplements such as fish oil and/or flax seed oil will help prevent dry hair coats

Increase fiber up to 15-20 percent under your vet’s guidance.  Fiber provides bulk which makes cats feel full and keeps them happy while losing weight. Excess fiber can interfere with absorption of minerals and lead to other nutritional problems.

Give a good vitamin-mineral supplement, like VitaLife Cat Supplement.

Initially decrease the total number of calories by 20 percent and set a maximum initial weight loss goal at 15 percent, then make calculations accordingly.

Weight loss must be greater than 0.5 percent per week, 1% is considered ideal, but losing over 2 percent of body weight per week is unhealthy because your cat will lose lean body tissue in addition to body fat.

Feed smaller meals more often.  Try increasing the number of meals from 1 or 2 up to 6. Spread the food out on a very large cookie platter, which makes it take longer to eat and looks like a lot more to your cat.

In Summary:

Leave food out 20 to 30 minutes and remove-don’t free feed
Avoid snacks, or feed healthy treats like fresh vegetables.
Pet, hug, kiss, massage and brush your cat as much as possible.
Allow free access to clean, fresh water at all times

Create games and schedule play periods. Consider getting your cat a kitten to play with.

Cats enjoy laser mice games and dangling bird toys and other games that enhance their natural hunting instincts.

Many cats enjoy walking on a harness.

Fiber sources that can be added to meals: 1 tsp wheat bran, 1 tsp of finely grated carrots or zucchini or 1 tsp of peas, corn or chopped green beans.

I hope this information is helpful.

Best Wishes
Dr. Carol Osborne, DVM

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