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Need Weight loss advice for fat kitties!

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I have 3 cats. Two fatties, 7 and 8 years old, and a 1 year old kitty who's fine.

I've always let them just free feed. Obviously, that's not working. I've decided to get them on a weight loss plan because the 7 y/o kitty was just diagnosed with asthma.

If you don't free feed, how many times a day do you give them food? Twice?

Any info or help would be apprciated! (I'll be talking to the vet on Monday, but I'm just lost!)
post #2 of 21
aww fat cats are gorgeous!! my old marv liked the pie a bit too much so we ended up feeding him james wellbeloved 'senior/light'. these are really good biscuits & they've hardly got any chemicals in, so they're all good stuff. there are 4 flavours aswell. i always gave marv a sachet of iams 11+ in the morning (he was 14) followed by biscuits for lunch which were topped up after tea. tea was a white fish fillet (granted, probably the cause of he weight but he loved it sooo much i couldn't stop it!).

i think from what i've experienced that cats tend to go one way or the other as they get older ie: fatter or thinner. i never really worried too much with marv because i knew i wasn't feeding him too much - it was just his slow metabolism where he was old (he also turned out to have a 2Kg tumour, which was probably why he looked big!). as long as your cats are healthy i don't think a little excess weight will do them much harm.
post #3 of 21
I suspect that it's NOT the free-feeding....but WHAT THEY'RE EATING that's the problem.

If you want to learn and understand what's behind the epidemic of obesity in our cats....and, what's causing the vast majority of illnesses showing up on this forum, I strongly suggest you take some time and read what a feline Veterinarian - who specializes in nutrition - has to say.

You'll find it on her website right here.

The other option is to wait for some "instant" answers on here...some of which (like "switching" to a "lite" formula food), the good doc says is blatently wrong)...

If you want to see her suggestions working (perhaps, a little too quickly) have a read of this thread on TCS.

And...be careful with reducing the number of meals...kitties who do not eat several times a day run an additional risk of developing urinary crystals/stones.
post #4 of 21
Many people have found that switching to an all wet diet is all that is needed for cats to lose excess weight at a safe rate. Feeding twice a day and an amount as specifed by the food maker on the label is common.

All of mine are young adults of average size and the ones that eat canned eat 1 5 oz can in the morning and another in the evening.

Good luck!
post #5 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by BLAISE View Post
...And...be careful with reducing the number of meals...kitties who do not eat several times a day run an additional risk of developing urinary crystals/stones.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mschauer View Post
...Feeding twice a day and an amount as specifed by the food maker on the label is common...
"Feeding methods: It is recommended that cats who are at risk for developing struvite crystals or stones should be fed ad libitum. After eating a large meal, the pH of the urine usually becomes more alkaline. By eating small meals throughout the day, the urine pH will stay more acidic...Diet can influence the health of the urinary tract. By...adjusting feeding schedules, the risk of a cat developing urinary crystals and stones can be decreased." PetEducation.com

Well, a cursory look through the threads on this form will show that cases of crystals/stones/blockages are common, too. Again, it's all about risk. You can trust the science - or - the opinions of those who (thankfully) haven't had to face one of those problems...so far.
post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by BLAISE;2392541
Well, a cursory look through the threads on this form will show that cases of crystals/stones/blockages are [B
common[/b], too. Again, it's all about risk. You can trust the science - or - the opinions of those who (thankfully) haven't had to face one of those problems...so far.
There is plenty of conflicting information available on the web. Everyone just has to do their own research and come to their own conclusions.

For the record I have a cat that has had a bout with struvite crystals. To prevent them I started feeding her raw twice a day and her urine pH is always in the 6 -6.25 range. Perfect for preventing crystals.
post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by mschauer View Post
There is plenty of conflicting information available on the web. Everyone just has to do their own research and come to their own conclusions.

For the record I have a cat that has had a bout with struvite crystals. To prevent them I started feeding her raw twice a day and her urine pH is always in the 6 -6.25 range. Perfect for preventing crystals.
YES NOTHING is set in stone as all of us and our kitties are individual

Free feeding often can cause an issue in a cat already predisposed to wt issues ... WET food often is a good option...

What dry are you feeding at 7 to 8 you may want to think senior dry for a variety of reasons

In my house all the cats are free feed dry( measured out) ( note they are all under 5yrs old) and given meals of canned , raw or homemade ...
post #8 of 21
The two older cats I would feed separately from the other.

I would not feed them any "light", "adult" or "indoor" type formulas, as they usually just contain a lot more carbs which is not good. Try to feed them regular adult formulas that are high in protein. Natural Balance Venison & Green Pea, Organix, EVO, Chicken Soup are some excellent choices.

I would definitely stop free feeding all of them. But a word of caution, you can't just go from free feeding them to giving them only two meals a day. That is not good for their system. Several smaller sized meals during the day, as Blaise has suggested, is preferable. Just make the serving size that you give them a little bit smaller, reducing down gradually. Weight loss has to be gradual!

You didn't mention what you are feeding them. If they are eating dry, well that can contribute to their being overweight and you may want to consider switching them over to canned. But as Blaise has mentioned, it has to be done very slowly!

Here is some information on that subject:

http://www.catinfo.org/#My_Cat_is_Do...ne_on_Dry_Food

http://www.littlebigcat.com/?action=...needcannedfood

As mschauer has mentioned there is a lot of conflicting information on the internet so it's important you do your research and decide for yourself, but what they eat certainly does have a lot to do with it.
post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shanynne View Post
The two older cats I would feed separately from the other.

I would not feed them any "light", "adult" or "indoor" type formulas, as they usually just contain a lot more carbs which is not good. Try to feed them regular adult formulas that are high in protein. Natural Balance Venison & Green Pea, Organix, EVO, Chicken Soup are some excellent choices.

I would definitely stop free feeding all of them. But a word of caution, you can't just go from free feeding them to giving them only two meals a day. That is not good for their system. Several smaller sized meals during the day, as Blaise has suggested, is preferable. Just make the serving size that you give them a little bit smaller, reducing down gradually. Weight loss has to be gradual!

You didn't mention what you are feeding them. If they are eating dry, well that can contribute to their being overweight and you may want to consider switching them over to canned. But as Blaise has mentioned, it has to be done very slowly!

Here is some information on that subject:

http://www.catinfo.org/#My_Cat_is_Do...ne_on_Dry_Food

http://www.littlebigcat.com/?action=...needcannedfood

As mschauer has mentioned there is a lot of conflicting information on the internet so it's important you do your research and decide for yourself, but what they eat certainly does have a lot to do with it.
Great info .. JUST an FYI three out of the four you mentioned actually CONTAIN less protein than AVE.. EVO has obviously more being a no grain than ave
post #10 of 21
My four year old male was overweight when I got him, and actually got heavier his first few months with me. Talked to the vet, and she recommended a measured amount of food to be left out for free feeding, as both mine are nibblers (they also get a bit of wet morning and evening). I also made special efforts to play more with them.

Thankfully, he lost weight in a nice healthy fashion and is now at a good weight for his size. But, I only leave out 1/2 cup of Nutro natural choice for adults for him - at 13 pounds it's not the amount I would have guessed at, but it was the vet's recommendation for a slow but steady loss.

Good luck - my vets are very conscious of overweight pets - you can actually come in to have your cat weighed by a tech as often as you like, free, and it's notated in their records.
post #11 of 21
All I know is that what you feed has a lot to do with weight.

My two cats free feed on dry, and Kitty actually lost 1 pound after I switched to EVO (from 11 pounds to 10) so that was good. It could also be because I started feeding a meal of wet food a day too, around the same time we switched dry foods.

I am trying to convince a friend of mine to put her 10 year old cat on senior food, and a better brand too. It takes awhile to figure out what works for your cat, but its worth the time and effort.
post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meowers View Post
...Kitty actually lost 1 pound after I switched to EVO (from 11 pounds to 10) so that was good...
I'll make you a wager that, if you determine the % of carbohydrate in the Evo and in the previous product you used, and compare the difference between the two, you'll know part of the reason for her losing the pound.
Quote:
...It could also be because I started feeding a meal of wet food a day too, around the same time we switched dry foods...
Yep!

Quote:
...I am trying to convince a friend of mine to put her 10 year old cat on senior food, and a better brand too...
I would like to inject a note of caution here...the concept of so-called "senior" food is an OLD one. The science now recommends high protein/fat, low carbohydrate diet for healthy senior cats. Diets should only be adjusted if specific health conditions exist or develop. Absolutely logical, too.....senior feral cats do not change their dietary choices. Now, I'm sure we'll hear a chorus of those who will implore you to have your friend to "consult with her Vet" about her cat's diet. That's fine, if the Vet is
1. "up to speed" with modern scientific thinking on senior feline dietary needs
2. is not more interested in selling your friend some of his/her so-called "senior" prescription foods than in recommending a high quality commercial product (not to exclude "home cooking"!).

"There is no evidence that special "senior" diets are necessary if the cat is healthy and consumes a nutritionally balanced and complete adult maintenance diet...cats of all ages appear to have relatively high protein needs..."
AAFP/Academy of Feline Medecine, Panel Report on Feline Senior Care

The American Assocition of Feline Practitioners also recommends a Vet consult...on a semi-annual basis...for "senior" checkups. Once a year, full senior bloodwork panel and urinanalysis and, every six months, a senior wellness check.

(That linked document I referenced above also has at least two great tools for older furkids' parents - go to the final section, Appendicies and you'll find a "Pre-examination History Checklist", which can help prepare for the Vet visit and, an "Owner's Monthly Checklist"...something that will prevent typical comments like "over the last few months, she seems to have lost quite a bit of weight...")
post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by BLAISE;2393420

[B
"There is no evidence that special "senior" diets are necessary if the cat is healthy and consumes a nutritionally balanced and complete adult maintenance diet...cats of all ages appear to have relatively high protein needs..."[/b]
AAFP/Academy of Feline Medecine, Panel Report on Feline Senior Care

The American Assocition of Feline Practitioners also recommends a Vet consult...on a semi-annual basis...for "senior" checkups. Once a year, full senior bloodwork panel and urinanalysis and, every six months, a senior wellness check.

(That linked document I referenced above also has at least two great tools for older furkids' parents - go to the final section, Appendicies and you'll find a "Pre-examination History Checklist", which can help prepare for the Vet visit and, an "Owner's Monthly Checklist"...something that will prevent typical comments like "over the last few months, she seems to have lost quite a bit of weight...")
I would agree( HIGHLY agree with 2 time a yr checks ) ... EXCEPT for what I have seen under my own roof ... Senior wet foods I dont do much and most are very very similiar to the adult version ie maybe lower in fat by one % .... but the Senior drys are LESS stressful to an older cat because DRY matter protein DOES seem to affect the older cat and the seniors NORMALLY have less dry matter protein.. ave of 30% vs typical adult around 34%/// of course this is why I try to get the kitties off dry prior to senior years
post #14 of 21
Just curious, how old is a 'senior' feral cat - two years, three years, four years? As compared to an raised indoors from day one with vet care and decent nutrition? I keep thinking it's like defining human middle-age - can vary a lot depending on the culture and resources available to the human. And how many ferals actually make it past age two or so? Statistics in my area are pretty grim.

I totally agree having a good vet who does senior work-ups is key - mine starts the panels at age 7, even if the kitties are acting like teenagers, which many of our more pampered babies will for a number of years.
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by cla517 View Post
I have 3 cats. Two fatties, 7 and 8 years old, and a 1 year old kitty who's fine.
Awwww! They are not fat. As we say with Capone, "he's not fat, he is just big boned!" LOL.

I free feed my boys now. I have one 8 pounder and one 17 pounder... I am thinking of just putting them on a schedule to feed them, making my "big boned" boy lose some bone mass LOL, then going back to free feeding.

Haven’t tried it yet though lol not sure if it works.
post #16 of 21
I've heard the term 'fluffy' as well. I've heard some people have a lot of luck with the timed feeders. One thing to consider is how much you're at home, too - some people work at home and can do multiple small meals for their cats...some of us are gone from home for a number of hours daily and have to work out other arrangements. For me, measured feeding and exercise seemed to work well - pity I don't apply the same actions to myself a little more!
post #17 of 21
Not trying to highjack this thread, but

My friend who I'm trying to convince to switch foods for her senior cat, well she is a good pet owner just uninformed. She feeds Alley cat or whatever the convenience store has and her cat is starting to have really bad dandruff, shedding, weight issues, etc so I figured any direction toward a better food is better. She said she will switch, just hasnt gotten around to it yet. I am 'Aunty Brooke' to the cat so very soon i will just go and get it for her

Also, her cat hasnt been to the vet in a very long time, since she is healthy. Many cat owners do not take them in as often as I do for sure, and most TCS'ers. So, it's like finding a weight lose cure for your cat, or anything else. You can only work with what the owner is willing to do, and what th cat will accept.
post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meowers View Post
...My friend who I'm trying to convince to switch foods for her senior cat, well she is a good pet owner just uninformed....Also, her cat hasnt been to the vet in a very long time, since she is healthy...You can only work with what the owner is willing to do, and what the cat will accept.
Meowers- you are so "right on"....problem is, that reality is oh, so difficult to live with! (BTW, with my rant (!) about "senior foods", my simple message was, if the cat's healthy, feed the best you can, avoiding these unnecessarily reduced protein products)
post #19 of 21
Since this thread is for asking advice on what to do with weight issues, I thought I would ask for advice! Right now, mine are still kittens. They will be six months old in a little over a week. I was under the impression that the weight for a six month old kitty should be between 5 and 6 pounds, assuming that the adult cat might be between 10 and 12 pounds. I'm sure this is subject to interpretation with the individual cat.

Pixel has yet to reach the five pound mark. Her bones are thin and she is very lean, and I worry that she does not eat ENOUGH. However, she may just be a small cat (7-8 pounds at adulthood). I am trying not to worry until she gets a bit older, because she is definitely active.

Bamf, on the other hand, weighed in at 7.7 pounds last week when he went in for his neuter! He will surely be approaching 8 pounds soon, and the difference is easy to tell when you pick them up. Bamf's frame is much larger. His bones are thicker than Pixel's and his shoulders and hips are muscular. He still has a very defined waist, but his belly is very round. His nickname is, aptly, "Mr. Chubbs." I don't want him to get too big, but I don't want Pixel to undereat!

They are currently fed about 1.5 oz of Wellness grain free (chicken, turkey, chicken and herring, or beef and chicken) wet in the morning and in the evening. In addition to this, they are free fed about 1/3 cup each of Taste of the Wild dry.

Does anyone have any suggestions? Often, Pixel doesn't finish her wet food. Sometimes she will spurn it entirely and run off, and other times she will only eat it if you feed it to her off of your fingers. And then Bamf comes to steal her food.

If they each ate what they were supposed to (1/3 cup Taste of the Wild and 3 oz of Wellness Grain free wet) they would end up at about 230 calories per day, which seems about right.


So anyway, I am asking for suggestions to get each kitty to eat the right amount of foods! Thanks.
post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by BLAISE View Post
I'll make you a wager that, if you determine the % of carbohydrate in the Evo and in the previous product you used, and compare the difference between the two, you'll know part of the reason for her losing the pound.
Yep!

I would like to inject a note of caution here...the concept of so-called "senior" food is an OLD one. The science now recommends high protein/fat, low carbohydrate diet for healthy senior cats. Diets should only be adjusted if specific health conditions exist or develop. Absolutely logical, too.....senior feral cats do not change their dietary choices. Now, I'm sure we'll hear a chorus of those who will implore you to have your friend to "consult with her Vet" about her cat's diet. That's fine, if the Vet is
1. "up to speed" with modern scientific thinking on senior feline dietary needs
2. is not more interested in selling your friend some of his/her so-called "senior" prescription foods than in recommending a high quality commercial product (not to exclude "home cooking"!).

"There is no evidence that special "senior" diets are necessary if the cat is healthy and consumes a nutritionally balanced and complete adult maintenance diet...cats of all ages appear to have relatively high protein needs..."
AAFP/Academy of Feline Medecine, Panel Report on Feline Senior Care

The American Assocition of Feline Practitioners also recommends a Vet consult...on a semi-annual basis...for "senior" checkups. Once a year, full senior bloodwork panel and urinanalysis and, every six months, a senior wellness check.

(That linked document I referenced above also has at least two great tools for older furkids' parents - go to the final section, Appendicies and you'll find a "Pre-examination History Checklist", which can help prepare for the Vet visit and, an "Owner's Monthly Checklist"...something that will prevent typical comments like "over the last few months, she seems to have lost quite a bit of weight...")
I totally agree!! Thank you Blaise!
post #21 of 21
You'll find most of us here don't have a lot of faith in vets' knowledge about food since many of them aren't very well informed.

It is important however that if your cat needs to lose weight that working with your vet to ensure your cat does not lose too much, too quickly is important as it can become a serious health issue (which vets do know more about than most of us lay folks ).

Sharky is our food guru and knows plenty about foods, their quality, calories, etc. and has much experience with different types of feeding, i.e., raw, canned, dry, etc. She gives good advice.
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