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Are we Loving our Pets to Death?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I have received permission to post the following written by Amy Shojai, renowned cat writer, and cat behaviorist:

We're loving our pets to death--with too much food and too little exercise. Here's the basics folks need to understand:

1) Pets gain weight because they eat too much

2) Most pets are bored and don't have to "work" so they eat instead, and owners often "treat" cats with food when they feel guilty not having enough time to spend with them

3) Free-feeding allows bored pets to pig out--rarely is it the diet, it's the amount of food eaten coupled with little to no exercise that makes 'em fat

4) Aging pets exercise/play less, metabolism changes/slows, and they gain weight if adjustments aren't made---similarly, spayed/neutered cats will have a slight metabolism change and need food adjustments

5) Grocery store brands are not inherently bad but some are better than others--for instance, Cat Chow is a middle of the road product; Purina O.N.E. is a premium, and Purina Cat Chow Senior is a specialty food with fewer calories and higher protein. Same company, different brands, each good for a certain "type" of cat.

6) Crash diets CAN kill a cat--overweight kitties are even more prone to hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver disease). Gradual weight loss over a year's period (or longer) works best and is the safest choice--working with a vet is ideal

7) Obesity increases the risk for arthritis, diabetes, cancer, and other illnesses

Some tips--after consulting with vet:

1) If using same diet, reduce total amount fed each day and offer in meals of measured amounts 3-4 times daily. Helps cat feel more satisfied and less deprived, also speeds up kitty metabolism

2) If using a "lite" product, choose the same brand as the old food. Otherwise, a "lite" food made by X company may have more calories than the regular food made by "Y" company---the lite designation only means it has fewer calories as compared with in that particular brand's regular diet. Still measure the amount and feed in several meals a day. If allowed to free-feed on "lite" food many cats simply eat more to make up for the difference in calories.

3) Enourage regular exercise--get the cat to chase a fishing pole style toy, or flashlight beam. Put one of the cat's "meals" inside a treat ball so she must "hunt" and manipulate the ball to shake out the kibble to eat. Put the food bowl on top of a step stool or stairs so she must climb for her meals.

All this info (and more!) will be in the forthcoming book, COMPLETE CARE FOR YOUR AGING CAT (New American Library, July 1st)

post #2 of 7
Thread Starter 
post #3 of 7
Mary Ann - some very valid points in there. Some of the issues I'm having to contend with, having Ferdy who is very lazy and overweight I am having to watch the food intake of all 3 and making a concious effort to ensure they all chase their toys for a while each evening.

Thing is - they don't oblige, try getting a cat to get off its butt and chase a toy when it doesn't want to!!!
post #4 of 7
my cats LOVE chasing those lazer toys. That is how we get them to exerise. Neo is still alitte chubby though and I know i should be cutting back on his food but he beggs for it!
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Yola do you have a cat condo? If you do start feeding at the very top of the condo, so the cat has to work for the food, or clean off a top shelf that is quite stable and feed up there. Hide treats around the house in places where the cat has to work to get to. There are ways to get inactive cats active again. By nature, they are hunters, some of them just get lazy and bored and lose interest.
post #6 of 7
my cats LOVE to treat hunt! Before i leave for work i throw some treats and then they run around the house and find them
post #7 of 7
Thanks for sharing, Mary Anne... all holds so true!

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