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Fat cat - what can I do?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone, I hope someone has suggestions for a fat cat!!! I adopted a stray cat who was living around my apartment complex. I think he was probably abandoned in the park next door, because he was very friendly and obviously not feral. (Spent several weeks trying to track down the owners -- he was microchipped -- but they wouldn't return calls.) Anyway, he eats constantly and has become quite chubby. Initially I tried to limit his food intake, but when he is hungry he is just IMPOSSIBLE to live with. Not only does he meow constantly, he becomes quite destructive, tearing up furniture, attacking the curtains and so on. One night he completely destroyed the electrical cord to my lamp -- he chewed it all to pieces. Luckily the lamp was turned off at the wall switch or I would have had a fried kitty.

So I started keeping his bowl full all the time, but he just eats all the time. I switched him to low calorie food (Science Diet) but he still eats too much and is still gaining weight.

He's getting so fat he is beginning to have trouble cleaning his rear end, and I'm afraid that is going to start causing hygiene problems.

Here's a picture of my wonderful little boy (taken awhile ago -- he's fatter now). Any advice on how to get him to eat less? I live in a small condo and I can't really have a hungry cat who is tearing around meowing and destroying things constantly. When he gets enough to eat, he's pretty mellow -- but otherwise, ugh!

Rebecca

post #2 of 12
that's a tough one. Fang was a stray, and he would eat anything that was out, so I stopped leaving the food out. I took the vets suggestion. they all get fed twice a day, wet and dry, a bowl with both, and that's it. I hate throwing a way food, this way they are hungry when they eat, and if they don't eat it all right away, they will finish it off before the next day. None of them are destructive though, and I will give in if begged, with one handful of kibble, which is not much.

Is there some way you can redirect him? have some toys, a tail, something to play with him more, interest him, cat videos?

It will probably take a while for him to understand he is not going to starve. Fang is not such a pig anymore, and is used to the twice a day feeding, even leaves food if he doesn't want it all at the moment, but I have had him for 5 years.
I would ask the vet, and a cat psychologist.
post #3 of 12
Are you feeding her dry food? If so, stop! Start feeding her quality canned food....grain-free.. Cats are obligate carnivores - when you feed her high carb, highly processed kibble, it increases their insulin production which in turn, increases fat storage - it also increases the secretion of glucagon another hormone. Although I'm not totally sure what the role of glucagon is, it results in a process which makes the cat even hungrier. So the vicious cycle begins...

The low calorie diets they have out there are worthless because they have the same issue that the regular diets have - high carb, highly processed cereal. So get some grain-free, low carb canned food and your cat will lose weight. Because it's closer to what nature feeds a cat, your cat will only eat as much as it needs. Feed half of the daily portion in the morning and the other half at night. Because you're free feeding, that will also lead to obesity.

Of course, playing with your cat will help but as with humans, diet is at least 80% of the battle. Once your cat is at its ideal weight, it will start to play more.
post #4 of 12
How long have you had him? If he struggled to get food at his previous owners house or as a stray, he has some bad food habits that you need to break. As the earlier posters stated, changing their habits take time, and feeding the right food (good quality wet) will help. Contrary to popular belief, a cat can actually lose weight on a quality wet food, since you are taking away all the carbs and fillers (imagine eating at McDonalds all the time).

If your only option is to feed dry food, switch to a better quality food (Science Diet is so full of fillers that many of us consider it junk food) that is free of carbs. Make him work for the food by putting it up high (on top of a counter, washing machine, etc). He'll at least get a little more exercise from jumping up and down.

And cat proof your house while he is adjusting.
post #5 of 12
A dry food needs starch in order for it to process through an extruder. So a dry food that claims to be grain-free is not necessarily starch-free. Some foods use potato which is high on the glycemic index; others use tapioca or pea fibre. Regardless, like momofmany said, it's like feeding McDonalds. Cats are not meant to eat grains or starch; they need protein and fat and low carbs; they're not like dogs who have adapted to eating various foods.

You're probably better off feeding a medium quality wet food if money is an issue. It may be more expensive to feed canned but considering what you could pay for diabetes, and other conditions which result from obesity, it would be well worth it.

Good luck!
post #6 of 12
how about exercise like playing with him longer.
post #7 of 12
You might try treat balls. You can fill them with your kitty's normal kibble. Because he will have to work to get the food out, he will end up eating more slowly/less food, and he will get exercise at the same time.
post #8 of 12
I would try splitting his meals up, my latest foster had similar issues and at one point was getting 8 meals a day. Also, when was he last wormed?
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks to everyone who responded! I did not know that Science Diet was junk food for cats. I actually thought it was a relatively high quality food compared to the brands in the grocery stores. Learn something new every day! I will try switching to a better, grain-free wet food. Maybe that will do the trick.

I play with him quite a bit with a feather fishing pole and other toys, and he's very energetic. But as soon as we are done playing, he immediately runs to his food bowl and eats even more! Maybe playing brings out his hunting instincts -- when he was a stray, I suspect he was living on birds and mice he caught in park.

He had worms when I adopted him last year, but he was dewormed successfully.

Rebecca
post #10 of 12
Just another thought, has he been to the vet lately? Did the vet check blood test for anything that would cause him to be hungry all the time and gain weight? Thyroid, etc? Worms, again?

You can find quality pet foods at some pet food chain stores, some feed/seed type stores and small pet stores. Grocery stores usually do not carry premium foods.

Ditto on the canned food to loose weight. He may feel more satisfied and full eating canned food as it contains a lot of water. A good thing!
post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skimble View Post
Just another thought, has he been to the vet lately? Did the vet check blood test for anything that would cause him to be hungry all the time and gain weight? Thyroid, etc? Worms, again?

You can find quality pet foods at some pet food chain stores, some feed/seed type stores and small pet stores. Grocery stores usually do not carry premium foods.

Ditto on the canned food to loose weight. He may feel more satisfied and full eating canned food as it contains a lot of water. A good thing!
The above...
post #12 of 12
Given that you're going to do the switch to a high quality wet food, you may also want to consider the addition of the treat ball as suggested earlier - just find a ball and treats where the combo does allow a treat out but not easily.

But I agree - it does sound like maybe a vet visit is in order. You mentioned you adopted him "last year" - so that could be anything beyond 8 months. Given he was a stray and not actually feral, and he's been there for months and knows he'll get food.... I'd just be safe and rule out that any problems have crept up.

Thank you for adopting this kitty in need!

Laurie
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