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Cat won't lose weight!

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone!


I need help with Vitamine's case again.

I recently posted a question about Caloric need Vs requirement of an obese cat for Vitamine, my friend's cat that we are switching to wet food and that needs to lose weight. You guys warned me about the fact that Vitamine wasnt eating enough. My friend did everything she could to get her cat to eat. And i mean EVERYTHING!


So in the end, the cat decided she didnt want to eat Fromm salmon/chicken anymore and prefers Fancy Feast classic savory salmon. So that is what she is currently fed with!

I thought she still wasnt eating enough so I kept encouraging my friend to feed her (she even force-fed her once!), but now looking at her weight's "evolution" I'm starting to think that this cat's metabolism is pretty weird!!


Since august 3rd she didn't lose ANY WEIGHT! And my friend weights her cat EVERYDAY with an electronic baby scale. Vitamine weights 13.4 pounds and is completely stable.

But the thing is... she only eats 105 to 135g of Fancy Feast savory salmon + about 2 teaspoon of tuna water + 1/4th of a package of Fortiflora

SOMETIMES she also eats about 5 to 10 tiny bits of Fromm DRY kibbles (but she doesnt like dry food like she used to!).


I cant count the calories with exactitude cuz Fancy feast doesnt provide the caloric content of their food. I found 2 different (old) websites where one claims that 5.5oz of that specific brand contains 97 calories while the other website claims that is has 30.66calories/oz.. These 2 information are contradictory! So I dont know where to start!


So my first question is : does anyone know the exact calorie content of a Fancy Feast classic Savory salmon can?


Second question : How can a cat in perfect health (blood chemistry was done and showed only normal results + no thyroid problem), not lose weight if it doesnt eat enough? Cuz I'm almost sure that 105 to 135g isnt enough!


Third question : Would it be safe to reduce her food intake a little to see if she loses weight with less food? Or is it too dangerous?


Thanks a lot for your precious help!!

Kim (and Vitamine)


post #2 of 13
As far as I am aware, Fancy Feast only comes in 3 oz cans, so the two figures you have 97 calories and 30.66 per oz are almost the same for 3 oz. That sounds about right.

Gosh, I am not sure why she's not losing any weight. How recently were the blood tests done?
post #3 of 13
Mschauer has a thread about a severely overweight cat that she helped, maybe that would have some useful information in it for you. I remember something about varying the calories a bit seemed to really help.

Also, how much exercise is she getting? That can make a difference too. I got my biggest cat to lose some fat and gain muscle with a laser pointer. Cheap and effective!
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Vball, the blood test was done 3 weeks ago.

Peaches, I can't find the thread you are talking about.
The calories are already varied. The cat has turned my friend's life into a nightmare for the last month. I can't even tell you how many different brands and flavours she tried! Basically EVERYTHING she could find in the nearest stores (Evo, Fancy feast, Friskies, Fromm, even real meat and fish). The only time she lost weight was when she was dangerously not eating enough (less then 2oz a day). People here were really scared for her when I mentioned how much food she was eating!
Does it mean we should still reduce her food intake until she starts to lose weight?
Oh and by the way when I say that the cat eats between 105-135g a day, it's because the cat eats as much as she wants (which of course isn't the same amount everyday).

As for exercise my friend spends couple of minutes everyday playing with her. She told me that she runs 15 stairs at least twice a day! But she does get tired of every toy and game pretty quickly.

The vet said she should weight about 8 or 9 pounds. So she has about 4.4 pounds to lose! If it wasn't for that fear of calories requirement I would simply tell my friend to reduce her food!
But what can we do?
post #5 of 13
Wow, so she's only eating about 4 oz of food a day, and she's not losing any weight? That does seem strange. Are you absolutely sure she's not getting any other food somehow?

I am really hesitant to recommend reducing her food anymore than that. That seems like so little food already. I would try increasing her exercise level to try to boost her metabolism.
post #6 of 13
The cat that mschauer helped is named Mickey. There's a link in her signature...something about a 27 lb foster. I don't know how to link from my phone. Maybe check the raw forum for any post of hers and you'll see the link in her signature.

Just saw the thread, it's halfway down the first page of this nutrition forum.
Edited by peaches08 - 8/13/13 at 8:34am
post #7 of 13

I can't figure out what she's not losing weight. It must be quite frustrating. :sigh:


I wouldn't want to lessen the amount of food too... Have you tried smaller, more frequent meals? Maybe 3, or 4 times a day?

post #8 of 13
Do I understand correctly from your other thread that previous to trying to get Vitamine to lose weight she ate only dry food? And when your friend started trying to get her to lose weight she tried to switch her to wet food at the same time?
If that is right I would first suggest only doing one thing at a time. I would first try to get her regularly eating at least some wet food without worrying about her weight. A 100% wet diet isn't absolutely necessary. I was very lucky with my foster Mickey when I was trying to get him to lose weight because he will eat *anything*. 
After and if you can get her comfortable with eating at least some wet food then start on the weight loss. In my opinion weight lose is about one thing and one thing only: calories. Start by figuring out how many calories she can eat without losing or gaining weight. Then decrease the calories by 10% every 2 weeks until she starts to lose weight. Hold at that number of calories until she no longer loses weight or reaches her goal weight.
If she will only eat a small variety of foods you can get away without counting calories as long as you can determine exactly how much of those foods she can eat without gaining weight. You can
than slowly decrease the amount until she starts to lose weight. But for consistent results the end result has to be a reduction in calories.
According to the information on Dr. Pierson's web site the Fancy Feast classic Savory Salmon is 97 kcal/3 oz and she got the information from the manufacturer so it should be correct:
Oh, and tell your friend not to make herself crazy by weighting Vitamine every day. It is normal for weight to fluctuate a  little each day. Weighting once a week will give her a much more reliable idea about how she is doing. 
Above all, be patient! If Vitamine were to lose a comfortable 2 oz a week it would take her 8 months to lose 4 lbs. It's going to be a long process no matter what so don't be in a rush to see results especially since she is currently in good health.
post #9 of 13
agree.gif mschauer knows her stuff. This is the thread she created for her foster kitty, Mickey: http://www.thecatsite.com/t/245236/mickey-my-27-lbs-foster-and-his-journey-back-to-a-healthy-weight

Once your friend's kitty is reliably eating food at given amounts - whatever that food is - whatever that amount is - and her weight is stable, and your friend knows pretty accurately how many calories a day she's eating, then and only then, work on reducing the amount of food fed. But your friend will have to be strict about keeping track of how much food she is eating, so she knows how many calories she's getting daily.

All of that said, her kitty's body may have gone into "starvation" mode. This happened to my cat, Billy. I reduced the amount of food he ate to something that was not going to sustain him long term, and he did not lose any weight. This is not an option. I was able to take weight off of him, but it's a more complicated process. And I really should update his thread, because once I stopped the method I was using, he put some of the weight he'd taken off back on. With this method of feeding, you don't count calories, you use a steady amount of calories (food), you just alter how much is fed at each meal - dramatically. A cat cannot be allowed to free feed, or take however much time it takes to eat X amount of food.

No, meals must be meals, and the food eaten within a set amount of time (doesn't matter whether it's dry food or wet food), whether that's 10 minutes or half an hour. But one meal portion is only left out for a set period of time, and the total amount of food ingested by the cat is averaged out over 3 to 5 days. It's called a "feast or famine" diet, and it apparently does help improve metabolism. ...but as I've learned, it doesn't "jump start" the metabolism. It only works while the method is employed. Here is my thread discussing the alternative method of weight loss, when lowering calories to below target-weight maintenance doesn't even result in any weight loss: http://www.thecatsite.com/t/246983/billys-weight-loss-journey-well-maybe
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 

mschauer and LDG, thanks a lot for the replies. Sorry for the delay, I was on vacation!


Many things have changed since I posted my last message!


Vitamine has finally decided she LOVES her canned food! She even PREFERS canned food to dry kibble! For the past 3 days (and this is the first time eversince she started eating canned food) Vitamine asks for more food! So she eats EVERY portion my friend puts in her plate!


Second good news, she is finally starting to lose some weight!

August 11th : 13.40lbs

August 14th : 13.25lbs (but possibly 13.30lbs cuz she keeps moving while on the scale)

August 18th : 13.20lbs (possibly 13.25lbs)


The only "kind of bad news", is that to lose this weight, my friend is feeding her 150 calories/day (+Fortiflora but I'm not sure how caloric that is).  I call ikt bad news cuz I know that most cats eat arround 180-200 calories a day. 150 calories is what her metabolism needs to lose .2lbs in one week!


Do you guys think we should keep on feeding her 150 calories to maintain that slow weight loss (which is less than 2% of her weight)? Or should we risk to give her more food (which will probably slow down the weight loss progression or even make her gain weight)?


mschauer I know you suggested we should find the amount of calories that maintains her weight and THEN reduce that amount by 10%. But since we stumbled upon the amount that makes her lose a healthy 1.5% per week, do you think it is safe to continue feeding that specific amount?


LDG, Vitamine eats most of her meal right when my friend puts her plate on the floor. She doesnt remove the plate until she comes back from work, but when she comes back, the plate is empty. Than she feeds her at arrount 5pm and Vitamine will eat all the food before my friend goes to bed. And finally she leaves a meal for the night, and in the morning the plate is empty. So she does leave the plate unil it is emptied.

When she first started the transition from dry to canned food, she only left the plate for 30 minutes and removed whatever was left until the next meal. We thought hunger would work, but in the end, the cat was just eating less food. So this approach isn't the best for this specific cat! But anyway, now that she eats ALL the food that my friend puts in her plate, I dont think we should change anything in this little routine.

post #11 of 13
The only "kind of bad news", is that to lose this weight, my friend is feeding her 150 calories/day (+Fortiflora but I'm not sure how caloric that is).  I call ikt bad news cuz I know that most cats eat arround 180-200 calories a day. 150 calories is what her metabolism needs to lose .2lbs in one week!


When I had my foster kiity on a weight loss program he was eating 155 cals/day and at his normal weight he likely would be quite a bit bigger than Vit. Based on that 150 kcal doesn't seem too low to me. Just make sure she doesn't seem to get excessively hungry between meals. My foster was always ready to eat at meal time but he never bugged me for food between meals.


mschauer I know you suggested we should find the amount of calories that maintains her weight and THEN reduce that amount by 10%. But since we stumbled upon the amount that makes her lose a healthy 1.5% per week, do you think it is safe to continue feeding that specific amount?


The advantage of doing it the way I suggested is that it allows you to determine the maximum number of calories she can consume and still lose weight at a rate that is comfortable for her. 

post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks a lot for the quick reply Mschauer! And for the reassuring words.


In order to determine the maximum number of calories she can consume and still lose weight, we will do as you suggested, but the other way arround : we will start to increase slowly until she stops losing weight. Cuz you are right, we want to feed her as much as we can as long as she keeps losing weight!


Again, thanks for your help! 


Kim, Vitamine and Johanne


post #13 of 13

I suggest a lot more play time. I had a cat who two weeks ago was quite plump. I changed her diet from dry kibble (which turned out to be horrible for her) to Authority brand wet chicken food and she lost a little weight. However when I bought her three new toys (Two neko flies and a Da Bird) she started to lose much more weight and is now sitting at a happy and healthy weight. I have to play with her two times a day, before breakfast and before supper. Generally she plays for about 15 minutes before she's panting hard enough for me to hear it, then she sits down on her side and refuses to play with the toy anymore. It's then that she gets her food.


The reason I do this is to mock her natural instinct; I hunt it, I catch it, I kill it, I eat it. This has worked wonders for helping her lose weight and become a much more relaxed and happy cat!


I hope that it will help you too!

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