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Obese pets

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
I'm not sure where to post this. My husband was just watching RTL (Radio TV Luxembourg) news, and they had a bit about 1/3 of all pets in Germany being overweight. He called me to watch it, and I couldn't believe my eyes. There were dogs and cats twice as wide as they were high. One cat weighed over 40 lbs. (19 kg.), and his back had to be shaved because he couldn't groom himself, and his coat was totally matted. There was a beagle whose belly cleared the floor by about 2 inches. JC weighs a little over 6 kg (13.6 lbs.), which is close to the maximum normal or healthy weight for him, according to our vets, using the feline BMI. Isn't it cruelty to animals to feed your pet so much that his/her weight is double normal? Our neighbor's cat at one point weighed 36 lbs. (which was established after she tried to climb our wooden fence, and it broke), but she is very large, and has lost about a third of that weight over a period of three years. While I'm sure the broadcasting station looked for the most extreme examples it could find, the whole thing still shook me up. JC has "spay sway", but you can still easily feel his ribs. I think my husband had better stop calling him "jelly belly" - compared to the cats just shown, he almost looks anorexic.
post #2 of 26
Quite a few years ago, the nursing home I work at had a little dashound that was there for the benefit of the residents. Unfortunately, the residents always felt sorry for the dog whenever it begged for food, (which was all the time) and would feed it "treats". The dog wound up weighing about 35 pounds, and continuing efforts by the staff and administration to reduce the dog's weight were unsuccessful. The poor dog eventually died of an apparent heart attack.
post #3 of 26
I don't think that people with obese pets are being cruel. They may be equating love with food. Personally, I can't refuse my girls when they beg me for treats. They are not overweight because they are very active outdoors. If they didn't go out to run and play, they would probably be a fatty trio.
post #4 of 26
I must confess, I have an obese cat. His name is Mittens, his mom was a true feral breeding machine, she lived at my moms work and I am sure about 5 out of the hundreds of kittens lived to their first couple months. Mittens was sitting across from his twin, just staring at each other and she snatched him up. Ever since we brought him home he has been obese, I think it is because he never knew if he would get another meal. I have stopped leaving the big bowl of food on the table he sleeps on, and instead put a smaller bowl behind the kitchen sink, where he doesn't go. I give him a little bit of food throughout the day in his own bowl, I can tell he has lost some weight, it will just take some time! I don't like seeing him like that, I feel so bad. It is so weird how we can have 3 little itty bitty 6lb cats and then a much larger one (don't know how much he weighs now, he doesn't like the scale).
post #5 of 26
My three year old tuxedo boy, Peppurr, weighs in at 20lbs. He is a HUGE cat, his bones are massive. I think he is overweight, but he has a Maine Coon sized body, without all the fur.

Here's a couple "fat" pictures of Pep.



How can anyone call this fat?

post #6 of 26
Wow. The weights in that show are really ridiculous. My two inside kitties are a bit overweight (about 12.5 lbs) but it is extremely difficult to keep them "in shape" My Simon was a little stray. If I don't leave food in the bowl at all times he gorges the next time it's there and throws up. I now measure the amount, but put it in all at once so he doesn't feel deprived.
post #7 of 26
Here is a 41 pound cat just rescued:

post #8 of 26
Generally obesity is limited to inside cats and equated with boredom. If you have an overweight kitty and you are feeding correctly, and not giving table scraps or fatty treats, then bump up your cat's activity level. They even have cat agility courses now- and although you might not be able to enroll your cat into a class, you can certainly go watch one- or check out the video on clicker training websites and get some ideas about how to start your own.

Installing ramps that your cat can run up and down on, putting your own version of katwallks on your walls, buying a larger condo for your cat will all be something that can be used to give your cats much needed exercise.

The only time you see a fat feral in a colony is if she is pregnant, or fighting an infection or if the cat has worms. Cats are generally athletic machines, but if they are indoors, they get bored easily. It is up to you as their caretaker to provide them with active levels of entertainment.

I have a long string that clips on the back of my belt loop. On the end is a feather toy. When I do housework, I clip this on me and just get started. I have quite a crew following me while I work. I just can't seem to get one of them to help me dust!

Another way to help a cat to loose weight, is to visit an appliance store and secure a large cardboard box. On your way home, stop at walmart and buy a package of ping pong balls. Take the box, cut cat size holes in it off the floor level- cut the flaps off one end, stick it in a room and throw the balls inside. Kitty jumps in, plays with the ping pong balls, and it is a self-contained ball bin.
post #9 of 26
I was reading the article about the 41 pound cat that was rescued. According to the article, the cat was being fed four pounds of ground meat daily. I don't think this was intentional cruelty. Since the owner was elderly and was admitted to a nursing home, it is very possible he was suffering from dementia(sp?) and even though his intention was kindness, he just wasn't capable of feeding the cat a proper diet or of realizing the consquences of feeding the cat so much meat every day.

I work at a nursing home, and just wanted to give my opinion about this.

P.S. The owner probably wasn't taking good care of himself either.
post #10 of 26
Thread Starter 
Mikesch was one of the cats shown, poor thing. Some of the dogs were much worse. Our neighbor's cat was originally a half-starved stray. She lived with us for about 6 weeks, and got regular meals, and gained some weight. Our neighbor free-fed Putzi dry Whiskas and Friskies for years, and she (the cat) just never seemed to know when to stop eating. After she was put on Science Diet Light and Royal Canin Light, and got three small meals a day, the weight gradually came off. She's still pretty active for her 19+.
My parents have always gotten shelter animals, and I know that many of them have a tendency to overeat, especially when you first bring them home.
post #11 of 26
Originally posted by yayi
I don't think that people with obese pets are being cruel. They may be equating love with food. Personally, I can't refuse my girls when they beg me for treats.
I agree ! I have a cat who is 22 lbs. but is also maine coon. When we got him shaved with a lion cut due to mats I was thrilled to see he wasn't actually fat, just BIG..... HUGE to be exact ! But he wasn't FAT...

My dog on the other hand is slightly overweight but like you I can't refuse him 'treats'.
post #12 of 26
That's so sad! Equating food with love is what causes a lot of weight problems for people, too.

Overfeeding a cat or dog to the point of morbid obesity may not be intentional cruelty, and I know it's hard to resist a persistent pet, but it's really in the pet's best interests to slim down. Obesity in pets can cause some very serious, life-threatening health problems.

Whenever my overweight-prone cat & dog beg pitifully, I have to just steel myself & think of poor overweight kitties who can't even clean themselves properly, diabetes, pancreatitis, and poor arthritic dogs who can't even walk well b/c of extra weight. Whenever you see that sad face if you have yummy food, think of how much healthier and happier your pet will be if you just give him or her some loving personal attention and playtime instead.!
post #13 of 26
I myself have an overweight cat. Tom is already 7 yrs old and she is over 14 pounds. I normally just give he less wet food and such, but since she's aging she is less and less active. She has turned from an acrobat to a ball of fur. And she is starting to have problems jumping on certain high places.

I would certainly like to put her on some diet food, but the problem is that although she is easily adaptable to eating from a specific plate and not touching the others. The other cats (Moab, Planeta, Saladina) are all former strays who eat it where ever they find it first and eat anything they find that gives any hint of being edible, and it's virtually impossible to keep them from Tom's dish.

So if I put one on a diet I have to put all of them in a diet.
post #14 of 26
Oh god, i dread taking Rosie for her yearly check up in june. I weighed her the other week and she's 12lb. She looks quite a healthy weight but when she sits she looks like a little porker!.

My fault!
post #15 of 26
Originally posted by rosiemac
Oh god, i dread taking Rosie for her yearly check up in june. I weighed her the other week and she's 12lb. She looks quite a healthy weight but when she sits she looks like a little porker!.

My fault!
Thats Dori! She's a year old and when I took her to the vet last week she weight 10 1/2 pounds. She looks great standing up, but sitting down her tummy sticks out! I have got to quit giving her so many treats. I also need to start playing with her more. She is an indoor kitty and she really doesn't do too much. She sleeps in the bed with me all night every night and anytime I come home during the day she is sleeping also. I don't think she has a problem now, but it seems since she got spayed in December she keeps getting bigger and bigger.
post #16 of 26
We've managed to slowly help Mr. Underfoot lose 1 & 1/2 pounds over the last couple of years (he is a big cat, still slightly pudgy at almost 15 pounds, but the vet said his current weight is fine) with the help of a laser pointer - he goes nuts over it, so it's easy to give him a good workout. We also started feeding a daily portion of really good canned food (Wellness), and having a daily portion of the really yummy stuff seems to have reduced his previous insatiable appetite for dry food (I still free-feed dry, for little slim Felixia).

Just a note, if you want to put your cat on a diet, be sure to check with your vet first to help with a slow, safe weight loss. Crash diets can be very harmful to a cat.
post #17 of 26
Thread Starter 
Do any of you have cats that regularly "fast"? On average, JC eats very little one day a week. No particular day or food seems to be involved. When we first got him, I assumed that he had an upset tummy, but he's been doing this for almost five years now. Our vet says it's normal cat behavior, because felines living in the wild don't necessarily make a "kill" every day, but we've never had another cat do this. When I brought this up on another forum, I was surprised at the number of people who said they prescribed a "fasting day" for their cats every week. I know zoos do that, but have never come across any literature recommending it for housecats.
post #18 of 26
Mittens is obese. He is 20 pounds. I have tried a few diets for him. I don't overfeed him. He seems to be happy the way he is. His last owners said he has always been that way ever since he was born...we'll see if we can't make some progress on our next vet appointment. We are suppose to put him on a new diet...

I am not cruel..because I love that lil rascal with all my heart!
post #19 of 26
My cats are at fairly normal weights, my oldest CC is about 10lbs and she looks fat but the vet said she isn't. She said tabbys that are between the 8-12lbs range are not fat. However, her tummy hangs low but in her outdoor cat days (before i adopted her)she had many litters of kittens so maybe that's why. I get so mad when people call her fat because she's NOT!
post #20 of 26
One way to tell if a cat might be obese is to gently run your fingers along the cat's sides over the rib cage. If you can easily feel the cat's ribs it's weight is probably ok. If you can feel the ribs only a little or not at all, the cat is probably obese. And of course, the very best way to find out if your cat is overweight is to ask a vet for his/her professional opinion.
post #21 of 26
I don't think it's cruel really b/c people don't do it on purpose. I think some people are just uninformed of the risks of being overweight, and like many have said here sometimes it just happens and it's hard to get them to lose the weight. Cupid's weight changes all the time. Sometimes his belly will be nice and plump and sometimes he'll be lean. He is supposed to have a little extra fat to help keep him warm, and he burns calories like I wish I could b/c he has a high metabolism, so I actually have to make sure he doesn't get too skinny!

I watch the Ellen Degeneres show and she has a new segment called fat cats b/c her vet told her that her cat is too fat. People have been sending in really LARGE cats! (pics, they keep the cats...)
post #22 of 26
LOL, if it's for ribs, then all of my cats are obese. Each one of them is so fat you wonder if they still have ribcages.
post #23 of 26
The vet said Summer is at her ideal weight and that she shouldn't fluctuate too much one way or another from where she is now.

On the other hand, we have a kitty at home that goes from being a pudgy to being a little too thin....she's been that way all of her life and her diet doesn't change at all from day to day...sometimes I think she is more active for awhile and eats a little less while other times she's more laid back and maybe eats more....she's a silly kitty that way.
post #24 of 26
Loki ate like a pig when I first brought him home - I had to lock myself into the bathroomm when preparing his dinner *LOL* - but that stopped after about 3 months and now I free deed him dry.

He is 10.6 lbs as per his last vet visit and at time I wish he would add a pound or two just in case as reserve. He is very active and I can't see him getting fat ever!
post #25 of 26
Fat Cat Hunger Strike After Meat-Feeding Owner Goes

Apr 10, 6:40 am ET

BERLIN (Reuters) - An obese German cat six times the normal weight has gone on a hunger strike at a Berlin animal shelter after being taken from his owner who had fed him four lbs of mince daily, Bild newspaper reported on Saturday.
Mikesch, weighing nearly 41 lbs, was brought to the animal shelter on April 1 and was so overweight he could not take more than four steps without becoming exhausted. His elderly owner was at the same time taken to a nursing home.

Shelter officials said six-year-old Mikesch is so fat he cannot clean himself and suffers from heart trouble. They said he felt lost without his meat-feeding owner and stopped eating altogether when he was put on a diet to gradually lose weight.

A shelter worker will take Mikesch home with her for 10 days to help get his appetite back, shelter head Carola Ruff said.

"The cat had a good night in her flat on the first night and that's giving us hope his condition will improve," Ruff said.

Cats usually weigh between six and 12 lbs and eat no more than about 10 ounces of food each day, vets say.
post #26 of 26
Thread Starter 
Poor Mikesch! I'm glad somebody is taking him home, at least for a while. I wonder if they're gradually switching his diet, or are just giving him something completely different from what he's used to. I just got an email from a friend. Her one overweight cat (keeps getting rounder and rounder) apparently has an underactive thyroid. That's a bit unusual - generally cats develop hyperthyroidism. Anyway, the cat is getting the same medication, and the same dosage, as I am. That's not as weird as it sounds - dogs and cats can't absorb the thyroid hormones like people can. I used to have to special-order the pills our dog took, because he needed 3x the normal human adult dosage.
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