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Overweight cat (long)

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hey guys! I've been poking around the site the past few days doing some research on my overweight cat, Cleo.
Here's some background on her. I rescued her when she was about 14 weeks old. She was an abused kitten, and had a respiratory infection when I got her. I nursed her back to health to find she was an absolute terror. She was down right vicious. She would come and attack me and my friends and bite HARD and sometimes draw blood. It wasn't a typical "I'm a kitten and I'm playing". She meant business. Anyway, I honestly got to the point where I was a little scared to come home because she was so bad. She was terrible w/ her claws so I decided to have her de-clawed at the same time I had her spayed (I know I might get crap for that - but that's in the past). Her personality did a 180. She was much more calm after the spay, much more sociable, and didn't have her monster claws to come and attack me. Ever since then, she's slowly put on weight. The past year she's put on the most weight, and she's currently sitting at 21 lbs.
I have a second cat, named Emma, and she's a little chunky, but not nearly as big. I'd guess she's around 11 lbs or so. So here comes the dilema of the two cat household - one fat, one not so fat.
When I first got the cats, I didn't know much about what to feed them. I put them on Meow Mix and they LOVED it, and it wasn't until I got a dog and started doing research on the ingredients in food that I realized how terrible it was for them. I switched over to Natural Balance - Reduced Calorie. They ate it for a little while, and then stopped eating completely. I'm not sure if it was the food, or if it was from me storing it in a plastic container. Maybe that made it taste funny? Anyway, I then switched to Royal Canin - Indoor / Reduced Calorie. They seemed to be doing well on that, but Cleo just kept ballooning. I've just recently (within the past week) switched them over to Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul. I was impressed with the food because it doesn't have corn as an ingredient. They seem to like it so far, but I don't know if there's anything better out there for them. I'm quite pleased with the ingredients, and I rotate Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover's Soul into my dog's meals.
I did take her to the vet to get a full blood panel to rule out health issues. At first I suspected a thyroid problem so I did my research online. Even though she had all the signs of it, I heard it was rare, but wanted to be sure to rule it out. Blood test came back and everything looks normal. The vet was trying to convince me to switch to Hill's Diet or IVD, and when looking at the ingredients I feel Chicken Soup is a higher quality food. I told them that I'm weary of foods that have corn as one of the top 3 ingredients, and they tried to assure me that corn isn't a problem. I told them I'd prefer to try the food I just got instead of the food they are recommending, but I did take some liquid vitamin to add to her food that is supposed to help speed up the metabolism. I haven't tried that yet, so figured it was worth a shot.
I have been feeding the cats separately, and in the past couple weeks have really been watching what Cleo is eating. She gets absolutely no treats, and no other food other than what she's being fed. She's currently getting about 3/4 cup per day, which I'm not sure how that is making her 21 lbs, but you never know.
Any suggestions as to how much to feed her? I did read that I should split up her meals into several small ones. I feed her twice a day - once in the morning, once at night - like I said with a total of 3/4 per day, not per meal. Perhaps I should try and feed her 3 times a day instead? Maybe that will help her not feel so hungry and perhaps will help speed up her metabolism. I did some searching and found that I should feed her 1 1/3 - 1 1/2 cup per day for weight reduction if she's 19 lbs - 21 lbs, but that seems to be way more than she's getting now. I'm gonna have to break out the measuring cup and be absolutely exact with her meals from now on.
I'm gonna try and get her some more exercise. Since we have nice weather, I'm going to bring her in the back yard with me (supervised) so she can wander around. She loved that when we first moved into the house, but when I got the dogs she wouldn't go out back with me anymore. She's an indoor cat only, but maybe a change of atmosphere for an hour a day or so will help her be a little less lethargic.
Sorry this is so long, but I truly love my animals and have spent thousands of dollars on my dogs for health issues, so I'm willing to do the same for my cats. Any advice, similar situations, etc. is welcomed.
post #2 of 8
Someone will be along shortly I'm sure to help you out! I wish you the best of luck I have no expierence is this area!
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
OK so I have copies of the blood work. It looks like they did a Serum Total T4 and not a Free T4 (I believe they should have done both based on the research I've done). If she was indeed hypothyroid (underactive), she would have a low T4 level, whereas cats with hyperthyroid (overactive) would have a high T4 level. She is at 1.7 and the normal range is 0.4 - 5.2. I found somewhere else that said normal range is 0.7 - 5.2. So doesn't 1.7 seem low?!? I'm going to bring these blood results to another vet to analyze. Deep down I think something else besides her food is the problem. I know everybody says that, but I honestly measured out 3/4 a cup of food today, and I don't even think she's getting that much. Hopefully I can find a vet that's willing to entertain the idea of doing more blood work or more analyzation of the blood work rather than trying to stick nutrition down my throat. Also, looks like a TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) test can be done. Basically blood work is taken to get normal levels of T4. 2 - 4 hours after TSH is administered, T4 levels are checked again. In a normal cat, T4 levels will then increase because the thyroid is stimulated. In a hypothyroid cat, T4 levels will barely increase or stay the same as the thyroid is not functioning properly. I know this is probably a gray area for everybody, but with a low level of 1.7, wouldn't you think the vet would have wanted to do a TSH test as well?
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Also just noticed high levels of monocytes (results 5 normal 1 - 4) and eosinophil (results 18 normal 2 - 12) on blood work. Monocytes help fight infections. High monocyte counts indicate infection. High eosinopils counts are associated with allergies, parasystemic eosinophilic syndrome in cats, hypoadrenocorticism and infection. Hypoadrenocorticism is AKA Addison's disease or Cushing's syndrome. Did some research on that, and it seems the signs are also close to that of thyroid problems. So perhaps if she doesn't have a thyroid problem, that is the issue instead? Sorry if it seems like I'm blabbing... but posting is helping me get all my thoughts together before I go to another vet and also opens up the opportunity for anyone that knows about this stuff to answer.
post #5 of 8
Well the thyroid look like it falls within the normal range so it is not a thyroid issue...

I would recommend canned ... dry for some is like candy with all the carbs ( EVO is the one dry without lots of carbs )... wet will give nutrients and water the water will fill her up so she isnt hungry yet shell get everything she needs
post #6 of 8
As for the other issues you need to to talk to the vet and possible more blood work
post #7 of 8
I have had more success with my overweight foster being on mainly wet food - he gets a small amount of dry at bedtime to stop him scavenging at 5am. If you still think there could be a medical reason, then you could try and talk to a different vet. Has the vet suggested the amount of food you shoudl feed her, as I imagine you will have a similar prob to me - you are supposed to feed them the amount for the weight you want them to be, but Tom was too overweight for that - he gets checked monthly to make sure it isn't going too fast, as that can also cause health issues.
post #8 of 8
Talk to your vet to come up with a safe diet plan. I tried "reduced calorie" food on my own and it didn't work--the vet put my cat on a high-protein wet food diet to lose weight and now she's on prescription reduced calorie food for maintenance.
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