I have 4 cats (yes I know, crazy cat lady in the making), 3 of which are fit and one who is just a big fatty. I leave them a large feeder, so that they can eat as they please. I do this because I work odd hours and sometimes have to be gone for a full day or two, so I can't give them a standerdized daily feeding time. Any suggestions on how to get my fat guy to lose some weight?
I know you posted this question some weeks back, but if you don't have a solution yet, I can share my experience with you regarding my 19.5 lb kitty. He went from 19.5 to 14.1 in about a two year period. The biggest difference was the change to a grain-free diet about six months ago. The vet actually checked his thyroid last week during his physical because of the dramatic weight loss. He switches between Wellness wet grain-free and Natural Balance dry grain-free, limited ingredient food. We did try Blue, but he developed itchy skin. Still can't figure out which ingredient caused it! I also play with him a little more than I had previously. Good luck!
If you can't moderate his food, you'll have to spend time with him each day playing with him and keeping him active.
Thanks, I try to do that; but he isn't very playful.
I have a friend whose cat really needed to lose weight and she found the one toy that he really loved and made sure to play with him for about twenty minutes every day when she got home from work.
After a short while she realized the cat was really into it and was waiting for her to get home each day to play with him. After about six months, he was much more fit.
All cats have one or two things that they like to play with or which gets them excited and you just have to get the activity to involve that.
Ok, thanks. I will look into new toys and try to find something that he actually likes.
If you haven't yet, buy a laser pointer. I've never seen a cat that didn't go nuts for them.
My adorable chubby new cat waits for me to play with him. He seems to like to watch, more than chase. You're right about it having to be in his vision [not great laser lover but we're building it up slowly.]
I found that instinct is very important to him. He likes things that roll, bounce or wiggle AWAY from him, and he is very cued in to small sounds. He likes small toys that crinkle or make a tiny noise along the ground or under paper, and his favorite is the string or strip of fleece on a stick with the feathered object on the end. He is happy to stand up against or go side to side around a chair back to get it, and he rolls side to side, and now leaps up to catch it [reward!] as it leaps around him, on the area carpet. His loose belly is getting a little tighter, and he is playing for more minutes by himself in the night time. Now, if I can get him to go find his own toys! Once he looses them, he looks at ME. Lol. Thinking about getting HIM a pet to play with.
Have you tried hiring a pet sitter or getting a neighbour to look after them? A cat who needs to be monitored shouldn't be left alone with other cats that have other needs.
I have the same problem. Our cat is a couple of ounces shy of 20 pounds. I went through the usual denial; thinking it had a tumor, a thyroid problem, big bones, but the fact is that it is a glutton and it eats too much.
The problem was that it had constant access to food, and it took full advantage of it. Most cat weight problems are simply that they are eating too much, and also it could be the type of food they are eating. Cheap cat food can be a problem for some cats.
The vet said that we just have to control the food it eats. Easier said than done, as cats tend to be highly vocal when they are not happy. It woke me up at 4am this morning complaining about its diet!
Calculate the food it needs by its weight (target weight, not current weight) and limit its access to food. Also, try to feed it separately from your other cats and give it the weight loss cat food. Might be worth getting to the vet to make sure that it doesn't have any problems.
Unfortunately cat weight loss is not a quick process. The weight loss plan for our moggy will last 4 months!!!!! I'm halfway through writing a hub about it, so keep an eye out for it.
Oh, and good luck!
Wet food or "people tuna" (store brand is cheap if money's an issue) tend to be less fattening than dry food. Maybe you could feed him one or both of those when you are there, and if you have to leave dry food when you're not - better than all the time (if it's dry food you're leaving now). I know people-tuna may not have all the nutrients in it that "official" cat food does, but sometimes there's a change in weight in a relatively short period. It's also more satisfying for cats, so maybe (MAYBE) he wouldn't be looking for more food. (If they're like people, stress and being nervous can cause cravings. If there's a chance he's a diabetic, or even is stressed out for some reason (you never can tell sometimes), he could actually be hungrier because of either of those. Wet food/"people-tuna" are both more protein than carbohydrate, as far as I know.
(Just things you may want to read a little more about. Whether it would help, or whether there's reason not to put him on different food for awhile (a good part of the time).. I don't know. It's worked for me when I've noticed one cat or another getting a little too around the middle.)
The old, toy-on-string (that you play with him with) might be helpful, because besides a little more activity, if he's "depressed" from lack not being with you or not having individual attention often enough (I'm not saying he is - just saying some cats can be), it might help with that some too.)
Thanks, I usually only give them tuna as a special treat, I never thought that it might be helpful for weight loss.
I didn't even think that he could be diabetic or too stressed, I will look into those and maybe other health issues. Thanks a lot for all the input!
You could separate the fat cat into a different room and then fill a different hopper with a low calorie cat food (vets sell this). This will have enough bulk to make her feel full, but not the calories to make her fatter. You can also get those hollow plastic play balls that have an adjustable hole in the side. Fill these with the dry food, and the cat has to keep rolling the ball around to get the food to drop out of the hole. This way they are getting exercise at the same time as eating, and therefore burning off calories.
Be careful of feeding supermarket type wet foods, because although they are mostly water based, they are also very bad to feed cats because of the nature of what they are made up of. Think of it like putting your cat on a diet of McDonalds, full of fat, high in cholesterol etc and very bad for you, even if you enjoy eating it. (one of the many things I learned during my time employed in Vet's surgeries).
Thanks a lot, I don't want to seperate them, but I could try the toy feeder. The problem is the fat cat is also pretty dumb, so I'm not sure he will be able to figure that out. It is worth a shot though!
LOL, trust me, they quickly work it out when they are hungry
Thanks, I'm going to try. It will be funny to see whether he can figure it out or not.
Hope so, your cat will work it out I am sure. The catnip mice are a good tip too, as if the catnip is good quality (as in the actual dried herb) then cats do usually go crazy for them. You can even grow a pot of catnip yourself and dry it to sew into small cloth toys you make yourself.
Don't Waste your time with all this other stuff!
You have 2 Options..
Either - Snake Oil or a Catric Bypass!
I had a cat who went nuts for catnip - this was long ago, but she played with her catnip mice until they fell apart. This kept her pretty active. I finally started making the mice for her becuz she went through them so fast, and then friends wanted the mice, so I made them to sell - sold lots of them at the annual Christmas Faire! what a big deal, just to keep one cat active I ended up making hundreds of catnip mice - but it really works
What kind of dry food are they getting? I had a fat cat who was switched from a corn-based food to a high quality dry food with turkey as the first ingredient and he lost weight. I'm sure getting a kitten helped too, as she plays with him much more often than he plays by himself.
Many popular cat food brands are corn or rice based and this is very unhealthy for cats. Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning their only source of food (in an ideal setting) should be meat. Also, cats are supposed to get most of their hydration from the water content in meat and shearing off pieces of meat keeps their teeth healthy, dry food does not.
I know that the cost of feeding 4 cats only meat or a raw diet would be astronomical so I don't advise this but I do suggest trying a high quality canned food (with meat as the first ingredient and little to no corn or rice). See if you can afford to substitute one meal a day with either raw fresh meat like chicken (leave it out frozen if you're concerned about how long it'll sit around, same with the canned food) or even ask your local butcher is there are some scraps you can have or parts you can purchase at low cost that most people won't eat. My fatty won't eat raw meat but he looooves canned food. And don't worry about feeding them raw meat, they have special stomach enzymes which prevent them from getting sick.
Another reason cats overeat on carbohydrate based foods is because the carbs (just like in people) cause a quick blood sugar spike and then a quick plunge, making the cat feel like he's super hungry when he probably isn't. If unchanged this can lead to diabetes.
Also, try getting him to drink more water by spiking the water with clam juice or something like that. He might be thirsty and eating more because of this. Other ways to get him to drink more water: stainless steel shallow bowl, filtered water, or one of those cat fountains.
About the laser pointer: my cats go insane over it! If it's in your budget, you can buy a thing that will automatically move a laser pointer around the room so they can get exercise when you're not there as well.
Thanks for all the suggestions! I give them friskies indoor mix, because my other cat throws up if he eats anything else (I've tried the high quality brands, canned foods, meat, and he throws up on anything but the cheapy friskies). I guess I can lock him up and give the fat guy canned food; I'd feel bad though.
I have tried the laser pointer, and he has no interest. I really think he can't see it. He does like the toy mice though, so I think I am going to get the catnip ones like someone else suggested.
Have you tried switching him very slowly a little bit at a time to other foods? I like Blue Buffalo limited ingredient. My fattie barfs up most other foods as well. If you switch over suddenly any food will make them barf because their gut flora needs time to change.
Yes, I did the whole mixing it in a little at a time, then slowly switching to more and more of the other brand, but he doesn't stop puking until I go back to the original food. I've even given it some time, a few weeks, but the puking never gets better. I've resigned myself to them all eating the friskies.
Both Hill's and Royal Canin will do obesity diets in the form of what are known as 'Semi-Moist' biscuits. Most cats really prefer these foods to the cheap shop brands. These brands avoid the kidney problems that are associated with completely dry diets and avoid the 'junk food' syndrome associated with normal supermarket wet foods from pouches or cans, they are also perfectly nutritionally balanced for your cat. Speak to your vet, or one of his nurses for a proper diet plan and weight loss program.
Wet food only also causes loads of problems with rotten teeth in later life, so worth thinking carefully before changing to an all wet diet. A dry or semi-moist biscuit helps to clean the teeth as they crunch into the food.
Hill's and Royal Canin are actually pretty bad food brands. They contain loads of corn and other undigestible fillers.
Hill's Science Diet Adult Light Cat Food ingredients:
Brewers Rice, Corn Gluten Meal, Chicken By-Product Meal, Powdered Cellulose, Whole Grain Corn, Chicken Liver Flavor, Animal Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid), Soybean Mill Run, Calcium Sulfate, Lactic Acid, Choline Chloride, Potassium Chloride, Iodized Salt, Taurine, DL-Methionine, Vitamin E Supplement, vitamins (L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), L-Carnitine, preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid, Phosphoric Acid, Beta-Carotene, Rosemary Extract.
The first two ingredients are grains, HUGE red flag. Cats are obligate carnivores meaning they MUST get their protein from meat. This food only has one meat source, and it is a by product. Not a high quality product at all. Next is cellulose. Many people don't know this, but cellulose means WOOD. Liver flavor, this is just put on the kibble to make it appetizing because it barely has any meat. After that is animal fat. What kind of animal? Soybean, another undigestible form of protein. And salt. Why in the world do animals need extra salt? Especially in a diet food?
Royal Canin has just as many terrible ingredients. Yes corn and soy are protein, the only problem is that cats cannot digest it.
HOWEVER, both these foods are 10 times healthier than friskies. Friskies is even worse because it has artificial flavorings and colorings. Here are the friskies indoor mix ingredients:
Ground yellow corn, corn gluten meal, chicken by-product meal, meat and bone meal, soybean meal, beef tallow preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of Vitamin E), turkey by-product meal, powdered cellulose, animal liver flavor, soybean hulls, malt extract, phosphoric acid, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, salt, choline chloride, dried cheese powder, added color (Yellow 6, Yellow 5, Red 40, Blue 2 and other color), parsley flakes, taurine, calcium phosphate, Vitamin E supplement, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, niacin, manganese sulfate, Vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, copper sulfate, riboflavin supplement, Vitamin B-12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, Vitamin D-3 supplement, calcium iodate, biotin, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), sodium selenite. D-6002
Again, lots of corn as the first ingredients. Indigestible. Meat and bone meal, it doesn't say what kind of animal this came from. Cellulose = wood. Animal flavor, again it doesn't tell us what kind of animal. Salt, CHEESE powder, Yellow 6, Yellow 5, Red 40, Blue 2 should NOT be in any pet food ever. These chemicals have been linked to hormonal imbalances and cancer in humans. Stay away from menadione! This has been linked to liver failure, weakened immune systems, as low red blood cell counts in pets. I would switch off of this brand as soon as possible. Stay away from any grocery store pet food. All extremely low quality.
***Wet food doesn't cause any teeth problems. That is a myth. The best way to keep teeth cleaned is by brushing or feeding raw meaty bones weekly. Dry food helps their teeth in the way eating crackers helps our teeth. Also, dry food has a tendency to push bacteria under the gum. Wet food is better than dry food because when cats are fed dry food they are kept chronically dehydrated. Cats have a very low thirst drive because they are meant to get their liquids through their meal.
I could take ages to go through each and every ingredient and explain why they are needed or are of benefit (I did work for two vet surgeries and the training was fairly comprehensive on the health advantages of veterinary approved diets like Hills and Royal Canin), but honestly it would take me a good hour or more and I am busy on another project right now. I will therefore take the shorter route and just try to explain a few key points:
Both Hills and Royal Canin produce diets for cats (and dogs) based on various factors such as their lifestyle. The idea of adding indigestable 'fillers' to foods is in order to keep the weight of the animal down in certain circumstances, such as with obese cats, indoor cats, or neutered cats (that tend to get fat more easily). The idea is that the cat feels full, but will not gain the weight associated with eating the normal foods. Of course in the case of products like cellulose, which is largely plant matter, it is also dietary fibre, and helps to ensure solid stools and aid digestion.
To quote from the Royal Canin info on their 'Young Male' diet for neutered males up to 7 years old, it 'helps to reduce dental plaque and tartar formation through the texture and shape of the kibble combined with the binding action of sodium phosphate'. I am assuming this is the type of 'Salt' you referred to as being added to the foods, so this explains largely why it is included. Although they go on to be more specific when they state: 'The kibbles special texture means that the tooth can go right into it. The abrasive effect of contact breaks down dental plaque and disperses bacteria. Through biochemical action: sodium phosphate included in the diet is dispersed into the mouth and traps calcium before it can build up on the dental plaque. By making the calcium unavailable, phosphate delays tartar formation'.
Referring to the fibre content (I assume cellulose etc) they state: 'Fructo-Oligo-Saccharides (fermentable fibres) and Mannan-Oligo-Saccharides (non fermentable fibres) play a fundamental role in helping to support the intestinal mucosa and beneficial flora of the digestive tract.'
Hills state in their dental care leaflet that 'Feeding a diet containing sticky foods and titbits can lead to a more rapid build up of plaque', (and I know that most vets seem to agree that wet food fed alone is a large cause of bad teeth, although less of a problem if fed in conjunction with a biscuit to help clean the teeth.)
Royal Canin Young Male 0-7 years, list Dehydrated poultry meat as the main ingredient, (which is fine). They only list soya oil not 'soya' This is a good source of essential fatty acids, such as linoleic acid, which give your cat a soft, shiny coat.
I largely agree that Wheat gluten is not ideal, and nor is corn, but on the same Royal Canin packaging they put a star by the wheat gluten, and at the bottom of the ingredients it does state ''*L.I.P. protein selected for its very high assimilation'.
Both Royal Canin and Hills add Taurine to their food which is the essential ingredient that cats normally get from meat. It is likely the animal fats are poultry, but honestly, as long as it is animal fat I am not overly worried as to which animal, the end result is the same. Unfortunately the Hills ingredients you listed are from a 'Light' diet, therefore they may seem lacking in certain departments, but that is because they are meant to be low calorie. A better example would be a diet such as the one I am describing which is for a normal neutered young male cat, and lists the average analysis as 40% protein, 10% fat, Ash 8.6%, Fibre 5.3%, per KG: Vit A 23000 IU- Vit D3: 700 IU- Vit E: 600mg. Copper (copper sulphate and chelated copper): 24mg. Preservative potassium sorbate. Antioxidants: propyl galate, BHA.
The ingredients listed are in the following order: dehydrated poultry meat, maize, wheat gluten* (see my above assimilation note on this),rice, vegetable fibres, maize gluten, hydrolysed animal proteins, animal fats, minerals, chicory pulp, fish oil, sodium phosphate, soya oil, fructo-algo-saccharides, DL-methionine, psyllium husks and seeds, L-lysine, egg powder, taurine, marigold extract (source of lutein), L-carnitine.
Royal Canin also state:
'Before being released for sale all Royal Canin diets are subject to our intense quality assurance/control program to ensure the diets maintain nutritional value and safety. Testing is done on incoming ingredients as well as finished products. Testing is done to validate nutrient composition, vitamin and mineral components.
If you have any questions regarding the quality of your product please do not hesitate to contact the Consumer Support Team on 0845 300 5011.
All our food is made to the strictest quality requirements to ensure absolute safety.
Because cats and dogs deserve the best nutrition to remain in the best of health, Royal Canin is committed to:
Select the suppliers of raw materials in accordance with very strict specifications
Test the quality of the ingredients before they are accepted for use in Royal Canin foods
Only use meat from animals which are declared fit and healthy for human consumption
Quality control from the moment the raw materials enter the factory right through to the packaging stage, thanks to systematic measures and analyses at all key stages
Complete traceability and identification of all ingredients'
All of that said I do agree with many of your points, Friskies is definitely an awful diet for any cat. Regular brushing of a cats teeth will reduce their chances of dental problems, wet food does provide a high percentage of their water requirements (personally I give mine both wet food and the semi-moist Royal Canin kibble so I get the best of both worlds), I totally agree that colourings such as included in a lot of commercial cat foods are a big no no and have risks of their own as you described, and finally I agree with staying away from buying your cat food in any grocery store because it is a very bad idea to buy the rubbish they sell.
My oldest cat is now about five years old, when he was a kitten I fed him on Hill's Natures Best food, I later changed him on to Hills Neutered Male, and about a 18 months ago we changed him on to Royal Canin Young Male 0-7 years. We get numerous compliments on how glossy his coat is and how you could do your make-up in the reflection that comes from this shine. He is bright, happy, healthy, his teeth are perfect and he has never had any significant health problems in his life. His Brother who was sadly killed on Easter Saturday was exactly the same. Our current littlest cat is about three years old and is also the same story. During my time working at the Vets I saw lots of cats and dogs come in with the worst teeth you can imagine, and the majority of them were predominantly fed on all wet food diets. I suspect part of the problem is these are cooked meats, and usually in gravies etc. At least if you feed raw meat, or the cats or dogs get raw bones, this helps to clean their teeth too.
Phew, this took over an hour after all. I should have done a hub on it LOL.
Anyway, this is just my thoughts on your post for what they are worth
I think a veterinary consultation may be needed. Either the cat is eating too much (put the food somewhere fat cat can't get and give him smaller meals?) or he had a medical problem.
If you have one cat in four which is over weight, not active and possibly losing vision I would wonder if the cat has diabetes. Take it to the vet. If nothing else health problems can be ruled out.
Sorry if anyone else posted the same thing. I started reading comments but when you wrote the cat may be blind that was a warning bell for me. My Dad had diabetes and I know the symptoms and what other body parts/ areas can be affected.
Cats are especially great at recovering from illness and injury. I knew a blind cat who lived a long time, no one believed he was blind cause he used his hearing and whatever else he did. Never bumped into a thing, unless someone set out to trick him on purpose. He wouldn't have seen the laser pointer either but he would have heard the mouse toy and caught it without even seeing it.
My own cat was hit by a car and had his back leg dislocated. The vet could not fix it back into the socket. But in a week that cat was back to jumping over the fence just as if nothing had happened.
We have three cats and one of them can't control his eating. What we do is play with him to get him moving as others have suggested. You'll find that if he loses a pound or two he'll get more active. We did have to find the toys he liked most to get him to play, just as others have suggested as well.
Our schedules are a bit chaotic as well so we avoid a feeder, but you could transition your cats into a daily feeding and only use a feeder when you have to be out of town. We often have to set up a feeder and it's not as damaging to the fat cat to have it from time to time as it is to have unlimited access every day. Of course you have to watch carefully so the fat cat doesn't help himself to everyone else's plate too.
They can be downright insistent when they want dinner...or breakfast. I know the vet tells us a cat will be happy just being fed once a day, but our boys insist on breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Good luck!
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