While many cats come into shelters overweight or obese, there are plenty of cats that arrive at a normal weight, but end up gaining an unhealthy amount of weight when they’re not adopted in a fair amount of time.
Let’s face it, the cat is living in a very small area with that also contains food, water, a litter box and a bed, leaving not much space for them to move around. So all they do is eat and sleep; the food turns to fat and sometimes the animals end up gaining so much weight they are considered obese.
While a fat cat might look cute or make great fodder for jokes, the extra weight can put quite a bit of stress on the cat’s well being (and eventually on your wallet in the form of veterinary bills).
Health problems affecting overweight cats include diabetes, arthritis, heart disease and skin infections, according to VetInfo.com. In addition, the added extra pounds can reduce your cat’s lifespan. Cats with a normal weight live between 12 to 14 years on average, but obese cats might only live 6 to 12 years, the site adds.
When shelter cats arrive overweight or gain weight while they’re confined, they come to All About the Kitties for a weight-loss program.
These cats have room to wander our facilities, including walking up and down a set of calorie-killing stairs. We feed the cats three small meals of wet food, with fish or meat as the primary ingredients, which is better suited for the cat’s dietary needs, according to Catster.com.
Once they’ve lost a little weight and are moving around more comfortably, we use a laser pointer to get them to play; for those cats that are reluctant to move, we carry them up the stairs so that they’re forced to walk down and get some exercise.
Typically, our cats lose about 1 pound a month – the largest cats end up staying with us 10 to 12 months before they reach their healthy rate and are adopted out. Some are adopted before they’ve reached their goal, and we explain to their new parents the importance of diet and exercise.
If you are trying to help your cat lose weight, but they won’t eat wet food, we recommend feeding small amounts of good quality dry food two to three times a day, never free feed (leaving food down all the time).
Meet a few of the cats who completed our program successfully:
Bella, our first obese cat came to us weighing over 18 pounds. when she got adopted she was down to 8.5 pounds. She lost more than half her weight and was much more active and happy after losing the extra pounds.
Rocky came in at almost 30 pounds. He had permanent hair loss around his neck where his collar was too tight, he couldn’t straighten his legs so had the stance of a bull dog. After many months of only wet food, three times a day his weight seemed to start melting away and when adopted he was a healthy 14 pound happy boy.
Bagel a 29 pound buff boy that was shaved because he couldn’t clean himself. Bagel was hungry all the time and it was difficult not to over feed him but once he started losing the weight he became more active and didn’t seem to need as much food. At adoption he was 13 pounds.