Introduction by Michael
Gail, a regular visitor and the guardian of a Maine Coon and Chartreux, has first hand experience of carrying out a cat weight reduction program. It was successful and was instigated on the advice of her veterinarian. So without further ado, here is how she reduced the weight of both her cats by around 30% to an ideal weight. Read about the Maine Coon and Chartreux by clicking on the links.
Having two adult cats, I have first-hand knowledge of this issue. Abby (Maine Coon) weighed in at almost 18 (US) pounds; Shadow (Chartreux) weighed initially weighed in at slightly more than 17 (US) pounds. The vet gave me detailed information as to cat obesity. When I remarked that Maine Coons were big cats, his response was “Sure, if they’re long and muscular. Yours is round and fat and looks like a basketball!” That woke me up; so glad my vet is straight-forward. Anyway, he said not to buy the junk from the supermarket; it’s junk.
He said in order for the cats to lose weight they needed to be on primarily wet food of a higher quality. No fillers, by-products, artificial colors/ingredients, corn, soy, wheat, etc. The first ingredient should be either chicken or beef or some natural meat, broth and the rest of it should be all natural ingredients that you can pronounce. As for dry food, he told me to refrain from dry food while the cats were on a diet; however, I could give a few kernels of dry for the crunch factor in a separate dish.
If the wet food cans were 5.5-6 ounce size, one half can per feeding twice daily with the kernels of high-quality dry in a separate dish. No treats. When the cats whined because they wanted more food, don’t give in. Engage them in play and make them move.
Following this strict diet, my two miscreants lost their obesity within a six-month period. Abby know clocks in at roughly 13 pounds and Shadow is a muscular 12.5 pounds! Their behavior is astounding. Although they’re seniors (around 9 and 10), they behave like kittens!
To maintain their weight, twice daily they’re given no more than three ounces of all natural wet food (Natural Balance, Merrick, or other high-quality food purchased at PetCo), plus occasionally, both get 1/8 cup (small coffee scoop) of high-quality dry in a separate dish (Normally “Fat Cat” – a low calorie dry made by Natural Balance; all natural). The vet made a point of saying that every 5 pounds on a cat would equal something like 15 pounds on a human. Yikes! Treats are kept at a minimum, perhaps three or four times per month, that’s it.
They don’t seem to miss it. Now they seek attention with play and even take a toy out of their ‘playbox’ and toss it at me to interact. It’s kind of neat.
Forgot to mention, the vet said to refrain from giving cats a dry food diet only. Dry food is what gets them fat; it’s mostly carbs and that’s what makes them fat. Unlike dogs, cats don’t drink a lot of water and could suffer chronic mild dehydration; they hydrate through wet food, as well as get needed protein. Dry food only also contributes to urinary tract infections, kidney stones, feline idiopathic cystitis, and lower urinary tract disease. Any cats with health issues that strain their kidneys, such as hyperthyroidism, diabetes, and cancer to name a few would benefit greatly from a switch from dry to canned. Feeding your cat only dry food is likely to set them up for urinary tract issues when they become a senior.
Some of this info was gleaned directly from research done when my vet gave me the “speech” and it’s an eye opener. Through research, I found it’s best to feed cats primarily wet food with only a small amount of dry. Never free-feed a cat; it’s unnecessary and promotes bad eating habits. If the cat doesn’t finish the wet food within 1/2 hour, take it up and toss it. The dry can remain since it won’t spoil, but never ever top it off. Once the dry is gone for that feeding, leave the bowl empty until the next feeding.