Fatty goes on a diet!
As a vet, I spend a great deal of my time telling owners their pets are fat and advising on diets. However, my dirty little secret is I own a cat who is more like a cushion! Sure, he is on a low fat food, which varies depending on what cheap in the clinic or what bags have been returned or are out of date (a common senario for vet’s pet!) but clearly it isn’t working!
This is Fatty, looking pretty much the same size as the cushions he is resting on!
So, my resolution is to try to trim him down. Being over-weight leaves him at risk from Diabetes, arthritis, liver and heart problems to name but a few. In fact, our pets suffer from much the same problems as we do when they are fat.
To start with I’m not going to change much, often just little tweaks to a routine can make a big difference (but we will see!). Here’s my plan;
Keep to the same diet (currently Hills Vet Essentials Neutered Adult Cat) but weigh out a daily amount so I know exactly how much he’s eating.
When starting out on a weight-loss program I often tell people not to change the food initially. It’s amazing the difference that can be made just by monitoring the amount fed and it tends to be a bit cheaper. Unless of course they’re feeding a diet notorius for weight gain, *cough* Bakers *cough*!
Following the guide on the packet & feeding Fatty for the weight I want him to be NOT the weight he is (vital for weight loss!); he needs only 65g a day. The amount of dry food a pet needs is often surprisingly small, which is why just estimating often means they are over-fed. They won’t go hungry; the kibble will swell in the stomach filling them up nicely! Following a strict measured amount also means the bag lasts longer & often brings the premium brands like Hills into the same price bracket as cheaper diets.
However, weighing the food everyday is a pain! So ask your vet for a clear feeder cup and mark on the side how much they should have. This can then sit on the side & be fed in meals or little and often, which ever suits your pet! Another good tip is to use kibble from this cup as treats, as giving extras will always add weight!
I am using Hills Vet Essentials Neutered Young Cat food initially. I might change this to a proper diet food if the weight doesn’t come off!
Feed him out of a puzzle bowl rather than a normal one.
Fatty is a total hoover when it comes to food, unsurprisingly. Many pets eat so fast, they hardly have time to register they’ve been fed. So forcing them to slow down is an excellent way of controlling their appetites & for busy, intelligent pets, it can be a significant source of entertainment. I have chosen the Northmate ‘Catch’ cat feeder, for no other reason than we sell them in our clinic, but currently it is doing a really good job. Check him out working for his dinner!;
Cut out the treats & extras
To be fair, I really don’t give Fatty much other than his food (which is what all owners of fat pets say) but I do let him lick out my (low fat!) yogurt pots & occasionally eat the off cuts of fat from our meals. However, it is surprising how much difference even these odd treats will make, especially if they are human food. So, they are out!
And for the moment that is all. Just a good quality diet designed for his specific needs, being a neutered cat he will have a slower metabolism than an entire one, a measured amount of food daily & a puzzle feeder to slow down his eating.
So, our starting point? 7.2kg! Gulp! It can only get better right?!
I will let you know how we get on!
Fatty with the tools to (hopefully) our success! Doesn’t he look excited?!