My issues with an overweight cat
I adopted my cat Barney from Snelgrove Vet Services in 2012 and gave him a lovely retirement home. Most of you will know Barney from being the clinic’s cat. Many of you would come in and ask “Is she pregnant?” Nope, just fat. Although the staff worked hard to try to bring his weight down with precisely measured restricted calorie foods, between his asthma making it that he didn’t have much energy and the fact that every time we forgot to put a lid on the treat jars he cleaned out the jar, it proved difficult to do. When I took him home I had high hopes of getting him to shed some of this weight ht and never did I think that he would be any different then a regular cat besides being a little more lazy? That’s not the case and this is some of my experiences from owning an overweight cat compared to the many cats before him that were not. There is defiantly a big difference in health, living style and worries that you can have with them.
Barney doesn’t like to do much, he likes his morning, afternoon and evening naps, and the only way I can get him to exercise is by bringing him in my backyard where he just wanders around but mostly lies in the sun. Looking at the difference between cats that hang around my neighborhood or cats that come into the clinic, I can tell he doesn’t have the energy to be a regular cat. Playing with him can be quite amusing but not very eventful, it might just be my cat who is picky but he will only play with one certain toy and that toy only. You can throw it to him and he will throw it right back, but never chases it, he won’t even move from the spot he’s in! He just rolls his body around the floor without getting up. He has his good days when he will slide across the floor to chase it, and get up on his feet and play, this doesn’t last long though. Most of the time he stuffs it under somewhere and lies back down, or it will get stuck under his belly when he lays down and then were right back to him playing a game of catch.
We do let him outside occasionally for extra exercise but only when myself or another family member is watching him and only in our own backyard. Now, realistically, he probably couldn’t get far but he’s still that curious cat and I’m sure he can find himself in some sort of trouble.
Barney likes to make sure that he’s fed right on time. He does not stop meowing until there is something in his food bowl. He is on Diet food which can get very costly compared to other foods. With cats, the healthy weight for them to lose monthly is half a pound! So if your cat is 10 pounds over weight, that’s going to take almost 2 years to lose that weight. In Barney’s case, he has lost a few pounds since I’ve had him, but also gained some. Its harder to lose weight then gain it and without even realizing it, he gained weight because I wasn’t careful. And now I’m back to square one. One problem that we have with him at home is that he can be a real trickster! Not saying all cats are like this, but I can understand now why he became so fat! We feed him in the morning around 6:30 am. Each of my family members have different schedules, so we all get up at different times. So what he does is, he will start meowing and following each one of us making us think that the person before forgot to feed him and he would get fed twice or even three times the feeding for breakfast! We eventually did catch onto this and have solved this problem by keeping a chart posted and marking off when we have fed him.
Barney is on inhalers to help with his asthma and the added weight he carries around doesn’t help. He can’t run for a long time or he will start wheezing and huffing. Sounding like he’s been a smoker for years. It’s not nice and its hard for him to get very far without having an issue with his breathing. If he was slimmer I’m sure he’d get farther without doing this.
Barns is almost 12 years old. Not old for a cat but being overweight makes him act like an older cat. I sometimes see his back legs giving in. I’m sure he already has some arthritis and that’s why I’m pushing for him to lose that weight so that he doesn’t get the point where he gets too weak to even walk.
If you’re thinking about getting your cat a big play castle, or you have children that always want to run and play with your cat, or you have a high bed and you like your cat to cuddle at the end of that bed with you, this won’t be the case if you let them get overweight. Like I said, it is the easiest thing for them to gain weight!!! So, feed them a quality food in measured amounts and don’t let them trick you into feeding them twice! Always keep them active even if its playing with them for half an hour in a day. I love Barns all the same and could never replace him, but I’m still working on getting him down a few pounds so that he can live a happy and healthy life.
Thanks for reading, Samantha