So my last post was very cathartic for me personally, but it did result in a flurry of texts from worried friends asking if I was okay and if I “needed to talk”. Firstly, I am constantly amazed at my wonderful friends and love them dearly. Kisses to you all. Secondly, I’m doing much better now that I have written about it. That’s kinda my thing. Thirdly, let’s try something a little lighter this week shall we?
My obese rescue is now a sexy senior. Let me regale you with the details of how my husband and I accomplished this feat.
Domino has had quite the time of it recently. At the ripe age of 12, maybe 13, he found himself without a home, having outlived his previous owner. We found him hissing at his brethren at a shelter and decided to provide a much needed retirement home for the rotund beast. We were assured that he was perfectly healthy and “just a bit of a chonk” at 7 kg (15 pounds). We believed this. But when he got a bit of stress eczema, we took him to the vet for a check-up.
Our poor boy, after moving to a new home with two complete weirdos who kept poking his toe beans, had to put up with the receptionist, the vet, the other receptionist, the nurses that passed us in the waiting room and a second vet all crying out “oooh what a BIG boy” when being kind and “he’s obese” when not.
See… dumbasses that we are, my partner and I had decided to do a bit of maths with the Whiskas pouches. There’s a guide, telling you how many pouches per day for various sizes of cat. But the sizes only went up to 5kg and our boy was, as we had been told, 7kg. “Discrimination against chonk!” we cried, reaching for an old envelope and a crayon. We worked out how many pouches our “bit of a chonk” fluffball needed and fed him accordingly.
Cut back to the vet somehow managing to keep a straight face as we told her of this meticulously planned diet. She informed us that the Whiskas guide was right and 5kg is really what we should aim for… maybe 5.5kg (11-12 pounds). She’s also the one who said, “he’s obese.” So that hurt everyone’s feelings. Then she stuck a steroid needle in him. All in all, a bad day for our titanic sofa gremlin and his silly caretakers.
We set to work. Our fatty catty was going to be transformed. He was going to run around and play. He was going to fit into a regular cat bed and not need the large dog bed we had gotten him.
He was going to be able to lick himself, wherever he wanted to lick himself. Cats do not like to be fat. And his past humans had clearly loved him dearly and done their best as this was a sweet, well-behaved little man. But things were going to change.
So after much Jackson Galaxy, Cats Protection and general googling, we decided on a few things.
- To create a calorie deficit, we would feed Domino as if he were a 5kg cat. You could do it more gradually but we wanted to establish a whole new routine so were a little militant with it. Results in your cat may vary. Don’t come at me if your toes get bitten off or something.
- Free feeding was out the window. Our floof is a voracious monster and will stick his face into the kibble all day long if allowed.
- Set meal times would be needed and evenly spaced out. Cats can technically eat every 24 hours but our boy had definitely not experienced that and would howl without regular feedings. So he needed lots of little meals to help him feel loved. We arbitrarily decided on 7am, 1pm and 7pm. Later amended to 7pm snack and an additional 9:30pm feed.
- Kibble was out. It was not as satiating as meat pouches and the higher grain level was more carbs which could cause more sugar crashes and lead to a cranky claws.
- Cranky claws really missed the kibble. S,o because 3 pouches didn’t fully add up to what was needed for a 5kg cat, a 10g snack of kibble was added back in for the sake of peace. This is the 7pm snack mentioned above.
- Kibble was given only via a treat ball so he would have to work for his biccies. The first day we gave him the treat ball he just stared at it…then at us, and gave a forlorn meow. We had to show him how to use it, the little dumbo.
- No treats. Cuddles are enough to show love.
- Playtime before feed time. (Note: no play before 7am feed because sleepy humans)
That was the general plan. We relaxed some things over time, such as the afternoon feed taking place anytime between 12pm and 1pm because he likes a snooze in the afternoon and we didn’t want to disrupt his natural cycles too much.
It didn’t take 6 months like the vet predicted, it took a year to get to 5.4kg (11.9 pounds) and I think he is still losing weight. Initially he did lose weight according to our plan. Oh, yes we made a plan. We used our crayon again and set little weight loss milestones for him. He met the first few, then missed the next few but then just dropped a lot in one go and we forgot about the maths and just let him be.
Jokes aside, it’s so wonderful to see him much more active and better able to groom himself and just see his confidence grow. He’s an old boy, so I know that he will start slowing down eventually, but I get all warm and fuzzy thinking that he’s got this new lease of life just as he transitions into his golden years. Obviously when you decide to adopt a senior cat you get morbid thoughts and you worry about what you’re taking on, both emotionally and financially. But he exists whether we adopt him or not and I’m glad we chose to take him on. I think we helped him and, honestly, he helps us.
So yeah…lady cats better watch out. Our boy is a sexy senior on the prowl!
Except he’s not because he’s an indoor eunuch cat who hates all other cats.
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