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Help with cat dieting nightmare

Discussion in 'Cat Health and Nutrition' started by Gratch, Oct 29, 2016.


  1. Gratch

    Gratch PetForums VIP

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    Hello, it's been a long time since I've been on here but I'm desperately in need of help with getting my cats back to a healthy weight. It started slowly after they were neutered in 2011 but with a hectic life and health issues, I let it spiral out of control.

    I have 6 cats, two of whom have a pouch but seem fine in every other regard (males, 4.9kg/4.7kg) and could maybe stand to lose a little bit, one who is a bit porky but wouldn't take too much work (male, 5kg), one with a big pouch (male, 6kg) and two whales (female, 5.9kg and 6.7kg). I figure that a good weight for the two smaller boys and the girls would be 3.5-4kg and the larger, stockier boys would be about 4.5kg. They are indoor cats and I play with them as much as I can keep them interested, the slimmer boys are very active, the other two boys are quite playful but they can lose interest and the girls just have small bursts of activity. I'm buying them individual feeding bowls and plan to feed them in seperate rooms 3 times a day.

    I used to feed them MACS, popping down an 800g tin whenever the bowl was empty but after we got them temporary biscuits when our order was delayed for an extended time, we could not get them to touch wet food again. I've been giving them Sanabelle Urinary for about a year now and they've gotten even fatter. I don't have the budget anymore to switch them back to wet food and a recent change to Sanabelle Light hasn't helped too much. Due to some further issues, I'm changing them to Sanabelle No-Grain with Poultry with my next order, approximately 4 calories per gram.

    I have found loads of conflicting information on how to work out how much to feed them to lose weight at a safe pace or even to calculate their required calories. I'm terrified of feeding them too little and I'm hoping someone can help me work this out in a reasonable manner.

    Thanks for any help!
     
  2. Torin.

    Torin. PetForums VIP

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    Having a primordial pouch isn't indicative of a cat being overweight; all cats have them, some more or less than others. The top theories as to why they exist:
    1) loose skin in that area allows cats to gorge on a big kill more easily without ending up with skin stretched taut over the engorged stomach, thus protecting it
    2) the loose skin enables the cat's spine to be fully flexible with regards to fully stretching out/ bending backwards.

    If you haven't already, I'd suggest body fat scoring and body condition scoring them all. Using this method rather than only their numerical weight better helps you to tailor a plan to best fit the individual :)

    Body condition score chart - http://i.stack.imgur.com/Q2FPH.png
    [​IMG]

    Body fat scoring - http://www.petslimmer.co.za/weight-assessment/bfi-index

    (not that I condone Hills, but those links are the most useful/ readable ones I've come across)
     
  3. Gratch

    Gratch PetForums VIP

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    The two smaller boys would be about 3.5 I guess, the other two boys a 4 and the girls a 5, the second link helps with target weights but still not with figuring out calories to feed :( Thanks though, it'll definitely make it easier to set goals for them!
     
  4. Zephodi

    Zephodi PetForums Senior

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    Transitioning away from dry can take a while as they put flavour enhancers on it, making it very addictive (which is probably why they went off wet). With our first cat I found as well that the dry would keep him fat even when he was eating a tiny amount, which didn't seem right at all. Dry can be cheap but I found it to be false economy.

    Have you contemplated feeding raw? This can be very cheap if budget is an issue and you can get it pre-made if you're not confident at making your own. I find it ideal to keep my lot on a healthy weight and see other benefits as well. Again, it may take a while to transition and I know it's not for everyone but it's made a difference for us :)
     
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  5. Gratch

    Gratch PetForums VIP

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    The problem atm is that I can get 40kg of food for 3 months for £100 and that's the only way my husband is letting me keep the cats so experimenting with raw and changing to wet isn't feasible for me right now. That's why I need to try and figure out how much of the food to feed each of them, the recommendations seem excessive in calories when I calculate it all myself so I'm really stuck. I know they can get severaly ill if they lose weight too fast and I can't even just reduce a bit from their food because they currently just free feed
     
  6. Zephodi

    Zephodi PetForums Senior

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    I can understand that it's cheap but like I said, it's false economy really. Cheap food isn't really cheap when your pets can end up developing health problems that need veterinary care as a result of being obese and that can be very expensive. Perhaps it's worth pointing that out to your husband.
    Losing weight too quickly is dangerous regardless of what you feed, so care needs to be taken there anyway. I would stop the free feeding instantly as that can be a large contributor, whether it's a low calorie food or not. This page has a lot of info about weight loss, although it is quite raw pro http://www.catinfo.org/?link=felineobesity
    The going rate seems to be 1-2% loss of weight per week, so you will have to monitor their weight closely.

    I could be wrong, but I think it'll be nearly impossible to get them to lose weight fee feeding. With 1 cat it would probably work, but not with 6; there is no way of monitoring who is consuming what. I'd implement feeding times and weigh out food for each individual; you might have to keep a close eye as some cats like to 'help' their siblings finish their food.
     
  7. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    It's good you want to help your cats get to a healthy weight. Obesity leads to chronic urinary tract issues, diabetes, heart problems, liver problems, arthritis, the list goes on.

    You need to get rid of the dry food

    Get a baby scale and weigh cats weekly to monitor weight loss

    Feed measured amounts of wet (or raw) food on a 3 meal a day schedule NO DRY

    Continue the play sessions.

    Keep a record of each cat, how much you feed, and weights. If a cat loses too slow, cut back a little more, if a cat loses too quickly, increase amount. You can use a notebook and hand write, or create a spread sheet if you prefer.

    Very dangerous for a cat to lose weight too quickly, no more than 2 ounces a week is safe.
     
  8. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

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    Just reduce the amount you feed by a small amount, gradually so the cats don't notice and feel hungry, but their calorie intake is reduced.

    Monitor them to see how they do over a few months.

    Rather than dieting, which often fails as the quantity is reduced too much. The cat gets hungry and is then unhappy and always asking for food.
     
  9. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    This is doable, and the correct way to do it, with raw and wet scheduled feeding. Free feeding kibble, it will not work.

    Weight loss needs to be carefully monitored as it is extremely dangerous for cats to lose weight quickly. They get a disease called hepatic lipidosis - fatty liver disease.
     
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  10. Jannor

    Jannor PetForums VIP

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    Feeding any dry at all doesn't work for my fat cat.

    Even letting her have as much wet as she wants she still loses weight. It means my other cats can only have dry when they're in the run (she doesn't go in there) but it is all that works with fatcat so we do it that way.
     
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  11. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Free feeding dry food is often the quickest route to having overweight cats because dry food is so packed with calories.

    Wet food or raw is so much healthier for them than dry, as I am sure you are aware. :)

    You can buy 45 kg of raw cat food e.g. chicken, from Kiezebrink for £99, i.e. within your budget. Kiezebrink is a reputable supplier.

    https://www.kiezebrink.co.uk/product/127-chicken-mix-minced-1kg
     
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  12. minari

    minari PetForums Member

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    I'm not sure if OP will have the budget for a big freezer dedicated for cats to store a big order. It may also be difficult to convince her husband to invest in a freezer and a bulk order upfront if they aren't sure that the cat will take raw happily.

    I hope you can switch back to feeding MACs which is one of the most economical high quality wet food, with the 800g costing £2.
    I understand that your husband may not want to increasing the budget for cats but as others have pointed out dry food is really false economy, your cats are suffering from obesity and further health problems such as kidney disease are highly likely to occur in the future which will incur you a very hefty vet bills.
    I may be a little too harsh in saying this, but you really should consider the costs of keeping cats before you have six of them and then decide that you don't have enough budget to feed them healthy food.
     
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  13. Jannor

    Jannor PetForums VIP

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    What I do is to give Fatcat a good quality wet once a day (tea time) and then give her Butchers for Cats the rest of the time. She will eat Butchers but it's not a favourite so she eats when she's hungry, rather than for the sake of it. It's cheap so doesn't matter if I end up throwing away (although I never do, she always seems to eat it)
     
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  14. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    I was pointing out to Gratch that 45 kg of raw meat from Kiezebrink will cost the same as 40 kg of dry food. I didn't mean she would need to order 45 kg at once! :rolleyes: Naturally she would want to order a small quantity first for the cats to try. The price per kg is the same no matter what the size of the order, but the delivery costs obviously work out more reasonably the larger the order.

    Re: a freezer to store the meat - a small chest freezer doesn't take up much room and would be an adequate size for the cat food. There are always plenty of small chest freezers (c. 60 litre size) in working order sold on ebay from approx £20 to £50. But if that is not feasible due to lack of availability in her area there is this new one from Curry's. (£99.99 delivered) (If funds are not available I'd buy her one as a Christmas present if it would help her feed her cats a better diet than dry food. )

    http://www.currys.co.uk/gbuk/househ...c61cf13-chest-freezer-white-20163489-pdt.html
     
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  15. Pepperpots

    Pepperpots PetForums Senior

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    I think the first stage is to work out how much food each cat needs to lose of weight slowly. Weigh out each cats food separately and feed them in three set meals. Weigh them weekly and adjust food accordingly. You can get slow feeders or treat balls so they have to work harder for their food. You may find the overweight cats are more likely to play as they lose weight.

    I feed raw and have to be so careful with one of my boys, as he puts weight on stupidly easily.

    I think you probably would have more success with wet food. Butchers is fairly cheap, so perhaps a mix of that and
    Macs?

    Unfortunately the vet bills due to obesity will probably outweigh any extra costs changing food may have.

    Good luck and keep us updated!
     
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  16. Zephodi

    Zephodi PetForums Senior

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    Something else I wanted to mention is that with raw I found it easier to know what to feed my cats and because of that how much I'd need to feed in order to get them to an ideal weight.

    This is because you feed 2-3% each day of their ideal weight (which can vary per cat). So, for a 4 kg cat that would be 120 gr. Say said cat needs to lose enough weight to be 3.5 kg ideally, you'd know roughly that they'd need 105 gr a day. You'd then gradually build down to that amount until you're happy with the cat's weight and adjust if needed.

    I found that very hard to calculate with dry, every brand has different guidelines and even with them it made no difference whatsoever. Wet was easier and they loved MAC, but raw was even better for me as it doesn't matter what brand I get or if I make it myself, the same principles apply.

    In the end it is your choice what to feed, but I would personally at least get them back on the wet :)
     
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  17. Gratch

    Gratch PetForums VIP

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    This is exactly what my entire post is about... I said I'm wanting to feed them individually on this food for now which I know they will eat, is within budget etc., just I need to figure out how much to feed each of them so it is a safe pace of weight loss. I appreciate all the other messages, I KNOW that wet food is better but it just isn't feasible for me right now and I can't risk raw food, even in small orders, delivery costs will add up and my cats have never shown an interest in any raw food we have tried to give them before. If anyone can help me figure out the caloric needs of each cat to lose weight safely, I can work out how many grams of the food they need. Thank you very much.

    At the moment, cost is very much an issue, I cannot work due to a back/pelvic injury and my husband has had to move away to find full time work so we are trying to run two homes at once. As soon as I am living with him again and getting money, they will be switched back to MACs.
     
  18. Sherylina

    Sherylina PetForums Member

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    Hi,

    What you could do is make a nurse appointment at the vets for all 6 of them to have their weight checked and to get dietry advice. Almost all vets have some kind of weight clinic ran by the nurses which means it shouldn't cost you a consultation fee. That way you can get accurate weights, target weights and get answers to your questions about how much to feed etc.
     
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  19. Paddypaws

    Paddypaws PetForums VIP

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    Good idea.....but I bet the nurse will only be able to recommend and give specific advice about either Hills or Royal Canin, not the food that Gratch is feeding.
     
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  20. Paddypaws

    Paddypaws PetForums VIP

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    Gratch....the truth is that this is always going to involve a fair bit of trial and error so I doubt that anyone can give you very specific or exact advice about amounts to feed.
    I think you need a set of digital kitchen scales, and a set of baby scales and then to set about monitoring each cat and their response to whatever the particular food's feeding guidelines are. Set meal times are a must as well as being strict in not giving any extras.
    Over a few weeks you should start to be able to tweak portions for the fatter cats to achieve a slow steady weight loss.
     
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