Fat Cat Update

by Keri K. on August 23, 2010

Pan (left) and Dozo, who has a visible waist again!

... and after! Pan (left) and a smaller Dozo.

Before...

Before...

Way back in December, I blogged about some dieting success with our cats (read it here). Pandemonium learned to appreciate some variety, and Dozo lost over a pound. Then, about a month after that post, we added our dog Mojito to the family.

I was relieved to find that Mojito was not at all a picky eater, so I wasn’t dealing with another dinnertime prima donna. Instead, he took up Dozo’s old role: gulp it all down, then hurry over to see how much everybody else had left to steal. By then the cats were pretty well-behaved, so it was a matter of teaching Mojito to respect bowls that aren’t his. He now waits in a “sit-stay” on the rug in front of the stove until everyone’s dishes are set down, and I give the cats a head start to compensate for Pan’s slow nibbling. Again, anything uneaten is thrown out or is refrigerated right away, so that nobody gets to sneak a second course later.

Hanging out up high

Hanging out up high

I’ve been careful to keep the cats’ portions the same, and make sure my husband does too (as well as leaving strict instructions for “Grandma” when we’re away). The kitties get healthy, meat-based treats like Liver Bites and Tuna Flakes, and we try to get out the teaser wand and laser pointer a couple times a week. Because of all that, Dozo is down to 12 pounds from over 16!

In that last post, I said he’d never be the “Olympic jumper” that Pan is, but I was wrong about that. When Dozo was heavier he would never haul himself to the top of their Cat Tree, and now he’s up there with Pan every day. We ended up installing a gate at the top of the stairs to keep the dog contained, and Dozo leaps it without any trouble at all — without that grunt of effort he used to make when landing. Plus, we used to tease him about needing a tummy tuck, but I’ve noticed that his flap of a belly paunch is receding too.

I think our consistency really helped to get him in shape. No free choice food, smaller portions, fewer treats, more activity, and ignoring his initial complaining all worked together.
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Keri is a lead catalog designer for Drs. Foster and Smith and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from UW-Stout. She shares a small home with her husband, two Chinese Crested dogs, two cats, two ferrets, several reptiles and amphibians, and 30-some gallons of freshwater planted aquariums. See more articles by Keri K.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Rosemary August 23, 2010 at 9:44 am

I used to work for a vet who was of the opinion that picky eaters were made, not born. I’ve raised all of my cats and dogs on the philosopy of “You can eat that, or go hungry, your choice”. Of course, when 6 out of 7 cats at the time (including Mr. I’ll Eat Anything That Doesn’t Eat Me First) turned their noses up at something after three 16 lb. bags, and chose the “go hungry” option, I gave the remaing two and a half bags to my local humane society and went back to a brand I knew they liked. Now with only the five cats, and nobody on prescription food, I can buy smaller bags.

I do switch brands of kibble fairly often, mainly so that they don’t get so used to only having “X”, that they won’t eat “Z” if it’s all I can get. Also, the canned food is an assortment of different brands and flavors.

I also meal feed twice a day with kibble in the morning, and kibble mixed with canned at night. I put the dogs outside while the cats eat. The cats are seperated either into carriers (3) or seperate rooms (2). After they eat, the dogs come in, and one is tied in the kitchen, and the other is tied in the utility room to eat. Right before bedtime, the dogs are out again while the cats get treats, then the dogs get to come in, have their treats, and go to bed. The dogs also get treats while we are training, just tiny bits, but enough so they they know they got something.

Puppy Ilka was eating so fast (about 15 seconds per feeding) she would choke, and I was worried about bloat, so I purchased her a special slow feed bowl, which slows her down some. She still eats at a frantic pace, but alot of it is just working her way around the baffles. Then she usually flips it over just to make sure she didn’t miss anything hiding underneath it.

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