No one ever wants to think of their little fur baby in terms of being “chubby”, and heaven knows the word “obese” sounds even more frightening. However, when Carmel became too heavy to do the things she used to do, it became apparent to me and my husband that she was, *whisper*, overweight. To this day, it makes me cringe to think that her food (and the people feeding her) were responsible for the decreased quality of her life – after all, who wants to sit on the sidelines when there is a perfectly good laser pointer to chase around?
Her next vet appointment proved the obvious: Carmel wasn’t just overweight, she was, *gasp* obese. Tipping the scale at 23.4 pounds, I immediately went into internet research overdrive. How could we help her?! My veterinarian suggested that we cut back her food intake and increase her exercise, but I knew we weren’t feeding her a lot of food. She’s a grazer so my husband or I would measure out one cup of food for each day and let her eat on her own terms. On the contrary, even after we cut Carmel’s food down to 3/4 cup of kibble per day and added two 20-minute play sessions, the weight remained. In fact, at her follow-up with the doc, she was recorded at 23.6 pounds. I was completely devastated. What were we doing wrong?
As I continued my research on cat nutrition I learned that kitties are obligate carnivores and require a large percentage of protein in their diets. Carmel’s kibble had virtually no protein in it at all. That’s when I decided that it wasn’t the AMOUNT of food that I was feeding Carmel, it was WHAT I was feeding her. I immediately switched her kibble over to Wellness Core (a “grain-free” kibble) with relatively good results. At her next appointment, she weighed in at 21.5 lbs! The scale was definitely headed in the right direction.
The more research I did, and at Lori’s recommendation, I began leaning toward trying a “raw” diet with Carmel. It sounded crazy, frankly – I mean, who has time to play around with chicken livers and adding in “just the right amount” of taurine? Not this girl! But there had to be someone who made this stuff commercially, right? Still relatively new on the market, at first it was tricky to find a “raw food” manufacturer – but it was the best decision we could have made! During Carmel’s last vet visit, she weighed in at a MUCH slimmer 13.8 pounds!
We’re definitely not perfect with Carmel’s diet. We order our food from Primal and often find ourselves waiting on the next shipment (procrastinators!) with nothing more than an “emergency” can of wet food and our Wellness Core dry kibble in the pantry. But we’ve learned that when Carmel is eating well 90% of the time, she keeps the weight off (and she’s even back to chasing around that laser pointer!).
Here are some of the other kitty weight loss tips that worked for Carmel:
~ If a kitty is going to eat kibble (which we do not recommend as her main food source), try placing it in a food ball – it will force kitty to “actively” consume her food. Please make sure you have plenty of water for her and that the kibble is corn, wheat and soy free.
~ Your kitty may not immediately take to “raw” food – it’s definitely different than the other food you’ll find at big box stores. However, keep trying until she LOVES it (and she will love it).
~ My husband and I are late-workers. As a result, Carmel wasn’t always getting as much “playtime” as we would have liked. This is why we just brought her home a little “sister”! Oakley, the 9 month old spitfire that she is, keeps Carmel running at all hours of the day AND the night.