14 year old Cat Health help

rebeccalynn

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I have a fourteen year old Mainecoon cat who has a horrible weight issue.  Along with her I have 3 kittens.  We tried the weight control foods but when we did that the kittens started to eat it as well and began losing weight that they really didn't need to lose.  The mainecoon didn't lose any weight.  She currently weighs in at a whopping  22 pounds.  We have had her since she was only an 8 week old kitten and we are very concerned about her weight taking her from us.  As fellow cat lovers I'm sure you all understand what this old girl means to me and my family.  We have already lost her younger sister do to a weight problem.  Since they were mainecoons we sort have overlooked the weight problem for many years.  Now Cleo is so big that she doesn't leave my bed room. My mother and I have been taking her across the house and making her walk her way back to my bed room.  But since she was a kitten she has been very shy and is scared of many many things.  I'm worried that making her run around the house is going to scare her to death.  Does anyone know any ways to help her lose weight more quickly? I'm getting discouraged and am coming to the realization that I am most likely going to lose my girl because I wasn't more health concious for her. Please help us help our old baby. 
 

denice

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I am assuming that she is getting regular wellness checks and has recently had complete blood work done?  If not you do need to get that done.  Has the vet given you an idea about what her ideal weight should be? 

Kitties, like humans shouldn't loose weight quickly.  It is even more important for kitties because they can develop a serious liver issue if they loose weight too quickly.  Normally for weight loss you want to aim for 15 calories per pound of her ideal weight and the healthiest diet for any kitty is high protein low carbohydrate. Here is an article on how to calculate the protein/carb ratio in food http://how-to-compare-cat-foods-calculate-carbs-dry-matter-basis

Most wet foods don't list calories on the label.  You can usually get the number of calories in the can from the companies website.
 
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rebeccalynn

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She hasn't seen a  vet in quite sometime unfortunately.  We kept going to the vet with the kittens for their shots and getting fixed that it slipped our minds that she hasn't gone to the vet.  I was wondering if like with people and dogs if there is something that i can add to her wet food that  she gets at night to help with weight loss. I don't really know how to go about regulating her diet with out risking the health of the other three,  but that being said I also don't want to risk her life for the health of the kittens. 
 

mrsgreenjeens

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As far as I know, there is no "magic pill" to help a cat lose weight.  It's a matter of eating less calories and exercising more, just like it used to be with us humands until they started coming up with all those "magic pills" for us that maybe work and maybe don't
.

So, are you feeding her an all wet diet.  That's the best thing.  No free feeding.  And since she's mainly in your bedroom,  maybe at feeding time you can just keep her separated from the babies so you don't need to worry about them.  If you free feed them, maybe you can feed them in a place where she can't get?  Like way up high...someplace she can't jump?  someplace where she can't fit ...maybe behind a semi closed door where she can't yet squeeze her larger body?  And definitely feed her high protein, low carb foods, and count those calories.  And don't let her lose too fast. 

Here is a thread about a cat who was much heavier than your girl, and he lost lots of weight.  It may help inspire you!  http://www.thecatsite.com/t/245236/mickey-my-27-lbs-foster-and-his-journey-back-to-a-healthy-weight
 
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rebeccalynn

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She gets wet food at night but she is allowed to free feed through out the day. I was hoping that I could mix another food in her wet food like ginger helps with people.
 

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Your best chance to help your cat lose weight is to stop free feeding and stop feeding dry food. Feed her measured quantities of high protein wet food; count out the calories. Do not add stuff to her food without a vet's recommendation. Take her to the vet for a checkup and have the vet compute how many calories to feed. Obese cats often have health problems.
 
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rebeccalynn

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My canned cat food that she eats says that she is supposed to be eating a can per 2 1/2 pounds, but it doesn't say how many calories that are in it or any of the nutritional facts. Is the dry cat food bad for her? Does anyone know the comparison of health facts for dry cat food verses wet cat food?
 

denice

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Which brand of food are you feeding;  Feeding recommendations on the food are usually high but that sounds really high.  Usually you can find the calories on the company's website.  Unless your kittens are still really young you can probably stop the free feeding and give more meals.
 
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rebeccalynn

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For my older girl we wet feed Fancy Feast, the little cans with chicken, no seafood. My kittens are technically "cats" now, they're a little over a year old. I have been free feeding them because only one is wet feeding for some reason.
 

mrsgreenjeens

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Fancy Feast is fine for them all, but preferably it should only by the CLASSICS.  All the other FF is way high in carbs.  Take it from me, who also had an overweight cat, the only way to get her to lose weight is to stop free feeding.  And WET food is much more satisfying than kibble.  It's higher in protein if you look at it this way:  http://www.thecatsite.com/a/how-to-compare-cat-foods-calculate-carbs-dry-matter-basis

Cats need protein and they need very few carbs.  If they are eating useless carbs, then they are still hungry, not to mention that kibble is coated with yummy stuff that makes them want more...kind of like potato chips for us
.  Betcha can't eat just one.  I know I can't


Be sure to look at that thread I sent you above about Mickey.  You'll be shocked at just how little he ate to lose that weight.  But don't let her lose too quickly.  If fat cats loose too quickly, it can cause other health issues. 
 

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Here are tips on how to help your cat lose weight safely: http://catinfo.org/?link=felineobesity There are sot of "case stdies" of obese cats just like yours who got the extra weigth off. It took several months to achieve butit can be done.

For calorie content of canned foods, see http://catinfo.org/docs/FoodChartPublic9-22-12.pdf and http://www.petobesityprevention.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/Cat_Canned_Pouch_Foods.pdf

The Fancy Feast Classics are mostly under 100 calories. You would need a lot of those tiny 3 oz cans for your overweight cat a day. 3 oz cans add up in cost over time. A brand that comes in a large can size would be better. You don't need anything expensive. Friskies is an acceptable choice and there is a variety or two that comes in a huge 12 oz can size. The general recommendation is to feed 20 to 25 calories per pound of ideal body weight per day but for such an obese cat, you may need to feed more calories per pound for now to prevent fatty liver disease. You would need to first figure out how many calories your cat is currently eating every day. Then aim for a small reducation of calories for the next week or so. When your cat is ok with that, reduce the calories a little more. Repeat until the extra weight comes off. I wouldn't do more than a 100 claorie reducation at a time.
 
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rebeccalynn

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I feed her the chicken, beef and whatever else it comes with because she refuses to eat seafood. She won't even eat tuna. I dont know what the Classics are...
 
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lisahe

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I feed her the chicken, beef and whatever else it comes with because she refuses to eat seafood. She won't even eat tuna. I dont know what the Classics are...
Fancy Feast Classics are any of these. (Link here.) They're a good choice, particularly if Cleo already likes them. (And it's just as well that she won't eat seafood!)

And if you go for the Friskies, as @LTS3 suggested, get the classic pates, too. (Link here, top part only.)

Denice and mrsgreenjeens are very right about feeding just low-carb, high-protein wet food: it's really about the only way to help a cat lose weight. I've been through this, too, and know that all-day buffets, even with dry diet food, do not work!
 
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rebeccalynn

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Oh! Those are what I have been feeding her, should have read the can before posting, whoops. She eats one of the small cans a night, in theory. I know she doesn't finish them and that one of the kittens or the dogs finishes it for her... I feel bad about cutting her off from dry food because she doesn't finish her can at night
 

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If you aren't strict with her she will not loose weight. If you dump the dry food all together, feed her in a space without the other animals and feed her more than just one can a day.

My cat started gaining right away when we free fed kibble. What we have done instead (since he won't eat wet food at all), is just put half of the amount he is supposed to eat a day in for the morning and half in the evening. He doesn't get to have any more food then that all day. He gets to choose when he eats it, whether it is all at once or over the course of the day.

With the kittens involved it sounds like it would probably work better if you just stuck with two or three meals of wet food with her closed off separately so no one can eat the food but her.
 
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rebeccalynn

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So I should give like a can in the morning. One in the afternoon and one at night with no dry? Or should I give her the recommended daily serving for dry
 

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Wet is better than dry if your cat will eat it. I would feed only wet, but my cat refuses to touch anything with that texture. I don't know exactly how much to feed, but I would assume you should adjust it depending on results. 6oz a day would be normal for a ten pound adult cat. So if you started with at least 9oz spread between three meals that might be better as she is a large cat?

Edit: Actually I'm thinking that maybe starting with closer to normal cat amount would be better. Try just giving her less than 9 to start closer to 6.5 to 7oz. If she seems to be losing weight too fast then up the amount. You should weigh her every few days to make sure that she is losing weight the right way.
 
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mrsgreenjeens

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 I feel bad about cutting her off from dry food because she doesn't finish her can at night
She may not be finishing her can at night because currently she has all the kibble she wants!  There is really NO NEED for her to eat the canned food, right?
So I should give like a can in the morning. One in the afternoon and one at night with no dry? Or should I give her the recommended daily serving for dry
NO kibble.  She will do much better at losing weight without any kibble.  Wet is much more satisfying.  However, that being said, you need to make sure that she does eat her canned food.  If she isn't eating it, then  you may need to feed her kibble until she learns that the kibble is going away and canned food is going to be her only option.  But don't FREE FEED the kibble.  IF you have to resort to giving her some kibble, you will need to know exactly what the calorie content of it is, and feed her the correct amount so that the kibble, along with the canned, equals the amount of calories per day you want to feed her for her weight loss goals.  Let's say you settle on 250 calories per day.  So if she only eats 2 cans per day of Fancy Feast , then you would need to supplement about 60 calories worth of kibble.  This might only end up being about a Tablespoon....you'll have to figure it out...possibly even CALL the manufacturer to find out how many calories are in the cans and in the kibble, if necessary.    

Maybe these articles will be helpful in transitioning her to all wet, which would absolutely be best: 

http://www.thecatsite.com/a/transitioning-free-fed-kibble-kitties-to-timed-meals

http://www.thecatsite.com/a/transitioning-your-cat-from-kibble-to-a-new-type-of-food-canned-raw-or-homemade

Oh, and I think probably 3 full cans of the Fancy Feast CLASSICS, if that's what you are planning on feeding, assuming she is content to eat everything, might be too much to start with.  Just reviewing Mickey's weight loss thread, he weighed 27 pounds to start with, and he started his diet with 2 cans of FF plus 1 oz of raw food, so was at 230 calories per day.  SO...based on that, I'm thinking 3 cans is too much. You could break down whatever you feed into 2 or 3 (or ever more) meals per day, just make sure you measure EXACTLY throughout the day what you give her for the entire day.  And that includes any treats, if you ever feed any

 
Wet is better than dry if your cat will eat it. I would feed only wet, but my cat refuses to touch anything with that texture. I don't know exactly how much to feed, but I would assume you should adjust it depending on results. 6oz a day would be normal for a ten pound adult cat. So if you started with at least 9oz spread between three meals that might be better as she is a large cat?

Edit: Actually I'm thinking that maybe starting with closer to normal cat amount would be better. Try just giving her less than 9 to start closer to 6.5 to 7oz. If she seems to be losing weight too fast then up the amount. You should weigh her every few days to make sure that she is losing weight the right way.
Remember, you cannot base it solely on the number of ounces.  Cans of food vary VASTLY in the amount of calories they contain.  If you are going to continue to feed Fancy Feast Classics, those typically range from 90 to 96 calories per 3 oz can.  However, if you were to feed a 3 oz can of Weruva, most of those are less than 60 calories!  

So, I'm in agreement that probably 2 1/3 cans of FF Classics per day with NO kibble would be a good place to start.  BUT, you need to weigh her and make sure she is not losing too quickly,, yet make sure she IS losing.  Then adjust her food according.  Make sure she isn't losing more then 1 - 2% of her body weight per week.  If she is, add more food.  If she isn't, take away some food.  IT IS CRITICAL THAT SHE NOT LOSE WEIGHT TOO QUICKLY.  Seriously.  If an obese cat losing weight too quickly, this can cause Hepatic Lipidosis, which can be fatal.  When my guy was losing weight, in one two week period he lose 1 pound and I freaked!!!!  Needless to say I increased his food intake quickly.  So you need to weigh her every week to keep a close eye on her weight progress.
 
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rebeccalynn

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I just did a weigh in with with her and she weighs 24.6 pounds. So she's more then I thought she was in the original post. How many calories would you suggest that I give her daily? I'm sorry for asking about every little detail. I'm just worried about losing her since she is so old. I got her when I was 5 and she's a big part of me.
 

mrsgreenjeens

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Since Mickey started off at 230 calories and only weighed a little more, why not start there?  You can always shift higher or lower, depending on whether or not she loses or not.
 

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