Bought an awesome cat tree, but now my cat is SO LAZY

writingislove

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About a month ago, I bought a new cat tree for my boys.  It's got five tiers, it's almost twice as tall as their old one, and it has a little cradle at the very top.  Both cats absolutely love it, which is good--that's why I bought it!  However...

Winston is a little on the heavy side.  He's about 16-17 pounds and he's also had arthritis in his knees since he was 10 months old (he's 3 now), so I've been really trying to get him to take off a few pounds so his weight doesn't make his arthritis worse.  But ever since I brought that darn cat tree home, he lays in the cradle at the top ALL the time.  He's become so darn lazy over the past month because he just lays in the cradle allll day and allll night.  I have lots of wand toys that he used to like to chase around on the floor, and now when I get them out he just bats at them from the top of the tree. 

Has anyone else had this happen after bringing home a cat tree?  Winston won't even lay with me or my husband like he used to, and he used to sit on the windowsills and watch the birds in the backyard but he hardly does it at all now.  When he comes down from the tree to eat or use the litterbox, he'll walk around the house for a few minutes and go straight back up into the tree.  At this rate I definitely can't get him to lose weight and I wouldn't be surprised if he's put on even more.  Any ideas on how I can get my lazy cat to be more interested in coming down from the tree and playing more like he used to?
 

tammyp

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Awww, he's in love with his tree!  It is a good thing.  And probably will wear off to include the other things he loves again in time - like playing with you guys and sleeping with you (just wait to it gets cold!).  I'd still keep offering the play sessions, and work hard at making toys exciting, new and enticing.  That will mean some imagination - try making something brand new (like a blown up plastic bag with a mouse, or piece of straw inside, attached to your wand).  Sometimes a brand new thing will get them going.  And you can try mixing up the play environment - make the russling bag hide under paper, in tunnels, in boxes (tip the box on it's side) etc...

As to the weight issue, I'd definitely be looking at his food as the number one angle for weight loss.  Cats fed naturally will rarely get fat, despite what their activity may or may not be, simply because that food is breaking down into the things they need, and NOT things their body cannot use except to store as fat (the case of grains).  Feed wet food, with high animal protein (not plant protein like gluten or 'protein isolate'), no grains and as little fruit/veg as you can find.  Or look at raw.  Transition off kibble if you do feed it, as this is highly involved in excess weight, and a bunch of disease.

And the last thought, I just have a small feeling I should cover off the illness factor - you'll know the energy situation better than me, so just flagging that lethargy is often one clear sign of illness.
 
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writingislove

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Thanks tammyp.  You're right that I should mix things up with the toys.  I do have several and I try to alternate them so he doesn't get bored, but it's probably time to bring something 100% new into the picture.  I have made efforts in the past to combat his weight with his food, but it's been a challenge with the other cat. 
 
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