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Cosmo: Weight Loss Journey For A 22.2 Lb Kitty Man

Discussion in 'Cat Health' started by CosmoBot, Feb 17, 2019.

  1. CosmoBot

    CosmoBot Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Feb 17, 2019
    Missouri
    Our poor buddy is super overweight. I’ve been reading countless blogs, research articles, and other weight loss threads on this site. I benefited so much from reading some amazing weight loss journeys here and I thought I’d add ours in case it helps someone else. It’s really painful to realize you’ve let your kitty get obese and can be frustrating to figure out how to do all the steps, like calculating calories in cat food, figuring out the maximum weight loss per week to prevent fatty liver disease, etc.

    We are two weeks into this process. We weigh him every Sunday around the same time. The first week he lost .6 lbs. Wowza! That was over the 2% recommended weight loss. We decided to see how he did this week before changing his feeding. This week he lost literally zero pounds. Waiting another week before we make any further adjustment. I also have a plan forming for what to do if his weight loss stalls. I may start weighing more regularly. Rn we are using our bathroom scale, we just weigh with him in our arms and by ourselves and subtract the difference.

    I’ve included some background on Cosmo and details of our plan, including the calculations of his daily required calories, as well as a link to his weight loss spreadsheet.

    I don't have the best before pics, but if people find this thread helpful I'll get some better ones. His fur is about 2/3 length rn. We get him a lion cut a couple times a year.

    Anyhow, wish us luck!!!

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    About Cosmo:

    Background:
    Cosmo is almost 4 yrs old; we’ve had him since he was about 8 weeks. He was the runt of his litter and his foster parents had difficulty getting him to eat. Cosmo eventually became an indoor/outdoor cat. We free-fed him (rooky mistake). He had lots of free space to run, climb trees and fences, and hunt mice and birds (uh boy). Then one day he had an accident that prompted my husband and I to transition him into a 100% indoor cat. He reached 13 lbs (up from probably 11) and the vet said he needed to lose weight. We were shocked, lol. We stopped free-feeding and did a mix of dry and wet. We moved two years ago and got an automatic feeder. We thought this would be a great way to help him lose weight since we could monitor his feeding and give him the regularity of scheduled feeding times that did not waiver according to our schedules. But the feeder was SUPER CONFUSING and my husband accidentally WAY OVER FED HIM. He’s a long-haired cat so we didn’t realize the pounds were packing on. We kept trying to lower the food amount, but he was getting bigger. In addition to making mistakes with the auto-feeder, my husband COULD NOT SEE THE WEIGHT and I was having trouble convincing him our buddy was in trouble. Hubby was kitty-blind. We came back from a trip in January and weighed him at 22.2 lbs and we nearly died. Now, the Healthy Happy Cosmo plan has begun!

    Activity and Ability
    Cosmo is SUPER sweet, cuddly, and playful. Before we figured out the problem with our feeder, we were using physical activity to help him lose weight. He didn’t lose weight, but the extra and intentional playtime was helping him grow stronger and more nimble. Adding just 15 minutes here and there of chasing a feather wand got him jumping onto our tall bed and dining room table much more easily!

    Health History
    Just the accident when we was an outdoor cat (facial injury, all healed) and urinary crystals that got resolved ASAP. We are in the process of changing pet insurance and vets so we’ll take him in soon for a check-up and some blood work. Rn, healthy litter habits with plenty o'urine.


    The Plan

    Food
    • Determined how many calories he needs to eat to maintain his weight
    • Determined how many calories he had been eating
    • (figured out how to use our auto-feeder, see below)
    • Adjusted feeding
    • Weekly weigh-ins with adjustments as necessary, making sure he’s losing but not exceeding the recommended 2% max loss of total body weight per week
    • Logging his feeding and weight in a spreadsheet
    • As he loses weight, I recalculate his total caloric intake requirement to see how far below that we are.
    Questions:
    - If we do need to reduce his food more, I'm concerned about making sure he still has adequate nutrition. Anyone have any advice on that?

    Activity
    • We try to play with him before his feed times. He gets anxious anticipating the food from the feeder, so I try to capitalize on that prey drive. It works!
    • We bring him to the far side of the house before the feeder goes off. He runs TOP speed to the kitchen when it comes out.
    • I got two laser toys that are powered with regular batteries so they don’t die off and need to be replaced. I looped them around door knobs on different sides of the house so we can play with them as we think of it.
    • We have a very long feather wand toy with excellent flight capacity lol. It really seems like a bird. It’s important to have a long reach in a feather wand so that he will get up and run for it instead of just laying on his back while I dangle it over his head.
    • Rn we don’t have cat tree. We’re in the market and I’ll let you know if it helps.
    • We take him out for walks in a harness a few times a month. It’s not exactly “exercise;” he mostly saunters and sniffs and rolls around and eats grass. But it’s good for him and the neighbors like to say hi :)
    We’re doing dry food rn because I’m in graduate school and my husband works outside the house. We want him to have 3 meals a day. If he plateaus, we will sub one meal wet or raw.
    We add ¼ cup of water to his bowl as we think of it.

    Treats: we have a bag of Temptations my mother-in-law got him for Christmas (so sweet!). We don’t really do treats, but we randomly ended up giving him a few this second week of weight loss. I record those in his feeding log. Each treat is < 2kcals.

    The Numbers

    Food and Feeding

    Feeder:
    • Arf Pets Auto-feeder
    • Uses “portions”
    • 1p (1 portion) = 0.425 oz
    • 1p = 40.1 kcals

    Current Feeding:
    2ps in AM + 1p at NOON + 2ps in PM = 4.249 oz
    Total Calories Per Day: 201.5 kcals

    Previous Calories Per Day: 280.78 kcals
    = Decrease of 79.28 kcals
    Decreased daily calories by 28.24%

    Food: Crave Dry Cat Food, Chicken Flavor
    1 cup = 401 kcals

    Crave Guaranteed Analysis:
    Crude Protein (min.) 40.00%
    Crude Fat (min.) 18.00%
    Crude Fiber (max.) 4.0%
    Moisture (max.) 10.00%
    Taurine (min.) 0.16%
    Omega-6* (min.) 3%


    Calorie Guide (copied from CatInfo)
    • Figure your kitty’s weight in kilograms by dividing his weight in pounds by 2.2.
    • Multiply your cat’s weight in kilograms by 30 and then add 70 to that result: 6.82 kilos x 30 = 205 + 70 = 275.
    • Now multiply that result by 0.8: 275 x 0.8 = 220.

    2/17/19
    Cosmo Weight in Lbs: 21.6
    Weight in kg: 9.81
    (9.81 x 30) + 70 = 364.3
    363.3 x .8 = 290.64
    • Cosmo needs 290.64 kcals to maintain current weight
    • Currently getting 89.13 kcals less than needed to maintain current weight
     

  2. katycat1190

    katycat1190 TCS Member Kitten

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    Jan 1, 2019
    Cosmo looks so adorable! Best of luck :)
     
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  3. EmersonandEvie

    EmersonandEvie TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Jul 25, 2017
    Georgia
    Following! Best of luck to your handsome boy. :vibes::vibes::vibes::vibes::rock:
     

  4. FeebysOwner

    FeebysOwner TCS Member Top Cat

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    Jun 13, 2018
    Central FL (Born in OH)
    Hi. If this works for you, would you like to take on my Feeby?? Lol.

    She is 14+ and weighs between 17-18 pounds. We haven't actually tried to get her to lose weight, per se - but, as far as I know she hasn't gained any more for at least the past 2-3 years. So, at least we've 'stabilized' her.
     

    Attached Files:

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  5. CosmoBot

    CosmoBot Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Feb 17, 2019
    Missouri
    Eee thank you!!!
     

  6. CosmoBot

    CosmoBot Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Feb 17, 2019
    Missouri

    Thank you!!! We appreciate all the support <3
     

  7. CosmoBot

    CosmoBot Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Feb 17, 2019
    Missouri
    Aw, what a cutie patootie!! She's so pretty. His her vet worried/are you worried?

    I'll say this, you can see that we cut his calories by over 20% at once. Cosmo had ZERO reaction to it. He doesn't really cry or beg for food. In fact, he seems happier now that's being fed less. He gets a bit more vocal around his feeding times, but, like I said in the post, I use that energy and prey drive to get him to play-hunt with me. We'll see if this trend continues, but as of now, it's been a great thing for both him and us.

    Basically, you might be surprised at how easy it is to simply decrease her food and let her slowly lose weight.
     
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  8. rubysmama

    rubysmama Forum Helper Staff Member Forum Helper

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  9. CosmoBot

    CosmoBot Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Feb 17, 2019
    Missouri

    Yes!! I love Mickey's story!! I read it every. single. word. :)
     
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  10. FeebysOwner

    FeebysOwner TCS Member Top Cat

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    Central FL (Born in OH)
    Thanks! Cosmo is very handsome! And, really for his weight he doesn't look so bad. I was being kind to Feeby with posting the pic I did - given her weight and her age, she certainly has the belly-hang/wobble.

    Some time ago, my vet suggested that I might even have to count out her pieces of kibble!! But, that was a few years ago, and tbh, I think he gave up. She is so far generally in decent health. Not to mention, also a few years ago, I found out that my husband won't adhere to my food rules/portions for her. So, now when I can I sneak behind him and take food away from her!!! ;)
     
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  11. CosmoBot

    CosmoBot Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Feb 17, 2019
    Missouri
    Omg so funny that your husband won't adhere to the kitty diet! I had difficulty getting my husband to realize that Cosmo was overweight.

    If you do decide to do a diet and are feeding her dry food, I recommend getting the automatic pet feeder that we have. https://www.chewy.com/arf-pets-automatic-dog-cat-feeder-4/dp/139369

    It is expensive (our mother-in-law purchased it for us because she wanted us to be able to go to a family vacation over the weekend, and we had just moved here and didn't have anyone who could check in on our buddy yet. She's a very sweet mother-in-law :)) but it takes out all the human emotion from the equation. You don't have to count kibble pieces, just weigh-out how many ounces are in 1cup of the kibble to determine how many calories are in the portions of food the feeder uses, and then cut down the food a bit.
     
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  12. CosmoBot

    CosmoBot Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Feb 17, 2019
    Missouri
    UPDATE

    So, when we weighed him on Sunday he hadn't lost any weight. We thought it was weird since the week before he lost a whopping 9.6 oz and we were worried he was losing too fast, and were going increase his noon feeding. When we lost zero last week, we kept his feeding the same.

    We played a lot last night and I felt like he seemed skinner, so I weighed him this morning (Tuesday). His weight is down 6.4 oz from Sunday. His weight is now 21.2lbs--he's lost a whole pound! 1 lb over ~2 weeks is 4.5% of his total body weight. Maximum weight loss per month is 8%.

    So the question is: if safe weight loss for cats is 1-2% per week, is that NET per week, or do we need to divide that by day and also pay attention to how much he's losing day-by-day? Does the same go for net weight loss per month. If he ends up only losing 8% of his body weight this month, is that still safe, even though some weeks were too high?

    One thing I noticed on Mickey's thread was that when she weighed him every few days it seemed to make her a little crazy lol.

    However, with Bennie from CatInfo, she also weighed him every few days and it was important because he did end up losing too much weight. He didn't have fatty liver disease, but he ended up needing a feeding tube. A week or so before the feeding tube, this is what she posted:

    "Bennie has lost too much weight (7.5 ounces) in the past 4 days but he is acting like he feels great! He is starting to play with Penny."​

    I may have to go in and calculate what Bennie was losing per day and per week.

    I feel very concerned that he lost too much weight the first week and so much weight in two days. But, the most recent weight loss could be due to something like peeing right before I weighed him.

    Here's the plan: I'm going to weigh him daily for the next three days to get an idea of the overall trend, and then make a decision about adjusting his food or not.

    I gave him 3 pieces of kibble in some water this morning and he stopped mewing, and now he's curled up beside me. :dizzycat:
     
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  13. FeebysOwner

    FeebysOwner TCS Member Top Cat

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    Jun 13, 2018
    Central FL (Born in OH)
    Hi. Weigh him daily until you just can't do it anymore!! No - jk. Maybe start with everyday, and perhaps after your initial 3 days, go to every other day?

    They tell humans who are dieting not to do that, but with the size of a cat, any amount of weight loss is a much greater ratio for them. But, yeah, you will have to take into consideration whether or not he has peed/pooped right before. Thank god cats don't wear shoes/clothing!!
     
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  14. CosmoBot

    CosmoBot Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Feb 17, 2019
    Missouri
    Such a great point with regards to the size of a cat and the significance of any weight loss = weigh more frequently!

    Now I'm worried our scale doesn't work, lol. But it's a new scale and it's actually quite good. This is the point where I saw others in weight loss thread get--where you wish you could talk to your cat :(

    If he loses over the next three days, I'll keep with the every-day weighing. If he doesn't, I'll switch to every-other-day. Great idea.

    Now I just have to update my spreadsheet :angryfire:
     
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  15. FeebysOwner

    FeebysOwner TCS Member Top Cat

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    Jun 13, 2018
    Central FL (Born in OH)
    Well, this might be overkill for you, but...

    Using technology to track your cat’s weight

    Thanks to modern technology, it’s getting easier to keep track of your cat’s weight and even bathroom habits. The Tailio, a smart scale that goes under your cat’s litter box, automatically weighs your cat and monitors daily elimination, then wirelessly sends the data to your smart phone. It can even distinguish between multiple cats using the same litter box. Petrics, another smart scale product that will be available in the fall of 2018, goes under the cat’s bed. It automatically weighs the cats and sends the weight to your smartphone.

    I also found this calculation on a site called Vet Babble. It is similar to your above calculation from CatInfo. com, but I noticed how they talk about a 15% reduction in calories for slow, steady weight loss:

    To work out how many calories your cat needs, simply multiply his weight in kg by 30, then add 70, eg. 6kg x 30 +70 = 250, then multiply this by 0.8 = 200 calories per day. If your cat eats less than this amount, he will lose weight. If he eats more than this, he will gain weight. You can find out the caloric value of the food on the packet or on the manufacturers website. Simply reduce the amount of calories you feed your pet by 15% for slow, steady weight loss.
     
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  16. CosmoBot

    CosmoBot Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Feb 17, 2019
    Missouri

    These scales are awesome!! If we can't get a handle on safe weight loss and are still confused by the dramatic shifts in weight loss, we may check these out.

    Thanks for pointing that out about the 15% reduction in calories. Right now, he's reduced by over 20%. Can you send me that link?

    That may settle for us.

    I do think I should talk to a vet to get clarity on net weight loss.

    Because if you look at his weight loss between today and last Sunday Feb. 10th, it's within the safe range for 1 week (1.85%). It's just that he lost that in 2 days. OR DID HE?! He may have had a full colon when we weighed him Sunday Feb. 17th. :confused2: :dunno:

    Does anyone know how that works?

    The only solution I can think (other than talking to a vet, which may not even be helpful) is to look at Bennie's story again and calculate his percentage weight loss day-by-day and net when he got into trouble with not eating enough. Uh boy.
     
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  17. CosmoBot

    CosmoBot Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Feb 17, 2019
    Missouri
    Oh I see, Vet Babble! Sorry I missed that :/
     

  18. CosmoBot

    CosmoBot Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Feb 17, 2019
    Missouri
    Update (sort of)

    I've been keeping a document with our plan and all the resources I've found online about healthy weight loss. I thought I'd share it for anyone else trying to do this. It has links to Mickey's and Bennie's stories, info on safe weight loss, even other people's weight loss tracking from threads on this site--all in one place. I'm adding to it as I get more info from you amazing peeps, and will continue to update it.

    I will keep this as an open-source document after Cosmo's weight loss journey completes.

    Here is the link to the doc

    The people on this forum are just such incredible resources on this topic (and others), I think it would be cool to find a way to keep things learned in one place.
     
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  19. FeebysOwner

    FeebysOwner TCS Member Top Cat

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    Central FL (Born in OH)
    Uh...you could weigh his poop?? And, his pee?? Oh boy...:crackup:
     
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