Diet plan advice requested for a fat cat!

Sophia_

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Aug 17, 2020
Messages
26
Reaction score
45
I became a first time cat owner this Saturday with the adoption of Sophia, a Siamese DSH mix. Sophia is 9 years and 4 months old, previously declawed, and, as of her last weigh-in in May, 16.1 lbs.

In her foster home, Sophia was being fed 2 5.5 oz cans of Merrick Purrfect Bistro grain-free per day, as well as 1/4 cup of Feline Original dry food overnight. Naturally, I believe overfeeding is the cause of Sophia’s weight gain.

According to her paperwork, Sophia weighed 11 lbs in 2014, but the medical history between those six years is missing. There is no mention of any health conditions. I’ve booked a preliminary vet appointment for her, but it’s not until early September.

In the meantime, I’m trying to gradually taper Sophia’s feedings down. The goal is to phase out the 1/4 cup of dry by Saturday (one week from adoption) and I’ve shifted to feeding 1.5 cans of the 5.5 oz food per day. She isn’t happy, but lowering her caloric intake from 450+ per day to around 320-350 should start to move the scale in the right direction.

Sophia is very inactive and has no interest in play. She’ll play for 30-60 seconds maximum, always laying on her back. Her maximum jump height is about 1.5 feet. Still, I’m trying to help her burn some calories. She has a low hanging belly that’s suspended only an inch off the ground and quickly gets out of breath. She’s unable to clean her backside or scratch her head with her foot.

Any advice or critiques for this method are welcome. I’ve been reading as many articles and watching as many videos on the topic as I can, but still feel overwhelmed as a new cat mom.
 

Attachments

FeebysOwner

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Jun 13, 2018
Messages
10,911
Reaction score
14,188
Location
Central FL (Born in OH)
Hi! And, congratulations! She's pretty!

IMO, I would reduce her food intake by about 10% to start with. I think you are cutting it down too fast - not just calorically, but even more because of the 'mental shock factor' in the reduction. If you go a little slower, I am sure you can get her to more easily adapt to the gradual reductions, as it won't be so easy for her to notice. There isn't really any need to rush - if it takes you a few more months to accomplish what you want and still make her happy, all the better! I also wouldn't try to remove her dry in just a week's time - she is used to having it, so reduce it incrementally as well.

You also need to be able to weigh her weekly to see her progress/lack of. She should lose no more than 1-2% of her body weight in any given week. You can gauge how much to reduce her food again depending on the change you see on the scale. Follow suit every week or two in terms of food reduction. The closer she gets to her ideal weight, the less she will lose and the slower you will need to go with food reductions. Chart her intake and her weight.

The low hanging belly is partly what they call a primordial pouch - typical of most adult cats, regardless of whether or not they are overweight. While it will reduce in size as she loses weight, it will never go away entirely. I have also noticed with Feeby, who has been overweight for some time now, that as she loses weight, that pouch doesn't reduce in size on a comparable scale with the rest of her body.

And, just in case you would like to look through the TCS article for new cat owners, I have included a link below. Good luck!
First-time Cat Owner’s Guide – TheCatSite Articles
 

Furballsmom

Cat Fan especially Black Cats
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Jan 9, 2018
Messages
27,112
Reaction score
36,677
Location
Colorado USA
Exactly what FeebysOwner FeebysOwner is saying.

Additionally, try having her follow you around the room once or twice each day, then after a week or so add more distance/time, etc, while you hold her just filled wet food dish in your hand. Here too, go very gently and gradually.

Then, if you have stairs you could place her dish two steps up, then after a while three steps, and so on.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #4

Sophia_

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Aug 17, 2020
Messages
26
Reaction score
45
Thank you both, FeebysOwner FeebysOwner and Furballsmom Furballsmom . The reason I was going to cut her wet food back from 2 cans to 1.5 was because she doesn’t finish the entire can in one meal. I figured she was full and only sometimes returning hours later (if I left it out) to graze. She’s very eager at mealtimes and that’s about the most active I see her. She’ll follow me around at her top speed, haha!

I just purchased a feeding ball toy for the dry food and will wean her off of that more slowly than one week. Thank you both for the advice!
 

LTS3

TCS Member
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Aug 29, 2014
Messages
14,146
Reaction score
12,271
Location
USA
Why not spread the 1.5 / 2 cans over the course of a day? Most cats graze so a few small meals daily is ideal. Canned food is a cooked product so it won't go back if left out for a couple hours unless it's super hot and humid. You can use a programmable timed feeder to provide small meals throughout the day Some feeders have ice packs to keep food cool. You can also freeze canned food into portion sizes and put the frozen block into the feeder to slowly defrost.

You'll find additional weight loss tips here:

 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #7

Sophia_

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Aug 17, 2020
Messages
26
Reaction score
45
The story of Mickey is incredibly helpful. I’ve noticed that Sophia is now eating less (on her own) and becoming more active and playful. She played four separate times yesterday, two of which she actually ran a little! She also jumped to a new height of 3 feet... very loudly. :lol: I think she’s becoming more confident in the home.

For her dry food feeding, I threw the kibbles around one by one for her to hunt. She went crazy for this! Every so many, I would feed her one from my hand to bond. I think the excess weight is going to melt off of her.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #9

Sophia_

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Aug 17, 2020
Messages
26
Reaction score
45
Don't worry, Furballsmom Furballsmom I've already set up a spread sheet with acceptable percentages and goal weights.

I noticed she's picky about her wet food when it's left over. Wouldn't eat any at all today, microwaved or left out to warm up. Warm water helped a bit. I had to open a fresh can for her. That seems like it could get wasteful fast.
 

LTS3

TCS Member
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Aug 29, 2014
Messages
14,146
Reaction score
12,271
Location
USA
What if you took leftover canned food and add a fresh liquid topper to it? Something like Fancy Feast Broths or any one of those broth-y type supplement only foods. A sprinkle of crushed up treats may also help.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #13

Sophia_

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Aug 17, 2020
Messages
26
Reaction score
45
My first anxiety as a cat mom. :bawling: It was hot in the house today and Sophia only ate about 1 and 1/4 cans of wet food out of everything I offered her. But I don’t believe she’s used the litter box since I went to bed last night! I haven’t found (or smelled any accidents) and she’s acting normal otherwise. Playing, purring, just ate most of her dry (I gave her the full 1/4 cup). If she doesn’t go by the morning, I’ll have to call around some vets. :(

She did seem to pee/poop excessively the first two days and her stools were a bit soft yesterday, could it just be adjustment? It’s only been 4 full days...
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #15

Sophia_

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Aug 17, 2020
Messages
26
Reaction score
45
Forgot to update this, but thankfully Sophia used the box at 8 AM this morning after not going since around 2 PM on Monday! She also pooped again at another point today. I know everyone was waiting with bated breath lol. Next on the agenda is finding a groomer to do a sanitary trim. She is NOT happy with me going back there and she needs some serious help.

She has been eating well, with one and a half 5.5oz cans being her sweet spot. I gave her the full 1/4 of dry last night since she hadn't been eating, but she hadn't finished it by morning. This would have her eating about 340 calories a day on her own. I still can't imagine she was eating 11 oz of wet and 1/4 of dry every day! Once her scale arrives in the mail, I'll officially start charting on her spreadsheet and potentially sharing the results. :thumbsup:
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #16

Sophia_

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Aug 17, 2020
Messages
26
Reaction score
45
We went to the groomer yesterday to get Sophia shaved. I dropped her off and they called me back within the hour saying they couldn’t do it because she was growling. :censored: So I went back and held her while she complained the entire time. She also had an accident in her carrier on the way home, so much for being clean. Surprisingly, she doesn’t hate me today! Lots of purring. I think she secretly feels better to have gotten shaved.

7696EC55-6DC7-42BB-A7F0-3194DF6A54C6.jpeg


I just got her on the scale for the first time and my heart sank. 18.4 lbs... that would mean that she had gained 2.3 lbs while she was at the foster May-August! I’m hoping it was just an inaccurate reading. Ideally I would be on the scale holding her, but she doesn’t take kindly to being lifted. Her first vet appointment is September 3rd.

527895B3-4A8C-4EF1-A143-97D342755461.jpeg
8B39C323-D788-4CE4-9675-E79907EE9024.jpeg

She still isn’t finishing her portions. I would say she willingly eats about 6 Oz of wet food and 1/8 cup of dry food every day. As long as she continues to eat. She definitely has preferred flavors.
 

FeralHearts

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Jul 4, 2018
Messages
1,214
Reaction score
2,292
Location
Canada
Pretty kitty!

Congrats on being a new cat Mom!

I have one of my own that I'm dealing with being a lot to plump for her own good so I can relate to your pain. There is a lot of great advice in this thread and it seems you are taking the on incredibly well!

Totally love the tossing the kibble idea. I think that's a fantastic way to get her moving.

I have pet wipes for Mia, as like Sophia, she isn't exactly able to keep her bottom clean right now. They work really well. You could try those between her grooming maybe?
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #18

Sophia_

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Aug 17, 2020
Messages
26
Reaction score
45
An update:

I weighed Sophia this morning, a day early from her weekly check-in, I couldn’t wait... and it said 17.5 lbs! I’m going to still weigh tomorrow just to be sure. After being 17.9 lbs last Sunday, she is continuing to lose at her healthy 1-2% weekly rate.

Last week’s routine: one 5.5 oz can of Merrick’s Purrfect Bistro pate, half in morning and half at night (180-190 calories). 1/8 cup of Feline Original Chicken and Brown rice in her treat ball (approx 20-30 calories). I don’t like this food and was weaning her off.

This week’s routine: 2 3 oz cans of Merrick’s Purrfect Bistro pate, one in morning and at night (190-200 calories). Searching for a replacement low calorie grain free dry food or healthy treat to put inside her treat ball, as it helps convince her to go to the bedroom at night where we sleep.

Of course, lots of exercise as well. We go up and down the stairs a few times together, I encourage running and chasing toys, swatting things on her back for her “ab” workout, and more. I’ve noticed a huge improvement in her mobility already. She now gets a Cosequin capsule in each meal to help with her clicking joints.

The vet said her blood work came back great save for slightly elevated blood glucose but attributed that to stress. We’re still concerned about her daily coughing fit and he thinks it may be feline asthma. For now, we’re monitoring it and seeing if weight loss will help before medication.

Sorry for the blurry photo. It’s weird how thin she is from the top but how the extra fat pools around her underneath. There’s been a slight decrease in her abdominal fat, thankfully. Soooo close to me not needing Tushie Wipes. lol
 

Attachments

Talien

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Oct 10, 2018
Messages
1,839
Reaction score
4,083
Location
Michigan
Searching for a replacement low calorie grain free dry food or healthy treat to put inside her treat ball, as it helps convince her to go to the bedroom at night where we sleep.
Freeze dried treats are probably the best you'll find since most are just meat without junk. They are a bit on the expensive side though, so if it's something you would do long term it might be worth your while to get a dehydrator and make your own.

The downside is they are very light so depending on the size of the holes in your treat ball they may not work so well. They also produce a lot of powder (nothing bad, it's just from crumbling) and the treat ball would need to be more frequently cleaned, and you may need to vaccuum the area more often to keep it from attracting bugs.

 

LTS3

TCS Member
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Aug 29, 2014
Messages
14,146
Reaction score
12,271
Location
USA
Try some of the Vital Essentials freeze dried treats that are hard and round-ish: Vital Cat Treats Tuna and rabbit and salmon should work. The duck liver one is more squarish and may not work in your treat ball. Chicken giblets and hearts are probably too big.

A few pieces of dry food would work, too. Maybe about 5 in the treat ball so the calories won't add much to your cat's overall daily calorie intake.
 
Top