Diet plan advice requested for a fat cat!

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Sophia_

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This week’s update:

I started feeding Sophia two 3 oz cans of food daily (190-200 cal). She seemed extra hungry as I continued to wean her off the dry food, so one night when I gave her a little extra dry, she vomited. I took that as a sign that the grains weren’t agreeing with her stomach, so now she only gets a few pieces at night to coax her into the bedroom.

I noticed she had been hangry, so I divided her evening feeding in two, making her mealtimes 8:30 AM, 6 PM, and 10:30 PM. I’m not sure this has helped anything and actually seems to make her more food obsessed.

One night this week she gave me a painful bite on my shin. It shallowly broke the skin, so I made it bleed and cleaned with peroxide. No signs of infection about 48 hours later but boy did it leave a nasty bruise. I’m not sure what caused it; she lunged while I was walking to sit on the couch. She may have been overstimulated because I had to wipe her about an hour prior.

Unfortunately, her weight loss plateaued this week, only weighing in at 17.4 lbs. Because she lost over 2% last week, I’m not completely worried, but if she doesn’t lose more by next week, I may have to reevaluate the process.

I admit I’m discouraged by this week’s events, but it’s only one week in what is going to be a long journey.
 

LTS3

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:grouphug:

There will be ups and down and lots of :frustrated::gaah: :censored: but don't get discouraged. Weight loss is a journey, not a sprint to the goal.

200 calories for 17.4 lbs is awfully low, hence the hangry behavior. Your cat should be eating roughly 435 calories. I suggest feeding that amount for a week or so and then decrease to maybe 400 calories. Keep weighing and when some weight is lost and maintained on 400 calories (may take awhile so have patience), decrease calories a little more. Repeat.
 
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Sophia_

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200 calories for 17.4 lbs is awfully low, hence the hangry behavior. Your cat should be eating roughly 435 calories.
435?! :eek3: She went from 16.1 to 18.4 pounds in 3 months with the foster eating about that amount!

I'm frankly so confused with this calorie counting. Most calculators and vet advice I find online says that I should feed her 80% of her RER based on the ideal weight -- which, for her, is 11 lbs based on previous veterinary history.
 

LTS3

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I go by the general rule of 20 to 25 calories per pound of ideal body weight, 30 to 40 calories per current weight to be really safe with weight loss. Every cat is different so you just adjust calories to fit the cat's needs.

:grouphug:
 

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If she was eating anywhere remotely near the 435 calories you noted above, and you are now only feeding her about 200 calories, you dropped way below any reasonable reduction. The 20 - 25 calories per pound is a guide only - but it is a reasonable guide to use. So, at 17.4 pounds, on the low end of that spectrum that would be about 345 calories per day. And, even on that note, unless she has been on a diet for weeks and weeks and weeks, she should be eating more than 200 calories at this point. It would be ideal if you actually knew how many calories she was eating before you started the diet - that is the most important step of the process.

As I said before, drop her caloric intake by about 10% to start with. So, assuming she really was eating 435 before, that would be a reduction down to about 390 calories. And, if the 1-2% weight loss per week is too frustrating for you, then look at the overall loss per month instead - which should really be no more than around a pound. Weight loss should be gradual, it is not a race. So, if it takes her 6 months to lose 6 pounds, that is really in her best interest. Besides, as I believe I also said before, a slow reduction allows her to adjust to a lesser amount of food gradually, and is less likely to make her feel starved than a rapid loss of food. She is hungry because you have cut her calories down too fast.

If you were to plan to go on a diet and found you were eating 2000 calories a day, and then you immediately cut it to half (1000), you too would be starving. The other thing to consider if she isn't losing a bit of weight each week or two on such a low caloric intake is that you have essentially placed her body in starvation mode; when that happens the body compensates and starts to hold onto all the calories it can in order to preserve/save itself. A body can actually start to use muscle to help keep itself fed.
 
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white shadow

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... A body can actually start to use muscle to help keep itself fed.
Well.......first, the liver will first draw on available fat. Then, god forbid it be necessary, yes, muscle next (think of concentration camp pictures).

HOWEVER.........cats' livers simply cannot metabolize body fat very well (unlike every other mammal!) - "metabolize" means turning fat into usable energy - they are unique in this. So......what happens? The liver keeps drawing fat - because the energy it is producing isn't enough for the body's needs and the body's screaming at the liver to give it more - but the liver isn't using (metabolizing) all that fat - so the liver itself absorbs that fat and becomes fatty, and can no longer 'work'/function. So, no functioning liver>no energy for the cat>cat shows signs of progressing serious disease ("fatty liver'/hepatic lipidosis) and the cat begins to die.

But........ S Sophia_ - you are going waaaaaaaaaaaaaay to quickly, it seems.

This process with obese/heavily overweight cats should take.............ages ! ["ages" can be months !]

And, honestly, you don't seem to be hearing that.

It should be so slow that the cat does not even notice....yes, not even notice! That does occur, and can occur for you, if your process slooooooooooooows downnnnnnnnnnnnnnn!

And, about this "meal" thing............cats are natural "grazers".....by nature, by their physiology: small 'guts', small 'inner systems'....unlike lions, tigers and the like which "gorge" and then rest..........cats in nature, are most often on the move and must have small, frequent meals. WHY folks fight this natural instinctive behavior - and then gripe about their cat's rebellion ("takes a few bites and walks away"), I'll never understand ! (now, you haven't "griped" - lots of others here do it all the time!)
.
 
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Sophia_

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I will clarify what the exact process has been so far, taking everyone’s commentary into account.

Week 1 8/22: 18.4 lbs, fed 450 calories
Week 2 9/06: 18.1 lbs, fed 350 calories (-1.66%)
Week 3 9/13: 17.9 lbs, fed 250 calories (-1.12%)
Week 4 9/20: 17.4 lbs, fed 225 calories (-2.87%)
Week 5 9/27: 17.4 lbs, fed 200 calories (0%)

Based on these numbers, she has fallen neatly in the “1 pound per month” perimeters.

I agree that the amount of calories fed in the beginning was a sharp drop off, but that was primarily because she wasn’t eating all she was given in a day, even when left out with the opportunity to graze.

I can increase her food intake to three 3 oz cans per day (270-300 calories) or I can add in canned pumpkin. I don’t want to make too many changes too quickly and muddy the results of what is (was?) working for her.
 

white shadow

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"or".........pumpkin.......?

It's not appropriate to use pumpkin..........for food.

For starters, pumpkin will be adding extra (excessive) potassium to her intake - it's not a "harmless" food.

It's a fiber (as you know, I believe) and cat's (and you & I) require a (at least) a small amount in out diet - but, it's not feeding us, it is feeding the bacteria in out guts and regulating the amount of water in our stool. (those bacteria do the digesting)

So, add only a small amount....
"dietary fiber does not feed the cat herself, fiber is nonetheless essential for the health of the gut and therefore the health of the cat. There needs to be something in the diet that is not digestible and is not absorbable, that flows on to the gut bacteria waiting in the large intestine (aka the large bowel)...."​

"The beneficial gut bacteria, when properly fed, are good at normalizing the bowel environment. Some cats report that Libby's plain canned pumpkin is the preferred brand but canned pumpkin does not agree with all cats. Baked winter squash can be fed and your cat may have preferences as to type of squash, or baby food winter squash can be used. Use small amounts mixed into several of the daily meals, a small amount being 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon. Then monitor the results. Remember this is food for the gut bacteria, not the cat himself...."​

If you haven't read this, it's a Holistic Feline Vet's guide to effectively.....and, safely manage overweight cats to healthy weights: Feline Obesity - An Epidemic of Fat Cats. You won't need to beyond the "Consider Calories..." section, I think.
.
 

FeebysOwner

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Thanks for the extra information!

I merely responded because you indicated that she seems hungry in an earlier post -
I noticed she had been hangry, so I divided her evening feeding in two, making her mealtimes 8:30 AM, 6 PM, and 10:30 PM. I’m not sure this has helped anything and actually seems to make her more food obsessed.
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So I suspected that her food intake had dropped too much too quickly. And, the reduction from week to week as you've documented above is over 20% per week, which really is a bit drastic, despite the small overall weight loss.
However, now you noted that she is/was not eating everything you were giving her -
I agree that the amount of calories fed in the beginning was a sharp drop off, but that was primarily because she wasn’t eating all she was given in a day, even when left out with the opportunity to graze.
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She may not really like the food, so she reluctantly is eating some of it because she is hungry. How long are you leaving each meal out before you take it up? For the most part, cats are grazers so it is not unreasonable to think that a single meal could take hours to finish.

Are the calories you've noted above what you gave her to eat, or what she actually ate each of those weeks? Is the food she is eating now the same food as you fed her before the diet? The content of the food can make a difference in the success of weight loss, especially if it is dry food or contains a lot of carbs. But, I still think the small amount of weight loss for her caloric intake and her weight is puzzling. Is there a chance someone else is giving her food in between that you are not aware of?

If the food you are feeding her is not appealing/interesting to her, adding an additional amount may not accomplish anything. You may have to think about other healthy foods you could try and mix with her current food to see if she would eat more. You might consider possibly increasing her meals from 3 to 4 - and, essentially leave each meal out until it is time for the next meal - of course, other than meal #4 at bedtime if the food would be sitting out longer than 6 hours.

The pumpkin...well...I don't get that part either. But, white shadow white shadow has addressed that above.
 
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Sophia_

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I didn’t mean feed it to her as a replacement for food. I’ve read that the fiber in pumpkin assists in feeling full, which may be what she’s missing after removing her high-carb dry food from her diet. I would only feed 1/8-1/4 tsp, not a heaping helping. I feel, without writing a novel, some of the things I’m saying are being taken out of context or misunderstood.

That “Feline Obesity” guide is one of the guides I first consulted before I began this process.

‘Required calories per day = [13.6 X optimal lean body weight in pounds] + 70’... meaning her required calories per day would be 220. The author even admits that this is a “too generous starting point” and that patients must get to 180 or less per day, gradually, I understand. Everything I see online is saying 200, 200, 200. If the issue is that I reduced the amount of calories offered too quickly, that I understand.

I don’t mean to sound defensive. I’m just trying to follow the wildly conflicting information from every person and source possible. I obviously care about my cat and don’t want to put her health in danger. I’ve read about this for hours and am spending over $100 per month on quality food for her. I’ve spent additional money on blood draws and vet checks to ensure she’s even healthy enough to go on this weight loss journey.
 
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Sophia_

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She may not really like the food, so she reluctantly is eating some of it because she is hungry. How long are you leaving each meal out before you take it up? For the most part, cats are grazers so it is not unreasonable to think that a single meal could take hours to finish.

Are the calories you've noted above what you gave her to eat, or what she actually ate each of those weeks? Is the food she is eating now the same food as you fed her before the diet? The content of the food can make a difference in the success of weight loss, especially if it is dry food or contains a lot of carbs. But, I still think the small amount of weight loss for her caloric intake and her weight is puzzling. Is there a chance someone else is giving her food in between that you are not aware of?
She loves her food. She'll eat a 3 oz can in a single sitting in the morning and usually in two portions in the evening. She eats Merrick's Purrfect Bistro in rabbit, turkey, and chicken, rotated daily. I live alone, so no one else is feeding her.

In the beginning, the 450 calories listed were offered, but not finished. This was from feeding two 5.5 oz cans and 1/4 cup of dry food, what she had been fed prior to living with me. This diet caused her spike in weight gain over the summer.

The first drop, to 350, was after reducing the 1/4 cup of dry and switching to one 3 oz can and one 5.5 oz can, which was about the amount of wet food she was eating anyway.

The 250-225 drop was from switching to two 3 oz cans of wet food per day and a marginal amount of dry food.

The final 200 number is from two 3 oz cans and 3-5 piece of dry food as a treat at night.
 

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Sorry, we're making you feel like you have to explain things a bunch of times to us (verbal sometimes is SO much easier!!). It is not my intention to offer conflicting information that just adds to your confusion/frustration.

She may be missing the dry food to some degree, but in all reality that wasn't keeping her fuller for longer - if anything a high carb food will cause one to become hungrier sooner than a high protein food. Think of which food staves off hunger longer when you eat it - potato chips or a steak? I know the comparison is a bit extreme, but you get the picture.

I am still of the mind that the drastic cut in calories has played a role in screwing up her metabolism, hence the lack of weight loss. The hunger is because she just hasn't been given the time to adjust to each reduction. All just my personal opinion.

I would talk to the vet and ask if the drastic reductions in her food intake could be playing a role in her weight not coming off as much as it would seem it should be, given how low her calories are. You might even consider consulting with a nutrition specialist in the vet world.
 

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.Oh, my.............!

S Sophia_ - I'm sorry too that any of what I wrote did or even bordered on questioning what you're trying to accomplish or your commitment to her.

As FeebysOwner said, speech allows for so much better communication - using the keyboard to share info, more especially detailed nitty-gritty material is problematic. It drives me batty.

I'll only be satisfied when we get live, in person, face-to-face video discussion in here.

Meantime, having 'come late to the party', I'm going to go and sit a little further down the aisle ;)

You know, the occasional pic of her interspersed in the discussion could be a moment for a little breath taking - she's such a keeper!
.
 
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Sophia_

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No hard feelings at all, FeebysOwner FeebysOwner and white shadow white shadow ! I share the frustrations with trying to communicate in bits and blurbs online. I try to strike balance between what’s too much information and what leaves holes in the story — in this case, I accidentally did the former.

I came to this forum for advice, and advice can mean being told I’m wrong or making a bad choice. Please don’t hold back your opinions and experiences, even if it’s something I don’t wanna hear. ;)

I will continue to monitor Sophia and report back next week with any changes.
 

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OMG............did you pick that particular pic..........for any particular reason?

That blep's the feline equivalent if.......the finger :crackup:
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A midweek update:

Sophia weighed in at 17.3 lbs this morning for a difference of one ounce. I’ve been watching a lot of videos on (human) weight loss plateaus and learning a lot. Apparently it is extremely common to have a weight loss stall after significant loss in the beginning as the metabolism adjusts. The advice for this situation varies, from increasing exercise to upping calories to maintenance before cutting again to push the metabolism into action.

Unfortunately, Sophia bit me again today just ten minutes after feeding. She’s a licker, if you couldn’t tell from her blep photo. She was licking my foot while I ate dinner. I took my foot away and she went to bite my toes and missed. I scolded her and just moments later she lunged for my leg and got me bad behind the knee. Both bites now have been 1) around dinner time, AFTER being fed 2) seemingly unprovoked, as in she wasn’t being touched 3) while I was on a chair and she was on the floor. As a reminder, she is previously declawed and has a bite history and play agression

I’m ordering some Tiki Cat After Dark in chicken and plan to give her half a can of that at night for an extra 30 calories or so, but also to help fill her up with protein.

Her new diet, likely starting Sunday will be:

• Morning and Evening: Two 3 oz can of Merrick Purrfect Bistro in Chicken, Turkey, and Rabbit, rotated - 190-200 calories
• Bedtime Half 2.8 oz can of Tiki Cat After Dark Chicken, 30-35 calories

Enjoy the photo of her looking especially large, like a living pillow pet. Her flab tends to billow out around her in certain poses.
 

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I’m ordering some Tiki Cat After Dark in chicken and plan to give her half a can of that at night for an extra 30 calories or so, but also to help fill her up with protein.
This sounds good 👍

Do you have closed-toe shoes, and thick blue jeans you can wear?
 

Talien

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A midweek update:

Sophia weighed in at 17.3 lbs this morning for a difference of one ounce. I’ve been watching a lot of videos on (human) weight loss plateaus and learning a lot. Apparently it is extremely common to have a weight loss stall after significant loss in the beginning as the metabolism adjusts. The advice for this situation varies, from increasing exercise to upping calories to maintenance before cutting again to push the metabolism into action.

Unfortunately, Sophia bit me again today just ten minutes after feeding. She’s a licker, if you couldn’t tell from her blep photo. She was licking my foot while I ate dinner. I took my foot away and she went to bite my toes and missed. I scolded her and just moments later she lunged for my leg and got me bad behind the knee. Both bites now have been 1) around dinner time, AFTER being fed 2) seemingly unprovoked, as in she wasn’t being touched 3) while I was on a chair and she was on the floor. As a reminder, she is previously declawed and has a bite history and play agression

I’m ordering some Tiki Cat After Dark in chicken and plan to give her half a can of that at night for an extra 30 calories or so, but also to help fill her up with protein.

Her new diet, likely starting Sunday will be:

• Morning and Evening: Two 3 oz can of Merrick Purrfect Bistro in Chicken, Turkey, and Rabbit, rotated - 190-200 calories
• Bedtime Half 2.8 oz can of Tiki Cat After Dark Chicken, 30-35 calories

Enjoy the photo of her looking especially large, like a living pillow pet. Her flab tends to billow out around her in certain poses.
I have a Cat that gets hangry and will start to act aggressive toward my other Cats when it gets close to mealtime, she's even bit me a couple of times, though it wasn't hard and she stops when I yell at her or one of the other Cats hisses. I haven't found a way to stop that aside from isolating her while I get their food ready, not exactly the same as your case but maybe it would help if you fed her in a separate room where she can be isolated?

If you are trying to save money it would be cheaper to get the 5.5oz cans rather than the 2.8, it will easily last a day in the fridge after being opened.
 
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Sophia_

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Do you have closed-toe shoes, and thick blue jeans you can wear?
That’s a good idea. Both bites have been on my bare leg, so I’ll cover up.

I have a Cat that gets hangry and will start to act aggressive toward my other Cats when it gets close to mealtime, she's even bit me a couple of times, though it wasn't hard and she stops when I yell at her or one of the other Cats hisses. I haven't found a way to stop that aside from isolating her while I get their food ready, not exactly the same as your case but maybe it would help if you fed her in a separate room where she can be isolated?

If you are trying to save money it would be cheaper to get the 5.5oz cans rather than the 2.8, it will easily last a day in the fridge after being opened.
She’s extremely affectionate and talkative while I prepare the food, rubbing on me, purring, and meowing. She’ll also lick my legs or whatever she can reach. Both bites have occurred within thirty minutes after she finished eating. I’m not sure if she wants more or she’s so excited and worked up over eating. She’s extremely food motivated.

After she bit me last night and I yelled, she hid under a chair then isolated herself in her bed for about 3-4 hours before coming up to me and purring. I’m not totally convinced it was a peace offering as much as a more polite request for additional food.

Saving money is definitely something I’m interested in. She’s starting to eat better than I do!
 
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