Kitten on gaining weight quickly

peanutbutter7

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Hello everyone,

I posted about my sweet Luna here not too long ago about a weight concern, and unfortunately, it has not resolved itself. So, I'm back to get some more opinions and wisdom!

Luna is a little over 7 months old and currently weighs 9.8 lbs. She is definitely not abiding by the "weight should be about as much as the months old they are" rule for kittens. I think the number concerns me less, although it is high, but she is scoring high on the obesity scale based on appearance. I would peg her at about a 7 on the scale. Her head looks too small for her body, she has no abdominal tuck, ribs not visible, abdominal distention, pretty much all signs of being overweight or obesity. We really want to address this while she's a kitten and get her at a healthy place, so we did a lot of research into the amount of calories she should be getting (a kitten at 7 lbs should be getting around 320-340 calories a day based on averaging from multiple sources) and had started her on a diet based on that calorie count mid-September. She continued to gain weight so we are now giving her a diet that's around 310-315 calories a day depending on if she gets a treat or the flavor of food she gets. She currently gets 1.75 cans (111 calories per can) of wet food a day, and 1/4 cup of dry kitten food (114ish calories), and this is split up between 3 meals. But she continues to gain weight going from 9 lbs mid-September to 9.8 today. She gets plenty of exercise and spends the time she's not napping sprinting around.

We are kind of at a loss as too how she's still gaining weight. We were hoping that she'd at least stabilize and stay 9 lbs until she was around 8 months old but the weight gain seems rapid and unyielding. She went to the vet in August who gave her a clean bill of health, but we haven't been back to specifically look at her weight (on a separate note I believe we may need to change vets because our current vet suggests that all cats should be free fed dry food which by my understanding often leads cats to obesity). Any advice or words of wisdom are very helpful!

Thank you!
 

lisahe

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(on a separate note I believe we may need to change vets because our current vet suggests that all cats should be free fed dry food which by my understanding often leads cats to obesity)
What a sweet picture of Luna! Do you have one that shows more of her, give a sense of her proportions? It sounds like you've already compared her to some of the typical charts that show cats on a scale of thin to obese but sometimes fluff and other factors can make a cat look heavier than it is. We have a fluffy cat who loves to eat and tends to look too big... but the vets says she's at her ideal weight.

Your vet's thoughts on free feeding dry food would make me want to change vets, too. Our vet (a cats-only vet) recommends feeding low-carb wet foods. That's worked well for our cats. (We do use small amounts of dry Dr. Elsey's chicken food, which is very low-carb, with no fillers, for snacks, treats, and toppers.)

Anyway! I'm glad you're paying attention to Luna's proportions as well as her calories. I tend toward watching the cats' shapes, activity, and appetites rather than counting calories. But others do the opposite. Our cats are now about 8.5 years old... and lazier more sedate. I think I can finally cut a meal out of their daily menu. They don't need the meal in terms of calories and even the hungrier cat doesn't always finish everything... but the hard part is always changing a cat's routine. I'm going to start doing it, gradually. In Luna's case, I might try slowly scaling back her dry food. That's what we did with our cats shortly after we adopted them at 10 months old, eventually getting them to no dry food at all. (We only brought in the Dr. Elsey's food last year.)

Good luck!
 

mrsgreenjeens

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When Luna went to the Vet in August, did they run blood work? It's possible she has a thyroid issue. It would be improbable with a young kitten, but not completely unheard of. How many calories was she eating before you started her on the first cut back?
 
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peanutbutter7

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What a sweet picture of Luna! Do you have one that shows more of her, give a sense of her proportions? It sounds like you've already compared her to some of the typical charts that show cats on a scale of thin to obese but sometimes fluff and other factors can make a cat look heavier than it is. We have a fluffy cat who loves to eat and tends to look too big... but the vets says she's at her ideal weight.

Your vet's thoughts on free feeding dry food would make me want to change vets, too. Our vet (a cats-only vet) recommends feeding low-carb wet foods. That's worked well for our cats. (We do use small amounts of dry Dr. Elsey's chicken food, which is very low-carb, with no fillers, for snacks, treats, and toppers.)

Anyway! I'm glad you're paying attention to Luna's proportions as well as her calories. I tend toward watching the cats' shapes, activity, and appetites rather than counting calories. But others do the opposite. Our cats are now about 8.5 years old... and lazier more sedate. I think I can finally cut a meal out of their daily menu. They don't need the meal in terms of calories and even the hungrier cat doesn't always finish everything... but the hard part is always changing a cat's routine. I'm going to start doing it, gradually. In Luna's case, I might try slowly scaling back her dry food. That's what we did with our cats shortly after we adopted them at 10 months old, eventually getting them to no dry food at all. (We only brought in the Dr. Elsey's food last year.)

Good luck!
Thanks for your response! Here are some more photos of her that show her belly from the side and above, and then one where she's sleeping and looks adorable, but rotund.

I think we may need to cut out dry food. We were eventually hoping to feed her primarily with dry food because it's so much more convenient and cost effective, but her health is much more important!
 

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peanutbutter7

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When Luna went to the Vet in August, did they run blood work? It's possible she has a thyroid issue. It would be improbable with a young kitten, but not completely unheard of. How many calories was she eating before you started her on the first cut back?
She had some blood work done in June when we first adopted her, but I don't think it was to check thyroid issues. I can't quite remember what it was for. Are there any other typical indicators of thyroid issues? We can watch out for them!

At one point she was probably eating around 400 calories, possibly even to 420. We used to be much looser with what we fed her before we started really seeing the weight gain. Then around beginning of September we reduced to around 350, I believe, and now we're at 315.
 

lisahe

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Thanks for your response! Here are some more photos of her that show her belly from the side and above, and then one where she's sleeping and looks adorable, but rotund.

I think we may need to cut out dry food. We were eventually hoping to feed her primarily with dry food because it's so much more convenient and cost effective, but her health is much more important!
These are very good photos! Luna looks great in the "from above" photo, just right. It's funny but she's like Edwina in the side photos: it's really hard to tell if she's fluffy or plump! Also, Luna's white fur line almost makes her belly size look like an optical illusion. (! I'm not quite sure how to put that! It's as if it distorts the true impression of her size.)

Yes, dry food is really convenient for us humans but yes, health is more important. It really isn't always easy to feed cats!
 

mrsgreenjeens

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So you've cut her back close to 100 calories per day and she's still gaining weight? Granted, she IS a growing kitten, but normally kittens gain because they are eating more, not less food, as far as I know. Is she still active like most kittens are, wreaking havoc all over the place, or has she settled down. At 7months it's hard to know. One of my boys was raising cane for the first few years, yet the other never did much but lay around and eat and watch his brother goofing around, so he was actually four pounds overweight at his one year check-up :eek2:. I was flabbergasted because I had always been told you can feed kittens as much as they will eat. And, yes, I could see him ballooning out, but figured he'd grow into it or something. What an idiot I was:doh:.

Well, anyway, In Luna's case, I would probably call the Vet and simply ask the question if this could be normal IF she hasn't slowed down in her activity. If she has, then you might ask them if that's normal too, for her age.
 

lisahe

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One thing about cat and kitten activity is that we've found that it varies a lot by season! Right now, with the weather getting colder, the cats are napping more and spending less time on the veranda, where they pretend to hunt. (We're just starting Day Three of reduced meal service and I'm crossing my fingers hard that it will continue to work on a weekday, where the daily routine isn't quite like the weekend...)
 
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