Mickey, my 27 lbs foster and his journey back to a healthy weight

mschauer

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Mickey is my newest foster kitty. He is 7 1/2 years old and weights 27 lbs. This is the first of hopefully many posts chronicling Mickey's journey back to a healthy weight.

He is with me solely for the purpose of losing weight. He is actually in pretty good shape other than his weight. His rear end has been cared for and he is in good spirits. He doesn't seem to be in pain when he moves. He has no known health issues other than his weight.

He was an owner relinquish to the shelter where I volunteer. I don't know what reason they gave for dumping him at the shelter. I don't usually ask that about my fosters because it is usually some bs reason anyway.

Before coming to me he was in another foster home for a couple of months. He wasn't losing weight there so I volunteered to take him on. His former foster parent was feeding him a dry food, Iams Proactive Health Indoor Weight and Hairball Control. She was feeding him 1 2/3 cups a day as per the Iams instructions. She said he rarely finished it all. Thank Goodness! I calculated that the full 1 2/3 cups would have been over 500 calories! She was instructed by the shelter to put him on an all wet diet and although he has no problem with eating wet food she switched him to dry because it was "easier". Sigh.

The vet at the shelter said to feed him the amount he should eat if he were at a healthy weight. So I'm starting him at 6 oz of Fancy
Feast Classics. That is what I usually have on hand for my fosters because it is well liked and I usually get fosters when they are sick so it is important that they eat. I feed my cats a raw diet and since I'm going to have Mickey for a long time I'll be trying to get him on raw also. The FF is low carb and although the protein quality may be questionable it is, IMO, a decent food and a good one to start Mickey on.

I also add 1/2 oz of raw, minced duck heart to his FF to add a bit more protein. That with the FF should be about 230 calories a day.

Eventually I'll weight him once a week but until I know for sure that the amount I'm feeding him is OK I'll weight him about every 3 days. A safe rate of weight loss is 1-2% of current body weight per week. Weight loss at any faster rate than that risks hepatic lipidosis. I'm shooting for 1.5% per week.

I picked him up last Sunday (6-10-2012) and he weighted 26 lbs 14 oz by my scale. I weighted him tonight and he weights 26 lbs 10 oz. That's a bit faster than I would like but he squirms on the scale quite a bit so his weight might be closer to 26 lbs 11 oz. I'll wait until the next weight in before I make any changes to his diet.

Here are a couple of pictures of him:



 
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mschauer

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Here's a link to the spreadsheet where I will keep track of his progress:

Mickey's Progress

Check back from time to time to see how he is doing!
 
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speakhandsforme

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Did I read that right? He lost 14 lbs in 2 days...? I'm going to assume that was a typo and that you meant he weighed 22 lbs, not 12.... :lol3:

I'm glad you're helping him. :clap:
 
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mschauer

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Did I read that right? He lost 14 lbs in 2 days...? I'm going to assume that was a typo and that you meant he weighed 22 lbs, not 12....


I'm glad you're helping him.
LOL!

Thanks for pointing that out! I've corrected it. But it should have been 26 lbs.
 
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ldg

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WOW that is a lot of kitty! Poor boy!!! He's in capable hands now. :) Thanks for sharing his journey with us, I'm sure it will help a lot of people with their kitties. :rub:
 

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This is great that you posted about Mickey's weight loss because I am certain this will help others with the "hefties" WOW definitely was a BIG BOY!!! Great job! :clap::clap::clap::clap:
 
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mschauer

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This is great that you posted about Mickey's weight loss because I am certain this will help others with the "hefties" WOW definitely was a BIG BOY!!! Great job!
Was??? He's only lost 4 oz. I have higher expectations than that for him! 
 

Willowy

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Is it really safe to cut him back to 6 1/2 ounces a day all at once? I suppose with a vet's observation, like putting an obese person on an extremely low calorie diet under a doctor's observation. . .but still. Does he act like you're starving him? :lol3:

He is indeed a fat fat boy! I look forward to seeing his progress.
 
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mschauer

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Is it really safe to cut him back to 6 1/2 ounces a day all at once? I suppose with a vet's observation, like putting an obese person on an extremely low calorie diet under a doctor's observation. . .but still. Does he act like you're starving him?


He is indeed a fat fat boy! I look forward to seeing his progress.
He's currently getting 7 oz a day, 6 oz of FF plus approx 1 oz of duck heart. Feeding them whatever should be the amount they would eat if they were at a healthy weight seems to be the recommended way to start. Dr. Pierson says the same thing on her obesity page. As long as they lose within in the 1-2% of BW per week whatever amount they are getting should be OK.

He doesn't act like he is starving. When I put fresh food down he starts chomping on it right away but he always walks away leaving about half for later. He always finishes it all before next meal time.

It wouldn't surprise me if I end up increasing the amount a bit though. I really don't want him to lose too fast. I want him to lose at a safe *and* comfortable rate. I've been testing him with raw and so far he seems to really like it, more than the FF in fact. So far I've given him a bit of rabbit and quail and he ate both. If I decide to increase his food I'll probably do it by mixing more raw into the FF.
 
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mschauer

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Update - week 1

I weighted Mickey today and he is at 26:8 (lbs:eek:z). That is exactly where I wanted him to be at this point (see post #2 for a link to the spreadsheet). He has lost 6 oz over the week which is 1.5% of his body weight and well within the 1-2% range considered to be safe.

BUT, I don't really know how much food he has been getting because I have been giving him some raw to see how well his would accept it. Over the week I have given him rabbit, quail and lamb. The good news is he liked it all. The bad news is that I gave him enough of it that it probably had an affect on his weight loss. I would guess that rather than the 7 oz a day I intended to give him he probably got the equivalent of 7.5 oz a day. But I don't know for sure.

So, I'm going to keep him at 7 oz a day but I'm going to stick strictly to that amount. I'll also keep on with the weight ins during the week to make sure he doesn't start losing too fast. I suspect he might since he lost the 6 oz with the 7 oz a day plus the extra raw. I'm out of duck hearts so I'm going to start adding 1/2 oz of lamb to the FF at each meal instead. I'm glad he likes lamb because I have plenty of it and only one of mine likes it. I might even start replacing some of the FF with raw. Maybe make each meal 2 1/2 oz of FF and 1 oz raw.

I've been trying to encourage him to leave his room and explore the rest of the house. That would give him a bit more exercise and I eventually want him to have free access to the whole house. The first 2 times he has walked out of his room on his own he has encountered one of my cats. Mine hissed and he hissed then they both turned around and ran/waddled away, Mickey back to his room and mine in the opposite direction. Now he doesn't want to leave his room. Maybe he feels too vulnerable in his current state??? I'll have to work on that. He is going to be with me for several  months. I don't want him isolated for that long.
 

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:clap: :clap: :clap: My guess is if you'll be mixing in lamb, he'll do fine on the 7 oz. It's fattier, so more caloric than rabbit or turkey. :nod: For a while Carolina didn't change the amount of food she was feeding Bugsy, just fed him white light meats, and he lost weight from that change alone. It's what I'm trying with Bill now (though I don't want him on ONLY chicken breast, turkey breast, hearts and gizzards ).

As to introductions... maybe do the scent-association with good things (swapped scents under food dishes) for a little while with your most-likely-to-be-friendly-fastest cat, then bring that kitty into Mickey's room for a 5 - 10 minute play session (no focus on introductions).... something like that, see how it goes? Maybe if he gets used to the other cats in his safe room, he'll feel less scared about venturing out?
 
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mschauer

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I don't ever let my cats into the foster room. I want the foster to know that when they are in that room they never have to deal with strange animals other than the 2 legged variety. I want it to truly be their "safe" room.

This afternoon I confined my cats to other rooms and enticed Mickey out of his room. He walked down the hall until he got to where it opens up to the rest of the house. He took look around the corner, turned and ran back to his room! I think he is just a real scary cat. Maybe to exercise him I can put him out in some part of the house and let him run back to his room! 

No, really, I like my fosters to decide for themselves when they want to explore the rest of the house and to meet my cats. I do what I can to encourage it but I don't ever force it.
 
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ldg

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:nod: I totally understand. When we introduced Chumley to the rest of the crew, we brought him over from his trailer to our RV, not the other way around. :nod:
 

furryfriends50

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Thanks for making this thread, it will be interesting to watch :)

I was approached today by the shelter asking if I would foster a 28 pound cat

 
 
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mschauer

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Thanks for making this thread, it will be interesting to watch :)

I was approached today by the shelter asking if I would foster a 28 pound cat

 
I hesitated at first. I knew it would be a long term project. I estimate Mickey will be with me for at least 8 months, probably longer. 
 

Draco

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He reminds me of those Pillow Pets.. I just want to lay against him!

I am glad you accepted the task to foster him. He'll be much happier in a few months time!
 
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