Adopting a cat from shelter, having reservations. - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-10-2010, 01:58 AM Thread Starter
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Adopting a cat from shelter, having reservations.

Last week I had to put my sweet Sadie to sleep for medical reasons. I'm planning to adopt another cat from the local Humane Society, and have been visiting for the last 2 days, "auditioning" kitties.

I've found one that I've absolutely fallen in love with, but I'm afraid my home may not be the best for her.

She's 8 years old, according to the shelter, although from an appearance standpoint and temperment perspective, she seems MUCH younger. I question how accurate the listed age is. She's a loving lap cat, and has resided in one of the shelter's "community rooms" (5-10 of the more socialized cats living in a large room together rather than in cages) since July of 2009. She's been there longer than any of the other cats.

My guess is that prospective adopters are scared by her morbid obesity. She is grossly overweight. She's a lump with a tiny head. She can walk and jump up onto the couch she resides on, but she obviously does not engage in any regular exercise.

If she is indeed 8 years old, I fear back and pelvic problems aren't far away.

I'm not in a very good position to do dedicated mealtimes or to put her on a special food; I live alone and am away for 1-2 days frequently, so I free feed dry for my 3 other cats (Natural Balance Pea & Duck).

So would my adopting her really be helping her? I believe that the NB would be better for her than what she's currently getting at the shelter, but probably not the wet-only diet she truly needs to lose her weight.

On the other hand, with "kitten season" just around the corner, and the likelihood that the shelter will be absolutely inundated with cats and kittens, as they are every spring, I worry about the future of a cat who is perceived as "unadoptable". She deserves a better fate than a needle just because they need her spot in the room.

Maybe I'm overreacting, but I worry for her, but at the same time don't want to give her a "bad home" for her particular situation...
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-10-2010, 02:35 AM
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Re: Adopting a cat from shelter, having reservations.

Welll .... has she been tested for medical health problems? If she is free of thyroid problems, I bet the switch to a healthier food will be good for her and she would probably lose weight.

Our Squirrely-Jo was a 'hefty' girl at 18 pounds. I fed free-choice Iams, which I thought was a fantastic food until I learned better. I switched to Innova dry, free-choice and Innova EVO mixed with Friskies for one large canned meal. S-Jo lost 1/3rd of her body weight over a year or so, losing 6 pounds to become a much healthier and more active 12 pounds. I credit her weight loss with the removal of the "kitty crack" dry food I had been feeding her, which she *did* park-and-eat in marathon sessions, and replacing it with the healthier Innova. Of course, a kid is going to eat more M&Ms than carrot sticks, but when carrot sticks are all that are available ... good health follows, and that is how S-Jo lost her weight. She self-regulated herself at the free-feeding; it was no longer a food that didn't 'fill' her, nor a tasty one she enjoyed gorging on and she developed better and more normal eating habits while losing her weight and becoming more active and playing.

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-10-2010, 06:59 AM
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Re: Adopting a cat from shelter, having reservations.

I was finally able to wean my kids off of Purina Pro Plan, which I was free feeding, to Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul and 1 wet meal a day. They used to eat the bad food all the time, and were all getting very fat. Since the switch about 3 weeks ago they have begun to eat much less (I have still left the dry food out all the time), and all have visibly lost weight.

I think if you can bring this girl home, change her food, get her medically tested, and out of a stressful situation she will thrive.

I am so sorry that you lost your Sadie.

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-10-2010, 10:34 AM
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Re: Adopting a cat from shelter, having reservations.

I would think your home would be her best chance....most people wouldn't even know how to get her to lose the weight. Give her wet only when ever you can and do what you have to when you're away. And get her to exercise. Weight loss may be slower, but at least it will be happening...

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-10-2010, 11:44 AM
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Re: Adopting a cat from shelter, having reservations.

Sorting the diet out is always easier and quicker than exercising the weight away, in humans and Im sure in most mammals. In humans, an hours hard exercise only burns half a Big mac and company, so 2 hours hard work to get rid of that meal...
My gals weight adjusts in days, just like with humans. She was actually getting a little fat this week, cut down on her snacks and within 2-3 days she was slim again.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-10-2010, 12:16 PM
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Re: Adopting a cat from shelter, having reservations.

I look at one thing with all my rescued cats quality of life over quantity yes I'd like them to live for ever but if I give them the best year of life out of a cage I suceeded! For instance, Ginger came into my life almost a year ago very pregnant. I gave her a safe place to have her babies found them homes and when I couldn't place her opted to keep her as an outside cat. Many look down on this but the other option was to go to the kill shelter and die. She is cage aggressive and will bite when contained. I know now I made the right choice becuase even if she dies a "tragic" death tomorrow she will have known a year of love. She sees the vet, she is fed the same food my inside cats are and spent the cold ohio winter in our garage. I am blessed by her life.

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-10-2010, 03:36 PM
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Re: Adopting a cat from shelter, having reservations.

Agreed about the food. Unfortunately most shelters don't have the time or money to devote to feeding their animals good quality wet food, so the poor cat has probably been free-feeding carb-laden food. Combined with a low energy level, this would make any cat overweight.

I highly doubt it's a hypothyroidism because that's almost unheard of in cats... They are much more prone to hyperthyroidism.

As for her age... You are right to doubt it. An adult cat is an adult cat and it's really hard to tell quite how "adult" it is! My cat was rescued as an adult as well, and every vet I've asked has looked at him and said "Uh... Well. Probably 5-10?". He is listed as 7 years old at the vet's office because it's the happy medium.

If she's been there for a long time, like a year, then it's highly possible she came in, they said "5-10.. let's just put 7 as a compromise" and now one year later she is technically '8' ... but not really.

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-10-2010, 06:14 PM
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Re: Adopting a cat from shelter, having reservations.

Vet look at a cats teeth to try to estimate the age. Its like the guys guessing your age at a county fair! Then if a cat has bad genetics it can affects their teeth so trying to get a near estimate on age is not possible. I agree if you get this cat on good quality food in measured amounts he will start to loose. Plus a overweight cat in a home is always a better life than being warehoused in a shelter.
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