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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-15-2013, 03:08 PM Thread Starter
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Dieting on raw

My 3 cats made the switch to raw one week ago. Two of them need to lose about two pounds each, but one is very obese. Last Friday I weighed him at 21.8 pounds. He is very small in frame and should weigh 10-12 pounds, so this is going to be a long journey for us.

He's the one I'm going to talk about most.

First of all, I have a weight watchers scale that weighs in .1 pound increments. I weigh myself, pick up the cat and weigh myself holding him, then subtract my weight out.

We're currently on Nature's Variety raw patties until I get the ingredients to make food (next month). I wanted to buy a small package to first see if I could get them to switch from kibble to raw. One appears to have no preference, he'll eat whatever he's served, one GREATLY prefers raw, and Rocky (the fat one) clearly prefers kibble but will eat the raw since that's all he's offered, so we're switching.

The chicken variety is supposed to have 65 calories per ounce. I converted that to grams for more accurate measurement.

Since he weighed 21.8 pounds, and I didn't want him to lose too much too fast, I calculated how many calories (I THOUGHT!!) would be needed to sustain 20 pounds. 274 calories per day. So I gave him the appropriate # of grams of food to get that many calories, divided over 4 meals per day. (30 grams, 4x per day)

He would never finish his meal, so in my worry, I kept putting his unfinished portions in front of him till he'd eaten it all. About 3 days in, I weighed him again, and he'd gained about .3 pounds. WHOA!

So I scaled back and gave him the same amount as the other male cat is getting, which is approx 208 calories, or 22-23 grams, 4x per day. He still wouldn't finish his meals, so I started measuring how much he DID eat per meal, and got around 13 grams that he was eating.

I tried one meal of giving him only 13 grams, but he only ate half of THAT. So now, I'm thinking, maybe he's just paranoid about running out of food, so he won't eat past a certain point?? So I went back to offering 22-23 grams per meal and letting him eat what he chose.

I weighed him on day 5 of the diet and got 21.7 pounds (yeeps!) then on day 6 and got 22.7 pounds. There's nothing wrong with my subtraction skills, and I can't believe he gained a pound in a day, when he was only offered 208 calories and didn't even finish that much.

Did I buy a crappy scale? EVERY time, I weighed myself immediately before picking up the cat, I'm not using a days-old weight for myself.

I'm not supposed to let him lose more than 1-2% of his body weight in a week, which is approx .2 to .4 pounds a week, if his first weigh-in was to be believed. Another place said not to let an obese cat lose more than .5 pound A MONTH.

I've been weighing the other cats and not getting such large fluctuations. I think I got a .1 or .2 pound differerence in each of them on day 5. Am I weighing him right before or right after he needs to use the litterbox? All the weighings were at the same time of day, about 5 hours after his last meal, and right before his 3rd meal of the day (about 5 pm).

Help!
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-15-2013, 05:08 PM
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It's possible that you're weighing him before he's gone to the box. Maybe a better way (if you've got tons of spare time, lol) would be to weigh him three times, then average it...or weigh him BEFORE he eats that day.

You shouldn't be leaving the raw out overnight, right? So if you weighed him right before breakfast you'd theoretically get empty-tummy kitty. That might be the easiest solution.

I haven't dealt with extreme weight loss, so I can't speak to that particularly. With my own cats I monitor them more by body condition than anything else, so if they're looking lean I'll feed them a bit extra, and if they're a bit chunky looking the next week they get a bit less. Ditto if the food looks fattier than previously.

I know with cats you need to be very careful about weight loss...I'd be tempted to speak with a vet who's familiar with a raw diet and weight loss.

The last thing that comes to mind is to average his weight over a week. So, rather than saying 'he gained a lb this week' maybe he'll have overall lost weight by the end of the week??
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-15-2013, 05:29 PM Thread Starter
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No, I'm never leaving food out. They get fed when I wake at 6 am, each in a separate room with the door closed, and usually have about a half hour to finish their meal. Rocky is the only one who never finishes. Mario always finishes, and Candy usually finishes, but might have a couple bites left every now & again.

They get fed again when I go home for lunch, between 11:45 and 12:15, when I get home from work at 5, and before bed, around 10 or 11 pm.

Even though Rocky's food is never finished, he is clearly done with eating it. He'll walk away from the food and sit somewhere else when he's done, and if I try sitting the bowl in front of him, he won't show it any interest. He does dig in when I first serve it, though. Is it possible he's leaving some for fear of running out? He's always been free fed, before.

I'll do his Friday weigh in (I'm keeping track of each Friday on a chart, the rest of the days, I was just trying to get a handle on where things were going, since we're new at this) tonight after work, but maybe "invite" him to use the litterbox first and see if he'll go.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-15-2013, 05:46 PM
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He's likely still adjusting to the idea of a schedule.

TBH I wouldn't worry too much about it, when he's done just take the food away. He may decide to eat more once he catches on that it won't be left out...and he might just not want to eat the whole portion each feeding. *shrugs* I'd say let him eat what he wants, and don't stress about it too much, they'll pick up on that she stress does bad things - to you as well as to kitties!
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-15-2013, 05:46 PM
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All cats have different metabolisms, so you just need to keep weighing and scaling back food as appropriate. I would base it on weekly weights, since it can fluctuate day to day. I don't remember what the ideal percentage to lose per week is, but I know it's discussed on catinfo.org


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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-15-2013, 06:18 PM
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I switched to raw using Dr. Pierson's recipe on catinfo.org. I would recommend buying the individual ingredients from a health food store or vitamin shop. The initial cost will be high, but the ingredients will last for a very long time - meaning all you will need to buy is chicken or turkey or beef and eggs to add to the mix. I think it is a very economical way to feed and my cats love it - at least most of them.

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-15-2013, 06:41 PM Thread Starter
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I will be using Dr. Pierson's recipe when I switch to making my own next month. I just wanted to be sure I could get them to eat raw before I shelled out for all the ingredients.

As for my scale - I just don't know. I bought it last week. It's on a hard linoleum floor, level surface.

Tonight I weighed myself right before picking up kitty #1. 116.6 lbs. Weighed each kitty, writing down what I got. Weighed myself again. 118.2. Immediately tried again, same thing. So, sat down, did the math using 118.2. Got up, weighed again, 117.1. That can't be right, can it? No food/drink, no bathroom usage, no change or removal of any clothing, and all within 5 minutes.

Kind of annoying since it's a nice, brand-name scale.

I got 5%, 4%, 4% weight loss from last week ...but I have no idea if they are ACTUALLY losing too much, or if my weights are wrong :/
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-15-2013, 06:50 PM
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Weight scales can be a pain in the patootie!
That's why baby scales are recommended so often!

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An everyday family name; A particular name;
And the name but the Cat Himself Knows, and will never confess." T.S. Eliot

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-15-2013, 06:57 PM
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It sounds like your weights are wrong, given how inconsistent your scale readings are with your own weight. I use a digital baby scale to weigh my own cats. It, too, weighs to .1 lb, but its top weight is only 43 lbs, so it remains accurate if I weigh the same cat several times in a row. You'd be better off buying a digital baby scale to weigh your cats.

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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-15-2013, 06:58 PM Thread Starter
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I may see if Target will take it back, and buy a baby scale on Amazon. Frustrating!
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