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Discussion Starter #1
I'm finally getting serious about my cat's weight loss and I thought I'd document it here in case people find it interesting or useful. I've tried to do it over the past two years with simple calorie reduction and nothing has happened, so now I've buckled down, bought a scale, and started tracking everything day by day. There might be spreadsheets involved...how has it come to this?

The following is long. If you don't like long explanations, feel free to skip to the bold part!

The background (which I've talked about before, but here it is in one place):

Meet Ginger -


Ginger2 by mrfl, on Flickr

7 years old, 13+ pounds and no shame.

Two years ago she was a shelter cat, free-fed on the kibble that sat right under her nose in her cage for 7 months. When she got home, she could only walk a few steps before getting tired and laying down.

I immediately started her on a diet of 3 meals a day, about 1/2 a cup of kibble. She gained weight.

We introduced wet food in the form of Evo 95, 2.5 oz a day plus 1/4 cup of kibble. She maintained weight.

Slowly reduced the kibble to a 1 Tb snack at night. She lost weight until she hit her shelter weight, then maintained. She also developed behavior problems from being hungry all the time.

She wasn't losing weight on the Evo and felt fuller (fewer bad behaviors) when we fed only kibble, so I switched to all kibble. I know, I know. Please don't judge. I have seen the error of my ways. :fust

We eventually lowered the kibble amount to 1/4 cup a day (that's only 90 calories!) and she still hadn't lost a thing. When the vet started pushing a prescription diet, I knew it was time to get serious about doing this right.

She's back on canned food, though I'm still slowly phasing out the kibble. I'm looking for the highest protein I can find because I think she is super sensitive to carbs, which is why she hasn't lost weight on such a restricted diet. I will eventually supplement with raw.

So if you're still reading, first of all, thanks, and second of all, here are her stats as of today:

Weight: 13 lbs, 10 oz
Diet: 2/3 canned (Wilderness and Wellness), 1/3 kibble (for now...will soon be only used for treats to chase)
Total calories/day: 155
Goal weight: about 10 lbs

I want to see how she's doing on her current diet (fairly sure she's gaining) but after her next weigh-in, I promise the kibble will be the first thing to go!


Thanks for reading this far and cheering Ginger on! We could use the support!
 

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Go Ginger Go!

I am on the same journey with my cat Oscar. Finally got rid of the kibble and got him on an all wetfood diet. I finally found that a combination of Wellness and Weruva works - spreadsheet city! He has lost 10 ounces in 5 weeks - right on the 2 ounce per week goal! I added the Weruva because it is around 53% protein and low in fat as opposed to the wellness which is around 30% protein and 66% fat. This way I can give him an entire 3 ounce can of Weruva for his late night meal and he doesn't wake me up because he is hungry. Next step is to get some sort of food rotation going which will involve another spreadsheet!

P.S. Ginger is beautiful. Oscar is also an orange cat!
 

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EVO 95% is VERY high in fat. The EVO Cat and Kitten is 12% protein and has less fat than the 95% formulas. Weruva and Tiki chicken flavors are high protein/low fat if you can get her to eat them. My Hannah used to be quite the fatty too but is losing slowly on high protein canned and very limited amounts of the highest protein kibble I could find (Nature's Variety Chicken).
 

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good luck. weruva and tiki cat are like the atkins diet for cats. my cats love both of them but only one has any weight to spare and he's not losing.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Oscarsmom: I've been noticing your posts and the similarity to mine! Congrats on Oscar's weight loss!

Everyone: Thank you, thank you for the food suggestions! She's still begrudgingly eating the Wilderness, but she picks at each meal for 2-3 hours. I definitely want to add some new things to the rotation!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
UPDATE:

We've had two weigh-ins in the last week...

8/24: 13 lbs 10.5 oz (+.5oz)

8/28: 13 lbs 8.5 oz (-2oz)

The only major change I made between weigh-ins 1 and 2 was I cut one Tb of kibble. She's also eating Wellness Core instead of Blue Buffalo, but the amount is still the same (1/2 a can). Would 1 Tb of kibble (23 calories) have made that much of a difference?

Also, when we're talking such small amounts of weight, how do I know how much "weight loss" is due to her using or not using the litter box recently? 2 oz in 4 days is too fast (I think?), but I'm hesitant to increase her food again until I see more of a trend. How long do I have until hepatic lipidosis becomes a concern?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
She's actually fairly petite based on the size of her head, so 13 lbs is about 3 lbs too much for her. I posted a picture of her in my first entry if you want to see. She's definitely a chunky girl. Your cat may just be bigger bodied!
 

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Tina's fairly tall and long. I don't think she's as wide either. I'll have to ask my vet!

Cats should lose weight very slowly or it can cause a health issue. I can't think of what it's called for anything though.
 

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Yeah Ginger!!!

I weigh Oscar at the same time each week - Monday mornings after he has his breakfast. He's too wiggly on the scale if he wants his food! Sometimes it seems that his weight is way off (either up or down), so I weigh him again the next day's breakfast and it usually evens out. I think this accounts for litterbox output (or the lack thereof). I did the exact same thing that you did one week - he lost 5 ounces that week, so I upped his food and he gained 5 ounces that week!! Now I just do the day after weigh ins if I get a weird weight.

For Oscar, 20 calories per day made a big difference. He was at 170 calories per day which included 20 calories from his kibble. He wasn't losing any weight. When I finally cut out that last kibble and put him on 150 calories per day he started losing the 2 to 3 ounces per week (on average).

All of this is why is started calculating calories instead of ounces - I had a bunch of Fancy Feast left over from trying to get our other cat to eat something and was rotating that into Oscar's food. When I used up the Fancy Feast and went to just Wellness, he gained back a pound in a month! (I hadn't started the strict weekly weigh ins at that time.) He was getting an extra 30 calories a day and it just added up! The Wellness Core Turkey and Chicken is 218 calories/5.5 ounces and the Blue Buffalo is 181 calories per 5.5 ounces. So you added some calories by using the Wellness, but lost the high carb calories from the kibble! I think Oscar just turned his carb calories straight into fat - maybe Ginger is the same way.

I'm also concerned about the hepatic lipidosis thing, which is why I am using the 2 ounces per week average instead of the 4 ounces that my vet said would be okay. I think this gives me a little wiggle room. You might want to check with your vet to see what a safe weight loss rate would be for Ginger. Oscar weighs a lot more than Ginger, so their weight loss rates might have to be different. If you google hepatic lipidosis you will get 42 different answers about how much weight they can lose.
 

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I don't know if I mentioned this in your last post about Ginger's weight, but I have been using Dr. Pierson's obesity website for Oscar's weight loss program. It has some great info on hepatic lipidosis. Her site made me question the amount of protein in the Wellness wetfood I was originally using and led me to adding the Weruva to the Wellness so that the protein percentage was higher and the fat percentage was lower - this switch and getting rid of the last of the kibble is what finally worked for Oscar.

Here's the link: Feline Obesity: An Epidemic of Fat Cats by Lisa A. Pierson, DVM :: cat weight management, obese cat, cat weight loss
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Oscarsmom: Still on Wellness Core (ordered Weruva but hasn't come yet), but finding the same thing as you re: eliminating kibble and losing weight...

UPDATE:

8/24: 13 lbs, 10.5 oz

9/3: 13 lbs, 4.5 oz

Whoa Nelly! That's 6 oz in 10 days! Never thought after 2 years of not losing an ounce, I would now have so much trouble keeping her from losing too fast.

What's crazy about this is when she was on a 150 calorie mixed diet of dry and canned, she gained half an ounce. I now have her on 99% canned (a few pieces of kibble used in play), with the same number of calories and she's dropping like a rock! Certainly says something about canned vs. kibble...
 

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That's great progress! Kibble, no matter how high the protein is has more carbs than most wet food. The protein in wet is better quality and more digestible too.
 

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Go Ginger Go - but slow down just a titch!

I would give her just a little more wet food - find a place where she is only losing around 2 ounces per week. It sure does say a lot about kibble!

Great job - isn't it nice when you finally hit on the right combo for the weight loss?
 
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