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Discussion Starter #1
Okay, I know that Jack's weight problem can contribute to a myriad of health problems, but I just don't know where to begin. To begin with, he's not a 'grazer', but rather he inhales all his food at one sitting. He's been restricted to 3/4 cup twice daily for years now, and he's been topping the scales at about 23 lbs.

We've tried all the low-calorie foods...A/D, R/D, low-fat senior foods, and now we're trying Nutro Natural Choice Senior.

http://www.catforum.com/photos/showphoto.php?photo=2096

Any ideas for my big fella?

Lisa :)
 

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I'd suggest on moving to a higher brand of food such as: Wellness, Felidae, Chicken Soup, Innova. I think Nutro Natural is a good brand too.

Do you feed dry food? I'd suggest moving to an all wet food diet. Also make sure kitty gets a good enough excersise along with it's diet. I believe 2 1/2oz twice a day would be suffice for a normal cats weight. One of our members has a huge success with cat dieting. Lets hope she stops in for a visit ;)
 

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Dr. Jean said an all canned diet is not only better for the cat, but is like putting him on Atkins! Of course you have to watch how large the portions are.

Aonir is right. It has been a long process, which is the only safe way to do it, but one of our members has had excellent results with her cats.!
 

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I think I'm the forum member that Aonir and Jeanie mentioned. My cats have had HUGE success over the last year. In May of last year, 2 of my cats were considered obese and the 3rd was overweight. One year later, Lucas went from 14 lbs to 10 lbs, Levi went from 16 lbs to 11.5 lbs and Cleo went from 14 lbs to 9 lbs. So each cat has lost at least 4 lbs in the last year. Although my kitties weren't as overweight as Jack is, I really believe there is hope for him yet as long as you are consistent and very determined. From Jack's picture I would say he should go down to at least 14 lbs. This is just a guess though because one of my cats was still obese at 14 lbs.

This is what I have done and recommend to anyone that would like to see their kitty lose weight. I think the first thing to do is throw out any assumptions you already have about cat diets. Traditional rationing of dry food just does not work. My cats are on only wet food right now. In order to see Jack lose weight, he should be eating at least half of his daily intake as wet food, preferably only wet food. The reason this works is because wet food has WAY less calories than dry, meaning you can feed him enough to feel full but he eats less calories overall = weight loss. Do not worry that his poop will become more stinky or that wet food causes dental problems as these are just myths. Wet food does not cause significantly more tartar than dry food.

It is really important to switch over to the new food slowly and the diet should be supervised by a veterinarian. I weigh my cats every 3-4 weeks to make sure they are not losing too much weight. Rapid weight loss can cause other problems such as fatty liver disease so you want to do it slow. I think the best loss is 1/2 lb a month but in your case you may want to aim for 1 lb a month in the beginning due to Jack's severe obesity. I would not recommend more than 1 lb a month.

You also want to be feeding a high quality food. Here is some information on how to select a good food.
http://www.littlebigcat.com/index.php?action=library&act=show&item=004

I am currently feeding Innova, and have also fed these guys Eaglepack and Wellness. You will need to feed Jack in meals because free-feeding contributes greatly to obesity. By feeding meals, Jack will no longer just eat because he is bored, but rather eat because he is hungry. Cleo used to just sit in front of the food dish all day :roll: . My cats get 3 meals a day, 9 am, 4 pm, 11 pm.

You don't have to feed a light food as long as you switch to the wet. They are not as filling as regular foods and so you would just have to feed him more of the food in order to keep him full. Just a word of warning though, in the beginning Jack will do *anything* to convince you that he is starving. My cats would play this trick on me all the time even though I *knew* they didn't need the amount of food that they were asking for. I mean, they were all obese :wink: . So don't give in to his crying and he will get used to the new shedule in time.

I hope this was helpful for you. Sorry it is so long, but it's a lot of stuff to think about. If you like, here are some before and after pics of my kitties. They are *so* much happier now. Always playing, running around and overal more enjoyable to have in the house.
http://www.catforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=5811
 

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Discussion Starter #6
WOW..thanks for all the tips. I've heard that the wet food diet is something that obese cats can benefit from. So, I can choose a high quality wet food, and it doesn't have to necessarily be 'light'? I'd prefer to keep using the Nutro brand, as it really seems to have a great effect on his coat and it does seem to fill him up nicely.

I will also look into the other brands. Are they readily available at local pet supplies stores, such as Pet Supplies Plus or PetSmart? Also, if anyone can post some links where I can get it online, that would be great.

As for free-feeding, we haven't done that with Jack in years. He practically inhales his food, so there's no way. We set down 3/4 cup twice daily...usually around 9am and again around 5pm. He will eat most, if not all, this food in one sitting, but may come back and finish. There's no grazing with this big boy.

He's a pretty guy, and I just want him to be healthy.

Lisa :)
 

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No you don't have to switch to a 'light' food. I'm sure you'll see results if you increase the wet part of his diet. I basically started at 1/2 wet food until their weight-loss peaked. Then I gradually increased the wet and decreased the dry until they had lost the proper amount. Now they are completely on wet and each gets about 5 oz a day. At first, you would want to feed Jack more than just a 5.5oz can per day so that his weight-loss is not too fast.

Most of the brands aren't available at the regular pet stores but there should be some stores in your area that have it available. Here are some store locators.
http://www.naturalbalanceinc.com/home/locator.asp
http://www.canidae.com/ (Felidae)
http://www.omhpet.com/locator/locator_form.asp (Wellness)
http://www.breeders-choice.com/product_locator.php3 (Pinnacle)
http://www.chickensoupforthepetloverssoul.com/dealerlocator1.asp?state=LA

I'm very glad that you just want him to be healthy! It will take determination on your part but you are already on your way because you feed him in meals. That was one of the hardest things for me to do was to switch my kitties to meals only.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Okay, I've bought a few cans of the Felidae wet food, and Jack LOVES it. I've been giving him about 4 oz. at one feeding, mixed with just a few kibbles of his dry food for texture. He seems to be liking it so far. We give him the dry for the other two meals of the day.

Last year when we took him in, the vet recommended that he get no more than a 1/4 cup of dry food twice daily. My original post was incorrect..it's 1/4 cup twice per day, rather than 3/4 cup. Should I just substitute one meal with wet for now, and then the other meal dry?

Just want to make sure that Jack doesn't lose weight too quickly. He's got a vet appt. coming up in a couple of weeks, so I'll talk to the vet, too.

Thanks for any other tips!

Lisa :)
 

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I'm just a bit confused about how much dry you are currently feeding him, vs how much dry you were feeding him then :? . I think starting with the one meal substituted with wet is good. I am *so* glad he likes the food. Yay! Your best bet to make sure he isn't losing weight too fast is to go in for regular weight checks (every 3-4 weeks). These checks are free, you just put Jack on the scale and your done! Definately talk to your vet and hopefully by that time he will have lost some weight. If he hasn't lost 1/2 lb before you see the vet, that means you will need to up the wet food and decrease the dry.

Just one more question. How long do you leave his wet food meal out? Since you mix a few dry kibbles in, you don't want to leave the food out for more than 1/2 hr. The bacteria on the dry kibbles will multiply very quickly in a moist environment (wet food) and can cause diarrhea.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I've been giving him one wet meal, and then his evening meal is dry only. I only mix in a few kibbles of the dry..should I just make it entirely wet? Also, can I store the leftover wet food in the fridge, or should I just pitch it?

I'm currently giving him 1/2 an 8 oz. can of Felidae in the AM and then 1/4 cup of dry food in the PM.

Lisa :)
 

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That's what Dr. Jean recommends. Right now I'm feeding a canned breakfast and a dry dinner. I'm trying to put weight on one, and take weight off the other! Some vets say dry food prevents problems with their teeth, and some prefer all canned, as Dr. Jean does.
 
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