Dear Porky and Buddy,
Well I just got back from the vet with my two cats, Popeye and Olive. They were in for their annual checkup and guess what? Popeye has put on weight in the past year. He just turned three. He was really skinny when I first adopted him two years ago, but I guess middle age is setting in and while he’s not obese (yet) he has lost his waist. I mean I know it’s in there somewhere, but where? So the vet told me to just try decreasing his food a bit and to back off the treats. That’s easy for her to say, but what about Olive? I keep their dry food out all the time and they share the same bowl. How am I supposed to keep her fed and restrict his eating?
Have you tried spinach? No, let’s be serious.
Obesity is an extremely common problem in cats.
Estimates are that 40-50% of all owned cats are overweight.
That extra weight can be detrimental to Popeye’s health. He is at an increased risk of diabetes, liver problems and joint pain. So it is serious.
He’s gaining weight simply because he is eating too much and not exercising enough.
It’s the same old story and your job is to do what is necessary to change the storyline.
We are assuming that you have discussed his diet with your vet and that the food he is getting is high quality.
At this point, you don’t know how much of it he has been eating because you have been free feeding both of them.
Your vet has probably recommended an amount that will keep him healthy and let him reduce gradually.
Don’t trust the feeding recommendations on pet food bags. They are almost always excessive.
You’re going to have to buck up and stop the free feeding.
Popeye and Olive will not be happy but they will get used to it.
When do you most commonly see them eating the food?
Choose three or four of those times and set out the right amount in separate bowls for both of them for a reasonable period of time, say a half hour.
After the time is up, remove the food bowls until the next scheduled time.
You might want to isolate the two cats from each other while they eat, maybe in separate rooms if possible.
If not, is there a surface that Olive can jump up on to eat that Popeye can’t manage?
At least separate them enough so that you can keep an eye on who is eating what.
You will be surprised at how quickly they learn to eat at the scheduled time.
Cats like routine, and will quickly learn that they have 20-30 minutes to eat in their designated feeding station.
But remember, water bowls should be available to both of them at all times throughout the day.
And while you are changing their habits, how about changing some of yours?
That seems fair.
Stop with the treats! No cat really needs them and they are the potato chips of the fat cat world.
Then get yourself and Popeye up off the couch and play with him.
Buy him some new toys that will get him running around. Buy him a leash and teach him to go for little walks.
No, you will not be the laughing stock of the neighborhood. You and Popeye will be an object of fascination.
Are you looking for a cat to take on little walks?
Find one at www.oswegohumane.org
The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County.
Our office is located at 265 W. First St., Oswego, NY.
Phone: (315) 207-1070.
Email: [email protected]
Because People and Pets Are Good for Each Other!