Monday, February 25, 2013

Fat Cats

Here at HSCC, we take in a lot of "big" cats. Obesity in kitties seems to be a growing epidemic in our country. The "fat cat" image is often considered cute and funny, but in reality, obesity is just as serious a health risk for cats as it is for people.

What can we blame for this trend in the expanding feline silhouette? At its most basic level, obesity is a result of caloric intake exceeding caloric metabolism--or food intake exceeding exercise. Cat foods today are often high in starch, carbohydrates, and additives--and it can be hard to ensure that your indoor-only kitty gets enough exercise.

But that's not to say that obesity is unavoidable for today's cats. There is a growing variety of healthy cat foods that are high in protein and low in starch, and more and more advice on how to keep indoor cats active and engaged with their environment. The folks at Pet Food Warehouse are highly knowledgeable when it comes to feline nutrition and enrichment--as are our local veterinarians. And of course, we're always here to help, too!

Harbor provides a great success story. Harbor was one of the most obese cats we've ever cared for at HSCC. Weighing in at close to 23 pounds, Harbor more closely resembled a beach ball than a cat, and spent his days in the communal cat room mostly sprawled on his back--probably because that position was most comfortable for his stomach, spine and joints!

So we were thrilled to receive this update from his adopters the other day:

"Hello. I adopted a cat named Harbor from you in October 2011. When I brought him home he was 22.8 pounds. He couldn't walk across the entire living room without stopping to rest, he couldn't clean himself, or reach his own face to scratch it when he had an itch. But he's always been incredibly playful and loving. It took us a bit to find a weight loss plan that would work. But, almost 1.5 years later, Harbor is weighing in at a slim(mer) 17.2 pounds. He has more energy than ever. He loves to run, jump, chase, and play and can now do so without hurting himself. Weight loss is still progressing slow but steady.

At first, I wasn't sure I was ready for the commitment of an animal. But, the odds seemed to be stacked against him as far as finding a home. And I knew he needed someone to not only love him, but to help him get healthy. I love him more and more everyday and I haven't regretted my decision for one second since I brought him home. He has the biggest and best personality I have ever witnessed in a cat. He loves to love and loves to be loved.

I've attached 2 photos of Harbor so you can see his progress. One is a side-by-side comparing the day I brought him home (Oct 2011) to him on Christmas 2012. The second is just to show his adorable face."

October 2011                                                                                           Christmas 2012
If your kitty is overweight, the first step is to talk to your veterinarian about a weight-loss plan. It can be dangerous--even lethal--for a very overweight cat to lose weight too quickly, so this must be done under the supervision of your veterinarian.

If you're wondering how to tell if your cat's overweight, a quick test is to feel for his ribs and backbone. If you can't feel them without pressing, your kitty may be a carrying a few too many pounds!

Thanks so much to Harbor's adopters for committing to his health and well-being. We're sure he's grateful to have his normal kitty life back!

A happier Harbor!

1 comment:

Monica paul said...

Yay Dana and Harbor! Dana your a good momma!!