Monday, November 26, 2012

Wednesday's Story

This is our Wednesday.  As you can see, Wednesday has a bit of what you would call a "weight management problem."  When your belly hangs out of the bottom of your cat tree, you know it's time to lose a few pounds.

My husband has had cats since he was two.  I got my first cat by default as an adult in my early twenties.  I'm allergic.  We have three.  I'll talk another time about how that works.  Neither of us has ever had to deal with an overweight cat. 

The vet says that Wednesday's rough start in life may have had something to do with her obesity now.  We found Wednesday as a tiny kitten almost dead in our parking space.  Her mother had shown up to the feral colony about a week or two earlier and then disappeared.  Leaving behind little Wednesday.  She was just around one pound and suffering from severe flea anemia.  With some fluids and a bath and some flea meds, you can see that she, um, thrived.  No $500 "blood transfusion" necessary (this was an emergency vet and I'm always amazed at how much they try to get out of you).  From the beginning, she was a fighter. 

We've always free fed our cats.  We use high quality kibble and they get a "treat" three times a week that consists of a spoonful of wet food.  The junky kind because, contrary to the belief that they have nine lives, my cats will only live once.  The problem is that Wednesday is always first to the bowl.  She has a food anxiety, an eating disorder, leftover from her days on the street.  My vet says that she has found this to be common in orphaned and bottle fed kittens. 

Poor little Wednesday.

First option, switch to high fiber Science Diet food.  No.  I'm not going to put my two older cats on a new food (and a questionable one at that) because of her. 

Second option, add fiber to the bowl.  Bingo.  In theory, this will fill her up faster and she'll eat less.

Stop free feeding is always the best option, but hard to do when you travel.  We usually take the dog with us and have friends check in on the cats.  It's far easier to find someone to do that when all they have to do is stop by every other day to rinse and refill a bowl.  However, I'm afraid we're almost at that point.

Fiber has not filled Wednesday.  Increased exercise has not helped her shed those extra pounds.  Other than that extra bit of weight, she's a very healthy cat.  So we're faced with the dilemma - do we just let her be to live her life?  She's almost 7 now.  She's had no other health problems.  She runs around the house like crazy, torments the dog, and plays with her sisters.  Sometimes, she explores outside when we're in the yard.  She's a happy, loving cat.  Do we change everything for all of our cats just to get a few pounds off of her - or do we let things be as long as she doesn't gain more weight?  It's not an easy solution when you have other pets in the house.

Anyone ever had an overweight cat?  What did you do - if anything?

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