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Unread 12-28-2010   #1 (permalink)
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Default How do you tell if a cat is fat?

This seems so obvious - if the cat looks fat, then he is fat! Duh. But I'm having problems defining my male kitten, Buddy, as fat. To start with, it looks like he eats a lot. I feed him, he scarfs down half of it and then he tries to push in on his sister's food. I take him away but he's back an hour later. I give them each 1/3 cup of kibble about three times a day and I think Buddy is eating a large chunk of it.

A couple of days ago, I discovered what seems like a pouch of fat between his belly and legs. It's some loose skin, a little squishy. When he's walking, though, you don't see any belly shaking. From uptop, he looks like he has a swell in the belly region but nothing excessive.

Do cats have a natural pouch of fat in that area, like women have that fat pooch over their reproductive organs?

And to clarify, I'm not worried about Buddy's weight because I believe everyone should be supermodel thin. I'm worried about his health. I didn't want him and Respy to be overweight kitties and thought I was feeding them the proper amount but Buddy looks like he's putting on too much. The last time they weighed him at the vet (about two weeks ago), they said his weight was fine... but that was before neutering and finding the fat pouch. He has grown in size since. Maybe this is normal kitten growth?
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Unread 12-29-2010   #2 (permalink)
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A lot depends on activity level, body build and metabolism. The quality of the food can also have an impact.

A lot of cats get that loose skin (I call it udders). Can you feel Buddy's ribs? What kind of food are you feeding?

One cup of kibble a day per cat sounds like a lot for an adult cat but for a kitten doing a lot of running around, it does not seem like so much.

However if he is eating Respy's food too, then he is getting too much to eat. Is Respy losing weight because Buddy is eating her food?
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Unread 12-29-2010   #3 (permalink)
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"Udders", that's hilarious. Although no milk comes from it, it's the perfect description.

I can feel Buddy's ribs but through a thick layer of fat. I can feel the ribs if I pay attention. The kittens are eating Purina One Healthy Kitten Food.

Respy is not losing weight actually. She has gained weight since we brought her home. Before we could feel her ribs very distinctly, now there is a nice layer of fat.

Should we play with them more? Feed them less? I'm waiting to receive some Blue Buffalo kitten food (dry). Will this make a difference?
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Unread 12-29-2010   #4 (permalink)
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Canned food is better than kibble, especially for weight control. Canned food has higher protein, is 75-80% water (cats need a lot of water, and don't usually drink enough) and good quality canned food has fewer carbohydrates, cats do not need a lot of carbs, and carbs will make cats fat.

I like the Blue kitten for Queen Eva, and I've ordered the Blue adult too (it should have been here by now, but the shipment got "lost in transit" so annoying), but I use kibble as snacks and treats only, my cats are fed a canned food diet. I use a variety of brands including Blue, Wellness, Petite Cuisine and Weruva canned cat foods.

You should be able to feel the ribs when rubbing your fingers up and down them. They should not stick out, of course, but you shouldn't have to go searching to feel them.

The more time you spend playing interactive Games with them, the more time they will be inspired to play alone and with one another too. Cats do need mental and physical stimulation from their humans.

When you play with them you are bonding with them, providing exercise which builds muscle and increases metabolism, creates fun which stimulates feel good endorphin hormones (for the human too), and stimulating their brains and imaginations.

My kitten has three doting adult cats who play with her a lot, but she still requires several interactive play times with me every day, too. Well they ALL require interactive Game time with me every day of course, but Queen Eva especially needs a lot of my attention to keep her from getting herself into trouble elsewhere.

A tired kitten is a good kitten.

If they are gaining too much weight, even after you start getting them to exercise more, you will have to start cutting back on their quantity. I can help with that, if you get to that point.
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Unread 12-30-2010   #5 (permalink)
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That makes sense, about the exercise. We're playing with them less than we used to because we fell out of the habit after the cats had to heal from fixing.

We do give them canned food but it's more like a treat. We were feeding Fancy Feast (our vet feeds it to her cats) and now we have some The Goodlife Recipe to get through, and one can of Wellness kitten to try.

How often and how much canned do you feed Queen Eva?
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Unread 12-30-2010   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
How often and how much canned do you feed Queen Eva?
Oh boy, that's a good question! I feed my cats multiple times a day..in general they get three main meals and two snacks, but even the three main meals are broken up into two or sometimes three servings.

Queen Eva has always been very slender, and she is not overly interested in food. She eats between 4.5 - 6 oz of canned food a day, but will not eat more than an ounce of food at a time. So if she eats 1/3 of a 3 oz can, if I wait a while I can usually get her to eat another tablespoon or so, but it has to be a difffernt food than the first meal.

She eats about 1/8 cup of kibble a day in snacks, but again, she won't eat it all at once. She'll eat about half that, then I have to coax her to eat the rest by tossing it for her to chase down.

I try to get more down her, but she requires elaborate rituals even to get those small amounts into her!

So in total Queen Eva is eating about 4.5 ounces of canned food and 1/8 cup of dry food a day. And she is still growing, and is very active, and I wish I could get her to eat more.

My adult cats are all about the same weight, but they are each a different size and shape and they each eat a different amount of food.

Yeah....feeding rituals are crazy here, LOL, I don't really know how it happened, partly it's because some of them are on different diets, and it seems I have always had at least one cat who has to eat something different than the others. Currently Tolly (11 1/2 years old, 9 pounds) and Queen Eva (6months old, 5 pounds) eat the same foods, and almost the same amounts, too.

Mazy cat (6 1/2 years old, 9 pounds) is on a Prescription diet. She won't eat the canned prescription food, so she is my only cat on an all kibble diet. She eats a total of slightly less than 1/2 cup of her c/d kibble a day.

Jennie (5 years old) should only weigh 9 pounds but weighs 10. She has a food anxiety (rescued stray) and wants to eat ALL the time. She also has problems with constipation unless I keep her on one food and one food only, which is very hard on her, as she is one of those cats who craves variety. She eats less than any other cat in the house, but is fatter than any of them.

I feel bad for Jennie always wanting to eat, but I refuse to let her become obese. I can't stand fat cats, so unhealthy for them.
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Unread 12-30-2010   #7 (permalink)
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Just because a certain cat food is expensive, like Fancy Feast, doesn't mean it is good for the cats. Like Acerlt said, canned food is much better than dry. Wellness Core, Blue Buffalo, and Before Grains (all aavailable at Petco and online) are what I feed my cats. Unfortunately, I did not know this when my cats were kittens. I thought dry food was better and now my cats are in the habit of eating dry food also. But I feed them only Blue Buffaloo dry and Wellness Core Dry. Also, the other reason that I also feed them dry food is because I work all day during the week and after I feed them their canned food in the morning, I put dry food in their bowls so they have something to graze on throughout the da.y.
Whatever type of food you buy make sure it does not contain meat by-products, corn, wheat, grains or alot of carbohydrates. Also, make sure it has a low ash content of no more than 3%. Too much ash in the diet can cause serious urinary/bladder/kidney infections.
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Unread 01-02-2011   #8 (permalink)
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AcerIt, my goodness I'm not sure how you keep all your cats' eating habits straight! I haven't thought to check how many ounces of wet I'm feeding them. I just gave each half a container of The Goodlife Recipe and they barely finished it, which tells me I should give them less at a time.

AuntKitty, thanks for the info. I'd read the same when I first got the kittens. I'm still adjusting their diets, figuring out which they like best and how best to make sure they only eat the necessary amount. I'm glad we all like Blue and Wellness. Those were my favorites based on ingredients when we went to Petco.
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Unread 01-02-2011   #9 (permalink)
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Well first....I've have cats on different diets for so long it's just habit...part of my day..to keep track of who eats what when. But I do keep a cat journal.

Since I have cats on maintenance medications, and who have illnesses that have to be kept track of, I just write everything down.

I've been doing it for years. Since 1984 in fact, when my then cat Baby(rb 1/98 ) developed asthma and I had to keep track of his symptoms and medicine.

So now it's just second nature to record everything in the cat journal.

I find this very beneficial because often it is difficult to remember back about things. For instance if a cat goes off his food. You bring him to the vet and the vet says how long has he been like this. You say...oh I think a few days....but really it might have been longer....with the journal I can check and know exactly when he started eating less....or exactly when that eye discharge started, or exactly when I first heard the cough.....you get the idea.

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Unread 01-02-2011   #10 (permalink)
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A cat journal--what a great idea!!! Never would have thought of it.
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