Ella our cat - poor self-esteem

oceanbabySeptember 3, 2009

Hi,when friends enter our house instead of greeting Ella - most of them say to her - girl - you are fat!! Just got back from the vet - she has gained 1 pound in one year from 14 to 15 pounds - she sort of has a square look. She's 5 years old - and about six months ago we changed from Friskies to Wellness or Avoderm. The 5.5 ounce can lasts two days, feeding her twice a day. Before bed time we give her a handful of Science Diet Light dry. We also give her about 5 treats a day. To us that doesn't seem like a lot of food. Vet is concerned about diabetes.

Vet would like to see her at 9 or 10 pounds. He suggested cutting back on the amount of wet food and changing to diet cat food. Also reducing the dry food at night.

Upon returning home we looked into diet cat food on various web sites and didn't see too many positive remarks. Before I forget vet also recommended she might have to go on prescription diet cat food. We don't want that to happen.

Regarding exercise - when playing with her she tends to just turn on her back to play with her toys instead of running around which we try to encourage.

The only recourse we can see is to cut back further on the wet food perhaps making it last three days instead of two -starting slowly - which seems so little to us - keeping her on the brands mentioned above.

Are we missing something? Any suggestions? We are two mushes and love her dearly.

As an after thought my husband gave her a small amount of wet food this morning before doing to the vet - as soon as we returned home she went straight to her empty bowl - laying in front of it for about half an hour - when we looked again she had dragged her (big) bag of dry food to the center of the room trying to get some out with her paw.

We think we have a long road ahead of us. Thanks for your help.

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I would cut back on the dry food, not the wet food. The dry food is much higher in carbs. You might also want to switch wet foods to a low-carb Evo canned (but not the Evo called "cat and kitten" canned, which is higher-cal; I am talking about the Evo canned "cat" food only ). My cats love the Evo Chicken & Turkey canned cat food the most. For sure cut back on the 5 treats a day, and change the type of treats to some high-protein un-processed treat like Kitty Kaviar , or the dried sardines they sell in smaller pet stores (kinda gross to us humans, but my cats love 'em).

IMHO, you should get a kitten, about 4-5 months old. That kitten will get your cat moving, even if just by constant pestering! There's nothing better than exercise for a cat to lose some weight. And there's no better exercise than another cat. Your playing with the cat is probably boring to her. And two cats are no more trouble to take care of than one; in fact less trouble, cause they entertain each other and keep each other company.

P.S. You don't want your cat to lose weight too quickly. It is very bad for a cat's liver to lose weight quickly. She needs to lose weight slowly, and again, the best way is via exercise.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2009 at 1:39PM
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My boy (3 1/2 years) is the same weight as your cat but does not appear fat. He eats a 5.5 oz can of Friskies (the only wet food he will eat) -- one can split morning and evening. I also free feed him Nutro dry but he treats it more like a snack.

It does not seem at all that you are over-feeding. Why don't you give it a while to see if she actually slims down? I imagine it could take several months.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2009 at 1:52PM
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I would have to agree that it's the type of food you are feeding, not the quantity, that is the problem. The idea of dry cat food as better for the diet has been outmoded, and most vets no longer agree. Canned is better, also better for their kidneys. And my vet told me that 15-20 years ago, prior to the trend of cats being fed solely dry diets, feiline diabetes was almost unheard of. Feline diabetes has only become epidemic since we Americans have taken to feeding dry over-processed high starch high carb foods to our cats.

What kind of treats are you giving your cat? Greenies, cat biscuits, and the like are very high cal. I'd rather you give treats of some leftover chicken pieces or steak pieces (no sauce) from your own dinner.

My vet wanted me to ditch the dry food altogether, and solely give canned food. But my cats really like the crunch of dry food, so I am feeding Evo dried as well as Evo canned and Wysong canned. I also bought frozen fresh cat food from my neighborhood pet store. You keep it in the freezer, and slice off a serving and defrost it. It may be too much trouble, but I thought I'd suggest it. Do you have a Kriser's store in your area? They carry all the low-carb, low-processed pet food. My vet believes that the more the food is processed, the higher the calories.

I have a 17-1/2 year old cat. His weight hasn't varied from his ideal weight of 11 pounds since he's been 1 year old. He's always had another cat playmate to keep him active. When she passed, at 17 years old, I got him two kitten playmates. They are keeping him young.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2009 at 2:20PM
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I have 3 cats, 2 which are thin and one humungous, that I need to work on. Funny, the 2 thin cats meow in the morning and evening for wet canned food and the fat one doesn't bother coming around. I keep dry out to nibble on and thats the only time I see the fat one eat.

Bottom line, all my research says get rid of the dry. The high carb gets them fat.

A guy was leaving the vet recently with a case of prescription wet. His cat was diabetic and miserable at 32 lbs. Over a year and half he has her down to 12 lbs and she's a much happier cat and no longer on insulin. He said there was a lot complaining like most of us on a diet but she now has more energy and got used to the regular feeding.

Geez, I sound like a Jenny commercial!

    Bookmark   September 3, 2009 at 3:06PM
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I have five cats who receive the exact amount of food. One weighs 6 pounds and has never varied. She's the oldest at 9 or 10, one is 11 pounds and she is always the same, one is 15 pounds but her daughter is very fat..upper teens and Henry, big old bad Henry, is at least 20!! I feed them all wet food in the morning, give hardly any treats and feed them Proplan or Purina ONE Salmon and rice. That's the only food any of them will eat. Once I bought the wrong bag, chicken and tuna and not one would eat one bite. Henry likes to say he's big boned.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2009 at 1:13AM
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Thanks for all your responses. As mentiond Ella gets only a small handful of dry food at night. I found a place nearby and they carry Evo - which I will try. The more I read your responses the more I'm starting to doubt the vet. He's part of a large practice, just done over and it looks like a hotel when you walk in. We would do anything for Ella and maybe their fees are not out of site but thought you might want to know: $64. office visit, $35. rabies shot, $12. cut nails and $33. fecal test. $144. for a 10 min. visit - in N.J. Vet mentioned about a large wax ball in her ear and then he forgot (us to) to do anything about it.

Guess the thing that bothers me the most is I really can't see how much more we can stretch that 5 ounce can of cat food!!! As mentioned it's lasting two days.

I would love to get a kitten but just don't know if that will happen. It' a big decision for us.


    Bookmark   September 4, 2009 at 1:32PM
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If you want to keep the wet food, then do as others have suggested -- decrease the incoming calories by giving less or no dry, also fewer or different treats.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2009 at 4:19PM
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If dry food is so bad for cats, why isn't it for dogs? When I had the dog in June first for a wellness visit , he said the food I was giving was fine. I feed the dog proplan or Purina ONE as I do my cats, For the dog I mix a tablespoon of wet Purina ONE from the can, microwave it for 10 seconds and he loves it. This is the evening meal only .Vet thinks NO wet food at all.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2009 at 4:28PM
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Lily316 - we are going OT, and I apologize to the OP for that, but I felt I must respond to your message. I know you've posted similarly before. Your vet's advice of no wet food has been outmoded, and s/he is out of date. That's not to say that a dog will definitely be unhealthy on a dry diet, but it likely will be more healthy on a more natural diet. And for a certainty his teeth will be better without the dry food. Just like if you ate cereal and then never brushed your teeth, and the sugars in the cereal sat in your teeth crevices, your teeth would develop cavities and other problems. And dogs, unlike people, are more strictly carnivores. Humans have imposed an omnivore diet on dogs, but in the wild the only non-carnivore part of their diet would be the stomach contents of their prey which might have grasses and seeds.

Obviously, the reality of modern life is that hardly anyone has time to put together a natural diet for their pets on a daily basis. But it is possible to improve our pets' diets with packaged pet food by seeking out those brands that are less processed, lower carbs, and higher protein. Dry dog food like the Purina's you mentioned, by its very nature, is highly-processed, and starchy, sugary, and by definition, a high-carbohydrate diet; that's why it's a cereal. Have you looked on its ingredients list? Would you eat what's on that list?

Here's some reading for you:

Commercial Dry Dog Foods

Identifying Better Dog Food Products

Vets and Nutritional Advice - I don't completely agree with this one, as it puts ALL vets under the same umbrella. My vet has been anti-dry-food for years, and left his previous practice because he couldn't agree with his partners over their selling pet food in the office, and thereby being influenced by the pet food companies. The article is interesting reading anyway.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2009 at 7:57PM
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Thanks for your links. I'll read them later but I just wanted to respond before I forget. The exact reason vet doesn't want my dog to have wet food is his teeth. He said dry food keeps tartar off the teeth and that's why many dogs who eat wet food have bad teeth. He cited greyhounds which I had before. They many times develop bad teeth which he said is from the mix they feed at the track. There is so much information out there. All my cats and dogs had pretty healthy lives. Afghan hound lived till 14 and I had a few cats live till their late teens and one to 21 on primarily dry food. I will read the links. Thanks.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2009 at 1:29AM
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It sounds like poor Ella is starving!
Check out the link below for guidance on helping your cat lose weight. She discusses just how much your cat should be eating.
After reading it, I think you'll find that 5.5oz over 2 days isn't enough food for Ella.

Her not wanting to play is expected. She isn't going to have any energy to play if she's not taking in enough calories plus, her weight is making it difficult.

Here is a link that might be useful: Feline obesity

    Bookmark   September 5, 2009 at 11:39AM
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Lily316 - I have to repeat what I said earlier, that the idea of dry food being better for a dog's (or cat's) teeth has been outmoded, and is not the current veterinary recommendation. The idea that dry food cleans a pet's teeth has been promoted by pet food companies, but there is no scientific data to support it. I am linking to an article by a veterinarian, which discusses dry food and cats and dogs teeth, and cites veterinary studies on this issue. Here's an excerpt:

"..tartar and gum disease seemed to be more attributable to genetics or concurrent disease (such as feline leukemia or feline AIDS) than to any particular diet. I saw beautiful and horrible mouths in cats eating wet food, dry food, raw food, and every possible combination. Many of my patients initially ate mostly or exclusively dry food; yet these cats had some of the most infected, decayed, foul-smelling mouths I saw. If there was any dietary influence at all, I'd say that raw-fed cats had better oral health than cats on any type of commercial food. However, the overall effect of diet on dental health appeared to be minimal at most."

Here is a link that might be useful: Article - Does Dry Food Clean the Teeth?

    Bookmark   September 5, 2009 at 12:43PM
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There is no way that dry food can clean an animal's teeth. We have to use an ultrasonic scaler +/- stainless steel instruments to clean their teeth, just like humans. Dog food is definitely not harder than stainless steel, so it will not keep teeth clean.

The less processed the food is, the better. That goes for cat, dog, human, and everyone else. Dry foods, with the exception of some like Wysong due to their unique manufacturing process, are by definitely the most processed of the forms of pet food. Canned food by nature has been less processed than dry food.

My husband brushes his teeth just as much as I do and we eat the same foods. He has over 12 fillings and I have none. We just have different genetics. That goes for animals too.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2009 at 3:35PM
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