weight

Weighing Cats

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Pet scaleHaving lost a beloved cat recently, I have learned how important it is to monitor their weight on a regular basis. Cats don’t often show signs of illness until it is rather serious. However, all three of the cats we’ve lost over the years had lost a significant amount of weight since their last vet visit. It was a slow process and one that we didn’t notice.

We have two cats now. Wayne is a big cat, both in structure and in weight. He’s clocking in at 19 pounds currently. He’s up 1 lb from a few years ago, but should be a few pounds lighter. Liv is underweight at 8 pounds, which is 2 pounds lighter than her healthy weight. Now that we only have two, we’re focusing on getting Liv’s weight up and Wayne’s weight down.

I am now weighing the cats weekly and keeping a spreadsheet with their weights. Monthly is probably a fine interval. There are a couple of ways to weigh your cat.

  1. Use your bathroom scale
    This is the easiest method. Step on the scale holding your cat and record the combined weight. Set your cat down and weigh yourself. Subtract your weight and you will have your cat’s weight.
  2. Get a pet or baby scale
    I bought an infant/toddler scale and now weigh the cats on it. It’s similar to what they use at the vet’s office and the cats tolerate it well. It has a tray to hold the baby and also is a safe area for the cat to sit. They will try to walk off, but both have settled in and now sit while I record their weight.

If your cat needs to lose or gain weight, this will help you monitor the progress. If your cat is a healthy weight, this will help you if he or she starts losing weight unintentionally. You can schedule a vet visit sooner to get ahead of any health problems.

If you are trying to help your cat lose weight, work with your veterinarian. It can be dangerous for cats to lose too much weight too quickly.

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Feeding Fatty

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wayne-on-stool
Wayne waiting for food

If you live in a multi-cat household, you likely have one or more cats who are gluttons when it comes to meal time. We had this problem when we only had two. Kiggy would eat her dinner and then saunter over, push Michi out of the way and finish hers too. At that time, we had a fairly simple solution. We put Michi’s food up on a shelf. Kiggy had trouble jumping up on anything higher than the couch or bed.

When we adopted Liv and Lucian, they could easily jump up and finish Michi’s food for her. We started feeding Michi on the enclosed patio until a raccoon decided to join in. Poor Michi, she was always low kitty on the totem pole.

Now that we have Liv, Lucian and Wayne, it’s now Liv who is the one who gets pushed aside. Lucian usually eats some of his, pushes Wayne out of the way, who then makes a beeline to Liv and finishes her dinner. Unless we stand vigilant or feed her in a separate room, the boys get more than their fair share.

Wayne is a big cat, but he’s also rapidly becoming a fat cat. Feline obesity is a serious problem worldwide. The current consensus is that a dry food diet coupled with a sedentary lifestyle is causing our cats to become chubby. We’ve started feeding them more canned food and switched the dry to a low carb version. The theory is that a cat’s natural diet consists of hunting live food that consists mainly of protein and little carbohydrates. It’s been nicknamed the Catkins diet. It makes sense and seems to be helping.

Cat Feeder with too much food!
Cat Feeder with too much food!

We also realized that they beg for food all through the day when we’re home. We work long hours on most days and they go for a long stretch with no food. We purchased an automatic feeder that has six compartments that rotates at programmed times. Now, while we are gone they get a little dry food at regular intervals. Wayne has lost a little weight and he no longer waits by the door howling to be fed the moment we enter.

Here’s the formula that seems to be working:

  • Canned food (has more protein and water)
  • Low-carbohydrate dry food
  • Feed small portions at more frequent intervals