Today’s guest post comes from Jennifer and her cat Butch:
My 14 year-old cat Butch has always been big. Nose to tail, he is a long, 99th percentile kind of cat, and as such he is not going to weigh the same as your average feline. However, Butch has been battling obesity for some time now.
My husband and I have taken him to the veterinarian several times for help with this issue. In the first appointment, when we placed Butch up on the table and he rolled onto his back and began purring, it was immediately clear to our vet that Butch’s general laid-back disposition was part of the problem. He actually doesn’t eat any more food than our other cats, but Butchie’s normal way of life just doesn’t burn that many calories.
|Butchie’s favorite activities, L to R: sleeping, watching TV with dad, and sitting.|
We purchased prescription diet food, brought him to the doctor for regular weigh-ins, and progress was slow to nonexistent. At his highest, Butch tipped the scales at about 31 pounds. There were sure to be ill effects from the weight later on in life (just like for humans), but nothing seemed to work. At one point he downright refused to eat the prescription food and we kind of abandoned hope.
Then, last fall, we thought he might really have lost some weight. There had been false alarms before, when one or both of us thought Butch had slimmed down, but it turned out to not be true. We don’t have a scale in our home but are actually able to weigh our cats on the Wii fit game system. When I weighed Butch a few weeks ago, I was shocked (and, honestly, skeptical) to find that according to the Wii, he’d lost more than 7 pounds! Not wanting to trust a video game, we made a vet appointment to double check his weight and make sure there were no health problems that led to the weight loss.
Much to our relief, Butch was given a clean bill of health! He weighed in at twenty-two pounds, which means that in one year he’d lost more than twenty-five percent of his body weight! We talked with our vet about Butch’s overall health. There has been only one major change in his lifestyle in the past year, which was the arrival of this little rescued bundle of joy into our home in July of 2012.
|Fernando! A lot of name for a little cat. He weighed one pound when we found him!|
Butch and his younger sister Abbey at first didn’t know what to think about their new baby sibling. It was like two college students suddenly having a toddler to deal with. There were several tense conversations in the first few weeks:
But before we knew it, Butch and Fernando were inseparable. We actually think that Butch thinks of Fernando as his baby, and as such he spends a lot of time grooming and wrestling with him. He has not, however, abandoned his favorite hobbies. He just does them with his new buddy (or, more often than not, his new buddy does not let Butch do many things alone).
And in the meantime, all the increased activity from Fernando joining our family seems to have been the missing link to Butch’s weight loss. Previously, we’d been unable to really get him to be more active (Exhibit A would be the cat harness and leash collecting dust in our basement; Exhibit B would be the motorized mouse toy and the collection of laser pointers in the hall closet), but it seems that a kitten was just the ticket! Butch now has someone to take care of and also someone who relentlessly pursues him for playtime. And the results are amazing! He just had another checkup at the vet in August 2014, and he’s lost another pound! 21 is the lowest he’s weighed in a decade (and this time around he was purring so loudly on the table that it was hard to hear his heartbeat).
It was tough to get a good picture of Butch’s newer slimmed-down physique. Like anyone who’s undergone a significant weight loss, he is understandably still getting used to his new body and is a little camera shy. (Also, it is tough in general to get a cat to pose for a photo.)
We hope you are looking forward to more fun stories @Katzenworld!