Dirk aiming to beat the Flab

I don’t know about your cats, but my lovely Dirk is a bit overweight… According to International Cat Care about 39-52% of cats in the UK are overweight or obese, so Dirk is certainly not the only one. As you all know, being overweight can lead to other health problems as well, diabetes for example.

It can also lead to issues with the lower urinary tract, such as cystitis. I didn’t actually know this until Dirk developed urinary issues (bladder stones) 6 years ago. At that point he weighed 5.9 kg, so his weight my well have been a contributing factor. He’s a pretty big guy, but should really weigh around 5 kg.

So, how to beat the flab?

Given his bladder and weight issues, Dirk is permanently on a special diet, which also means he doesn’t get treats… Fortunately he seems to love his dental dry food as much as treats, so we make him chase those all around the house. We strictly monitor how much he’s eating and of course we try and get him to play as much as possible. Luckily he loves his toys 🙂

He can’t go outside, which would have been an ideal way for him to lose weight, but we let him run up and down the stairs in our apartment building. He absolutely loves it!

His weight has been coming down slowly but steadily, and he’s been at 5.3 kg for a while now (yes, he has a waistline again!).

A few years ago we also started using activity feeders. He used to have a feeder ball during the day and a bowl of food during the night.

Admittedly, Dirk was not immediately taken by the feeder ball. Initially he just ignored it (or didn’t get it) and would wait till evening when we put his food in the bowl… Eventually his curiosity got the better of him and he started playing with the ball. He then discovered food coming out of it! Now he’ll happily chase the ball all around the apartment.

Two issues with the ball, though. First, when you’re trying to sleep and you keep hearing the ball being knocked against the door or walls, that’s not great. And second, whenever we’re on holiday and one of my cat sitting colleagues takes care of him, Dirk always hides the ball (preferably under our bed, shoe cupboard or the sofa). Yes, he prefers a ready meal 🙂


Where’s my food?

We tackled this issue by getting him two more activity feeders, but ones that he doesn’t actually have to move around the house: the toilet roll tower and activity board.

beat-the-flab-3-4He now always has access to his food, but always has to work for it. He’s eating smaller portions more often during the day and actually seems to enjoy the food games. Hopefully it will also help him lose those final 300 grams to reach his target weight!


And it even works for wet food – don’t worry, your cat will clean up the mess :-)

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17 thoughts on “Dirk aiming to beat the Flab

    • karenjuffermans says:

      Dirk likes the toilet roll tower too and they’re easy to make. We’ve slightly improved the version in the picture. We attached it to a cardboard base so he can no longer knock it over 🙂

  1. subodai213 says:

    I have a tabby who looks precisely like your Dirk. Diamond is an ‘easy keeper’ and we are trying to get the weight off her. She’s about 12.5 pounds right now..she’s about 5.5 kg and I’d love to get her down more. I would love to try the ‘toys’ but the other part of the equation is our Siamese, Sable, who is wicked smart, keeps the weight off naturally, and would undoubtedly figure out how to get the food before Diamond has a chance!

    • karenjuffermans says:

      When you have 2 cats it’s almost mission impossible, they will always find ways to get to each other’s food. One of my clients has a skinny cat and a bigger cat, though I swear the skinny one is always eating!

      • subodai213 says:

        Thank you, and they are. Diamond is on a diet now, and seems to be coming down little by little. But she certainly is doing the full court guilt press in the process!!

  2. Isn't She Crafty says:

    What a gorgeous boy! My Kye looks really similar, he’s 51/2kg, but just huge; the vetenary nurse kept flapping that he was obese, but the vet took one glance and proclaimed him healthy but a monster which is lucky because he’s a very picky veater

  3. helentastic67 says:

    Yes! That first look is the one the vet gives you when they weigh your fur-baby and they judge you like you are actually killing your beloved! Wish I had that problem now…….she is getting too thin!

    • karenjuffermans says:

      My vet was convinced I was feeding Dirk more than I said I was, though I really didn’t. He had to stay overnight for his bladder issues and they phoned me in the morning that he was OK and had quite the appetite 🙂

      Sorry to hear your cat is getting too skinny, that must be a bit worrying. Wishing you all the best!

    • karenjuffermans says:

      He’s getting there 🙂
      Though one of my sister’s cats is actually quite skinny (just over 4 kg) and still has a flab.
      Fingers crossed for Dirk and then of course keeping the weight off!

  4. Pingback: Dirk aiming to beat the Flab | My Health Selections

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