VERY FAT CAT Nutrition Concerns

by Wendy
(Arizona)

The question I have is about my sister-in-laws male cat KC. He was neutered about 2-1/2 yrs ago along with another male cat.

He used to come and go as an outside cat and was sleek and healthy. She now keeps them both as inside cats to keep them from harm.

Shortly after the neuter she took both cats and left for Minnesota for about 3 or 4 months. When they got back to Arizona, KC was huge! He looked like a balloon and he waddles when he walks.

Everything else, like his friendly demeanor and bright eyes, seem to be good and she says he eats the same amount as the other cat who is normal looking. I don't see him that often but every time I do I get so upset to see him so large.

My sister-in-law is on a strict budget and I think afraid the vet will tell her he needs an operation or something expensive.

Could the vet have nicked or damaged his thyroid during the operation and caused his body to react to the neutering so badly?

I recently went to visit and saw KC. His fur on his back and around his back legs is all matted and clumped because he can't even lick himself.

Do you think this is serious or does he just need to be fed very little or could it be his thyroid? I believe he goes to the bathroom and eats and drinks just fine. Like I said everything else seems fine except his weight.

ANSWER

I certainly understand your concern for your sister-in-law and for her cat. Obesity in cats can have serious consequences. Life-threatening liver disease, diabetes, heart and respiratory problems, stress on joints, and the inability for a cat to groom himself are a few of the major ones.

The good news is that obesity in cats is the result of eating more than their metabolism and exercise level can compensate for. The solution is to eat less or exercise more or increase metabolism.

Getting a cat to exercise more is difficult if not impossible. Changing their metabolism isn't a realistic possibility either. (No, cats are not hypothyroid and no, there is no way his thyroid was damaged during a neuter procedure).

That leaves reducing his caloric intake. That is the answer and the only one. HOWEVER, if a cat loses weight too fast, they can become very ill also. They must not lost more than 1/2 pound per month.

Regardless of how little he may be eating and how impossible it is to believe he's eating too much, he is. You could tell me he is eating 1/4 or even 1/8 cup of food once or twice daily and if he is indeed overweight, then he is eating too much.

Please see my page about this very topic that will give you more information, How Much To Feed Your Cat.

Until his weight is under control, your sister-in-law will have to keep his rear end and legs groomed, clean, and free of mats. You are correct that he literally cannot reach around to groom himself.

 

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