View Full Version : Fat Cat?

11-06-2000, 06:14 PM
As a budding veterinarian, I learn everyday great new information to pass on to family and friends about their pets. Today I learned that once a cat, (male or female >6mos.) is neutered, it is safe (and recommended) to put them on a light maintanence quality diet. This will in no way affect their growth or well being but will combat obesity in their adult years

Future vet

4 feline house
11-06-2000, 10:12 PM
km-I have had two really large cats in my life, and most were at least a little chunky. Years ago they were all inside/outside, now they are all inside only. All had many exercise options and few table scraps. Yet I have never had any success in getting a cat to lose weight. My first large cat, Zebo, weighed 16 lbs, but he was a very large cat anyway - his ideal weight probably would have been about 13 lbs. He never suffered any arthritis, diabetes, or anything weight-related. I tried every way I knew of to take some weight off him, including many of the prescribed diets, and nothing worked. Conversely, when he eventually had to go on the relatively high-calorie kindey diet, he did not gain weight. I have a cat now that weighs 17 lbs. I have his entire family - his mom was still just a kitten weighing 7 lbs even though she was pregnant when I took her in. She now weighs just under 10. His sisters weigh 8 and 9 lbs. They were all raised the same, with the same amount of food and exercise. In fact, Big got fat on mother's milk - at 6 weeks he was already 3 lbs, and when he was neutered at 4 months he already weighed 8 lbs. Again, he is a naturally large cat who probably would weigh about 14 lbs if he were lean. My mom has a very fat calico, Lacy. She was very concerned about her weight, but her vet told her it was a genetic problem linked to the calico gene, and probably no amount of dieting would help her. Lacy is gettin up in years and has no health problems. So, my ultimate question after all this history - is putting a cat on a diet an act of futility? Is it not largely genetic? All these cats were fed the same diets and got the same amount of exercise as their biological and house brothers and sisters. And if nothing can be done, are they really at more risk for certain diseases? Anyone else have any insight? This is something that concerned me with Zebo, and it has cropped up again since Big was born.

11-07-2000, 11:01 AM
Cats are not carbon copies of each other any more than people are. You can't get a large group of people to weigh the same amount by putting them on the same diet, I don't see why cats would be any different. And, as with people, I'm sure some are genetically prone to weigh more, have a harder time losing weight, and have to have a more strictly controlled diet to lose weight and maintain the weight loss. And the same with weight gain in thin people and thin small boned cats.

With people we are learning that people with certain genetic profiles don't have higher disease risk at above-average weight levels, again, that is likely true with certain cats. However is it also likely true with both cats and people that this situation accounts for only a percentage of the overweight cats and overweight people, that the majority ARE overeating for their activity level and are at higher risk of certain diseases because of this. While certain research is illegal with people, with cats I believe they know the disease risk is true because researchers are allowed to deliberately overfeed cats to induce diabetes and other illnesses and from what I've read have done these types of studies.

I hate to disagree with a vet school attendee but I do. There is no standard regulation of what LIGHT food means across the board - all it indicates is that with two foods of the same type (adult, senior...) by one manufacturer, the food saying LIGHT has to have a bit less fat than their REGULAR. One manufacturer's LIGHT food might have more fat and/or kcals than every other manufacturer's REGULAR food of that type so a person changing to that LIGHT food could actually cause weight gain in their cat.

Regulation nutrient requirements only take into account the nutrients a cat needs to survive, not to be in excellent or even very good health. It is fairly well known that some light foods (especially prescription) lessen the quality of the cats' coat due to the loss of fats in the diet. And overall then, what does this say about the nutritional requirements of pet foods if there is no difference in a cat fed regular food for a lifetime or light food for a lifetime? Is your vet school saying that the regular food really has too much fat and the nutritional regulations for regular foods are wrong? Or are they really saying the lack of regulation causes there to be so little difference in the foods that it doesn't matter? In which case why would vets be recommending one over the other?

Bottom line in my opinion is that LIGHT foods are a mostly unregulated marketing gimmick with a corporate goal of maintaining profits by stopping owners from cutting down their daily food servings and buying less cat food.
HEY, YOU DON'T NEED TO FEED LESS FOOD, JUST GET OUR LIGHT BRAND AND YOU CAN KEEP SERVING THE SAME AMOUNT, OR EVEN MORE FOOD!! They are specifically designed to allow owners to continue to feed their cat a greater quantity of food than it needs. Again, how is it in the best interests of cats for vets to recommend this practice if the LIGHT food really works?

This is all why makers of high quality foods do not produce LIGHT formulas. Standard pet food LIGHT formulas are produced with the same wonderful corporate thinking that gives us the new Hostess LIGHT Cupcakes, Jello LIGHT Pudding, etc., both of which are sold at the corner store in my neighborhood. Yay, I can eat Hostess LIGHT Twinkies for many years and they will be good for me!!! <g>

11-07-2000, 11:35 AM
Wow... I wasn't saying that cats are not genetically prone to obesity like humans, in fact I believe they ARE. I own a "fat cat" that eats the same or less than my others plus is more active. What I was saying is...that food manufacturers make you believe that you MUST feed GROWTH until one year of age,or Senir diet after 6 years, this I think, IS bunk. It is difficult to put cats on diets and is not really recommended. If a cat doesn't like the new "diet" food they can quit eating and do damage to their liver which far worse. For dogs, weight loss can be accomplished gradually by calculating the amount your dog should be eating and have controlled portions and meal times. With a cat, they prefer to eat approx. 13 small meals a day! This makes calorie control harder. A light diet (and I agree that all light diets are not created "equal") may be preferable to a "maintanence" due to lower calorie content (depending on your manufacturer. This may help prevent obesity in cats that are not genetically prone. As far as genetics go, when they come up with an answer to THAT one, I want to be the first to know!

Future vet

11-09-2000, 06:17 PM
My cat is diabetic cause hes fat. he used to weight 28 pounds. Irecamend keeping your cat slim unless you want to give your cat 2 shots aday

4 feline house
11-09-2000, 09:07 PM
which brings me to another question I've always had - in humans, of course, there are many types of diabetes -- in fact, the medical community recognized they aren't even the same disease, it's just that they were all lumped under the same name a few centuries again because they all caused sugar in the urine - I am diabetic but mine is the type that used to be called juvenile, then got changed to type I, now is mostly called IDDM or insulin dependent diabetes mellitus. It is not caused by or aggravated by excess weight, excess weight does not increase the risk of developing it, and losing weight has no affect on the effectiveness of treatment. So - my question is - does anybody know if this holds true in cats? Are there different forms of the disease that affects cats? Just something I've always wondered about....

11-10-2000, 01:30 AM
The different forms of diabetes hold true for cats too. So do the different reasons for developing the condition.
Just one point about veggie diets for animals - dogs are not true carnivores but are really omnivorous and can do well on a finely blanced vegetarian diet. Cats, however are, and need the high quality high percentage protein in a meat based diet.

11-10-2000, 06:27 AM
Great Comment Carrie! Many vegetarians think their cats will benefit from the same type of diet when, in fact, it will kill them (or a least blind them). Plants contain low taurine content which cats desperatly need! http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/biggrin.gif

11-10-2000, 08:51 AM
One of my moms cats is a 25 pound tabby. He's a big sack of potatoes. He eats Science Diet Light, 1/2 cup per day in 2 increments of 1/4 cup 2x per day. Her other cat, white female eats the same amount of food, same kind of food, and she's 10 pounds (she's on the large size but not at all overweight, she's just a bigger boned girl). We have tried perscription food for Tubby (one of his fitting nicknames) and he just will not lose weight. It's quite genetic in him. He very rarely gets table scraps. My mom and I both worry about him, but we will just have to accept whatever health issues arise from his obesity.

11-10-2000, 09:19 AM
My Jasper is a big cat too. He's big boned, and weighed 17 lb, last vet visit. He eats less than my other cats, and is on senior food. He gets no table scraps at all. He's just a big boy, and I love him no matter what.

11-10-2000, 09:33 AM
Don't worry Spencer, I didn't think that was what you were in"furring"...hehehehehe http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/smile.gif

Future vet