It's New Year's resolution time for you and your companion animals! This is the time of year when I bring my cats to Palmer Animal Hospital for their annual check ups. Last year my beloved tortie, Oatmeal, weighed in at a whopping 15 pounds! For her relatively small frame, this weight was just too much, already causing arthritis in her hips. Dr. Palmer warned me that if left unchecked, her weight could lead to other issues such as heart problems and diabetes.
I have lots of experience sitting for diabetic cats who require refrigerated insulin shots precisely every 12 hours. That's no fun for the cat, or for the human who has to schedule their day around administering the shot. In addition to the cost of the insulin, leaving town even for a weekend getaway would require a minimum of twice daily cat sits, about $36 a day if you hire the Cat Lady. Alarm bells went off in my head and I knew Oatmeal and I needed to do something about this RIGHT NOW!
We immediately implemented the following weight loss plan*:
Measure out all meals. Oatmeal got 1/2 of a 5.5 ounce can of wet food each for breakfast and dinner.
Make healthier choices. Wet food, especially water based gravy varieties rather than pate, are lower calorie and lower carb options. A teaspon of pumpkin puree mixed in added a nice boost of volume and probiotic.
No unhealthy snacks in the house. Oatmeal loves treats just as much as the next cat, but we had to take treats off of the grocery list. Instead, we kept a fresh pot of cat grass growing at all times for when Oatmeal got the munchies.
Get moving! There were many times, sometimes daily, that Oatmeal felt really hungry and wanted more. When her complaining was too much to bear, I would put a handful of low calorie kibble in a treat ball. These toys are genius! In order to get the kibble out, she would have to bat the ball around the house so kibble would fall out of the hole.
Of course no weight loss plan goes perfectly. Sometimes family members snuck in treats for Oatmeal. Some days it was easier to feed her extra and listen to her purr instead of complain. She's still a couch potato at heart.
So we held our breath and went back to Palmer Animal Hospital for her annual weigh in ...
And Oatmeal lost 2.5 pounds in one year! Hooray! She is now a svelte 12.5 pounds!
She still has one vanity pound left to lose, but I, Oatmeal, and everyone at Palmer Animal Hospital are so proud of her for losing the weight and becoming a healthier kitty! If you're companion animal is fighting the battle of the bulge this year, please don't hesitate to reach out to us for tips and tricks! Happy new year!
*The Cat Lady is not a veterinarian. Please consult your veterinarian before changing your companion animal's diet