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How do I deal with Little Miss Tubby Kitty (one fat cat)?

By: Dr. Jon Rappaport

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Our question this week was:

Dr. Jon - I have 2 kittens. Both of my kittens were rescue kittens so they are not purebred, but the oldest is a 10-month-old Manx and the youngest is a 9-month-old Domestic Shorthair. I feed them both Nutro Natural Choice Indoor Kitten food once in the morning and once in the evening following the proportions and daily feedings given on the food packaging. Yet I fear my little kitty-girl is a tubby. Manx cats run big, but she is already 12 1/2 lbs where as her smaller breed companion is 9 lbs. He bounces off walls with energy and she prefers laying around. My husband and I try to interest her in 20 minutes of play when we get home, but it's quite a chore.

I'm not really sure she is truly overweight. She used to look pregnant when she was just 12-weeks-old because she had such a deep flank. I can't say I see her ribs, but you can feel them pretty well.

So is it safe to put a 10-month-old kitten on a diet that would reduce her feeding from 1 cup of food a day to less? Honestly it doesn't look like they are overeating and neither of them ever get table scraps.

Also, any suggestions for play time. She prefers watching us wave feathers, boas and bat at them as she lays on her side. Little sockies, mousies filled with catnip only mildly interest her. Mostly she prefers carrying them around. Her little kitty-boy companion seems to be the most successful at getting her to play because he pounces on her at any opportunity.

Can you advise this very confused kitty caregiver?

Michelle in Kountze Texas


Answer

Hi Michelle - thanks for your email. It sounds like you are a very astute and caring pet caregiver. You asked some excellent and difficult questions.

First, how do you deal with 10-month-old cat that is tending toward obesity and not real active. TOUGH ONE! If you come up with a solution – let ME know. It is like a 16-year-old adolescent that is overweight and not real active.

There are two basic options, eat less or be more active. I think you are doing a good job trying to encourage her to play. I'd recommend making sure you know her play preference and ensuring her environment is enriched. Check out this article Cat Toys - Selecting the Right Toys for Your Cats Play Preference. Maybe there is something there you haven't tried (although it sounds like you have tried a lot!).

Make sure there are cat trees, bird feeders to watch and other ways you can enrich her environment that may make her "more active"

Lastly, I think you can but a 10-month-old cat on a diet. I wouldn't do anything drastic but you could cut back a little. Talk to your veterinarian about it as well to ensure he approves based on her exam and weight.

An article that might be helpful to you is Obesity in Cats.

Best of luck!


Dr. Jon




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