SlimKitty Friend: Samantha Part 2 – Losing Weight
Note from Editor: We are adding Samantha’s story to the FitDog Friday Blog Hop today…yes we know it’s about a cat, not a dog, but it’s about getting your cat fit and part of the solution is a dog – so we made an editorial decision that it “fits” in FitDog Friday!
Guest post today from our friend Jan Keefe from Wag ‘N Woof Pets.
Samantha and her sister Katie were our first cats that would be indoor only cats. At first we didn’t see any differences from having outdoor cats, with the exception of having to change the kitty litter more often. They were young enough and kept themselves entertained. We didn’t worry about weight any more than before, because we had already had a very overweight cat, Bones (yes, the name did turn out to be ironic). Miss Bones put an end to all “free feeding” in our house, and we had to start controlling things. After Bones was gone, I don’t remember either of our other cats, Don Juan and Conrad, having any eating or weight issues.
Katie brought back the control of eating portions, however, as she, like Bones, would eat anything in sight. Katie’s weight was up and down some, but pretty well under control, I think. When she stopped eating completely, we knew there was a serious problem and it turned out she had cancer. By the time we knew it was too late. I don’t remember Samantha having a weight issue until after Katie was gone. Both of these girls were very petite, but Katie had short hair so it was easier to judge on her. With Samantha I learned to judge just by picking her up…I could tell when she was getting on the heavy side.
Almost three years ago now, Samantha started limping, wouldn’t eat much and was hiding out most of the time. She couldn’t jump up on the kitchen counter where she usually ate. We started feeding her on the floor, but that didn’t help, her appetite still wasn’t great. We took her to the vet and they ended up taking x-rays but found nothing wrong, no sign of arthritis or any other reason she should be limping. They suggested we try a joint supplement anyway, so that is what we did. Either the joint supplement worked, or she just got better in time. Her appetite came back and the limp eventually went away. But it was not until a year ago that she started jumping on the counter again, when we were gone away. My friend who was pet sitting happened to say that Sam jumped on the counter, and I was amazed! She’s been doing so ever since.
However, you can probably guess where this leads. We were so happy she was feeling better that we probably let her eat too much. Her weight got up to over 10 pounds at one point which was too much for her size.
The first thing we did was to start measuring out her food. She gets a set amount put into a dish in the morning, and then we put small portions of that into another dish throughout the day when she wants to eat. She gets a small amount of canned food about every other day, and treats but only on occasion. Samantha lost a little weight but not as much as I was hoping. I wanted to get her down to 9 pounds. I was frustrated, and realized that I needed to get her moving. So we started trying new toys.
When we got our two golden retriever puppies, the cats had to stop getting small toys, because Moses would eat anything and I didn’t feel safe having them lying around the house. They had scratchers and things like that, and at one point a tower to play on. They only used those things for a while and then lost interest. We tried interactive toys….a blue circular plastic toy with a ball in it was played with very little, there was a feather toy that Sam would half-heartedly bat at a couple times and then just look at me. People suggested a laser light. I thought sure that would do the trick. Don Juan used to love chasing lights on the walls. Sam wouldn’t even look at the light! She does like her West Paw caterpillar, but she plays with that lying down so I’m not really sure how much exercise she’s getting. I try to interact with her and she either doesn’t show interest, or shows it for only a very short time.
In March of this year, Sam had her yearly vet visit and she weighed 8.7 pounds! What had we finally done to get her moving and get off the weight we wanted?
We got a puppy. Sam likes the dogs and she enjoys playing with Luke. To this day, she and Conrad get along fine, but you won’t often see them hanging around together unless they’re waiting to be fed. Conrad is 16 years old and pretty fragile, so he’s really not up to playing. You will, however, see Samantha being chased by Luke in a playful way. He chases her around, from floor to floor in the house. We live on three levels, and they will go up and down both staircases quite often. Luke can get a little rough with her, so we do supervise, but he is mostly really good and Sam can get away from him when she needs to. Now that she can jump again, she is on and off the kitchen counter when she eats (which is several times a day). She has her favorite places to sleep on every level of the house, so she is moving around a lot. I think these things help her the most.
Sam had played a treat game with toilet paper rolls in a box for a review I did one time, and now I have heard that feeding her this way could be another way to keep her active, so I am going to try that. I’d also like to get a cat tunnel that she might like to play in. That might be the last toy I try though, and I think we’ll leave the rest of her exercise needs to Luke!
Guest Blogger Janet Keefe from Wag ‘N Woof Pets and her cat, Samantha.
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