Wednesday, November 20, 2013

How My Fat Cat Became a Fit Feline

At 6 months old she was sleek and slim
I recently got my fat cat to lose more than 3 pounds and become a fit feline. That may not sound like much, but for a cat, it's quite a bit. And she did it in about 3 months.

Most of my articles are about spiritual growth, but so many friends asked me about this that I decided to write a special article about it for them. She's been a great spiritual teacher, and opened my heart more than I could have imagined.

How She Became a Fat Cat

My cat refuses to wear a collar, but she is obviously not starving. The shelter where I adopted her said she was rescued at 6 weeks old, starving and flea-infested. They nursed her to health, put her in foster care, spayed her, and when she was old enough, put her up for adoption. I was the lucky one she chose when I went to the shelter to find a cat.

She was up to 18.3 LB for 3 years
I had not notice that she was gaining weight. One day about five years ago, she wasn't feeling well, and I took her to the vet. She had a blood infection because her blood sugar was high. The next five years were a maze of figuring out a better food that she would eat, blood glucose curves, insulin shots, and a journal of what she ate and drank. I was spending upwards of $200 per month on her prescription kibble and canned food, insulin, sharps, and supplements, not to mention visits to the vet. And she just wasn't losing weight. I put her on a high protein, low carb food, but she remained my little gordita.
Bilingual Coat of Shame

That's when I discovered that a neighbor was feeding her. Probably some inexpensive, poor quality kibble. Meanwhile I was spending more and more on fancy prescription food, struggling to keep her healthy.That's when I made her a shirt that my friend Sherry dubbed the Coat of Shame. I live in a condo, and I still put it on her once in a while in case she tries conning any new unsuspecting neighbors into believing she's underfed. She's good at that.

And once in a while I'd wonder if there was a grain-free food, because cats aren't meant to eat grains.

The Turning Point

I went to a presentation by Dr Jona Sun Jordan on Pet Personalities. My cat is definitely the personality type run by food. I'd say she's obsessed with it. At the end of the talk, I briefly shared with Dr Jordan my struggle to get my cat to lose weight. Her advice made a huge difference in my cat's life and mine.

At her suggestion, I switched my cat cold turkey to the grain-free raw kibble she recommended. When I went to the local feed store to find the kibble, there was a woman outside who was giving away samples. My cat loved the new food! So I switched her with no turning back.

A Dramatic Drop in Blood Sugar

I checked her blood sugar 4 days later, and it had dropped more than 40 points! I was sold! She had been on Insulin for 4.5 years, and it's more dangerous for her blood sugar to be too low than too high, so now she'd need a new dose. But she was till begging me constantly for more food. So I did a glucose curve with insulin and without. Armed with the numbers, I made an appointment with Dr Jordan to learn more. And it just kept getting better.

Kitty's New Diet and a Brilliant Idea

She used to get 1/4 cup of kibble and 1/6 can of wet food twice per day. Her new diet was 1/8 cup of Nature's Variety grain-free kibble and one 1 oz medallion twice per day. Se also gets a snack of 1/2 a sardine at mid-day.

Dr Jordan made a brilliant suggestion. Instead of feeding her in a bowl, I make her hunt for her food. 
I divided her 1/8 cup of kibble into a half dozen little bowls. First these were placed in her usual spot, then I moved them further out. One day I hid them around the living room. She didn't really understand, so there I was on my hands and knees, looking under the sofa, behind he table, teaching her to hunt for her food in the living room. It worked. 

Not only does this provide mental stimulation for her, but she no longer views me as her only source of food. I might still have a few little dishes in my hand, but she's checking under the table, under the chairs, and next to the refrigerator, instead of coming to me for food. I love it!

The raw medallions are frozen raw meat. It's the same food for dogs and cats, and you can choose from duck, chicken, rabbit, venison, beef, and lamb. They pressure treat the meat to ensure that there are no harmful bacteria. It is ground meat, organs, even bone. Apparently all the problems with animals eating bones is only when the bones are cooked. dogs and cats are meant to eat raw bones and are able to digest them within 24 hours.If your vet ever gets x-rays from a vet that isn't familiar with this, they may be recommending emergency surgery because bones are supposedly quite dangerous. But not raw bone. Our critters were designed to digest raw bone. And they get nutrients from it, so she no longer needs the glucosamine supplement, which had sugar in it.

Transitioning to the Raw Wet Food

She didn't eat the raw medallion the first time I gave it to her. So I put her regular canned food in the dish with it, and she ate both. The next meal, I gave her just the raw, and she's been on that ever since. She loves it. If they had mouse and gopher varieties, I'd buy them, but I imagine that that's a quality control issue. Can't go catching gophers from people's yards when they may have been poisoned or eating who-knows-what.

November 2013 slimmed down to 15.1 LB

She's Lost 3 pounds 

After 4 months on this diet, she is a svelte 15.1 LB, and the vet said she's "a little on the chubby side", which is much better than obese! She is able to jump onto the coffee table again, and has more energy than she did before. Oh, and her dandruff cleared up within a few days of starting on a raw diet.

I did several spot-checks on her blood sugar in the next 2 weeks, and wrote up a report to take to my old vet so they would know about it too. Hopefully they will jump on the raw food grain-free pet wagon!

Lia was diabetic for long enough that she may need to go back on insulin, but at a lower dose and with an eating plan that works with her body instead of against it. I am so glad to have found out about this grain-free raw pet food, and I know that my cat is too!

Lia is now at 14.5 pounds! She is almost at her teenage weight! Guess I'm next!

Happy munching!

How About You?
Have you tried raw for your pet?
Did they like it?

Please comment below.
I'd love to hear your stories!