Saturday, 12 May 2007

Bixy has a problem

It's a fairly common one - I suffer from it as well - he's overweight. He went to the vet for a routine check-up and jabs last week and his weight came out at 10 kilos - he is a very large cat anyway but that's about 2-3 kilos more than he should be and it isn't funny. The worst is he risks diabetes which is serious enough in humans but even more so in cats apparently because it's more difficult to manage. He also has other problems - there are bits of him he can't reach well enough to groom effectively (don't ask!) and some of his fur is beginning to mat - though he's a short-hair his fur is very thick - though I am gradually (at some risk to life and limb - he's very firm about what he doesn't like) getting the matted fur out a bit at a time.

He's about nine years old now. He arrived from the vets as a six-month old fully-grown kitten/young adult with a broken leg. The police had found him and taken him in for euthanasia, but he was such a nice cat they decided to repair the leg instead, and pinned it. I'd lost two cats due to old age in the previous year and was left with a comparatively young tabby who was used to having other cats around and craved feline company, so the vet contacted me to see if I'd be interested and he moved in with us later that week.

From the start he was extremely characterful, not to mention musical, with a vocal range of about four octaves. It was hard work trying to stop him doing the things he wasn't supposed to do like jumping onto and off things. After a period of the usual animosity you get when a new cat is introduced to the household he and Hoagy became firm friends. Once his leg healed he became well-known and liked in the neighbourhood though he proved to have a talent for getting locked into places (on one occasion 36 hours in a neighbour's cellar - and the first thing he wanted to do once he'd eaten was go back out again).

He's also been amazing with younger cats, mothering both Django and Pepper who arrived as kittens, really impressive in the gentle way he played with them - Pepper still regards Bixy as his mum and they're usually to be found curled up together somewhere. Hoagy eventually died of cancer and spent his last evening with Bixy having his head licked...

Bixy's love of adventure subsided as he got older. This was a relief at the time but his weight-gain is an unfortunate side-effect of this, together with his liking for good food and his willingness to clear up the other cats' left-overs. It's difficult getting him to diet while there are three other cats in the house, but I'm trying to do it by feeding them all small portions (no left-overs for him to scoff) whilst sneaking the other cats extra snacks between meals (though I'm having to be inventive about this as Bixy keeps finding their secret stash and demolishing it). On the other hand he is getting a lot more exercise hunting everywhere for food!

Any ideas and tips gladly appreciated!


zquilts said...

It's always been my feeling that white cats - and completely black cats are special gifts ... Bixy is a beauty !

Anonymous said...

We have three cats. One of our females is over-weight. Her name is Wrigley and was weighing in at 20 lbs, 10 lbs. over what she should weigh. Wrigley is 9 years as well.

Our girl was having much the same problems as Bixy: matting, not able to keep those delicate areas clean!

With the vet's help, we put Wrigley on a weight-reducing cat food about two years ago. The idea was to reduce her weight slowly.

The diet is working. Wrigley has been able to take care of herself the way she is meant to. No more mats and no more dirty bum!

My problem now is that Wrigley can just up on the bookshelf where I was feeding the other two! Separating the three cats is a tough job.

Good luck with Bixy.

Laura in Andover, MA, USA

rach said...

We had the same problem with Maggie when we had 3 cats. She would barge in and scoff herself on too much food. As a result she got rather large.

Now we only have her it's easier to manage but I still struggle with trying to get her to go out for exercise. She loves staying in and will hide where I can't reach her when it's time to out her out.

I guess the only thing would be to carefully ensure that there aren't leftovers from your other cats, and perhaps swapping him to a 'light' cat food for a while.

Poor bixy, he looks such a lovely sweet boy!

x rach

marion said...

I've got four cats...and one has a tendency to overweight. We found that he had to have the diet (dry) food from the vets, rather than the stuff that's sold as 'light'. It's twice the price of the light stuff (of course...) and all my cats love it. It can be difficult for poor Advo to get any of his own grub, he has to fight off the other three... I do feed on demand, but only small amounts, and that seemed to help.

Dianna in Maui said...

He is a handsome boy! Thanks for sharing the photo.

I don't have many helpful tips, but can you feed them all a "light" formula for awhile? If they get snacks, maybe cut back on their regular food portions.

Can you find him a new toy or something to get him a little more active?

Good luck!

sandra wyman said...

Many thanks for the suugestions which I have taken on board. One of his problems is that he pigs out on dried cat-food, so I've stopped serving him that in the daytime (the others get given it in my studio which is at the tope of the house and where Bixy doesn't go (yet). I'm also serving small portions at closer intervals (i.e.dividing up the daily supply into four meals not two) which means there aren't leftovers l;yeing around for him to gobble up. He does get a small portion of dried food designed for fat cats at bedtimes - he sleeps downstairs and it stops him from venturing onto the bedroom landing where the other cats get their late-night dried-food snack. He is being re-weighed at the vet's on Thursday so we'll see if any of it has worked by then. And yes, he is a lovely and very sepcial cat!