So…Ranger is looking a little rotund like his toy Ralphie the mouse! How did this happen? Ranger’s explanation a little later, but in reality, overweight household pets are not uncommon. Starting next week, our tabbies will be part of our new monthly weight check series. Our goal for each weight check is to stay on top of their health by either maintaining their healthy weights or determine if they need to shed some pounds to get back to their healthy weights. Obesity in household pets can lead to some serious health risks such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, arthritis just to name a few. If I can do anything to help my cats live their best life, you bet I will try. I know I am not alone.
As for determining your pet’s healthy weight, I would recommend always consult with their veterinarian especially if you notice your pet is gaining or even losing weight. There may be underlying medical issues or medications that could be contributing to their health that a vet will need to address. To stay on top of your cat’s weight, I can’t emphasize how helpful a scale at home can help. A scale may just help you catch a weight change before you see the physical effects. I personally use the Zieis Digital Cat Scale home. It is perfect for cats and small dogs since it weighs up to 30 pounds. They also have pet scales for large breed dogs as well. A baby scale is another option to weigh your cats.
In addition to weighing your pets, the Body Condition Score (BCS) is a simple guide to help to determine if your cat appears overweight or even underweight.
The CHONK Chart is a great visual too.
Since many of you have canine family members too, below is a BDS and CHONK Chart for your dogs.
Numbers and charts are helpful, but they only give us part of the picture. Breeds and body types should be factored in, but I can’t emphasize enough to always consult with your veterinarian for the whole picture of your pet’s health and ideal weight.
All five tabbies are current on their physicals and lab work. None have any physical limitations for exercise, so we will have loads of playtime! As for their diet, they are on a diet that has been reviewed by their veterinarian.
Maggie, Cappuccino, and Latte are all currently at healthy weights for their individual bodies. We hope to keep them in that range.
Marmalade is on the watch list of teetering from healthy to overweight. We aim to at least manage her current weight if not lose a little extra weight.
Ranger is unfortunately overweight. He did not overeat to get to this point. He has been on oral steroids for the better part of his 3 years with us. We knew weight gain was a possible side effect of long term use of steroids, but his physical ailments required the steroids. His healthy weight as an adult cat is around 8.5 to 9 pounds for his small frame. Late last year, I noticed a sudden weight increase in a Ranger. (Thanks to our scale.) He gained over two pounds in 2 months. That does not seem like much until you consider 2 pounds was a quarter of his weight. His veterinarian ran lab work along with an extensive physical to make sure there were no other underlying conditions. Fortunately, Ranger is healthy other than his current diagnosis. Therefore, we made an adjustment to his diet that is lower in carbohydrates, and we now administer steroids through an inhaler which lessons the toll on his body when having to metabolize oral or injected steroids. Increasing his physical activity is a work in progress, but exercise is a crucial part of the equation with him and all of the tabbies.
Each tabby has their own unique needs and it is a juggling act to meet each one where they are at. But, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I look forward to sharing the ups and downs in keeping up with the tabbies weights, and what efforts we make to keep them as healthy as possible. This weight check series is not a diet challenge or competition, but rather to focus on their health and fun ways we find to keep them active. I am realistic that healthy weight loss is not easily attainable in cats, but its worth the effort. Next week, we reveal each tabbies actual weight, their ideal weight, Body Condition Score and CHONK Chart rate.