As they chatted, they revealed that they had a love for hard to adopt, special needs cats. (Don't you just love seeing folks like that walk through the door?) The cat they had recently lost had been a hefty lad, weighing in at over 30 pounds. They had worked diligently to help him shed the pounds.
Then they mentioned how they lost him: they said he "had developed liver and kidney disease".
Warning bells went off in my head.
|photo courtesy Chika Watanabe, flickr |
licensed under Creative Commons 2.0
Weight loss in cats should always, always be slow and gradual.
A cat's body is extremely efficient. When it receives the signal that it isn't getting the same amount of nutrition it's been used to getting, as is the case in a diet situation, a cat's body will switch over to using stored fat for energy.
Sounds great in theory - isn't that what we all want our bodies to do? The problem is, cats aren't build to withstand this.
Cats are Obligate Carnivores, which means they need protein, not fat, to survive. When they switch over to burning all that stored fat, kitty's system automatically binds that fat to available protein to process it. But since the cat's not eating and taking in protein, the protein is limited. As it passes through the liver, that's when all that fat that's being "burned" begins to gum up the works.
The fat gets trapped in the liver and the liver, in turn, begins to fail. It's a condition called hepatic lipidosis, or fatty liver disease, and it is frequently fatal.
Feline obesity is epidemic. A 2011 study by APOP (Americans for Pet Obesity Prevention) indicated that over 50% of all domestic cats are overweight. And watching your kitty's weight is a good thing, if done properly. Getting your cat to his proper weight will help prevent certain diseases, like diabetes. Overweight kitties often have trouble grooming themselves, and their coats can suffer as a result. All that extra weight isn't good on the joints, either, and can often cause arthritic conditions. And all that fat internally pressing on organs can be a problem - it can affect the lungs and heart, even help cause constipation.
But that weight must come off very gradually. If your kitty is "pleasantly plump," check with your vet on the best advised rate of weight loss. Recent studies indicate that a high protein, low carb "Kitty Atkins" diet is very good for your kitty. Translated, that means grain free. This makes sense, since that's the way cats are built: their intestines are much shorter than ours and as such, they aren't able to fully digest plant-based materials and get the nutrients out of them. In other words, they need meat to thrive. And a meat-based, grain free diet will help regulate their blood sugar levels and provide a safe way for them to shed those pounds.
|Boris vs. Da Bird (courtesy BorisKitty.com)|
What makes this wand toy so irresistible is first, that it uses real bird feathers, so that prey scent is front and center! But what seems to really trip a kitty's trigger is the unique way in which it's attached, to create a fluttering effect.
It looks as if the feathers are attached to the string with a fishing lure type of attachment that allows the feathers to spin freely. When you swish Da Bird in the air, unlike other wand toys of its type, this thing appears to flutter and fly.
And I haven't seen a cat yet who hasn't gone bonkers over it!
As Boris Kitty declares, "Da Bird is Da Word!"
We were not in any way compensated for our mention of Da Bird. It's just that good a cat toy!