It’s true. While our big boy has a long weight-loss journey ahead of him still, we’re happy to report that he is steadily dropping pounds! While this is great news for Sponge’s health both long and short term (it’s amazing watching him get his swagger back), we still need to be careful.
We’ve done a ton of research on the health risks associated with feline obesity and subsequently getting a cat to lose weight. What Animal Haven and our vet had both warned us about is the danger of Sponge losing weight too quickly.
Obese cats that lose weight at too rapid a pace are at risk for Fatty Liver Disease, which requires serious treatment and can be fatal. When trying to help a cat lose weight, it’s important to monitor their weight and exercise levels regularly and look for any signs of discomfort, stress or illness (the first symptom of Fatty Liver Disease is usually vomiting.)
We’ve had a concern that Sponge is losing weight faster than planned. Our goal was to help him lose about 1-2 pounds a month. Given he’s been weighed on three different scales (at the shelter, at the vet, and at home) and has not shown any behavior that’s of concern (he’s truly one happy, snuggly fur ball), our vet says we’re on the right track.
The first week at home he really didn’t eat very much, which surprised us. Our vet Dr. Lai said he’s just recovering from the stress of all the media attention, settling in and adjusting to his new life. At her advice, we spent that next week trying different foods to see what he was most interested in and worked to establish a feeding pattern that made sense for both him and us. Because he was losing weight faster than anticipated, we stopped trying to push the “super healthy” diet cat food on him, and instead let him eat what he likes most, Trader Joe’s wet food (only 69 cents!)
We also haven’t attempted any real exercise for him yet. Just by living in our apartment he has a ton more room to run around than he did at the shelter, and we play with him a lot to get him moving. It’s also worth mentioning he follows us around from room to room - he definitely loves being a part of this family.
So, the hard numbers:
- When we brought Sponge home from Animal Haven he weighed 30 lb. on their scale.
- A week later, the vet weighed him at 28 lb.
- A week later he weighed 26 lb. on our scale at home.
We’re doing what we can to slow down his weight loss (never thought we’d have to say that) and we’ll be checking back in with the vet this week to run a blood test and make sure there are no danger signs. The truth is, he just doesn’t schkoff food like we thought he would.
That said, we can tell he loves being a little lighter. Every day he’s trying to jump on higher pieces of furniture (first step- ottoman, next step- couch), has a bit more energy and moves his legs a little easier. No more stiff, bloaty, hobbling kitty. We’re making real progress here.
If anyone has any advice for us going forward, please send us a message!