Fat Cats! PLEASE PLEASE READ THIS ALL
I feel it I necessary to remind owners that Egyptian Maus and most cat breeds are “Easy Keepers” (require very little food) as they have evolved as street and feral cats and can live on almost anything. As a result it is very easy for loving, over indulgent owners to create “Fat Cats”.
All “Fat Cats” of any breed are at risk for a myriad of horrible health conditions. Just like people can they develop type 2 diabetes, arthritis, fatty liver issues, and accelerated renal failure. A fat cat just like a person is a cat that is 20% or more overweight. That is, if your cat should weigh 8 pounds but weighs 10 it is almost 25% over weight and subject to all the above health issues. More often I hear from owners who’s 8 pound cat weighs 12 pounds (50%) over weight or even more, 16 pounds (100%) over weight. Just think, if your ideal weight is 150 pounds but you weigh 225 how much of an impact that would have on your health or worse still if you weighed 300 pounds!! Now being a rather portly woman myself, I can attest to what it has cost me and my health. As I type this I am recovering from double knee replacement. That joint damage was my own fault and I know it is self inflicted. It is, however, unfair to allow your cat to suffer from an issue that you as an owner can control and prevent entirely.
Don’t let your cat get fat or, if he/she already is, put him/her on a diet and get it under control before your cat suffers. It is impossible to explain to your beloved pet that the pain they feel in their joints could have been prevented by a healthy diet. Worse still is having inject your best friend with insulin because you allowed them to destroy their pancreas and they can no longer produce enough insulin.
Fat cats die from diabetes, fatty liver disease and pancreatitis. They suffer long painful years with badly worn out joints and slow kidney failure. Fatty liver disease is especially insidious as when the cat’s owner finally decides to put Fluffy on a diet and Fluffy stops eating because they do not like their new food, they rapidly go into liver failure and die in just a few days. Crash diets also kill fat cats. If you put your cat on a diet you must be sure that your fat cat continues to consume a basic level of calories or you could lose your cat in as few as 3 days. Be sure to consult your veterinarian about how to institute an appropriate diet. Never let your fat cat go more then 2 to 3 days without eating!
Most commercial cat foods are full of fillers which generally are carbohydrates. Don’t necessarily accept the idea that grain free is better since, in lieu of grain, the food is full of cranberries and sweet potatoes etc. Cats are obligate carnivores; which simply means that they evolved to eat meat and animal body parts only! Commercial foods are designed to in some ways mimic a natural diet by way of processing meat, meat by products and various additives but there is no easy replacement for whole prey (raw dead animals). Because processed meat results in small quantities, (volume) of food, most foods have added carbohydrates for necessary nutrients but also to make a bored cat feel full. That sleepy fat cat on your couch is not how it was evolved to be. Natural cats generally sleep up to 20 hours a day and then spend the other 4 hours hunting for their food. That is 4 hours of serious activity, not walking from their bowl to the bed, to the couch, to the counter top. If your cat does not get 4 hours of activity a day (almost none do) then you need to adjust their diet. There are low carb, higher protein diets available that, if fed in appropriate qualities, can give your cat a healthy diet and insure a long and healthy life. If you are willing to put in a little extra effort, feeding a raw diet is not as complicated as many believe.
Feeding raw is not just dumping a chicken thigh is Fuffy’s bowl! Since cats eat whole prey they are unable to create all the nutrients and minerals they need. Many of the amino acids that cats must have to live cannot be synthesized in the cat’s body and must be consumed in their diet. Taurine is found in the blood of their prey, many other nutrients are found in the partially digested gut content of their prey, calcium comes from eating whole bones, etc. There are excellent supplements available that, when added to raw meat, make a complete diet without adding unnecessary carbs that simply fatten your cat. It is not necessary to grind raw meat or bone. On the contrary most cats prefer to chew their food which means chunks of meat or meat with bone are accepted well and help to keep their teeth clean too. Supplements are simply sprinkled on their meat! Some cats require a slow introduction to raw or lower carbohydrates diets but with a little effort your fat cat can be transitioned to a healthy diet.
Many are concerned with raw being a vector of bacteria like listeria or salmonella. Cats have a very acidic gut so they can eat lots of bacteria that would make people very, very ill with no problem. If they are healthy and not immune compromised, they often eat carrion (dead stuff) in the wild. If your cat is permitted to go outside unattended, which we discourage strongly, you can bet they eat really yuck stuff everyday! Most pet food recalls for these type of bacterial contamination are because people handle cat food and people can get sick, not the cats. Feeding raw does mean you need to exercise good hygiene for your own protection. Not just in the handling of the meat, but also in the feces as raw fed cats can shed more virulent bacteria in their feces.
In summation, if you love your cat don’t, kill them with kindness. Play with your cat, don’t just feed them. You can control what your cat eats. Exercise good judgment. Cats can’t open cans and over eat without your complicity. Don’t be complicit in your cat’s early demise. Don’t have to explain to your cat why you have to take blood samples and inject them with insulin. Don’t have to stuff pain killers down their throat for those over used, arthritic joints. Don’t deliver your cat every couple of days for fluids as their kidneys fail at an early age. Don’t have to visit in the veterinary hospital as your cat hovers between life and death with fatty liver disease. A proper diet for your pet is easily attained and, although you may think they will resent you not over feeding, they will be happier and healthy for it!