Dear Petlvr Mailbag …
I’ve got two questions…
Why does my cat insist on tearing up every piece of paper lying around on the floor? He’s 3, far from being a kitty.
Also he is chunky. We got him that way, and have since only fed him what he needs, nothing more, yet he isn’t losing weight. What can I do to help him lose weight? Hes a strictly indoor cat since he is declawed. So I wouldn’t feel great about him being outside.
Dang.. one more. What kind of cat would be best for him in our home? We’re thinking a kitten will keep him running around and busy, perhaps shed some weight too.
First things first: Cats are playful for life. That’s one of the reasons people love them so much! Even after kittenhood is long gone, every cat has favorite toys. My cat, Monster, will be one year old in October, and loves to chew on cardboard boxes. She also sometimes gnaws lampshades, which is significantly more troublesome. If your cat enjoys shredding paper, you can use that to your advantage in addressing his weight problem.
How about tying a piece of crumpled paper to a string and dragging it across the floor to encourage your cat to exercise? If he doesn’t have one already, buy a cardboard scratch pad. The paperlike texture will be fun for him to scratch and will also help him stretch and exercise the muscles and tendons in his front legs.
As for nutrition, I presume you’re feeding a dry food, like most cat owners do. If that’s the case, a good weight loss program might be to attempt to transition your cat to a raw diet. That topic is a hefty one and much too big for a single blog post, but Feline Instincts is a good place to start looking for information on raw cat food. Often, cats can’t lose weight because the carbohydrates in commercial cat food cause weight gain and maintenance. Cats essentially are designed for the Atkins Diet, and even the best commercial dry cat food includes carbs. It’s impossible to make kibble without some source of starch to hold the pieces together.
If raw’s not an option for you, a high-quality canned food that’s grain-free, like Innova Evo or Wellness Core, might help your kitty lose weight. If you feed canned, you’ll need to brush the cat’s teeth. Raw meat cleans the teeth naturally, but canned food does not. As an extra bonus, with either a raw or a canned diet you’ll decrease your cat’s risk of kidney disease by adding extra moisture to his diet.
Finally, adding another cat to the household is a good idea. Cats that have a feline companion live longer and maintain a healthier weight. Your best bet will be to adopt not a tiny kitten, but a half-grown kitty of about six or eight months. Most adult cats adjust best to a new companion of the opposite sex. For you, of course, that would be a female cat. Check the local shelters for a fully vaccinated, spayed female, about six months old, and raised around other cats. Breed and color don’t matter. Introduce them slowly, and they’ll be good friends before you know it!
If you have a pet related question that you would like Jelena Woehr to answer here in our “PetLvr Mailbag” series … send your question to jelena (at) PetLvr (dot) com