Here’s how to enforce a safe & effective diet for the rotund feline.

 

Question:

I have a male cat that weighs 22 pounds.  I have him on lite cat food (Science diet) but he doesn’t lose any weight he just craves more food.  He pushes the other cats out of the way to steal their food.  I’m not sure what the best approach is.  My other cats are all of a healthy weight (four in all).

 

Dr. Nichol:

This boy sounds like Jabba the Hut. If I were you I’d take control or he may start to eye your dinner plate too. He is accustomed to getting everything he wants just by acting pushy. With food rewards for his behavior he is, in effect, taking an aggressiveness training course-and getting an excellent grade.

 

You have made a well intentioned attempt to manage his weight by changing his diet. But the problem is that regardless of the content of his food he is simply eating way too much of it. Cats have a definite survival instinct meaning that more dominant individuals tend eat aggressively. Despite the abundance of cat food in your home his instinct says “One of us in this group may not survive the winter. I will be around next spring”. But if he felt like the only cat in the world at dinner time his instincts would instead say ” Take your time, Humphrey. No need to compete-it’s all yours anyway”.

 

So make each of your pets the only creatures in the universe at feeding time. Give each one his very own bowl with a carefully measured amount of food. Feed each pet in a separate, isolated place with the door closed. All of them are fed at the same time but they must not be allowed to see nor hear each other while eating. As soon as each pet has walked away from his or her bowl you pick up the bowls-finished or not. Your pets are allowed to commingle only when there is no food available. You feel pretty good now don’t you? You’re in charge. No more will you be controlled by a 22 pound cat. Or will you?

 

Fat Humphrey is accustomed to getting what her wants. He’s not going to fold quietly. He will make your life a living heck if he doesn’t get a large volume of food. Rather than just lite food you need a bulky diet for Humphrey so he feels like he has REALLY eaten something. I say get serious. Ask your veterinarian for prescription diet r/d. R/d is substantially lower in fat and higher in fiber than regular diets. Feed Humphrey one quarter to one third cup twice daily-ISOLATED. Now take charge.