At the start of the year, I made a pledge to my rescue cat Zak. IAMS had launched their Pet Pledge initiative, encouraging pet owners to make promises to their furry friends. I shared the story of my rescue cat Zak, a gorgeously fluffy and very large ginger tom.
He’s had his share of difficulties. For the first seven years of his life, he was kept inside in a cage. This has caused him up to have lots of unusual behaviours and anxieties, one of which revolves around food. Because of this, he’s had a weight problem for a long time. He had lost a lot of weight after being kept at The Blue Cross for six months before he could be rehomed, due to stress and illness. It took him down to 7.5kg, which sounds enormous but he is a huge cat. He’s long as well as tall.
Since he started living with me four years ago, he put on weight. It took us a lot of time to find food to suit his delicate constitution that was also a diet food. He’s been on a diet with measured portions for a long time, but it never seems enough for him and he steadily put on weight, gaining over 2kg over those years.
Part of my IAMS Pet Pledge was to ensure that Zak’s diet is adhered to. He’s not found this easy, because he gets very needy when it comes to food. If his bowl is empty, it seems to trigger anxiety for him and he can’t settle. What I decided to do was take him to the vet for her advice and a weigh-in. He had a general check up and we were so pleased to learn that he is very healthy, apart from his weight. Fortunately he has actually lost weight since his last weigh-in a year ago, but only 400g. It’s still weight loss which is good, but it isn’t happening very fast. I explained that he has been on a weight loss diet for a long time, with measured portions.
The vet thought that his early years of stagnation in a cage may have stunted his metabolism somehow, meaning he will always find it hard to lose weight.
On consultation with the vet, we put a plan in place to reduce Zak’s portions ever-so-slightly more. He is also due to attend a monthly weight loss clinic at the vet. This is a free service most vets run. I won’t lie…it has been hard reducing his food even more because he really seems like he’s hungry a lot. It could just be his anxiety over an empty bowl, of course, combined with boredom. He doesn’t like to go outside in the garden at this time of year. However I’m glad we have started on this, and it seems to have become easier over the past few week or so.
Another part of the pledge I made was to ensure Zak still receives his daily probiotics and joint supplement. I’m pleased to say this has helped him to remain as healthy as he is. It also reduces any pain from his arthritis.
I also pledged to ensure Zak has a lot of play time. I have been dedicating time every day to ensure he exercises more with his toys (and a piece of string) to keep him moving and burn more calories.
The Future For Zak
I’m really looking forward to seeing what effect these changes are going to have for Zak in 2018. Hopefully he will gradually slim down. Like people, a healthy weight is vital for cats particularly as they get older. With the reduced portions and help from the weight loss clinic, plus regular play times, we can make sure he stays perfectly healthy for many years to come.
Did you make a pledge for the IAMS Pet Pledge initiative? I would love to know what it was, or any pet care tips you can share. There’s still plenty of time to sign up and make a pledge. Visit the IAMS Pet Pledge site to make your pledge to your pet today.
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