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Our Fat Pets: Sixty percent of cats tip the scales at unhealthy weights [tr]
NY Times ^ | August 2, 2018 | Susan Jenks

Posted on 08/02/2018 6:36:24 AM PDT by C19fan

Like most cats, Max had a swagger in his walk. But because he was slightly overweight, the 15-year-old Maine coon began having trouble “jumping up on things,” his owner says, the extra pounds worsening his arthritis.

So his owner, Jaime Wilson, decided her pet needed to go on a diet — barely two tablespoons of dry food in the morning and again at night, along with a larger portion of canned wet food once a day and a supervised exercise program that included treadmill work and running through stationary poles.

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Pets/Animals
KEYWORDS: cats; dogs; obesity
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Hard to say no when the pet is giving you the sad look.
1 posted on 08/02/2018 6:36:24 AM PDT by C19fan
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To: C19fan
Yeah, you just try to get a cat on an exercise program. Much less a Maine Coon.
2 posted on 08/02/2018 6:48:10 AM PDT by Noumenon (When all liberals have is a hammer, every problem is a nail in YOUR coffin.)
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To: Noumenon

We have a Maine Coon and he’s the most,loving cat we’ve ever had...until he’s pissed...I think if he wanted to he could take a finger


3 posted on 08/02/2018 7:01:52 AM PDT by BubbaJunebug
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To: Noumenon

That’s it. I’m opening a cat gym.. There’s a need and a market. I’m going to get in early. Sky is the limit. We’ll have personalized trainers (wearing protective gear of course), a room where cats can chase laser pointer lights, a an obstacle course with the fat cats motivated by the sound of an electric can opener, etc..


4 posted on 08/02/2018 7:05:52 AM PDT by neverevergiveup
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To: C19fan

we dont call him ‘Chubbster’ for nothing ..


5 posted on 08/02/2018 7:12:13 AM PDT by ▀udda▀udd ((>> M A G A << "What the hell kind of country is this if I can only hate a man if he's white?")
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To: C19fan

I had a cat I loved dearly. I rescued her from a dumpster when she was about 3 days old. She was my buddy, followed me everywhere. She was never over 9 pounds her entire life and got regular vet checkups. I fed her the best dry and canned food I could afford. Then one day last December she suddenly became deathly sick. A week later she died of cardiomyopathy. It was a total shock because she seemed completely healthy up until then. She was only 11, middle age for a cat. So fat or thin, just love them as long as you can.


6 posted on 08/02/2018 7:16:06 AM PDT by Avalon Memories ( Proud Deplorable. Proud born-in-the-USA American Dreamer.)
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To: neverevergiveup

That’s the ticket. You clearly understand what motivates these critters.


7 posted on 08/02/2018 7:25:56 AM PDT by Noumenon (When all liberals have is a hammer, every problem is a nail in YOUR coffin.)
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To: BubbaJunebug

I lost my dear old Maine Coon tabby girl Olivia this last April. She was 13. Fine one day,and she suddenly went downhill in the space of 24 hours. She was a big girl - 19 lbs. She is sorely missed.


8 posted on 08/02/2018 7:28:52 AM PDT by Noumenon (When all liberals have is a hammer, every problem is a nail in YOUR coffin.)
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To: C19fan

Our vet points out our 8 yr old cat “Boo” to her techs as how a healthy cat should look...we’ve always fed him grain free, moist food..except small amount of quality kibble. Hes “sleek” ...Hoping to keep vet bills down...we’ll see.


9 posted on 08/02/2018 7:34:27 AM PDT by goodnesswins (White Privilege EQUALS Self Control & working 50-80 hrs/wk for 40 years!)
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To: C19fan

That’s my cat. And I have no idea who is feeding her that she’s gotten so fat. I think she’s sneaking to the supermarket behind my back.


10 posted on 08/02/2018 7:35:45 AM PDT by dfwgator (Endut! Hoch Hech!)
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To: C19fan

Just gotta get them (the kitties, at least) onto a paleo diet. Take the grains out of their canned and dry food and a few junk food treats won’t do any real damage.

Doesn’t have to be that expensive either. A nongrain dry food is a bit more, but much of the supermarket pate cans (e.g., Fancy Feast or Friskies) is generally grain-free.


11 posted on 08/02/2018 7:38:01 AM PDT by 9YearLurker
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To: C19fan

We can’t control our cat.. he does hat he wants. We put him on a diet and he’s just going to hunt for something extra to eat.. he lives a cat’s dream life.


12 posted on 08/02/2018 7:42:59 AM PDT by pnz1 (#IMNOTWITHHER)
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To: C19fan
Our Fat Pets: Sixty percent of cats tip the scales at unhealthy weights
a supervised exercise program that included treadmill work and running through stationary poles.

Treadmill? running through stationary poles?

Shirley, you jest!

I have a 6-pound tuxedo and a permanent scar on my left hand from trying to make her do something she didn't want to do.
If she ever weighed 12 pounds I would have to have "urgent care" on speed dial and get additional health insurance.

Otherwise she's a one person lap kitty, affectionate, but very independent.

Originally a semi-feral porch cat, she is now an indoor cat, totally indifferent to exercise.

But I have total control of her food. Heh. and she can't overeat. Every time she tries, she barfs.

13 posted on 08/02/2018 8:09:32 AM PDT by publius911 (Rule by Fiat-Obama's a Phone and a Pen)
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To: publius911

We’ve tried everything possible to get the weight off of my female Maine Coon. Nothing works, so we just let her waddle happily along.


14 posted on 08/02/2018 8:40:16 AM PDT by freepertoo
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To: C19fan

it’s because almost all commercial cat food is garbage ... cats are obligate carnivores and should have a zero carb diet ... we’ve been forced to make our own cat food because we care as much about our cats’ nutrition as our own ... both of our cats are 18 years old now, have beautiful coats, and are healthy, energetic and happy ... the vet told us that the bloodwork showed that our girl cat has the numbers of teenager on a recent vet trip for some tooth work ...


15 posted on 08/02/2018 8:58:51 AM PDT by catnipman ((Cat Nipman: Vote Republican in 2012 and only be called racist one more time!))
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To: catnipman

Do you add in any vitamin supplements to your homemade cat food?
I’ve considered feeding both my dog and my cat homemade food but read somewhere that dog food has additional supplements that I would have to buy separately and add if I were to start feeding him homemade food.
I figured it was the same for cats.
Of course this always could have been a ploy to sell dog nutritional supplements...


16 posted on 08/02/2018 10:06:07 AM PDT by StandMixerBetty
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To: BubbaJunebug

We have a rescue Maine Coon male and he has lots of fur but as male cats go he is on the skinny side. That being said my wife’s female Calico’s nickname is Largel. She’s a big kitty! Funny thing is both have been fixed but the Maine Coon and the Calico brawl and the Maine Coon usually wins their pitiful fake fights I call them despite the fact Largel could knock him down and crush him easily.


17 posted on 08/02/2018 10:46:46 AM PDT by sarge83
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To: StandMixerBetty

Dog nutrition is different from cat nutrition, but here’s my current cat food recipe:

Cat Food Recipe & Home Processing Instructions

Updated August 2018

RECIPE

Ingredients

~42 lbs chicken thighs (skin, bone and all)
~8 lbs chicken hearts (organic or “natural”)
~6 lbs chicken livers (organic or “natural”)

120 gms salmon oil (60 x 2 gm capsules) (Pure Alaska Omega)
16 x 400 IU Vitamin E (also Jarrow E-400 “dry E” works well)
16 gm Taurine (16 x 1 gm capsules) (Jarrow)
1600 mg Vitamin B complex (4 Jarrow B-Right capsules)
32 capsules Nutricology ImmoPlex Glandular
8 Thorne Trace Minerals capsules
3 Solaray 2 mg copper capsules (or other chelated copper)
1/3 cup Lite salt (50/50 sodium/potassium chloride with iodine)
1 1/2 cup whole husk Psyllium powder (Organic India Fiber Harmony)

This recipe is based on recipes by Lisa A. Pierson, DVM, “Anne” at http://www.catnutrition.org, and http://www.tcfeline.com. The amount of trace minerals I used was calculated based on a total weight of 864 ounces for this recipe, and assuming an average cat eats about 5 ounces of this food a day, and that an average cat’s trace mineral needs are 1/20th the needs of a human based on the average weight ratio of the two. As it turns out, these assumptions are consistent with the amounts of the other supplements specified in the Pierson source recipes for the other supplements. I’ve more than doubled the Salmon oil from those recipes, increased the Psyllium husk powder, and also left out the egg, because I believe that egg can be an allergen for many cats: it’s not something that they eat that much of in the wild, and I’ve never had a cat that voluntarily ate eggs.

High quality brands besides the ones listed above can be used, but make sure that everything is Xylitol-free because Xylitol is VERY poisonous to cats (and dogs). DO make sure to use an organic bulk Psyllium husk powder free from artificial flavors and sweeteners. Also, do NOT use flavored fish oils as they often contain Xylitol, and the lemon and orange oils added to many flavored products is not particularly healthy for cats as well. Good sources for supplements are https://www.swansonvitamins.com/, http://www.iherb.com/, and http://www.amazon.com. Be sure to google for coupons before buying anything, particularly swansonvitamins, (and northerntool.com when buying equipment).

I buy my chicken thighs from Costco, but found that sources for high-quality (organic or near-organic) chicken livers and hearts are few and far between.

Processing

Supplement Preparation

I first process dry capsules by chopping them up in one of those little “whirlybird” coffee grinders and then separating the capsule contents from the capsule fragments by shaking everything in one of those screen-type kitchen strainers that have a handle. This chopping method takes just a couple of minutes to process a large number of capsules, and I use the screen because I don’t want a lot of gelatin capsule material in the cat food. After grinding and screening the capsules, I mix all the dry ingredients together in a small bowl, including the Lite salt and Psyllium.

Oil-containing gelatin caplets can be placed in a ramekin (or other small dish), covered with a small amount of water, and then heated in a microwave oven for 45-60 seconds or so, or long enough to melt the gelatin capsules enough to free the oil and let it float to the top. Stirring after heating helps the process of separation. The ramekin can then be placed in a freezer so the water and gelatin on the bottom freeze and the oil on top solidifies, which makes the hardened oil easy to scrape out.

Equipment Setup

Before grinding and mixing, it’s best to first cover counters and the floor with one or two large inexpensive, disposable plastic drop cloths to aid in later cleanup (https://www.lowes.com/pd/Frost-King-5-Pack-Plastic-Drop-Cloth-Common-9-ft-x-12-ft-Actual-9-ft-x-12-Feet/50290531). It’s also handy to drape a small disposable drop cloth or large garbage bag over the entire grinder, punching a whole in it for the throat and taping the drop cloth around the throat to keep the grinder clean. Pre-squirting the countertops with a light mist of water before covering will help the plastic to stick and prevent sliding off. Also, putting some scrap cardboard over the plastic on the floor helps to keeps your feet from sticking to the plastic and/or slipping on the plastic.

I also first wipe down most of the equipment and containers with vegetable oil to help prevent chicken fat from clinging so stubbornly to everything, which aids in later cleanup. I wipe down the insides of the stock pot, insides of the stuffer and stuffer piston, the grinder food pan, mixing spoon and mixing bit.

I use a LEM #22 1 HP Model 781 Grinder Kit with a #22 3mm (1/8”) grinding plate bought separately, since it’s not part of the standard LEM grinder kit. I bought my LEM 781 grinder from the least expensive vendor I could find at the time (almost never LEM themselves) and the 3mm plate from http://www.butcher-baker.com/servlet/the-1892/%2322-x-1-fdsh-8%22-holes/Detail.

I use a 22 quart stainless stock pot to receive the ground material, setting the grinder up off the floor on whatever is strong and handy and the right height to get the stock pot under the grinder head. Sitting on a low chair or stool next to the grinder while grinding gives good leverage without undue back strain. Just be sure to cover the chair (and grinder) with large disposable plastic bags. (BTW, a stock pot even bigger than 22 quarts would be better because 22 quarts is just barely big enough for this recipe.)

Grinding

I first drain the juice from the hearts and livers via a colander into the big stock pot, otherwise the juice will leak out of the back of the grinder head. I then grind the hearts and livers first, adding all of the supplements directly into the pot and thoroughly mix all of that together. The thighs are ground next; bigger thighs will have to be sliced in half parallel to the bone to fit down the grinder chute. Also, note that the hearts and livers (and the thighs for that matter) grind much better if partially frozen. It also works best to pre-slice all the thighs or have one person slicing while another person is feeding the grinder. As the thighs are ground, it’s helpful to occasionally stir the whole mixture in the stock pot with a large mixing spoon or paddle, as this will make the final mixing much easier. As the pot fills, the hand mixing eventually becomes overly difficult, but don’t worry because a final mixing with an electric mixer will complete the mixing.

Once grinding has finished, you can disassemble the grinder head to scrape out the last material. There’ll be some polished, pebble-sized bone fragments piled up behind the grinder plate, and you can discard the larger ones if you like. (When you clean the grinder plate, you’ll also find a few of the grinder plate holes clogged with bone fragments, which can be poked out with a flat-headed toothpick or nail.)

Mixing

After grinding, I mix everything with a ½” power drill (from Harbor Freight) and a nickel-plated, hex-shank mixing paddle (stainless would be better but costs more). You can find a high-quality mixing paddle with a hex shank at: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=hex+shank+mixing

Mixing is arduous, even with a big power drill, and quite a bit of shifting the bit around when mixing is necessary to get material at the bottom of the pot to mix with the material at the top of the pot, but it is very important to make sure everything is completely mixed. A ½” power drill is VERY noisy, so I use ear protection when I mix. I think it takes me about 3-4 minutes to get a satisfactory mix. BTW, the grinder itself also makes a very loud high-pitched sound, so I use ear protection when I grind as well.

Stuffing

Next, I use a Kitchener 15-lb. Stainless Steel Sausage Stuffer (northerntool.com had the best deal at the time I bought mine: http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200425065_200425065.)

I use the stuffer to stuff white unprinted 1 Lb Chub Bags (1000-quantity purchased from http://store.butchersupply.net/white-unprinted-freezer-chub-bag-p2770.aspx because they had the best deal.)

Each stuffer-load of the 15-lb stuffer will stuff about 8-9 bags, and the stuffer will have to be filled about 4-5 times for the amount of cat food made from this recipe. It basically takes two people to operate the stuffer: one to very slowly turn the stuffer handle and one to handle the bag being filled and tell the stuffer operator when to start and stop. Stuffing is by far the most difficult part of the whole process, and it takes a while to develop the knack for filling the bags just the right amount, while at the same time expressing all the air as filling takes place.

I use a Poly Bag Tape Machine to tie off the filled bag ends after they are first twisted shut by hand. Don’t overfill the bags or they will be very difficult to tie off.

The tape machine can be pretty temperamental, and in particular, will not function if the tape gets wet at the business end and/or if the twisted bag ends are wet or covered with slimy cat food, because the machine relies on the friction of the twisted bag end against the tape to pull the tape down into the tying part of the machine. If the tape machine stops working that’s why, and you may have to rethread it and/or use the machine to tie a piece of dry twisted paper towel a couple of times to get it going again. As a consequence, it’s important for the bag-handler to keep the bag ends and their hands relatively clean and dry, which sometimes amounts to rinsing and drying hands after each bag is filled, so keep a few paper towels handy for that. (Here’s one place to buy the tape machine:
http://www.lemproducts.com/product/poly-bag-tape-machine/meat-bags-tape.)

Finally, as bags are filled, they should be placed in a freezer. We usually carry bags to the freezer after each stuffer-load is finished: one person loads the freezer, while the other person reloads the stuffer.

CLEANUP

The grinder head and the stuffer come completely apart for cleaning, including the pressure relief valve on the stuffer plunger. Be sure not to lose the pressure relief valve nut or the grinder head auger-sealing washer as these are small parts that are easy to lose. I thoroughly scrub off ALL the ground chicken from everything, poke any stuck bones out of the grinder plate with a toothpick or nail and then put most of the parts in the dishwasher for sanitizing. I don’t put the stuffer piston in the dishwasher because of its rubber seal, so I wash that by hand in soapy water. Generally, everything will fit except the stock pot and the stuffer frame, but the stuffer frame just gets wiped down anyway and the working parts sprayed with a food-grade silicone spray to prevent rusting.

After equipment and kitchen cleanup, it will be time for YOU to clean up, and trust me, you’re going to be pretty icky! Strip down, toss whatever (old) clothing you wore into the washing machine, and then hop right into the shower. Ground chicken is VERY sticky, so you’ll probably have to scrub some areas pretty hard. Oh, and the bottoms of your shoes are going to need to be washed off as well before you walk around outside of the plastic on the kitchen floor.

FEEDING

To prepare a chub of frozen cat food, I first slit and peel off the chub bag while still frozen, and then thaw, and then cook the food in a microwave, mixing in one half of a 15 oz. can of pumpkin after thawing but before final cooking. Right after cooking, I mix in a handful of ice, which accelerates cooling and adds additional moisture, which also helps to keep your cats from becoming dehydrated, and in particular, ample liquid is really good for the feline urinary tracts of male cats.

Adding pumpkin is important because it helps prevent constipation and emulsifies the chicken fat. I mix in the pumpkin after the food is thawed but not yet cooked, because that way the pumpkin integrates into the food much better than just mixing it in after the food is fully cooked. Cooking the pumpkin with the food in this fashion will emulsify the chicken fat and prevent it from rising to the top and congealing after cooking. Note that the pumpkin must be thoroughly mixed with the uncooked food to maximize emulsification and make the food optimally palatable. (BTW, the reason I don’t just mix the pumpkin in when making the food in the first place is because that would greatly increase the amount of freezer space required for a batch of pre-mixed food, requiring a bigger freezer and a MUCH bigger stock pot.)

I personally don’t do “raw” feeding for three reasons. First, raw chicken is ALWAYS contaminated to a lesser or a greater degree with Salmonella (sometimes heavily), and I want to be able to leave the food out overnight on a plate, and there is no way I would do that with uncooked food. Second, studies have shown that humans absorb and utilize cooked protein better than raw protein, so I don’t see why we can’t provide that same benefit to our cats. Third, my cats don’t like raw food: they’re spoiled and prefer the flavor of cooked food.

After cooling the cooked food, I refrigerate it and then serve small meals on demand during the day and leave ample food out at night so the cats don’t wake us up when we’re asleep. One package lasts about 1.5 days for two cats.

Finally, obviously smaller batches can be made, but you’ll find that the setup and cleanup time make up well over half of the entire process regardless of the size of the batch you make. For example, you’ll notice that the grinding part itself will take only about 15 minutes.

Two of us working together for about 3-4 hours can make the above batch of food, including setup, processing, tear down, and cleanup, although it did take us a few batches to get this efficient. We make about four batches of cat food every year, which means each of our two cats eats about 108 pounds of our cat food each year (not counting the added pumpkin or ice).

We started this endeavor because our boy cat became allergic to ingredients in commercial cat food, even though we were feeding him what we thought was pretty high-quality canned cat food that contained no grains or byproducts, etc., but he started vomiting and losing weight after a few years, so we had to do something. Also, his sister had gained weight and was extremely sluggish. As soon as we started feeding our cats our homemade cat food, remarkably good things started happening: the boy cat quit vomiting, gained weight and became VERY energetic and engaging, and the girl cat slimmed right down to a normal weight and she too became energetic and engaging. Both cats have now been eating our homemade cat food for many years and show few signs of slowing down, even though they are both over 18 years old. Our vet said our girl cat had the blood work of a 3-year old when we took her in recently for some dental work.

We find the above effort a small price to pay to enjoy having healthy, happy and energetic cats even as they head into seniorhood.


18 posted on 08/02/2018 11:46:45 AM PDT by catnipman ((Cat Nipman: Vote Republican in 2012 and only be called racist one more time!))
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To: 9YearLurker

Cats are obligate carnivores. They need a protein based diet. Unfortunately a lot of less expensive cat foods are laden with carbs.


19 posted on 08/02/2018 11:50:49 AM PDT by mewzilla (Has the FBI been spying on members of Congress?)
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To: C19fan

The American Pet Products Association found that pet owners spend around 60+ billion on pets. In the US, the poorest people are the most likely to be obese. So I am wondering if the poorest people’s pets are also the most likely to be obese?

Freegards


20 posted on 08/02/2018 11:53:13 AM PDT by Ransomed
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