A few months back, the folks at Royal Canin reached out to me to see if I would be interested in partnering with them and creating some content to share on my blog and their website, too. We've been feeding our big cats and foster kittens Royal Canin for years, we're huge fans of their products so, I was thrilled at this notion.
They invited me and a couple of other bloggers to come visit them in St Louis and learn more about their company, their mission, pet nutrition, and their products. It was very interesting and informative and I enjoyed the whole experience.
Today I'm sharing my first post for Royal Canin here on the blog. It will also be shared on their website, My Pet Reference.
Whenever we visit the vet, I always hold my breath as I wait to see the results on the scale during Charlene Butterbean’s weigh-in. It seems each visit we see a few extra ounces on the scale. Our vet is very nice and never scolds us for the gain. She never says Charlene is overweight or chubby, instead, she’ll point at the body condition score chart on the wall which illustrates a range of cats from “underweight” to “obese”. While Charlene is not “obese”, the cat on the chart that her physique most resembles is ranked on the upper end of “overweight”.
About five years ago, Charlene was diagnosed with a condition called Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome. It's also called "rolling skin syndrome" or "twitchy cat disease”. With this condition, whenever she feels stress, the area right above her tail ripples and twitches. Sometimes she’ll spin around and aggressively chew on the fur in that spot, then bolt as if something was chasing her.
At first these episodes were minimal, but once our foster kitten Wylla became a permanent part of our family, they increased in frequency and intensity.
Charlene loved Wylla from the start and seemed to enjoy her companionship, so we didn’t think the cat population increase was causing the stress. Besides Wylla’s presence, the other major change in Charlene’s life at that time was the way that we fed her. Prior to that, she was a very happy free-feeder and had 24/7 access to her dry food. But when Wylla moved in, she had digestive issues, a condition called Megaesophagus, and a diet of only wet food, so we started feeding Charlene “on demand”. If we didn’t respond immediately to her request for a snack, she would start getting twitchy and have one of her episodes.
As Wylla grew, her condition improved and she was eventually able to eat dry food too, so we returned to free-feeding to help reduce Charlene’s stress level. I know free-feeding isn’t the best, feeding the recommended measured amounts each day is a much healthier approach, but at that point, I felt I had to chose between having an anxious cat, or a chubby one, and after seeing how stressed Charlene was when we didn’t free-feed, I chose chubby.
And unfortunately, she got chubbier.
It seemed as though we couldn’t adjust how we fed her, but we could change what we fed her, so we switched her to Royal Canin Light 40 Formula dry food. After a month of this new diet, I noticed that Charlene’s shape had become a little less bulbous. Her activity level began increasing, and she was spending more time chasing her younger, more active sister.
Our next visit to the vet revealed that Charlene had dropped a half pound. Our vet was very happy to see this, as were we. We discussed plans to stay focused on getting Charlene to a healthier weight and have set a goal to have her lose another pound. We will continue with the Royal Canin Light 40 Formula, and work on getting her to be more active and try to incorporate more exercise into each day.
Charlene tends to be most active later in the evening, so we try to exercise her during those hours, usually around 10:00 PM, or so. She has her favorite toy, her feather wand, so we try to engage her with that first. If she grows bored, we’ll move on to another toy and try that for a while.
I try to keep her active for twenty to thirty minutes. Sometimes she’ll play the whole session, sometimes she’ll play just a little. Sometimes she watches me waving the feather wand for a half hour without lifting a paw to bat at it once, but I’m devoted to getting her healthier, so I’m going to keep trying. I want her to feel good. I want her to be her happiest. I want her to live a long life.
I know I’m not the only one with a cat in need of shedding a pound (or two), so I wanted to encourage those of you in a similar position to join us. Please have your vet assess your cat’s current body condition and weight to determine a healthy diet and weight loss plan and we can all work together to reach our goals!
To discover lots of informative articles on pet health, nutrition and care, please pay a visit to My Pet Reference.