Friday, November 27, 2015

Looking Better, Butterbean!


About a month ago, I shared that we were putting a new focus on getting Charlene Butterbean to a healthier weight. We had made the switch to Royal Canin Feline Care Nutrition Adult Light dry cat, which helped her lose a pound, and we decided that the next step was to focus on a regular exercise regimen. We spoke with our vet, and proceeded.

The plan was to spend thirty minutes each evening, at a time she’s normally most active, engaging her in play. This proved to be challenging. She would play a little, but keeping her interested and moving the full thirty minutes was difficult. We decided to modify our plan to three ten-minute sessions a day, instead of just one long session, which seemed to work better, given her attention span.

This new focus has brought positive results, and since we began exercising her more, Charlene has lost a hair more than a half pound. In addition to this weight loss, other good things have happened, too. She’s moving better and overall, is much a more active cat, and more engaged. She now climbs to the top tier of her cat tower, which is something she rarely attempted before.

She asks to play, too! She’ll go and sit in the middle of the living room rug, which is one of the spots where we play with her, and cries out until we get out the feather wand or toss her a sparkle ball. I haven’t seen her do this in years! And when we toss those sparkle balls, she’s leaping for them, not just swatting a lazy paw, but really, really going for it.

She’s also playing more on her own! When we wake up or return from an outing, I often find evidence of play. You’ll see her favorite toys dropped by the water dish or left on a rumpled throw rug.

She spends a lot more time playing with Wylla, too, and has no trouble keeping up with her younger, more energetic sister. In the evening, and often after we go to bed, they will chase each other the length of the house and up and down the stairs. Because she’s in better shape now, the play field is much more level, and they take turns “winning” the race. They have great fun together, and they’re even closer than they were before.

It’s been a great bonding experience for us, too. We all look forward to the time we spend together, devoted to play, each day.

I love doing things that make my cat happier and healthier. With this small, daily commitment we made to Charlene’s well-being, I can see big differences already. She suddenly seems younger, and because we’re seeing such great results, we will continue with the Royal Canin Feline Care Nutrition Adult Light diet and our exercise routine.

We have an appointment with our vet next month, and I’m hoping by then Charlene will have lost another half pound, which will get her to our goal weight. I have my finger crossed for a glowing report, and I think we might just get one!

We’re hoping Charlene’s tale will inspire you to help get your cats to their healthiest weight. If you need some help getting started, My Pet Reference has some great articles on weight management for cats, pet weight loss, and encouraging cat activity. Of course, talk to your vet too, so they can guide you down a path that is best for your cat!


  1. Yay! This is great! I have a ten year old kitty who was very overweight, and has lost almost 4 pounds (over the last year and half). She is playing and jumping around and acting more cat-like than since she was a kitten. And, because of this post, I'm going to add 3-10 min. play sessions. Hooray for healthy cats!

  2. I'm so proud of Bean! My beloved Agatha was a plus-sized cat too and it was marvelous seeing her play hard and run againg after loosing a couple of pounds. I wish I had the same perseverance regarding *my* weight loss... ;)

  3. Have not been able to get Iapetus (Petey) or Aegir quite back down to ideal weight (after our year + of household upheaval and long absences due to hubby's 3 surgeries), and they are now 7 and less interested in playing, too.

    But a different kind of solution fell into our laps Monday when someone dumped a baby kitten out here. (Happens a lot, in the country but near a town.) He's a brown tiger, and dark cats do not have good odds of being adopted at the county shelter (whose resources are too limited to be no-kill), so we will keep him if we can get him blended in without spraying starting up. (And will find him a home, if that happens, somehow.) We named him "Erriapus", another moon of Saturn, of course, "Eri" for short.

    He will get the adults to playing harder again, and though I worry some that Petey (the rescue Bengal) will be "too much" for him, as he sometimes is for Aegir (a quiet little Jane Eyre sort of kitty) kittens grow fast and I don't work outside the home, and we'll manage it somehow. (Will use big crates, 1 in the bedroom and 1 in the dining room, when we start bringing Little One out of the bedroom.) And I bet both adults (and both human adults too) will be more active and robust by far as a result. And laugh a lot.

    A new kitten or cat is another/addtional great "diet/enricher", and Lord knows there are so many out there who need a home. We worry about the fact that we are already 65, but we'll handle any re-settling challenges if and when they occur. I guess all this has been a windy way of me saying, yet again, *Adopt! Take in! If you at all can!* I realize that pretty much everyone here already feels that way, but hope to be of help to anyone here, or anyone you know, who may be hesitating.

    Good for Bean! Hoping to see her at least somewhat more in the pictures again soon. She really is living legend! -- from Arowyn

  4. Lisa (mom of Chai, Sophie and Acacia)November 27, 2015 at 2:03 PM

    Aww...that's so awesome that Bean is doing so well and enjoying her little sister more now too. Wylla must be thrilled! That's so good for both of them and their well-being.

    Our very big orange boy, Chai, got a good boost from the kitten exercise program too. Since little Sophie came to us two years ago Chai's been much more active...and happy about it. They sound like a tiny herd of elephants stampeding around the house sometimes, it's hilarious!
    But the biggest difference in his exercise/energy level came when we switched him to raw food about 5 months ago. And at 8.5 years old he's like a new cat, it's been quite something. He's so proud of himself now too, he's very limber and frisky and knows he can move about where he wants and his body will cooperate. He hasn't lost too much weight yet but it's his overall sense of well-being that's so positive. I never would have believed simply switching to raw food would do so much for him if I hadn't seen it for myself.

  5. Wonderful news! Good for you Bean!


  6. Hurrah! Good job Bean! Give your staff a big thank you headbump, too!

  7. Oh goodness, I've got a cat in dire need of slimming, so this was heartening to read.

  8. Maybe I should try chasing sparkle balls to lose weight. ;-) Gail

  9. You've inspired us to get our youngest cat, Magia, into better shape. Like Charlene, better quality food (and less of it), combined with more scheduled playtime, is doing the trick. Her fur looks better, too, because it's more comfortable for her to groom herself properly. Thanks for the nudge!



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