The episode of My Cat From Hell (7:00 p.m. Saturday, Animal Planet) spoke volumes about the issue of cat obesity. One segment focused on Elvis, a cat weighing in at 21 pounds.
When Jackson Galaxy (star of the show) arrived, he was amazed at Elvis’ size and especially his diet. Elvis ate doughnuts, potato chips and various other human junk food items. Jackson offered toys, cat treats, anything to get Elvis inspired to move, nothing worked.
In talking with the family, they were concerned because of Elvis’ size. One member of the family, also extremely overweight, was worried about possible health issues with Elvis, but interestingly wasn’t showing the same concern for those same health problems in herself.
The first order of business was to get Elvis checked out by a vet to determine what health problems already existed and what was on the horizon if Elvis didn’t lose weight. The vet indicated Elvis was pre-diabetic and had serious hip dysplasia, both a result of the excess weight he was carrying.
Jackson prescribed daily walks for Elvis, requesting his similarly overweight guardian to walk too. Elvis was also to go on a raw food diet. After a couple of weeks, Jackson did a follow-up visit to see what progress there was since he’d last seen Elvis. The walks were sporadic, but Elvis was adopting well to the raw diet and had lost a little less than a pound.
This was discouraging, since the plan was to walk daily to help Elvis and his human guardian with weight management. In talking with the guardian, Jackson shared his own struggles with weight, showing the woman a picture of himself at 400 pounds. As it turned out, the woman equated food with love, and shared the fact she got a high from food.
This breakthrough discussion helped the woman see the damage being done to Elvis and to herself and vowed to take the necessary steps to get both of them on track with their weight loss. When Jackson paid his last visit to the family to check Elvis’ progress, the picture was very different. Elvis was down to 18 pounds, and his human guardian was taking him on daily walks and was also getting serious about her own weight loss.
Elvis was sedentary when the journey started, but by the end of the segment, he was walking and playing like a “normal cat”. His goal weight was 14 pounds, and he was down to 17 pounds by the time the segment aired.
Cat obesity statistics are rising along with those of humans. At least half of all cats are overweight or obese. Weight loss is hard, it boils down to being mindful of what we’re eating and why. Pay attention to the triggers, it can impact your health and that of your cat.
Photo credit: Jack and his fatness via photopin (license)