How to maintain pet’s weight in multi-cat home
QMy oldest cat is now 16 and weighs all of 6 pounds. A recent visit to the vet revealed some bad teeth, and blood work was done to assess her for anesthesia and dentistry. Luckily, everything looks good, and her cleaning, with some possible extractions, is scheduled. My other cat is a docile 6-year-old male who now weighs 18 pounds. His teeth are in decent shape, but he has some recession of his gums. How can I get one to gain weight and the other to lose weight? They share food and play well, although sometimes a bit rough. Is there any way to get them to get along better?
AYour situation is not that uncommon. While the older female cat may be petite and the younger male larger, the male cat’s weight is of concern. Without seeing his general size, I would be willing to bet that he is considerably overweight. Not many male cats should weigh in excess of 12 pounds, except for cats bred for size, such as Maine coon cats. Being overweight can lead to diabetes, heart disease and other health issues.
Multi-cat households can pose a challenge to keeping all cats at a proper weight. This holds true if there are two cats or 10. There may be one cat that pushes the others out of the way to eat more.
The only way to manage the situation is labor-intensive. Feed them twice a day and do not leave food out for them to graze on. At both feedings, separate the feeding bowls, put the cats in front of their respective bowls and monitor them for 1015 minutes while they eat to ensure that one doesn’t eat the other’s food. When the time is up, take the food away until the next feeding. In this manner, you can control how much they each get. Most adult cats should eat about cup twice daily. You can also feed the heavy cat a diet food that you can purchase commercially, or speak with your veterinarian about prescription diet foods. Don’t try to get the bigger cat to lose the weight too fast, as that also can lead to problems. Plan to get the weight off over a year’s time.
As for your second question, if they’ve been together for six years, you’re probably not going to change the dynamics between them, but you could try various anxiety-reducing products and see if they help.
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