Making a Cat Exercise
August 31, 2004 4:23 PM   Subscribe

How do you make a fat cat exercise? {MI}

My shorthair mongrel (no idea what she is, we rescued her from a litter of kittens abandoned at a gas station,) was a lithe, perky cat who enjoyed playing until we got her fixed. Naturally, after the surgery (about 5 months ago,) all she wanted to do was lay around, but... well, she never quit laying around, and now she's turning into an ottoman. She's still eating the same amount of food that she was before (1/2 cup of Iams Adult, split into two meals a day, no treats or table food at all) but she won't chase feather toys, balls, or catnip mice anymore. We've tried all her old favorite toys and a whole bunch of new ones, but nothing sparks her interest. She's becoming seriously overweight, and I don't know what to do besides feed her less. Please help?
posted by headspace to Pets & Animals (20 answers total)
 
Catfood companies frequently claim their catfood is "irresistable". Place the catfood at the exit to an assault course and the cat at the entrance. If it doesn't work sue the catfood company, win/win situation.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 4:31 PM on August 31, 2004


Rub a little turpentine on a cat's ass and it'll pass a motorcycle.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:33 PM on August 31, 2004


headspace: cut her food amount. if she's gaining weight that means she doesn't need the amount of food you're giving her.

after you cut the amount of food, try to get her to move around. have you ever pissed her off to the point where she starts attacking you (playfully?) my cat enjoys that. also, if you have stairs, try getting her to run up and down them. have you also just tried a piece of string rather than a toy? my cat hates toys but loves string. i have no idea why.

my cat is about 4 pounds over weight and he's been dieting for awhile. i recently moved from a house to a studio so the amount of room he has to run in is limited. still, playing with them and cutting the amount of food should help.
posted by Stynxno at 4:38 PM on August 31, 2004


Has she seen a vet lately? It could be a thyroid thing, or some other medical thing. There's also special diet cat food they can prescribe. I think Iams has food for less active pets? Also, a lot of pet obsessive-types will frown on the Iams completely and beg you to feed her something better, like Nutro or Wellness. My cat loves Nutro, and it looks like they have a "less active cat" formula too. My cat seems to eat less of it than she did the Friskies she used to get... it seems to satisfy her hunger better.
posted by kittyb at 4:42 PM on August 31, 2004


Two words: Laser. Pointer.
posted by keswick at 4:43 PM on August 31, 2004


Method 1: Dog. Method 2: Patented.
posted by George_Spiggott at 4:43 PM on August 31, 2004


Chase it. Seriously.

Or you could even try taking it for a walk.
posted by reklaw at 5:00 PM on August 31, 2004


I second kittyb -- adult or overweight cat formula is a must, as is a check-up at the vet. It's not a good sign when your cat goes suddenly listless, especially if there are other bad signs, like if her coat has lost sheen. You might also try a natural diet for her.

If her health checks out and the new feed doesn't work, why not rescue another needy kitten -- a little ball of fire that will jump and play with her and that she can mother, if she's got the personality for it. If you're not sure how she'll react to other animals, try cat-sitting for a friend with a kitten at your house (have the friend sign a release form first).
posted by melissa may at 5:08 PM on August 31, 2004


Confuse a Cat, Limited.

and I third the laser pointer method.
posted by sciurus at 5:09 PM on August 31, 2004


purina indoor formula works fine for my cats. also, i got a climbing tree (pretty cheap, floor-to-ceiling with platforms) that seems to keep them interested - next to a big window with a birdfeeder, and chipmunks in the yard. that gets them going.

old fishing pole + cat toy seems to be good too. they like my yo-yo (but be careful not to bonk them with it).

hiding the food seems to just make them more actively try to get yours, or eat too fast and then barf. i've heard that placing a ball in the food dish makes it harder to get the food, so they feel more like they're earning it and less likely to try for your table scraps (cats need to "hunt" for treats, i guess) but haven't tried it.

have several floors? cat food upstairs, cat box downstairs. at least it's a little exercise.

we walk ours occasionally, on a harness. i just let them wander where they will, following along to make sure they don't get in trouble. they'll explore for hours if i let them. indoors can be boring, outdoors is exciting but dangerous, so i don't just let the cats wander unsupervised.
posted by caution live frogs at 6:04 PM on August 31, 2004


my cat ends up laying down and just watching the laser pointer. maybe we used it too frequently with her or something.

we have a hard time lately getting her to play, other than chasing her (which for us lazy humans is difficult at times). we're getting to the point of just not playing much because she stops after 5 or so minutes.

maybe she's too smart for her own good?
posted by evening at 6:05 PM on August 31, 2004


Is she depressed? Maybe she needs a kitty friend? That'll do the trick, either from a depression point of view, or for having something to chase/play with.
posted by Asparagirl at 6:26 PM on August 31, 2004


She's not a solitary cat; we also rescued one of her litter mates (who got fixed at the same time and bounced right back,) but I have no idea if she's depressed. When Gracie tries to play with her, Bayliss just hisses and slinks off. I'm pretty sure she's uncomfortable- I haven't weighed her, but I'm sure she's inching up on 10lbs. I am going to try lots of the suggestions here, thank you so much for them! Hopefully, I will be able to report back that she's beginning to resemble a cat again instead of a piece of furniture in the near future.
posted by headspace at 8:38 PM on August 31, 2004


NYT has some ideas that are probably only effective this week.
posted by mwhybark at 9:24 PM on August 31, 2004


Exercising a cat is much more difficult than dieting a cat. I'd just switch to a better food, and feed less. I actually don't like the less active/low cal foods, since they usually just add extra fibre to the food (so you're paying for nothing) and there's controversy about how much fibre a cat should have. But as has been mentioned, a visit to the vet is in order before you put her on a diet, she could have something medical causing this, and cats need to lose weight very slowly or they can suffer some serious consequences, so a weight loss program should be discussed with the vet first. By the way, the whole "spay/neuter makes pets fat" thing is mostly a myth - it's normally the case that people have their pets fixed in the 6 months to 1 year age range, which is coinidentally also the age that they start losing their baby energy, correlation != causation. There is some slowing down related to spay/neuter in some animals, but a serious weight gain or loss of energy is likely related to something else.
posted by biscotti at 10:55 PM on August 31, 2004


Getting a kitten will most likely help ;P The kitten will annoy the fat cat and chase it all around and wrestle with it. Just make sure to keep the fat one away from the kitten food!

I absolutely would advise a trip to the vet. Ask them about Hills Prescription Diet foods - m/d, r/d, and w/d in particular.
posted by mabelcolby at 11:07 PM on August 31, 2004


I thought I heard that Iams is bad for cats?
posted by agregoli at 7:04 AM on September 1, 2004


I concur with the above: catnip + laser pointer = physically active fun!

According to my mom, a Persian breeder, unsnipped females eat a lot less while in heat, so they stay thin, and it follows that they'll usually gain lots of weight after the neutering because they don't go through regular "heat fasts" anymore.

agregoli - My Persian's experience with Iams has been decidedly negative. She threw up the first few times she ate it, and tended to throw up a lot more through that bag of Iams. It stopped when I brought her back to Whiskas.
posted by brownpau at 7:20 AM on September 1, 2004


I've got a pamphlet here from my vet entitled "Dealing With Overweight Pets" which recommends, in addition to cutting down the amount of food and/or switching to a lower calorie food, feeding small amounts several times a day rather than one mass feeding. Another suggestion is to get down on the floor with the pet to play, and to not be discouraged if they start with only a few minutes -- that may increase over time or it may be possible to increase their activity level simply by having those few minutes several times a day rather than, say, several times per week.

When Gracie tries to play with her, Bayliss just hisses and slinks off.

Gracie?! Methinks Bayliss's partner in kitty hijinks is somewhat misnamed, no?
posted by Dreama at 8:22 AM on September 1, 2004


I tried and tried to convince my mother to name her cat (Gracie) Pembleton, but she *refused!* Refused!! Thank you for the advice from the pamphlet! I can handle playing on the floor, let's see if she can!
posted by headspace at 8:41 AM on September 1, 2004


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