Two fat cats - each weighing over a stone in weight - are facing a double challenge: to beat the bulge and find new, loving owners.
The two podgy pusses, named Blackberry and Beau, have been cared for by staff at Cats Protection’s National Cat Adoption Centre in Lewes Road, Chelwood Gate, since they were both handed in separately in December. They are both more than twice the weight they should be.
Ten-year-old Blackberry weighed in at a hefty 8.18kg - or just over 1.3 stones - when he arrived at the centre. He was left there because his owner was moving and could no longer keep him. Now he has been given an initial target weight of 7.5kg - or 16.5 pounds.
Meanwhile fellow feline, Persian puss Beau, aged four, wasn’t far behind when he was handed in because his owner’s circumstances changed. He tipped the scales at 7.9kg - or 17.5 lbs - when he arrived at the centre. Now on a strict diet, he’s been given an initial target weight of 7kg.
Experts say that most healthy adult moggies weigh between 3.5kg and 4.5 kg, however they do vary dependent on breed and frame size.
With the weight now slowly coming off, Beau and Blackberry are looking for new owners who can help them keep in shape.
Deputy manager of Cats Protection’s Adoption Centre Karen Thompson said: “Blackberry and Beau were both very overweight when they were handed in to us, so they’ve been under the care of our vet who has come up with a plan to slowly reduce their weight.
“Overweight cats are at a greater risk of health problems so it is essential that we help them lose weight, though it needs to be a gradual process as it is dangerous for a cat to shed weight too quickly.
“Just as in humans, being overweight can have a huge impact on a cat’s health, with the pressure of carrying extra weight putting them at risk of heart problems, arthritis and diabetes.”
Karen added that now both cats have begun to lose weight, they are looking for homes with owners who will need to carefully monitor their food intake.
If you, too, have a podgy puss, Cats Protection has some tips for keeping your pet in shape:
Stick to a reputable pet food which includes everything cats need to stay fit and healthy.
If you wish to give extra tit-bits, choose specially-produced cat food treats rather than food intended for humans, which can be toxic for cats, such as chocolate.
Avoid giving raw meat or table scraps, although a little bit of well-cooked fresh chicken or fish is OK.
Food containing onions, or onion powder, can be potentially toxic and life threatening if ingested by a cat.
Avoid giving your cat cow’s milk – around a third of cats can’t tolerate it and it can lead to sickness and diarrhoea.
Specially formulated milk for cats is available but this should only be given as an occasional treat as it very high in calories – it should never be given instead of water.
Remember that cats normally appreciate attention or playtime with their owner more than titbits. If you are giving a food treat in addition to your cat’s meals, remember to limit the amount given.
Overweight cats should never be starved or put on a ‘crash diet’ as any period of no food can very quickly be harmful. Speak to your vet and seek their advice if you think your cat is overweight.
To find out more, visit the centre or get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org