Friday, 8 February 2019

Twinkles - Pet of the Month - Hall of Fame ( October 2018)

Thirteen year old Twinkles is October's pet of the month after successfully completing a weight management programme. Twinkles' weight had crept up to 7.2kg ( in August 2017) and at home he was lethargic and lacklustre. With there being an increased risk of developing health issues such as diabetes, heart disease and arthritis, vet Cathy advised that Twinkles be put onto a diet and exercise plan under the supervision of senior nurse Dayna. At his first visit to our 'podgy pets' club, Dayna assessed Twinkles' body condition score and weight.

Regular and accurate weighing of cats is important, however, the weight of the cat is only part of the story. The weight of a healthy adult cat can actually be quite variable - from less than 3kg for a small cat to more than 6kg for a large cat. On a 9 point scale where 1 is underweight and 9 is obese; cats should ideally maintain a body condition score of between 4 and 5. Dayna measured Twinkles score as 8/9. As a result, Dayna decided that Twinkles would benefit from being placed onto a prescription diet food called Satiety that is precisely developed to provide optimum protein, energy and other nutrients for adult cats following a weight loss programme. It is also designed to help satisfy hunger.

Switching a pet to a new food should be done gradually as a sudden change in diet can cause a dietary upset or refusal to eat the unfamiliar food.Twinkles preferred wet food and adapted very well to his new diet. Dayna gave Twinkles' owner exact instructions on how much food to feed him each day and recommended that the daily amount be divided into 3 - 4 separate servings so that he wouldn't have to wait too long between meals. To help keep his begging at bay, Twinkles was allowed a measured amount of dry satiety biscuits that his owner placed into food puzzles to encourage him to work for a treat and bring out his foraging instinct.

Dayna arranged to see Twinkles evey 2-3 weeks so that she could monitor his progress and adjust food quantities accordingly. This is very important as she didn't want him to lose weight too quickly - losing weight rapidly can cause health complications. On the other hand losing weight too slowly can be disheartening. Dayna set a target for Twinkles to achieve at each visit to ensure his weight loss was at a gradual controlled rate and it was very rewarding to see him progressing in the right direction. Twinkles' owner encouraged him to exercise by providing him with toys to get him moving. His activities included catnip mouse stalking and fishing rod toy chasing! After 5 months (January 2018), Twinkles weight was 6.05kg and his body condition score, 6.5/9. Along with the physical changes in his body shape, Twinkles was more active ande surprised his owner by jumping up onto the back of her arm chair, something he hadn't attempted to do in the past.

Twinkles has continued to do well and in October he reached his target weight of 5.5kg - an amazing total weight loss of 1.7kg! He has rediscovered his inner kitten - from a cat that wanted to sit all day, he is now more mobile and playful! Being less able to groom himself effectively when he was overweight, Twinkles coat was dull, but it is now noticeably shiny and soft . 
Twinkles name could not be more apt, he is such a star and a much deserved pet of the month! Also, a big well done to his owner for her dedication to Twinkles weight loss success.           

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