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Fat cat gets healthier ninth life courtesy of the B.C. SPCA

Keloha has a new lease on life.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / B.C. SPCA
October 04, 2020 - 2:41 PM

Every cat has nine lives and Ke-Aloha had squeezed a lot into hers.

Ke-Aloha weighed in just shy of 16 pounds in July when she arrived at the B.C. SPCA, which is quite a bit bigger than she should have been.

“I was charmed by the way she gazed straight into the camera, and there was another picture that showed her lounging on her side and she had her paws stretched out,” Diane Rodgers said in a B.C. SPCA press release.

“She appeared to be a sociable girl with a story to tell, and I wanted to meet her.”

Ke-Aloha was surrendered to the West Vancouver B.C. SPCA  by her family who felt they were unable to care for her needs. When she arrived to the shelter, Jesse Smith, animal specialist at the West Vancouver branch, said she was “very matted, and she required a dental exam."
"We had Ke-Aloha seen by one of our vets and she was given a lion cut, and dental work. Poor diet likely contributed to both her obesity and dental requirements,” Smith said.

For fat cats, the struggle is real when it comes to losing weight. The Association for Pet Obesity estimates that 60 per cent of cats and 56 per cent of dogs in the U.S. were overweight or obese in 2018. A 2019 University of Guelph study of about 19 million cats revealed that felines are heavier now than they were in the 1990s.

"Chonky cats" are all the rage on social media, but obese or overweight pets are at a greater risk for developing health problems, which can cost thousands of dollars in vet bills to treat, the SPCA said. Obesity in dogs and cats is associated with high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease, osteoarthritis, difficulty breathing and an increased risk of getting cancer.

Also, obese pets have a decreased life expectancy and lower energy levels.

At the SPCA obese pets are matched with the best guardian who can prioritize taking care of their health and well-being.
“We always work hard at finding the right home and the best match for all of our animals, including Ke-Aloha,” Smith said. “We asked in her profile for her new family to keep up with her weight loss journey and regular grooming as due to her weight she wasn’t able to keep her coat tangle-free.”

To help their new feline keep trim, Smith says staff recommends pet guardians continue with helping their new pet stick to a healthy diet.

For Ke-Aloha’s weight loss journey, Rodgers says they’re working on toy-play for stretching and exercise. When it comes to food, Rodgers says Ke-Aloha has some anxiety around food, expressing desperation to be fed.
Rodgers is trying to create “food-like joy” for Ke-Aloha in other ways.
“She is starting to like oat grass, which I sometimes pick in clumps to give her the fresh ends, and she gets catnip every few days,” Rodgers said.

Already Ke-Aloha has lost several pounds since settling into her new home, and Rodgers says the swag of loose skin on her belly, also known as a "primordial pouch," is much smaller.

Rodgers said she suspects Ke-Aloha’s pouch had expanded to deal with immobility caused by fur mats. With those now removed, Rodgers reports that Ke-Aloha has become “increasingly mobile, jumping onto furniture and window ledges with growing ease, and the pouch is shrinking.”

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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