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New Year’s resolutions

Are you and your pets shut indoors and gaining weight?

At this time of year, our thoughts turn to how to reverse the excesses of the recent festivities. But being told to stay at home is not helping with our waistlines.

We need inspiration, and one of my patients may be the girl to provide it.

A year ago, Minnie, a delightfully friendly long haired tortoiseshell cat visited our vet Jean for her annual vaccines. She was just over two years old, and tipping the scales at 6.0kg.

This may not sound much, but she is a small framed cat. Jean calculated her body condition score was an eight, out of nine. This meant that she was thirty percent overweight, and in danger of problems such as joint, liver and heart disease, and of diabetes.

Luckily, her owners were willing to commit to getting her health back.

Jean referred her to one of our weight management nurses, Sarah, who discovered that Minnie couldn’t go outside because the local cats were bullying her. This meant she was not getting the usual amount of exercise.

Sarah helped Minnie’s owners to hatch a plan.

They combined a strict regimen of measured daily weight loss biscuits, with an increase in calorie burning games.

They discovered that Minnie enjoyed pouncing on the light from a laser, so they bought her an automated pointer which made random patterns for her to chase. They also made her chase down each biscuit at tea-time, sending her off in different directions to earn each mouthful.

They bought her extra toys, such as soft mice, and were brilliant about playing games with her every day.

One year on, it was my turn to administer her vaccines.

I couldn’t believe the previous weights.

The cat I saw was a svelte 4.6kg. She had a perfect body condition score of five.

Whilst I was congratulating them, her owner said “She has more energy now, and seems much happier in herself. She still prefers to stay indoors. There was a time when she seemed really hungry, but we just stuck to the routine that Sarah suggested, and she did get used to it. The trick was not caving in.”

It is so inspiring to see Minnie being supported to reach her healthy weight by such loving owners. I hope that your 2021 resolutions go as well as hers.

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