Friday, February 25, 2011

This is straight up animal abuse

View more videos at: http://www.nbcwashington.com.

This story broke my heart.

I didn’t even want to watch this news story because I knew it would hurt. But I wanted to give Otto’s owners a chance to prove me wrong. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t stereotyping the owners as being people who just didn’t know how to handle him, or who just have tried so hard with no avail and went to their vet for help.

Alas, I was absolutely right. The family was so frustrated after clearly over feeding and not properly caring for their animal, that they brought precious Otto (short for Ottoman if you didn’t watch it) to be euthanized.

In my eyes, this is a form of animal abuse. It’s avoidable and it shouldn’t be happening.

Everyone picks on us for having the largest cat they’ve ever seen.

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Although he’s always been big (he was 10 pounds at 6 months) when he was 2 he hovered just under 20 pounds. Our vet said it was a normal weight for a cat his size, but advised that we be sure he doesn’t gain any more weight.

At his next checkup a year later, he was 24 pounds.

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We didn’t know how it happened. Dennis had just started getting really sick with his Crohn’s, and I swear Marley felt sad for him. It was almost like he was suffering too.

We put him on a strict diet, but he hated it. The food was expensive and he refused to it it. He would cause such a racket at night knocking things over and jumping on our bed, meowing at us with such a hunger, that we decided to monitor his eating in a different way. We got him a healthy weight formula food he would actually eat, fed him small amounts throughout the day, and got him a buddy to play with.

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We tried running him around the house, we tried luring him to his food…and even after all that, he still gained weight. By the time it was all said and done, he was 26.2 pounds, and our vet told us he was in great danger of disease.

We were devastated. But we were also determined to get him back on track.

I did a lot of reading up on overweight cats and I found out that feeding cats dry food is bad. They are carnivores, meant to eat proteins, so feeding them dry food can be detrimental to their health. They can’t process carbohydrates like people and dogs can, so they gain weight. And a lot of indoor cats don’t get the exercise they need to burn it off.

Both our cats were rescue cats that both came from feral backgrounds. Their instinct is to eat as much as they can at once because, in the wild, you never know when your next meal is coming. Couple that with dry carbs and not enough hunting, and you get a 26.2 pound cat that we love dearly and hate to see unhealthy.

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So we did a complete change of their diets. We started giving them more and more wet food and less dry food. We started running Marley up and down the stairs more, and letting him go out on our patio to explore.

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(until he starts eating grass….he likes to wait until he gets inside to throw up. so yeah, we have to monitor that too)

One time he actually starting chasing after a squirrel so fast that we thought we lost him. He took out a bird too. But we wanted to give him some of his natural instinct back without actually letting him be an outdoor cat because we thought it would help.

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It takes time, it takes patience, and it takes a lot of dedication, but you can get your animals to lose weight and be healthy … as you SHOULD when you take on the responsibility of owning a pet. I feel like people get an animal for fun, but as soon as something goes wrong, they’re quick to abandon them. And as of Wednesday, Marley was down to 22.2 pounds.

The reason I bring this up is not to make you think I’m a crazy cat lady, or that I feel animals are better than humans. We need to wake up.

We are an obese country, not just our people, but our animals too. We need to stop and take a look around…take a minute to take better care of ourselves, our children, and our animals. They depend on us. And they deserve to be treated well too.

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Happy Friday everyone, and if you have one, go hug your pet! And hopefully when Otto loses weight, he will be able to find a nice, loving and caring home to go to. Good luck buddy!

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