Monday, August 16, 2010

Meet Theodore! He'll be Teddy or Theo, or maybe both, jury's still out. I tried several times, and this was the best photo of the bunch. He's much more handsome in person! He's a real sweetheart, and his introduction to the dogs was incredibly easy.

We got him Maine Coon Cat rescue, via petfinder. He's five years old, and was still with his owner. We drove all the way to southern NJ to get him, left at 8 am and got home at 2 am! We stopped in Philadelphia on the way, went to the Liberty Bell and ate at City Tavern. It was fun!

The cat's got a couple of issues. The most obvious is that he is obese. I knew from the pictures that he might be overweight, but this is more than I expected. We checked yesterday, and he weighs 17 pounds. (The owner had emailed me 18.) I didn't think much of it because male MC cats can be 15-25 pounds. Edna was 13, and I'd say he is no bigger than Edna (hard to tell) so I'd like to get him to 13 or 14. Even 15 would be a big improvement.

I did some research on the net yesterday about cat obesity. I vaguely remembered some suggestions from when MHRHS took in that 35 pound cat a couple of months ago. I guess it is epidemic, just like with people. It is caused by feeding low quality dry and leaving a bowl out constantly. Not all cats will eat and eat, but some will. And cats need more protein than what is in dry food.

I plan to eventually feed him canned Wellness, like I did Edna, but it will probably take weeks to get him fully switched. I can't start out with Wellness because it isn't as palatable as commercial brands and even a fat cat will starve itself when it is addicted to cheap dry food. But I started the transition, using Fancy Feast canned. Luckily he gave me no problem about eating that, although he will only eat one can a day, so I still have to give him dry food for the other meal. No free feeding, though, I am measuring it (1/3 cup dry per day), not just leaving it out. I have to weigh him every 4 days or so to be sure he isn't losing too rapidly. Since he doesn't have that much to lose compared to morbidly obese cats, and he likes Fancy Feast, just going on canned and having portion control should do the trick, but it will probably take about 6 months to get him to 14 pounds.

Aside from being too fat, he's a beautiful cat. Coat and coloring are gorgeous. His eyes are yellow. Sometimes they seem a little cloudy, at other times we don't notice that. I've never had a cat with yellow eyes so maybe it is just because we are used to green. He sees fine, and they aren't red or runny, but that is something for the vet to check out when we take him. I think it could be caused by being overweight, too. Something about fat lipids collection.

Personality-wise, he's a dream. Uses his litter box, etc. There have been no problems with the dogs at all. Sam would like to play, but that isn't happening, until this cat loses some weight I doubt he will be at all playful. I gave him a ball and he wasn't interested.

He is used to being carried around. He isn't so fat that he can't do things on his own but he expects to be picked up and carried - he meows at you, when you bend to pet him, he jumps up and puts his front paws on your shoulder so you can lift him, and is happy to be carried around that way all the time. It's cute but he's going to learn to use those legs!

When we had him in the car about 5 minutes, were discussing how fat he is and Bob said, "I'm attached to him already." He rode loose in the car, and does not seem to get car sick like Edna did. You just pick him up and put him in, he doesn't struggle at all. Then you just get out and take him out. He didn't know how to go downstairs (he could go up), and would wait, meowing for me to come and carry him down. (He's too heavy for Bob!) That was a hassle, because he kept going upstairs, hasn't wanted to stay in the kitchen and so I'd have to take him down when he wanted to use the litterbox or have water or to eat . But this morning he learned! Yay! Otherwise I would have to block him in a room with a litter box and water when I am not home.

He's declawed, which may be contributing to his problem with the stairs. I would never declaw a cat, can't understand why someone would, but I suppose if I have to carry him a lot, it is safer on my arms.  I do plan to take him out sometimes, but I'll put him on a leash. He needs fresh air and exercise. I tried to get a collar on him today, and he acted like I was crazy. So that will have to wait until Bob is home.

I think he is afraid of thunder and lightening - we had a terrific storm and he hid in the office behind the printer the whole time. When it stopped he came out.

His name was Andy. That kind of freaked me out, although Bob didn't mind. It just didn't seem respectful to my little Ande. But we decided to wait, and see what we thought about keeping his name after getting him. Well, he doesn't seem to know the name Andy at all. So, we figure there is no problem with changing it. We settled on Theodore, will call him Teddy or Theo. Teddy has the "dy" sound, similar to Andy, and he does look like a bear. My father suggested Leo, which would be a good choice also. So maybe Theo. Bob said Teddy while he is fat, and Theo after he slims down!

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