Our cats Mali and Malta are six years old. They are sisters but they have very different personalities. Most people tell them apart by their colour – Mali is a orange/cream colour and Malta is a tortoiseshell. Mali has another distinguishing feature that people comment on. Mali is overweight.
She wasn’t always. When she was two she was slim;
When she first began gaining weight I was unsure why – I fed both cats the same type and amount of food but only Mali was overweight. Through observation I discovered that personality played a part too.
Malta nibbles her food, chewing each piece thoroughly and waiting a few seconds before selecting another piece. Malta is picky about what she eats and the setting must be just right too. If there is any sound or motion that disturbs her she quits eating and will not return.
Mali attacks food with fervour – often consuming half the food in one bite and she doesn’t chew. There is nothing that distracts her from eating. So, I discovered that she really was eating more than her sister beause she was eating the food left in Malta’s abandoned dish.
I started feeding them separately and ensuring that Malta’s uneaten food was promptly removed. The veterinarian also recommended a diet cat food.
It has been nearly three years since then and Mali has lost some weight but she still weighs more than she should. The children like to see if they can lift her.
Recently, I decided to address not just the amount and type of food that she was eating but also how quickly she was eating. I bought her this fancy food dish with several levels and she really has to work to get her food.
Sometimes Malta likes to watch but the dish is far too frightening for her to try to get any food from it;
We had to put a cover over the top because sometimes Mali ‘cheats’ and just stands up to eat the food at the top.
It now takes Mali about 15 minutes to finish a meal instead of the mere seconds it used to take her. Diet and exercise together. I’m looking forward to her next visit to the veterinarian.