Written By: Ema Suvajac.
A perfect little Pixel “grows” into my world
In late May of 2012, I adopted a tiny little kitten whom I named Pixel. As a photographer, he has almost become a little sidekick of mine – although I always joke that if I had known how big he would get, I would have named him Megapixel.
Pixel was a spunky little kitten and as an adult he is still FULL of personality. We’ve developed our own little language in a way – both body language and verbal..we just get each other.
As Pixel matured, he continued to grow, and grow, and grow. His weight became a struggle to maintain because he was (and is) just ALWAYS hungry. Starving. Constantly. He’s been known to eat so fast he throws up, and to steal his sister Libby’s food (which prompted me to buy a fancy microchip feeder which only opens for her). His high food drive has also meant that I’ve been able to teach him a few tricks, including jumping up on me on command. And by “on command” I mean when he’s hungry enough to submit to my will! Haha!
I think Pixel’s appetite is genetic. I keep in touch with the mum of two of his brothers, and they are both large hungry boys themselves. My struggle with Pixel’s weight began when he was a few years old – when he continued to grow although he had technically finished growing 😉
This past Spring, I noticed he was porkier than usual and that I couldn’t feel his ribs as well as I could before. For a big boy he carries his weight very well – mostly in what I call his ‘storage compartment’ – that floppy skin that’s actually called the “primordial pouch” between his back legs. I began buying the more expensive wet food at the pet store, keeping an eye on the calorie count, and choosing those with fewer calories. Pixel became exceptionally picky despite the “premium” food and began to refuse eating most of it after a week or two and rewarded me with next-level hangry behaviour.
Despite my efforts, when we stepped on the scale a few months later I was shocked to see that he was 19.8lbs on September 3rd! It was time to call in the professionals and get some help with Pixel’s weight loss journey!
Shock Sets In and the Journey Begins
I was shocked to see 19.8lbs on my “little” Pixel. His love for food had led to a slow increase in weight over his 8 years. I had managed to keep him around 17lbs for most of his adult life, but despite my best recent efforts, he was now just a touch shy of 20lbs. It was time to call in the reinforcements!
With Satiety kibble and wet food from Royal Canin and a carefully constructed plan by my nutrition team, it was time to begin. I was given an exact amount in grams of kibble he was to be fed alongside the wet food. I began by weighing out ziploc bags of food for each of his meals for a week or two at a time. This has saved me a TON of time and guesswork and has also ensured that Pixel’s caloric intake was precise.
So here’s the thing about Pixel. This guy gets HANGRY. When he is feeling unfed (many times a day) he is very, very quick to let me know about it. First, by opening kitchen cabinets where his food used to be stored – sometimes I even come home to open cabinets and evidence of his rummaging! Then, with increasingly whiny vocal complaints, followed by actual aggression. If he was any bigger I’d be dead meat! And he would undoubtedly feast.
Despite having been buying “premium” food from the pet store prior to his diet, he was frequently hangry. One of the first things I noticed after switching to the Royal Canin diet food was that he was nowhere near as hangry. It actually seemed to fill him up and calm him in a way that other food didn’t – who would have thought that being on a diet would make him happier!? Nine days into his diet and I was impressed that he was already down 0.6lbs! We were on a roll! He loved the food, and even his sister Libby began to sit around waiting for access to his kibbles. She was out of luck because this boy is one to finish his plate in one sitting! I switched her to the same food and she also loves it!