A morbidly obese feline who once tipped the scales at a whopping 12.6kg has embarked on an intensive weight loss journey, with SPCA staff in Christchurch sharing incredible before-and-after photos of his dramatic downsize.
Blue, who was once one of the most obese felines SPCA staff had ever seen, is now trim and toned after a 12-month weight loss programme and specialised diet - designed to cut the kilos and add back years to the former fat cat's life.
SPCA staff revealed Blue's incredible transformation on Wednesday to commemorate Pet Obesity Awareness Day - a warning to pet owners around the world that overfeeding your furry friends is doing them more harm than good.
Blue's bulk was because of this - his owners were slowly killing him with kindness. The super-sized cat was morbidly obese when he arrived in SPCA's care, more than double his ideal weight.
Obesity is the most common health issue for companion animals in New Zealand. Like their human counterparts, obesity can cause a myriad of other concerns.
Weight is one of the most important factors for longevity, quality of life, and disease prevention. When pets become too hefty, it can hold them back from leading healthy and happy lives. Their life expectancy decreases and it prevents them from partaking in natural and basic behaviours, such as grooming and mobility - reducing their quality of life.
Although it might feel mean, holding back the extra treats - even if it means ignoring the plaintive mews and Puss in Boots' eyes - will serve your furry friend better in the long run. Obesity in cats can cause a range of other health complications, including diabetes, bladder issues, liver disease, heart disease, kidney disease, arthritis, cancers, high blood pressure, breathing difficulties and respiratory distress.
Blue's weight wasn't due to one or two cheeky snacks here and there, but consistent and ongoing overfeeding, SPCA said on Wednesday.
After arriving at SPCA in Christchurch, Blue was placed into foster care and embarked on an intensive 12-month weight loss programme to shed the unwanted pounds. His weight was managed in consultation with a vet, and he was fed a specialised Purina diet twice a day with smaller portions.
As the weight slowly dropped, Blue began showing promising signs of improvement, SPCA said, including drastic differences in his personality. Blue has now lost over a third of his body weight.
Once he was given the all-clear by SPCA's vet team, Blue was able to continue his weight loss journey in a new home and has been adopted by his forever family. They continue to carefully manage his diet and weight, which will remain a priority for the duration of his life.
SPCA said it sees overweight cats at its centres regularly, with a recent study finding roughly 28 percent of dogs and 24 percent of cats in New Zealand are at an unhealthy weight.
The organisation said small changes can make the biggest difference. Pet owners should first consult with their vet to learn what their furry friend's ideal weight and food requirements are. Owners should then begin measuring or weighing the amount of food being served to ensure they are not overfeeding their pets. Along with maintaining a healthy diet, exercise is also important - most animals enjoy playing or interacting with their owner just as much as getting a treat.