Overweight pets

Updated 6:20 AM ET, Sat February 4, 2012
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Elizabeth Gutierrez of Pennington, New Jersey, says her 8-year-old cat, Tattoo, is so fat the family has renamed him "Fattoo." The cat should probably weigh 12 pounds, but he's gotten up to more than 22 pounds. The vet has told her Tattoo could develop diabetes and other health problems if he doesn't lose weight. Courtesy Elizabeth Gutierrez
After Jennifer Smith and her husband brought their basset hound home from the shelter, Buddy would eat to the point he threw up and at his heaviest weighed 92 pounds. It turns out Buddy had a thyroid problem. "Basically, Buddy has no 'stop eating' feeling when he's in front of his bowl," Smith says. They put him on a diet of portion-controlled feedings and trained him not to eat from their other dog's food. Courtesy Jennifer Smith
Travis Hux looks at his cat, Baby, with sadness, "knowing his life will probably be cut short." The cat, who should weigh 9 to 12 pounds, now weighs about 20 pounds and has high blood sugar. "I always thought I was doing the right thing because I only fed him cat food and water. I never gave my pets table scraps." He blames an abundance of cheap food and lack of exercise for the cats obesity, adding that it has been hard to force the cat to exercise. Courtesy Travis Hux
Faye Poirier of Columbia, South Carolina, admits her cat weighs 23 pounds because "I have spoiled her rotten." Poirier liked her fat cat just the way she was, and it was only after the pet became very lethargic and stopped cleaning herself that the owner took her to The Cat Clinic. "Turns out I was feeding her hard food that was full of fillers like paper. They said wet food is the best for them," Poirier says. Poirier followed the vet's instructions her kitty lost weight. Courtesy Faye Poirier
Stacie Schafer says her cat, Sophie, has been overweight most of her life. "The first thing people say when they see her is, 'That is the fattest cat I have ever seen,'" she says. Schafer has tried diet cat food, portion control and exercise to keep her kitty's weight under control, but says Sophie just isn't that interested in running around like her other two cats. "But I do try to get her to go up and down the stairs whenever I can by calling her." Courtesy Stacie Schafer
Janie Lambert says she wasn't able to give her foxhound, Jeni, the exercise the dog needed, and within a year of being adopted, Jeni had put on 60 pounds. Lambert's son and daughter-in-law worked with Jeni to get the weight down by cutting her food to 1¾ cup twice a day, a grain-free diet and several walks a day. Janie Lambert
Meghan Smith says she knows she and her husband are responsible for their cat Mister's weight problem -- but every time they try to cut back his portions, he "meows a lot and it just seems like he's miserable." He is 8 years old and has ballooned from 12 to 17 pounds since they adopted him in 2006. They use a laser pointer as an exercise tool, "and it does work, but it only lasts a minute." The vet has warned that Mister is at greater risk of developing diabetes. Courtesy Meghan Smith
Beth Spiess of San Marcos, Texas, says her sheltie, Daisy, had become so obese from over-feeding (64 pounds) that she couldn't walk anymore, and her original owners wanted to put the dog to sleep. The vet refused to put her down and surrendered the dog to a shelter in 2010 (Spiess adopted her in July 2011). Since May 2010, Daisy has lost nearly 30 pounds through a rigid diet -- 1/4 cup grain-free kibble, 1/4 cup frozen green beans twice a day and poached, boneless, skinless chicken bits as treats -- regular walks and no people food. Courtesy Beth Spiess
Karrie Kelly of Ottawa, Canada, first noticed there was something wrong with her cat, Maverick, when he stopped jumping on the furniture. Maverick was diagnosed with arthritis and put on a reduced-calorie diet. But Kelly says Maverick lost weight too quickly and developed Feline Hepatic Lipidosis. She says Maverick was close to dying but had a "remarkable recovery" after treatment. She now tells everyone about "the dangers of unmonitored weight loss." (Maverick died in April due to another condition at age 13.) Courtesy Karrie Kelly