Let’s Go Global with Bronson
@iambronsoncat is giving us ALL the inspiration we need for our New Year’s healthy eating goals. He was a big 33-pound boy when his meow-my and daddy found him in the shelter. Now he’s down 5 pounds thanks to exercise, a healthy diet, and lots of love!
Tell us how old you are, and how you got your name.
I’m 3 1/2-years old and I was named after a rap artist named Action Bronson, who I have a striking resemblance to, and a similar charm.
How did you end up in your forever home?
After my previous owner passed away, I was taken to the West Michigan Humane Society by their family. I spent only one short weekend at the shelter before my forever family took me home. I was awfully sleepy for their first visit and made them wait to come back before showing them my cute face.
Do you have a favorite part of the house you like to hang out in?
When I first got to my new home, my favorite place was laying atop the bed and I would only leave this space to eat my meals or go to the bathroom. I also used to really like hanging out under the couch in the living room, where I have a little cave of sorts, filled with my favorite toys. As I’ve lost weight, I’ve become a little more confident with myself and around the other cats. Currently, my favorite spot is on the highest point of the couch, where I can observe what’s going on around me.
What’s your typical day like?
Around 3 am, my stomach starts growling, so I climb up to the bed and sit directly in front of one of my parents and purr as loud as I can until they wake up. If they roll over, I climb directly over their body and purr a little louder on the other side. If this doesn’t wake them or they pretend to sleep, I step it up by sharing their pillow and putting my whiskers on their face. When I first started this act, it totally worked, but after they realized they were becoming sleep deprived, things have changed.
These days, I don’t get fed until 7:00 am and they’ve started feeding me two of my meals downstairs to squeeze some exercise in. Each meal consists of grain-free wet food, and then I get a small portion of snacks in between meals. 10 pieces of kibble a day, which is used as a snack to keep me moving about. They’ve started tossing the pieces of kibble at different levels of the stairs so I need to climb multiple steps per treat. Between that and playing with toys, I have about 15 minutes of exercise a day. Although I’m much more active then I was six months ago, I still like to take long naps and lounge around the house all day.
Do you have any siblings, human or animal?
I have three cat brothers who I get along with most of the time. Ickle is the oldest in the house and tries to be dominant over everyone in the house, though I hold my own against him. Heisenberg is the shyest of us and is an easy target for food stealing if nobody’s on patrol during the meal. My youngest brother is Gwildor, who has a lot of extra kitten energy and I often mistake his playing with a dreadful attack. I’ll often overreact and deliver a series of powerful blows.
You’ve lost some weight! Can you tell us how much, and what your diet plan is like?
I have lost some weight, thanks for noticing! Since I started my new diet eight months ago, I’ve lost 5.3 pounds. My diet started with a visit to the vet, to figure out how many calories I should be eating every day to lose weight at the correct pace. This is really important for cats because if we lose weight too quickly we can develop fatty liver disease, which can be fatal. After my parents did a lot of research on feline diets, they decided on a high quality grain-free wet food diet by Weruva, which I’m highly suggesting to other cats. This food is great for cats who are in need of slimming down and also cats who are just looking for a healthy diet. The food is so low calorie that I can typically eat as much as I would like three times a day and still not go over my limit. If I get close to my calorie limit, my parents mix the food down with warm water to help fill me up (they think I don’t notice, but I’m on to them).
When I was first adopted, the Humane Society asked that I stay on my kibble diet because I was already under stress from moving into my new home. The first couple of months I lost very little weight because my calories were being split between my new grain-free wet food diet and the kibble they were weaning me off of. My daily calorie number has changed a few times as my body weight has dropped. It’s currently 290 calories, which is split up between my wet food, a small portion of freeze-dried chicken, and 10 pieces of kibble. My parents don’t think the kibble is beneficial for weight loss, but since I adore and do amazing things for kibble, they let me keep a small daily ration. I have heard them talking about pulling it out of my diet if my weight loss slows down. But since the weight’s been coming off at the proper pace, I hope that day doesn’t come anytime soon.
Everyone is all about resolutions, and ‘new year, new you.’ What are your resolutions for 2019?
Through 2019, I plan on continuing being active and getting more fit, so that one day I can join my brothers playing on their elevated cat furniture. I’ll probably step it up with more intense exercises on our stairs and even try exploring outside! I do have a broken tooth that needs to be pulled and I’m also in need of a tooth cleaning, but my vet isn’t comfortable putting me under anesthesia until I am under 25lbs. I keep hearing that my weight loss is going to slow down and I’m really hoping it doesn’t before I need those two things done. Right now I’m at 27.7lbs, so hopefully, in the next 3 or 4 months, I’ll be thin enough to make the procedure less risky.
What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned about diet and exercise since you started on this weight loss journey?
I can’t say enough good things about my grain-free wet food diet and I believe that it has contributed to a lot of my weight loss.
A lot of people think heavy cats are really cute, and I agree there’s something charming about my size, but there are also so many serious health issues involved with being this big. I’m very lucky to not have diabetes and that’s probably because I’m so young. When I first came to my new home, I was quite hindered by my weight and unable to do simple things that other cats could. While the other cats wander around the house throughout the day, I used to only stand up to walk over to food or to use the litter box. It was too much effort for me to sit up for the first couple months, since I had so much extra weight on me, so I would just lie down wherever I stopped around the house. My parents were excited when they started seeing me sitting up around the house!
Another unfortunate downside to being overweight is not being able to properly clean myself. Most cats clean themselves throughout the day, but I am only able to reach my front paws, my neck, chest and, most recently, my toes! My family gives me baths with wipes, which seems like a bit of a drastic measure for that, but who am I to say? Sometimes, when I am being wiped down, I start pretending to help by licking my shoulder. Just so they can’t say I didn’t help, right? I have been able to clean myself a little more as I have slimmed down, but it’s a long road before I’ll be able to clean like a regular size cat. Weight needs to come off slow with cats, or we can run into serious health issues. My goal is between .7 and 1lb a month.
I am hoping that I can help others understand the negative effects of letting their cat get this big and share the benefits of being more fit, as I’m able to do more and more things and live a more enriching life.
What is your motto in life?
My motto is that sharing isn’t everything. That goes for the importance of sharing toys, and also food. If everybody shared their things, then there wouldn’t be anything special about it. I’d like to think that in an odd way, I’m helping shine a bright light on those that do share by choosing to keep my things to myself.
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