Humane Rescue Alliance

Advocating for animal-friendly communities. Strengthening the animal-human bond.

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Humane Rescue Alliance

Symba's Weight Loss Journey

Symba came to the Humane Rescue Alliance last week after his previous owner moved to an assisted living facility and wasn't able to bring Symba along. He reported over the phone that sweet Symba weighed nearly 40 pounds—which our staff was surprised to hear and thought surely he must be overestimating. When Symba arrived at our New York Avenue adoption center he weighed in at 35 pounds!

This handsome fellow, with his sweet face and mellow disposition, quickly became a staff favorite. Our medical team worked to assess Symba's overall health including a blood glucose test (which came back normal) to check for diabetes due to his obesity.

At 15 pounds heavier than his “goal weight” of 18 to 20 pounds, Symba is at an increased risk of health complications due to his weight. Once he was able to relax at the shelter, HRA animal care staff began his weight loss journey. It's difficult for him to walk at the moment, so staff are focusing on improving his diet and starting his physical activity slowly.

He receives 2/3 cup of food every 12 hours and is fed out of food puzzles, designed to slow down a cat’s eating. Behavior and training specialist, Lisa Stemcosky, says allowing cats to “free feed" by keeping their bowl full throughout the day is unnatural for cats, and that they would instead eat multiple small meals a day. Removing this barrier allows the cat to eat consistently through the day, contributing to obesity.

Along with reducing his food intake, HRA behaviorists and volunteers will begin a short but consistent exercise routine. Right now, he can only take a few steps at a time without getting short of breath, so staff are encouraging him to learn to walk on a cat wheel. From now on, it's just one foot in front of the other for sweet Symba.

Update:

We were overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and well wishes for sweet Symba. We are even more thrilled that we were able to help Symba find a loving, new home! His new adopters are dedicated to getting him healthy by continuing his current diet and exercise plan, and most importantly giving him the love and care he deserves so he can thrive long term. Follow his new life and adventures on his Facebook page, Symba the Tubby Tabby.