Forlorn feline Rainbow arrived back in our care three times the weight of the average cat
*Update - April 2023*
Rainbow, the chunky cat who hit headlines for being so overweight that her life was in danger, is now healthy enough to be rehomed after a year-long regime of strict diet food and gentle exercise.
Rainbow now weighs 8.1kg, after losing 4.6kg in our care
Still twice the weight of an average cat, four-year-old Rainbow has lost 4.6kg since arriving at Bridgend Adoption Centre in March 2022 when she weighed 12.7kg. Now weighing 8.1kg, Rainbow is on the road to a new life, with the centre team looking to find a new home for her where she can continue her weight-loss.
“When Rainbow was first brought to the centre she had very little mobility and couldn’t show any natural cat behaviours like grooming, moving or playing, which was very distressing and uncomfortable for Rainbow and also upsetting for us to see,” said Deputy Manager Jenna Butcher. “Her owner had not intended to do her harm but had mistakenly tried to show Rainbow affection through food which ultimately almost killed her.
“Rainbow was put onto a strict diet under vet supervision and was given lots of love and care, firstly from the team at the centre, then from her fosterer in her foster home.
Rainbow in 2022 when she weighed 12.7kg
“Rapid weight loss can be dangerous to cats but Rainbow’s organs and joints were also under pressure, so we had to play a balancing act to keep her as safe and healthy as possible while ensuring she lost the weight gradually.”
Rainbow still has a significant amount of weight to lose and her new owners must keep her on a calorie-controlled diet to safeguard her against future obesity, as cats are more likely to put on weight when they have previously been obese. It is unlikely Rainbow would survive another period of significant weight gain owing to the stress it puts on the body.
Rainbow’s fosterer, Marie Morley, says: “Despite Rainbow’s tough start in life she is the sweetest, gentlest girl. When she first came to me she could barely walk before having to stop and rest, now she can jump up onto the settee without any effort, she has become inquisitive and even plays with toys when she wants to!
“Rainbow’s eyesight is limited but this hasn’t stopped her from revealing her ‘inner cat’ in a way that seemed impossible when she first arrived at the centre. Rainbow loves attention, a head rub and a tickle are among her favourites. She can also be intelligently determined, particularly when it comes to tracking down food! I returned home one day to find that she had broken into a sealed bag of food and shredded it to pieces to get at the biscuits, needless to say her weight loss didn’t go well that week!
“Rainbow is adored by everyone who meets her and now needs to find a new home with owners who will continue to support her on her weight-loss journey and will lavish her with the love she deserves.”
The team are looking for a home for Rainbow where she can be a mainly indoor cat owing to her restricted eyesight but ideally somewhere with an enclosed garden for supervised time outdoors. She would be best suited to a home with no other pets or children due to her strict diet and need for plenty of encouragement and interaction. She prefers to exercise with the incentive of sound-based activities like crinkle mats or balls with bells inside and also loves her scratch mat sprinkled with catnip.
If you would like to offer Rainbow a home, visit Bridgend Adoption Centre’s website to get in touch with the team.
*Original blog post*
Rainbow first arrived at our Bridgend Adoption Centre in 2018 as a tiny month-old kitten.
As a stray she had been taken in from a feral colony where she had been extremely underweight at just 0.49kg.
Rainbow as a kitten in 2018
She had been nursed to health and went to live in a new home where she was cared for and happy. Unfortunately, her owner became increasingly unable to manage the weight that Rainbow was gaining.
As soon as the centre team heard that Rainbow was returning to their care, they rushed to greet her, but were not expecting to find a cat weighing 12.7kg – three times the weight of the average cat.
Forlorn Rainbow back in our care at three years old
“To be honest we were shocked when we saw Rainbow,” said Centre Manager Sue Dobbs. “We knew her weight had been a struggle and that was why she was coming back into care, but she is one of the heaviest cats we’ve taken in.
“To remember how she had been so tiny that we didn’t think she would survive, and then to be faced with a cat whose joints and organs were under pressure from the excessive weight, and who was so big she couldn’t play or even run from danger if she’d needed to, it was terrible.”
Rainbow’s weight wasn’t the only problem. Because of her size, the young cat could not groom properly or clean herself after toileting, which are essential cat behaviours. Her eyes were red and crusty. She was infested with fleas because an individual parasite treatment would not contain enough medication to treat her size.
Rainbow weighed 12.7kg when she arrived back at the centre
Worse still, Rainbow had urine burns, total fur loss and inflamed sore skin around her rear-end and legs which needed to be shaved, bathed and treated.
“Poor Rainbow was sore, itchy and unclean,” added Sue. “Not being able to express her natural behaviours such as hunting, playing, running and hiding will have left her feeling depressed and fearful.
“We know overfeeding Rainbow wasn’t intentional and she was on a special diet when she arrived at the centre, but she was truly a victim of being slowly killed by kindness. Too many treats or large portions combined with minimal exercise soon takes its toll on cats.”
Rainbow will need to stay on a calorie-controlled diet in her new home
Rainbow was put on a tailored diet and provided with plenty of opportunities for exercise and mental stimulation. Her skin conditions have been treated and she has started to lose weight, but there is still a way for her to go.
The centre will be looking for a new home for her once her weight has dropped further and she has been given a clean bill of health by the centre’s vet. Her new owners will need to maintain her calorie-controlled diet and keep a close eye on her weight, as cats are more likely to put on weight when they have previously been obese.
If you would like to offer Rainbow a home, keep an eye on the Bridgend Adoption Centre website for updates on when she is available for adoption.
“While most cat owners have a strong bond with their cat, they may be tempted to over-indulge their cat with food or treats,” said Dr Sarah Elliott, Cats Protection’s Central Veterinary Officer. “Owners may do this out of love or to make their feline feel like a family member. Sadly, we are doing them more harm than good as overweight cats are at significant risk of diabetes, joint problems and urinary infections.”
Find out if your cat is overweight and how to help them lose weight with our cat obesity advice. Anybody with concerns about their cat’s health or weight should speak to their vet.
This year, players of People’s Postcode Lottery are helping to cover the costs of looking after cats like Rainbow in our centres. Their support has funded the care of around 50 cats at the Bridgend Adoption Centre over the past year.