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4th April 2023

A 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.

Still twice the weight of an average cat, four-year-old tortoiseshell and white Rainbow has lost 4.6kg since arriving at Cats Protection’s Bridgend Adoption Centre in March 2022 when she weighed 12.7kg. Rainbow had been overfed and was barely able to walk, groom or clean herself because of her weight.

As if being unclean wasn’t bad enough for any cat, the unfortunate feline had red, crusty eyes and was riddled with fleas because individual parasite treatments did not contain enough medication to treat her a cat of her size. Rainbow’s legs were covered in urine burns as a result of her inability to clean which had led to total fur loss as well as inflamed sore skin around her rear-end and legs which required shaving and bathing before treatment.

Now weighing 8.1kg, Rainbow is on the road to a new life with the adoption centre team looking to find a new home for her where she can continue her weight-loss.

Deputy manager Jenna Butcher says: “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. 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 staff at the centre then from her fosterer in her foster home.

“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.

Marie Morley, Rainbow’s fosterer, 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 centre staff 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.

Tips for helping overweight or obese cats. Anybody with concerns about their cat’s health or weight should speak to their vet.

For information on Rainbow and cats currently available for adoption at Bridgend Adoption Centre, please visit their website or call 01656 724 396.

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