A little under a year ago, poor Flora was homeless, dangerously overweight and at risk of a wide range of health issues as a result.
But thanks to Blue Cross and the care of a loving new family, the eight-year-old cat has had a dramatic turnaround in fortunes – and she is now well on her way to getting her waistline back.
When Flora, then called Tubs due to her bulging belly, arrived at our Victoria animal hospital in central London in January after her owner died, she weighed 7kg – nearly double what the average domestic shorthair cat does.
As well as plenty of TLC, she needed treatment for dental disease and an urgent intervention in her diet to stop her developing dangerous weight-related health conditions.
Amanda Marrington, London Animal Welfare Officer, said: “When a cat is this overweight it can have problems grooming properly, as well as arthritis due to pressure on the joints and heart problems.
“Diabetes and respiratory problems can also develop, and cats of this size tend to be less active, sleep more and have difficulty moving around.
“So it was therefore vital that we started helping Flora to shift some pounds before it started to affect her health. This needs to be gradual weight loss otherwise it can cause problems with the liver. Thankfully she came to us in time.”
Once we got her diet back on track she headed to our Cambridge rehoming centre to find a new home.
She soon got snapped up by Paul and Christine Wildman who, rather than being put off by her weight, saw it as a challenge that would bring with it added rewards to rehoming Flora.
“We fell in love with her straight away at the centre and we wouldn’t be without her now. We’re really motivated to get her weight down and always look forward to her weigh-ins at the vets to find out how much she’s lost. It’s rewarding to see the progress she’s made,” said Paul.
And she is now down to just less than 6kg thanks to the continuation of the specially-tailored diet implemented by vets at Victoria which comprises one wet tinned food meal a day and just less than a handful, or 15 grams, of dry biscuit treats.
Paul and Christine have also worked hard to get her more active and put her daily treats in puzzle games which “she has worked out in no time” but are important as she has no inclination to play.
Paul continued: “At first she was a bit of a beggar, we suspect she had been fed from the table before. But she’s getting the hang of it now and knows she’s not getting anything.
“We’re very strict with her food, we have to be. But she would never let us forget her mealtime, she’s very regular. My wife gets up about a quarter to five and she’ll come up and sit on the window sill for a while and then start scraping the carpet for attention once she loses patience,” said Paul.
But, as always, Flora’s favourite pastime remains a long snooze on a comfy chair – and on the day Blue Cross caught up with her, she hadn’t moved all morning. She couldn’t have looked more content in her new home.
“She settled in quite quickly,” said Paul. “She can be a little bit skittish at times and would bolt when she heard the doorbell. But she’s much better now than when we first got her. This is her home and she knows that.”
Paul and Christine have given Flora a second shot at happiness – and health – but she has also brought lots to their household, too. A few months before rehoming her, the couple had lost their previous cat, Milly, and had originally decided that they were not going to have another.
“We didn’t want to go through losing a cat again, it’s so heartbreaking,” said Paul.
But their home felt empty without the presence of a four-legged friend, and they soon changed their minds.
I don’t suppose she was happy about being put on such a strict diet, but she’s now got a bright and happy future to look forward to thanks to her new slimmer figure." Amanda Marrington, London Welfare Officer
“She’s brought a lot of pleasure to our household,” said Paul.
“My wife has got a plaque in the kitchen. It says: ‘I told my husband it was either him or the cat, I do miss him sometimes’. That says it all, really - we’re just smitten with her.”
Amanda added: “Flora was so loving and a purr monster. It’s so great that we could help her after her owner passed away. I don’t suppose she was happy about being put on such a strict diet, but she’s now got a bright and happy future to look forward to thanks to her new slimmer figure.
“We’re so thankful to Paul and Christine for giving her such a loving home, she really does deserve it.”
For advice on keeping your cat in shape, click here.