Over the past several months, we changed the feeding regimen for our two cats so the younger, larger male could not take any of the female's food. We also cut out virtually all dry food, except for an occasional treat, and measured what we were giving them daily.
Last week, the cats came out to Colorado, flying in the cabin. A year ago, as I was wrestling both cats and some carry-on bags, I tore a bicep. I'm convinced snatching up 18+ pounds of the big boy's dead weight and carrying him through three airports was partially responsible.
Now he weighs 12 pounds — normal for a cat of his size — and seems like a different animal. He can jump on kitchen counters to search for food, not a possibility before, which is a bit of a negative. But overall, losing one-third of his body weight was a positive for all — most of all him.
His improvement reminded me of this item in High Country News that compared the health of black bears in the Lake Tahoe region.
The average urban male weighed one-third more (325 pounds) than his country counterpart (250). Females had a similar proportional difference and typically had their first litter at age 4-5 instead of 7-8, with one more cub per litter. Life expectancies were shorter from a third to a half in the urban population.
Of course, the two groups had different diets. The less-healthy bears ate a lot of what we eat and what we feed our pets.