Michael beats the bulge

MICHAEL the cat weighed in at more than a stone before he started his diet - but now his belly is starting to vanish and the mice have to run quicker.The black shorthaired five and a half-year-old moggie went in for a health check during September last year at Stowe Veterinary Group.

MICHAEL the cat weighed in at more than a stone before he started his diet - but now his belly is starting to vanish and the mice have to run quicker.

The black shorthaired five and a half-year-old moggie went in for a health check during September last year at

Stowe Veterinary Group.

During the routine check at Stowmarket a vet picked up that Michael was rather overweight, weighing in at 15.2lb, whereas the typical weight for an average sized cat is between eight to 11lb.

Although Michael is naturally a large cat, he was still 3lb over his ideal target weight and vets felt that decisive action was needed and recommended that he take part in a special weight reduction programme.

His owners Tony and Penny Bassett, from nearby Forward Green, agreed, especially because Michael's brother Harry had died of a heart attack at three.

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At the time of his first weigh in Michael was obese but now, just over a year later, he has lost 2.7lb and is very nearly at his target weight of 12.1lb.

Mr Bassett said: “We've achieved Michael's weight loss by sticking to what we are meant to feed him. Currently he gets 55 grams of low calorie diet per day.

Michael's more active and he now eats everything he catches rather than releasing it into the house. Generally he's got more enthusiasm for life.

“I think he's doing well. We knew it was going to take time and that we'd have to be strict. It was well worth doing because he's much healthier, even his coat is in much better condition.”

Michael has also lost 14cm from his abdomen and 6cm from his chest and a spokeswoman for the practice said: “He is healthier, happier, much more active and looks like a new cat, gone is the hanging undercarriage.

“Tony and Penny have done particularly well because it's difficult to regulate a cat's weight if it goes out hunting. Michael consumes on average two or three mice per day and the more active he has become, owing to his weight loss, the more he has hunted.”

One solution, according to Stowe Veterinary Group's practice manager Lynn Smith, is to put a cat's food at the top of the stairs to give them exercise.

If Michael had not lost his weight, he would have had risk of an early death, a heart attack, joint problems, diabetes, looking old before his time, breathing difficulties and skin disorders.

N What do you think to Michael's weight loss? Do you have an overweight pet? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk