Updated: Oct 10, 2019
Pet Obesity Awareness Day is coming up on October 9, 2019. Let’s face it, Chicagoland. We’re chonky! The term “chonky” came from the internet to describe our heavier-set feline companions. Chicago has lots of great places for humans and dogs to exercise. However, cats often stay indoors embracing their chonk status. S'wooft wants to introduce you to some local chonks and what their owners are doing to avoid obesity-related health problems.
On Facebook, you can find a group called “This Cat is C H O N K Y”. It got the attention of over 400,000 people who own chonks or just enjoy photos, memes, and stories about chubby cats. This is where S'wooft met Laura, a Lincoln Square resident who proudly posts about her chonky cats, Pierogi and Pączki.
“Pierogi may be a chonk but he’s actually a very active cat,” Laura explains. “My vet said he’s in perfect health.” Fortunately, Pierogi’s “weight problem” is not a health problem. Like Laura, you should partner with your veterinarian to address any issues related to weight gain. S'wooft also met Lisa, who became more proactive with her cat Malcolm after a vet visit. Malcom is an active cat who loves to jump. However,
“when our vet told us he was 18.9 pounds, we just decided to stop free-feeding him, and to give him fewer cat treats, and then only the lean treats," Lisa says. “He's very food-motivated, so there is no fooling Malcolm when it comes to feeding time. We even have an alarm that goes off at 7am, 3pm and 11pm, and he goes berserk when he hears it!”
You can pass your vet’s recommendations on to your S'wooft Cat Care Specialist, who will follow your cat’s customized diet and exercise routine. For example, Pierogi and Pączki’s plan includes jumping and chasing their favorite feathery toy for at least a half hour a day!
“In terms of exercise, they have two cat scratching trees they are constantly running up and down on. They love to play on the big tree together,” Laura says. “I believe enrichment is incredibly important to keep a cat healthy and happy so they are absolutely spoiled with toys and scratchers.”
Megan, another Chicago cat owner and “This Cat is C H O N K Y” Facebook group member, follows a similar routine with her chonk named Maize. “We play for at least an hour or more a day,” Megan says. “Like 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes at night. She likes to chase balls so I'll throw them and she'll run and get them.” The more you play, the more you will discover the type of toy your chonky feline prefers.
Windy Kitty Cat Cafe has special events that encourage a healthy lifestyle for both felines and humans. S'wooft was invited to experience “Yoga with Cats,” where a professional Yoga instructor guides guests through various poses. As they stretch and bend, curious kittens join them on the mat. It’s a peaceful, hilarious experience that ends with quality time with cats. “Cardio Kickboxing with Kitties” and “Teen Self-Defense Class with Kitties” have also been added to the October calendar. These events are a great way for adoptable cats to exercise and socialize.
Jenny from Windy Kitty Cat Cafe also has lots of interactive toy suggestions you can use at home. “I recommend wand toys and fling-ama-string and experimenting with things like crinkly balls, balls with bells, tunnels and cat trees, catnip balls and sparkle balls. These are always a hit. Mouse toys, too. With wand toys you can personally interact with your cat and they get some exercise and with the fling-ama-string you can turn it on, walk away and they are entertained for a while!”
Tao and Squeegee are two chonks that just moved to the Streeterville area. Their owners are friends with Megan. Collectively, this Tuxedo duo weighs 40lbs. To reach a weight goal of under 13lbs, Tao and Squeegee are about to have their 750 square foot world expanded. Their owners set a goal to research leash-walking techniques. Their owners are seeking out advice from groups like “This Cat is C H O N K Y” and blogs from trusted companies like S'wooft. Megan, however, laughingly could not provide much insight. “She (Maize) would walk, but when I put the leash on her all she wants to do is chase it behind her!”
Jenny of Windy Kitty Cat Cafe suggest utilizing pet strollers and harnesses. This might be just the trick for cats like Squeegee who aren’t used to all the smells and sirens. “They get out, they get to look around and you get exercise too.” Jenny says.
Now that you've heard from these C H O N K Y owners, how will you recognize Pet Obesity Awareness Day? On 10/9/2019, let's commit to keeping our pets as active as our beloved city. As always, S'wooft Dog Walkers and Cat Care Specialists are available to meet your pet care (and exercise) needs!