This post first appeared on Derby Telegraph. Read the original article.
Two fat pets have turned their lives around after entering a national pet slimming competition.
Derby cat Barnaby was so big that he snapped his carrier in two - whilse Lola the rabbit, from Alfreton, had a “monstrous appetite”.
The yearly PDSA Pet Fit Club competition helps pets embark on a six-month diet plan, helping them to slim down and raising awareness of the health risks of pet obesity.
Lola clinched second place by losing nearly a quarter (24 per cent) of her body weight, whilst Barnaby won runner-up by losing 17 centimetres from his waist in the six months.
Lola weighed 7.4 kilograms (almost a stone) at the start of the event, but lost 1.8 kilograms over the course of the competition.
This was the largest amount ever lost by a rabbit in the 12-year history of the competition.
Due to her size, Lola had been unable to groom herself and so owner Karen Birks had to regularly clean her.
Karen, 48, said: “I’m delighted with how well she’s done, it’s amazing. When they told me she was the top rabbit slimmer ever in the history of PDSA Pet Fit Club I couldn’t believe it.
“She’s got so much more energy than before and she seems a lot happier, she’s certainly a lot cheekier.
“When I see her hopping around the garden it makes me so happy because this has changed her life.”
“I can’t thank PDSA enough, they’ve been fantastic. We didn’t realise we were feeding her too much of the wrong food, but the vets and nurses have put us on the right path and now we want to keep it up.”
Lola actually had a sweet tooth for carrots - but simply ate too many - and they have quite a high sugar content.
Barnaby weighed 8.1 kilograms (one stone and four pounds) at the start of the competition, which was around 65 per cent overweight.
But throughout the course of the six months he lost 17 centimetres from his waist and eight per cent of his bodyweight.
Deborah Bull, Barnaby’s 55-year-old owner, told how she used to fill his bowl with cat food, biscuits, leftovers and creamy milk.
Deborah spoke of Barnaby’s reaction to the new diet food: “It was a struggle to start with and, of course, when you’ve been used to dining on fresh meat like fish, chicken or beef every day to then be served a bowl of diet food, it doesn’t have quite the same appeal!
“But we persevered and Barnaby now loves his diet food. I’m so grateful that we entered him into Pet Fit Club because otherwise we’d still be doing the same thing now.
“It’s been a wake-up call. We knew we had to change drastically and we knew we were at fault for how overweight he was but I’m really proud of how Barnaby’s done and how we’ve persevered with it too.”
PDSA vet nurse, Sally Frith, said she was delighted with the Derby pets’ performance in the competition.
She said: “Lola has done amazingly well - to be Highly Commended and be the top rabbit slimmer in the history of Pet Fit Club is no mean feat, while Barnaby has also lost a huge amount of fat from his waist.
“Both owners have been very dedicated and worked hard to change their pets’ lifestyle for the better.
“They have stuck to the diet and helped increase exercise levels and they’re now seeing the rewards for all of their hard work.”
This year’s winner is an eight-year-old beagle named Alfie from Middlesbrough. He lost 34 per cent of his bodyweight (10.3 kilograms or one stone and nine pounds) in the six months.