Editor’s note: It’s no secret. The Telluride region is dog heaven. Unless you are one of our furry friends who gets caught in the maw of neglect and abuse. Then heaven is on hold until Second Chance Humane Society comes to the rescue.

Second Chance is the region’s nonprofit dedicated to saving animals’ lives and promoting responsible pet parenting and human-animal bond. In her weekly blog, executive director Kelly Goodin profiles two of the many animals now living at the no-kill shelter, Angel Ridge Shelter, a dog and a cat, hoping to find them loving permanent homes.

The column is sponsored by Ted Hoff of  Cottonwood Ranch & Kennel, who from time to time exercises his skills as a dog whisperer, partnering with Kelly and her staff to help train a particularly challenging animal.

By the by, there is no better place to park your pup than Cottonwood should you be heading out of town for the remainder of the off season. And consider joining Ted’s Very Important Dog (VID) Club for added benies. (Details on Ted’s website.)

The Fatkins Catkins Diet

True story. Recently a 34-pound cat – that roughly equates to a 500 pound person – was taken to a vet by its owners to be euthanized because they no longer wanted to care for him. (The staff had to help him walk,supporting him with a sheet slung under his midsection)

Renamed Otto (short for Ottoman), the vet staff saw the lovable sweet cat inside all the blubber and decided to adopt him. He then put Otto on a “Catkins diet” to change his persona from furry footstool back to cat.

While Otto’s morbid obesity is unusual, he has plenty of company in the plus-sized feline department. According to Sheltering Magazine, a 2011 nationwide survey found that 55 percent of adult pet cats — or 47.3 million — are overweight, and more than half of them are classified as obese (scoring 8 or higher on a 9-point body condition chart).

Why are cats getting fat? In a word, lifestyle.

In their mice-eating days of old, domestic cats had to work really hard for that one little boost of calories. Today’s modern house cat, on the other hand, spends most of his day looking for something to do. All too often that becomes parking himself in front of an overly generous kibble bowl. Owners often compound the problem by interpreting their kitty’s requests for attention as demands for food. They shower him with treats when what he really needs is a good workout.

The consequences can be serious. Even a few extra pounds can burden the heart, raise blood pressure, and cause arthritis by increasing stress on joints and ligaments. Obese cats, unable to clean themselves properly, frequently suffer from painful rashes and urinary tract infections. And overweight cats are four times more likely to develop diabetes.

Everyone knows someone who lost 10 pounds in 10 days on a juice fast or cabbage soup diet. But in feline shrinkage, there are no quick fixes. Cats who reduce too quickly can develop life-threatening hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver disease), so weight loss must be carefully monitored.  Done correctly, it can take more than a year for a real heavyweight to reach his goal.

Successful weight loss starts with calorie control.

“When humans measure out dry food for a cat, their eyes are bigger than reality,” says veterinarian Lisa Pierson, who maintains the website “They don’t understand that a half cup can be over 300 calories. Most sedentary house cats only need about 200-225 calories a day.”

Cats who eat only kibble, high in calories and carbs, should be switched to high-protein, low-carb canned food, says Pierson. Studies have shown that such diets better meet a feline’s nutritional needs and keep weight under control.

“Cats are programmed to eat a certain amount of protein. If … you’re feeding them very high carbohydrate diets, they tend to overeat because they’re trying to meet their protein needs,” Pierson explains. The increased water content in canned food also means cats take in fewer calories per bite and are satiated sooner.”

Of course, if you have an overweight pet, you should take him to your veterinarian to make sure there aren’t any medical factors contributing to the issue. Have your vet recommend the best weight loss program for your particular animal.




My name is Plymouth, not because I am as big as a car, but because you will discover a new world (of snugabuggin’ ) if you adopt me. I am a fun-loving, active and lean kitty and I plan on staying that way. Right now I am living in the communal room with my littermates, where we get to run and climb and wrestle all day long. Please consider me as a candidate to join you in the adventures of life – and snuggles please.


They call me Silly Millie, mostly because I am silly for affection. This is not my first time at Second Chance. When I was younger and homeless, the shelter was not at this lovely location. It occupied a tiny little red house in town, where I spent some time with the Second Chance folk, who worked to find me a new home. Well, the home they



found for me has undergone some changes and now I need to find a new place to live yet again… But I am so good natured that I am not letting it all get me down. I know about kismet and I believe fate will lead me to exactly where I need to be next. Hopefully that place is with you…

Note: Second Chance Humane Society Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shop are both located in Ridgway but service San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties. Call the SCHS Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, Feral Cat, or other Programs. 

View our shelter pets and services online:



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