Creating a Weight Reduction Plan for Cats
Weight reduction is difficult for everyone, whether they are two- or four-legged! However, decreasing weight and getting into better condition will not only extend your cat’s life, but it can also make those extra years more joyful for your cat, as well. It may be less difficult than you think to assist your cuddly pet in losing a few pounds. Just a firm dedication to weight reduction and exercise, meticulous attention to detail, and the support of your veterinary healthcare team are all that are required.
Why should my cat lose weight?
Even a two-pound increase in body weight beyond the recommended maximum can put your cat at risk for acquiring certain significant medical disorders. In the unfortunate case that your cat is overweight or obese, it’s no longer a matter of whether, but rather when and how severe the problem will be caused by his or her weight gain. Following are a few of the most frequent disorders connected with being overweight or obese:
- A cat that is obese is three times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than a cat that is of normal weight. Other health problems that an obese cat may develop include heart disease, osteoarthritis (arthritis), increased frequency of joint injuries, high blood pressure, and some cancers, particularly intra-abdominal cancers.
Cats that are overweight or obese tend to have shorter lives than their counterparts that are fit and of average weight. Heavy cats are less physically interactive with their family and are less lively and playful than their lighter counterparts. Because they tend to spend more time lying around, it is easier to ignore early indicators of disease in them because we may ascribe their lethargy to their regular laziness, rather than to illness. Humans and our cuddly pets are only now beginning to understand how dangerous and life-threatening a few more pounds may be for both of us.
How should I begin a weight loss program for my cat?
Theoretically, losing weight appears to be straightforward: less calories consumed + more calories expended equals weight reduction. Unfortunately, things are not quite so straightforward. It is never recommended to put an obese cat on a diet without first consulting a veterinarian. “Cats can acquire a life-threatening form of liver illness known as hepatic lipidosis if they do not consume food for as little as two consecutive days.” As opposed to humans or dogs, cats have a unique physiology that can lead to a life-threatening form of liver illness known as hepatic lipidosis if they do not consume any food for as little as two consecutive days (also called fatty liver syndrome).
If your cat is overweight, your veterinarian will do a physical examination of him and will likely prescribe some diagnostic tests to confirm that he does not have any underlying ailments or impediments to weight loss.
How much should I feed my cat to promote weight loss?
In order to answer this question, your veterinarian will evaluate your cat and estimate its appropriate body weight based on its body size and build, as well as its overall health. To aid your veterinarian in estimating this weight, as well as the quantity of calories necessary to attain it in a safe manner, formulas and charts have been established. The average domestic cat should weigh between 8 and 10 pounds, according to the American Feline Association (3.6-4.4 kg). The degree of obesity in your cat may lead to your veterinarian recommending an initial goal weight that is greater than the recommended weight for your feline companion.
However, a more realistic beginning aim may be 15 pounds (4.4 kg) (6.8 kg).
A re-evaluation will be performed when the cat has lost the required amount of weight to evaluate whether more weight reduction is required. Here are some rough suggestions for calculating your cat’s daily calorie requirements depending on his or her weight:
|Ideal weight (lbs)||Calories (kcal) required to meet 80% RER per day|
Please keep in mind that this is simply a general guideline and should not be considered a substitute for your veterinarian’s precise advice. However, if your cat does not lose weight on this quantity of calories, the overall amount of calories must be cut even further. It is dependent on the calorie content of the meal on how much food is required to give this number of calories. The amount of food that will be required to deliver this number of calories will be determined by the calorie content of the food being used to meet the calorie requirement.
This information will need to be obtained from the manufacturer if you want to purchase food from a source that does not provide it on the label.
One of the reasons canned diet foods work better is that fussy felines frequently prefer wet food to dry food, which is one of the reasons they work better.
When beginning a weight-loss program, it is critical that you count calories and measure the quantity of food you consume.
What makes veterinary weight loss diets special?
Take note that this is simply a broad guideline and is not intended to take the place of particular suggestions from your veterinarian. The overall number of calories must be lowered more if your cat does not lose weight on this quantity of calories. “The amount of food that will be required to give this number of calories will be determined by the calorie content of that meal.” The amount of food that will be required to deliver this number of calories will be determined by the calorie content of the food being used to meet the calorie requirements.
If you want to utilize an alternate source of food that does not have this information on the label, you will need to contact the manufacturer in order to obtain this information.
It is possible that picky felines prefer wet food over dry food, which is one of the reasons canned diet meals are more effective.
In order to successfully begin a weight-loss program, it is critical that you calculate your calories and track your intake. Too much food results in no weight reduction, and too little food might result in major health effects such as hepatic lipidosis (a fatty liver condition).
How quickly should I introduce the new reducing diet to my cat?
When you are transitioning your cat to a new food, you should wait three weeks for the shift to take place. To begin, place tiny portions of the new diet in a separate bowl and set it aside. If your cat is a picky eater, it may take up to two weeks for your cat to determine whether or not to consume the food. Once your cat has acclimated to the new diet, begin by blending 14 percent of the new food with 3 percent of the old diet for two to four days at a time. Give half-and-half for another two to four days, then 34 of the new diet mixed with 14 old diet for a final three to five days before entirely transitioning to the new diet.
Do not hesitate to seek guidance from your veterinarian if your cat is refusing to eat the new diet or if you have any concerns during this initial time of adjustment.
What suggestions do you have to encourage my cat get more exercise?
Our perfect world would include jogging with our kitties, but we don’t live in an ideal world, so we have to make do with what we have. Getting our cats to participate in aerobic activity is not only challenging, but it also goes against their natural instinctive behavior. Cats were not built to behave as scavengers and cooperative hunters in the same manner that people and dogs were created to work in the past. Cats, on the other hand, developed as stalkers who wasted relatively little energy in pursuit of their prey and did not go far from their home region.
The majority of wild cats chase after their prey at peak speed for less than a minute at a time.
Cats in our homes are essentially smaller replicas of the wild felines that roam the countryside.
Cats prefer to sprint 100 yards rather than run a marathon.
As a result, because cats are obligate carnivores, the dietary guidelines that apply to people do not apply to them.” Because cats are obligate carnivores (that is, they consume meat because it is biologically necessary for them to do so), the dietary guidelines for people do not apply to them.
You’ll have to use your skill and imagination to persuade your clumsy cat to get some extra exercise.
- The food dish should be moved to a variety of various locations throughout the home (such as upstairs or downstairs), and rotated so that the cat always has a short walk to reach its food bowl. Cats are intelligent creatures, and if the food dish is moved upstairs, they will follow it to the new location. Keeping your cat’s feeding bowl as far away from his favorite hangouts as feasible is a good idea. Another thing to consider is that many overweight cats will sleep and lounge around the food dish so that they don’t have to travel far to have a snack. Even better, don’t put dry food in a cat bowl in the first place! In order for your cat to receive portions of food as a’reward,’ purchase specialized ‘feeding balls’ that need your cat to roll them around. In order to use these interactive devices, you must first load them with a precise amount of dry food, and then the cat must struggle to get the food out! You may even throw their food at them, causing them to chase after it during mealtimes. Make time for your cat to play with you. Fill the room with feather toys, laser pointers, paper or foil balls, or anything else that your cat will find amusing to chase about the house and yard. Ten minutes of playtime with your cat twice a day should be plenty. When eating, watching television, or even while reading, you may complete this task. Some of the various toys that move and squeak may prove to be fascinating to your feline companion. A diversity of foods is vital for many cats since what is fascinating today may become dull the next day. Make sure you reward your cat after any laser pointer play with a little treat, since some cats become upset when they are unable to catch anything.
Additional suggestions for exercising your cat may be found in the handout “Exercising Your Cat for Weight Loss.”
How often should my cat come in for a recheck or weigh-in?
After you have started your cat on a weight loss program, it is vital that you monitor his progress to ensure that the program is effective. In general, your cat’s weight should be checked at least once a month until the optimal weight is reached for him. “Each cat is unique, and it may be necessary to make alterations to the recommended food or routine before determining the most effective strategy.” Each cat is unique, and it may be necessary to make tweaks to the recommended food or regimen before determining the most effective strategy.
Weight loss that happens at a rate that is greater than this might result in significant liver damage (hepatic lipidosis or fatty liver syndrome).
It is possible to get large benefits by making only a little adjustment sometimes.
When my cat is hungry, she pesters me until I feed her. Do you have any suggestions?
Many times, it is simpler to give in to the cat who wakes you up at four in the morning to be fed, or the cat that meows endlessly or head butts you until they are fed.. These cats have done an excellent job of training us and are well aware of which buttons to hit in order to get their way. Here are some pointers on how to deal with a persistent Persian or an insatiable Siamese:
- It is not recommended to utilize a self-feeder. While it may seem apparent, automated feeders are little more than candy dispensers for an overweight cat
- If you must use an automatic feeder, make sure it has a timer that opens when the cat is hungry. Thus, it will be easier for you to measure out the right amount and split it into daily portions. When your cat begs for food, pet her or engage in playful interaction with her. It is common for cats to trade food for love, thus reversing the equation may reveal that playtime takes the place of mealtime. Divide the whole amount or calories into four to six smaller meals and serve them periodically – especially if you have cats that like to wake you up in the middle of the night begging for more treats. Whatever you do, do not provide additional food. Instead of food, provide clean drinking water. If your cat is staring longingly at the empty food dish, a glass of cool, fresh water may be just what he or she needs.
I have more than one cat, but only one is overweight. How can I feed them different foods?
As a starting point, here are a few ideas that may inspire you to come up with additional innovative solutions for this problem.
- Feeding the cats individually is the best approach for families with many cats. Separately feed the overweight cat’s diet in one area, while simultaneously providing her with food in another room. Once you’ve given them a specified amount of time to eat, usually fifteen to thirty minutes, remove any uneaten food until the next meal
- Make sure you feed the normal-weight cat in a location where the overweight cat cannot get it. If there is a significant difference in size between your cats, you can design a variety of methods for allowing the smaller cat access to food where the larger cat cannot get to it. On a door, you may add a safety chain or a hook and eye clasp to ensure that the entrance opens just enough to allow the skinny cat to enter. Alternatives include using a huge box and cutting two small openings on the top and bottom of it, which will allow the smaller cat to come in and feed
- There are now commercial feeding stations that will only open if your cat’s microchip is recognized by the system. You should never leave food out while you are gone from home. When you are not present, you have no influence over who and what consumes what.
How long will my cat need to be on a diet?
Most cats will reach their target weight within six to eight months of starting their diet. If the procedure is taking far longer than this, something has to be done to speed it up. In order to maintain a healthy weight loss, about one pound per month should be achieved. Some cats may require a more gradual weight loss program, while others may require a more rapid one. “Most cats will reach their target weight within six to eight months,” says the veterinarian. For the majority of cats, the key to weight loss is a household that is dedicated, committed, and concerned.
As good stewards, it is our responsibility to safeguard them from harm and to ensure that we do not unintentionally contribute to their early death or the development of crippling diseases.
Helping an Obese Cat Lose Weight [+ 10 Diet and Exercise Tips]
According to the Association of PetObesityPrevention (APOP), 25.7 percent of cats were overweight and a further 33.8 percent of cats were obese in 2018, according to their research. The result is that nearly three out of every five cats is overweight, and veterinarians are raising the alarm. Despite the fact that an overweight cat may appear charming and cuddly, those additional pounds might potentially cause major health problems in the long run.
The good news is that you may assist yourcat in losing weight by making a few easy dietary and activity modifications. In this article, we’ll explain why it’s so important for cats to be at their optimal weight, as well as provide you with ten veterinarian-approved methods to help you get there.
Reasons To Help YourOverweight CatLose theExtra Pounds
Cats that are overweight or obese are at a higher risk of developing a variety of health problems in their lifetime. Overweight cats, according to the Tufts University Veterinary Medical Center, are at greater risk for developing:
- Diabetes in cats, urinary illness in cats, osteoarthritis in cats, inflammation in cats, hormonal abnormalities in cats, shorter life spans in cats
As you can see, yourcat’s weight has a significant impact on his or her overall health. Understanding feline obesity and why your cat may be gaining weight may help you “tilt the scales” in the direction of a healthy weight for your feline companion.
Best Practices for Putting Your Cat on aWeight Loss Diet
So, what can you do if your cat is already overweight and needs to lose weight? Make losing weight a high priority for your cat’s well-being. The most effective strategy to assist a cat in losing weight is to assist them in consuming less calories than they burn via activity, which will necessitate some modifications to their daily routine. Prior to beginning a new feeding schedule and diet, make certain that both you and your cat are prepared to do so. Follow these key practices to ensure a successful project:
Start By Consulting Your Veterinarian
You should schedule an appointment with your veterinarian before attempting to reduce your cat’s excessive weight. The physiology and nutritional requirements of each individual cat are unique. Even modest adjustments to your cat’s diet, food volume, or feeding frequency can have significant consequences, whether for the better or for the worse. Your veterinarian is the most qualified source of advice when it comes to developing a safe and individualized weight reduction strategy for your particular pet.
Determine the Amount of Weight YourCat Needsto Lose
Before beginning a weight-loss program for your cat, you must first decide how much weight she needs to drop. According to the American Pet Products Association, the normal home cat should weigh between 8 and 10 pounds. Having said that, you should consult with your veterinarian about your cat’s sideal body weight because factors such as breed and age have a role. In order to determine your cat’s size and health, you should do more than just weigh them. You or your veterinarian can also check your cat and assign them a score based on their bodily condition.
Take Time Transitioning to Your Cat’sNew Diet(2 to 3 Weeks)
Make a strategy for how you’ll adjust your cat’s diet before you try any weight-loss strategies on them. Then gradually transfer them from their current diet and exercise program to the new one. The majority of cat owners are guilty of overfeeding their cats and failing to provide adequate exercise, and your cat will reject any drastic adjustments in diet. Make a gradual transition from your present feeding routine (meal kind, volume, frequency, etc.) to your new feeding schedule. To make a successful transition to a new food, you should allow at least two weeks between each meal.
This will assist your cat in becoming used to the change, and it will also allow you to observe whether or not they have any negative responses to the new diet.
Pair Exercise With YourCat’s Weight Loss Diet
While food is an important component of weight loss, physical activity helps your cat burn calories and fat while also increasing his or her energy levels. So think of creative methods to include extra physical activity into your cat’s everyday routine. We’ll provide you with some suggestions in our list of suggestions below. Extra fun with your cat (break out the toys or laser pointers, for example) can keep your cat moving and will help your cat’s diet show effects more quickly as well. More workout advice may be found on our blog.
Don’t Rush theWeight LossProcess
Even though eating is an important factor, physical exercise can help your cat lose weight by burning calories and fat while also increasing his or her energy levels. As a result, brainstorm methods to include extra physical activity into your cat’s routine. In our list of suggestions below, we’ll provide you with some inspiration. Extra fun with your cat (break out the toys or laser pointers, for example) can keep your cat moving and will help your cat’s diet show effects more quickly. Our blog has further fitness advice.
10 Tips To Help YourCat Lose Weight
Now, let’s have a look at some ways for assisting yourcat in losing weight safely and gently.
1. Hide Their Meals and Litter Box
Exercise is not something that indoor catsoften are interested in doing, and this contributes to their obesity problems. By rearranging your cat’s food bowl and litter box around the room, you can encourage greater mobility. Place them in a new area each day so that your cat needs to go out of his way to find them and get some exercise in the process. You could put them on the floor where they spend the least amount of time, or you could put them on different floors so that they have to go up and down the stairs on a regular basis.
2. Use a Treat Toy or Feeding Ball
Cats aren’t scared to put in some effort in exchange for rewards. Consider purchasing or making reward toys and feeding balls that will entice your cat to swap some physical effort for a tasty treat. Not only do they transform meals into playtime, but they also give both cerebral and physical stimulation to the participants. Because these toys release food a small amount at a time, they can also assist to slow down the rate at which your cat consumes food.
3. Spread Out Meals
If you just feed your cat once a day, this routine may encourage your cat to overindulge in food. Instead, consider distributing their typical quantity of food across a number of feeding occasions. Providing your cat with several little meals throughout the day can prevent him from being overly hungry at one point in the day. This method might also be beneficial if you’re progressively decreasing the amount of food you give your cat. In the event that you’re reducing your cat’s calorie intake, providing them with more opportunities to eat will prevent them from whining from hunger.
4. Try Using an Automatic Feeder That Opens Based on a Timer
An automated feeder is another technique that cat owners may employ to combat obesity in their cats. The food is released via an automated feeder at a predetermined time each day, precisely monitoring and managing the quantity of calories your cat consumes, even when you are not around.
To keep your cat from overeating, use a timer-based feeder rather than one that opens based on your cat’s movements.
5. Add Water or Replace With Water
To make your cat feel fuller even if they are eating less food than they were previously, mix some water into the cat’s diet. If you’re giving us dried food, you may increase the quantity of water you put into their meal to make it more nutritious. Adding water also helps to increase their hydration, which is important because dehydration is a prevalent problem for cats. You may get the same result by adding water to wet or canned food as well. Alternatively, if your cat is still clamoring for food when it isn’t mealtime, consider providing them with new drinking water.
Alternatively, you might provide a hydrating snack that is low in calories, such as our Instant Goat’s Milk for cats.
6. Play for 30 Minutes
Cats are inherently jovial and entertaining creatures. Make an effort to spend at least 30 minutes each day playing with your cat and utilizing a range of toys. Not only does this contribute to the strengthening of your relationship, but it also raises their calorie expenditure. Make a note of this time on your daily “to-do” list to ensure that you don’t forget. If your cat is constantly begging for food, consider involving them in play instead of feeding them. Some cats will completely forget about their urge to eat if they are given your full and complete attention.
7. Go for a Walk
Pet walks aren’t only for canines anymore! Taking a walk around the neighborhood can be beneficial for your cat as well, provided your pet has the correct temperament for it. A cat should be harnessed and leashed, rather than wearing a collar, according to Texas Humane Heroes. As they become adjusted to the leash, provide them with plenty of goodies to encourage them to enjoy the procedure. Allow your cat to take the lead on the first few walks to get them used to the procedure. Never tug your cat while on a leash when walking with them.
8. Replace High-Carb Foods With Filler-Free Cat Foods
The amount of cat food you feed your cat is only one component of a successful weight-loss strategy. It is also important to consider the quality of the meal. Cats are carnivores who eat a diet rich in raw protein in the wild, yet many commercial cat meals and kibbles are heavy in carbs and heavily processed. As the first component of a high-quality meal, such as our grain-free cat food, carefully obtained protein is used to create it. Aside from that, they are devoid of grains and other fillers.
Therefore, every cup has the nourishment your cat requires without the excess carbohydrates and calories that they do not require. The Honest Kitchen offers a variety of delectable, lean, human-grade cat meals that are ideal for indoor cats. Take a look at these products:
- Foods such as Grain Free Turkey Dehydrated Cat Food, Grain Free Salmon-Turkey Pâté, Minced Chicken in Bone Broth Gravy, and Grain Free Salmon-Turkey Pâté are available.
Recommended Reading:Grain Free and Cats: Is Grain Free Food Bad for Cats? Is Grain Free Food Bad for Cats?
9. Switch to Lean Meat Foods
Making the move from fatty or carb-heavy diets to a high-protein diet that includes lean meats such as chicken or turkey is an excellent method to assist yourcat in losing weight while also boosting their nutrition.
10. If You Have Multiple Cats, Separate Them During Feeding Time
It may seem unusual, but separating your cats at meals will assist your overweight cat(s) in reaching their weight loss objectives more quickly and effectively. In the event that you’re giving your overweight catorobese cat a specific diet, you’ll want to make certain that they’re the only ones who are eating it. When the cats aren’t all chowing down at the same time, it’s much simpler to observe what they’re eating and how much they’re consuming. Aside from that, cats have a tendency to overeat when they see other cats as competitors.
Allow them 10 to 15 minutes to finish their meals before removing the bowls.
If you are unable to feed them in separate rooms, consider feeding them in the same room with the door closed, but at various times during the day or night.
The following is recommended reading: Pica in Cats: What It Is, Common Causes, and Treatment Options
Try High-Quality, Human Grade Cat Foods That Cats Love
The quality of your cat’s food, as well as the amount of food you provide your cat, are two essential components of any effective weight-loss regimen. Another is selecting food that your cat genuinely enjoys and that also fits their dietary needs. That is why our high-quality, human-grade recipes are an excellent choice for cats who are trying to lose weight. In addition to providing the nourishment your cat requires to be active, our high-quality meats and flavorful seasonings give the taste they require to enjoy the food you’ve prepared for them.
Health Disclaimer: This material is intended to be educational in nature and does not represent medical advice in any kind.
Meet the Author:Ben Kerns
Ben Kerns is a San Diego-based freelance writer, photographer, and outdoor enthusiast who lives and works in the city. Whenever he isn’t working, you can find him traveling the world in search of new spots to climb large boulders. He’s also obsessively focused on finding the cheapest way possible to support his outdoor passions while staying as healthy as possible. This material may get rather pricey very quickly.
How to Help a Cat Lose Weight
Even a couple of extra pounds can have a significant impact on the health of your cat. More than half of cat owners have a cat who is overweight or obese. In addition, while it’s easy to ignore a few more ounces or dismiss it as merely extra-fluffy fur, excess fat has serious repercussions. Whatever the reason for your cat’s weight gain, whether it’s the threat of a reduced lifetime, an increased likelihood of health problems or simply mobility issues, even a few additional pounds can have a significant influence on his or her health.
- The impact of weight loss in cats is easy to overlook when your physician estimates that your cat might lose two pounds or less.
- However, when you consider that the typical cat weighs 10 pounds, two pounds constitutes a significant problem!
- Consider the typical 160-pound person and compare him or her to the average 10-pound cat to see how they compare.
- And if the typical cat carries three pounds of extra weight about on their frame, that is the equivalent of approximately 50 pounds of extra weight carried around on the average human body.
- If you have a 5-pound Siamese that is fragile, even 8 ounces will make a difference.
- However, BMI charts and other rules that are effective for the vast majority of humans are ineffective for cats.
- The 1-5 scale or the 1-9 scale are frequently used to score the body condition of cats.
You can use a scale to track your cat’s weight reduction objectives on a monthly basis if he or she surpasses the optimum score, but you’ll still want to perform a hands-on and visual check as you get closer to your target.
In order to establish your cat’s bodily condition and set weight loss objectives, you should consult with your veterinarian.
Consider the following: Find out what your cat’s body condition score is.
The goal of weight loss should be to enhance health, but cats must follow a specific weight loss strategy to ensure that their liver is not harmed as a result of the weight loss.
Fatty liver disease, which your veterinarian will most likely refer to as hepatic lipidosis, can be caused by fast weight loss in some cases, and it can be fatal in the worst case scenario.
It is recommended that you aim for weight reduction of only 3 to 4 percent of your cat’s total body weight every month.
Increase your cat’s L-carnitine intake by providing them with low-calorie treats or a supplement.
There is only minimal evidence, including a 2002 research, indicating L-carnitine can assist preserve the liver when dieting and weight reduction is taking place.
Consider the following: How to Assist Your Cat in Regaining a Healthy Weight How to Incorporate Exercise into Your Hunt-Eat-Groom-Sleep-Repeat Routine It is likely that your cat already has a favorite daily rhythm that has been honed through millions of years of development.
This is referred to as the hunt-eat-groom-sleep-repeat cycle, and by knowing it, you may get vital insight into the optimal time to play with your cat.
Right before your cat is about to chow down is the ideal possible moment to engage in playful activity with them.
It’s time to get a favorite toy out of the cupboard and walk your cat around the house in circles.
In this scenario, the answer is straightforward: simply move food around as part of your playing.
If you do that before each of their three meals, you’ll be able to easily integrate 30 minutes of exercise into their daily schedule.
Try dividing their meals into little portions and distributing the food about the home in different locations.
Many cats may find the cerebral stimulation provided by foraging for food around the house to be quite rewarding.
Of course, if you have numerous cats in your household, foraging for food may not be an option.
However, restricting one’s caloric intake is not the only weight-loss strategy to consider.
Changing your cat’s diet from wet to raw may also help him lose weight.
The benefits of greater moisture levels in these diets assist to prevent your cat against chronic dehydration, as well as the urinary stones and infections that are frequently associated with this condition.
When losing weight is your number one priority, raw food is the most effective option.
Furthermore, if given enough time to acclimate, many cats may simply switch to raw food.
The majority of veterinarians are happy to collaborate with you in order to assist your overweight cat lose weight.
So if you’ve tried everything, including switching to raw or wet food (or the lowest carbohydrate choice your cat will eat) and playing with your cat on a regular basis, but the scale still doesn’t budge, consult your veterinarian.
It is likely that your veterinarian’s clinic may be able to assist you in troubleshooting any specific concerns you are experiencing.
Cat Obesity: How to Help Your Cat Lose Weight
What exactly is obesity? In the United States, obesity is defined as being overweight by 15 to 20% of one’s optimal body weight. Pet obesity is prevalent in North America, with up to 44 percent of the pet population being fat, making it the most frequent nutritional disease among cats and dogs. What is the best way to tell whether my cat is overweight? Humans may find it useful to use published charts when establishing the appropriate weight for a particular body size and build. Because our pets have such a wide range of body sizes and shapes, charts are not as useful as they once were.
- What is a bodily condition score (BCS) and how does it work?
- Pets are graded on a scale from 1 to 9 out of 9, with 5 being the optimal body weight for the species.
- A cat that is extremely obese (9/9) would have a layer of fat over his/her ribs, fat deposits in front of the hips and at the neck, and a protruding tummy, among other characteristics.
- What is causing my cat’s weight gain?
- Excess calories are converted into fat in the body by the body.
- Each individual cell has the ability to grow or shrink in size depending on the quantity of fat that is stored inside it.
- In order to avoid becoming obesity as an adult, cats who grow overweight as kittens have greater difficulty maintaining or reducing weight, and they are more likely to become obese as adults.
Is it possible that my cat is inclined to obesity?
Early-onset obesity, old age, overweight owners, a sedentary lifestyle (which is especially frequent for indoor cats), competition for food, and a free-fed diet are all factors that contribute to feline obesity (as opposed to meal-fed).
What are the health hazards associated with having an overweight pet?
Hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver disease) and lower urinary tract issues are common in overweight cats, as is urinary tract obstruction.
What are some of the advantages of losing weight?
Among its many benefits are the ability to reduce stress on joints (which is especially important for pets with arthritis), aid in the facilitation of examinations and surgical procedures, improve cardiovascular function, increase athleticism, and reduce or eliminate the need for some medications used to treat medical conditions.
The treatment or exclusion of any underlying medical issues in a pet is required in order for the creature to reduce weight.
Whenever you are attempting to reduce weight, your objective should be to shed fat while maintaining lean body mass. Three components are necessary for a safe and efficient weight-loss program:
- Increasing the quantity of activity your cat receives is recommended. Changing the manner in which you feed your cat
- Limiting the number of calories your cat consumes
What kind of exercise does my cat require? If you want your pet to lose weight, you must play an active role in his or her exercise regimen. In order to gradually increase the amount of exercise your cat receives if he or she is not used to it, you must first introduce it gradually. Begin by exercising for 10 minutes three times a week, and gradually increase the amount of time you spend exercising until you are exercising for at least 30 minutes every day. If you exercise your cat for at least 15 minutes twice a day, it will help him or her burn more calories, increase his or her metabolic rate, and maintain his or her lean body mass.
- You may also use catnip to encourage and enhance playtime for your cat.
- What changes should I make to my feeding strategy?
- This will help prevent overfeeding since it requires more effort from you and your family.
- Ideally, your cat should eat two or more small meals throughout the day to reduce hunger and begging.
- Cutting down on snacks and/or treats is the first step to reducing energy intake.
- If you do feed treats, be sure to use them sparingly.
- Only low-calorie treats or catnip should be given.
How much food should I feed my cat?
The number of calories your cat utilizes is based on the daily energy requirement for your pet and the amount of exercise he/she receives.
Are all diet pet foods the same?
There is a wide range of caloric restriction between diet cat foods.
This choice may vary based on other concurrent medical issues affecting your cat.
Caloric intake, as discussed above, is a critical component to effective weight loss.
This is a common issue, especially at the start of a weight-loss program.
As a result, your cat will likely feel hungry.
You can try to reduce this problem by feeding your cat multiple small meals per day.
Restricted-Calorie foods are designed to help cats lose weight without making them feel deprived of food.
The exact time it will take your pet to lose weight will depend on how much weight your cat has to lose and how much exercise he/she receives.
During the diet period, your cat’s weight should be checked every two to four weeks.
How do I maintain my cat’s ideal body weight once it is reached?
When appropriate, a change in the diet itself or the daily amount may be recommended. It is very important to feed your pet the correct amount of food to maintain his/her ideal body weight. Do you have questions or concerns about your cat’s weight or diet? Contact us!
Easy Ways to Help Your Cat Lose Weight
Losing weight is difficult for all animals, two-legged and four-legged alike. Cats are particularly hard struck by this difficulty, with a staggering 59.5 percent of cats in the United States categorized as overweight or obese, the highest rate of any companion animal (as compared to 55.8 percent in dogs). 1 In all, an estimated 56 million cats (and 50 million dogs) are overweight or obese, according to estimates. What is the source of this concern? In part because, like in humans, obesity is connected with major health problems in cats as well.
- Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, joint injuries, and high blood pressure are among conditions that can occur.
According to research, obese and overweight cats are three times more likely to acquire type 2 diabetes than their trimmer, normal-weight counterparts. Additionally, they have a shorter life span and do not engage in as much physical interaction with their owners. The good news is that there are some tried-and-true methods for assisting your cat in losing those excess pounds. So let’s get this party started!
1. Talk with Your Veterinarian about Your Cat’s Weight
Veterinarian care is especially necessary for cats since losing too much weight too soon can result in a life-threatening liver illness known ashepatic lipidosis, which can be fatal in certain cases (also known as fatty liver disease). This occurs when the body breaks down an excessive amount of fat at an excessively rapid rate, and the liver is unable to handle it quickly enough. Because of this, fat is deposited within and surrounding the liver, resulting to a reduction in liver function and in rare cases, liver failure.
- If this condition is not detected and treated early and aggressively, it can be deadly.
- It may be necessary to prescribe a prescription diet in order to assist your pet feel fuller on less food.
- Instead, introduce the change gradually over a period of 1–2 weeks, occasionally 3 weeks (for more information on how to adjust your cat’s diet, see this article).
- Inquire as to whether your cat is at the proper height, too high, or even too low.
- Knowing what you want to achieve is quite beneficial.
- As a result, when your veterinarian inquires, you will be prepared and will be able to get the most out of your pet’s appointment.
As demonstrated in the photographs below, you can also photograph the front and back of your cat’s kibble bag or canned food so that you can learn about the formulation and contents. You may also photograph any treats that you feed your cat on a regular basis so that you can learn about them.
2. Pay Attention to How Much You’re Feeding Your Cat
This may be accomplished by purchasing a set of dry measuring cups that are particularly designed for your pet’s food. They’re affordable and simple to get by, as well. Alternatively, you may make feeding your cat even more accurate without spending a lot of money by investing in a little kitchen scale that allows you to weigh the amount of food you’re feeding him.
Use Your Pet Food Scoop Correctly
Most pet food scoops include thin lines on the inside that show where the cup measures (e.g. 1/4 cup, 1/2 cup, etc.) are located (see illustration). It is not necessary to use your scoop if it does not contain these lines; instead, use correct measuring cups. Avoid putting “just a little bit” extra food above the measuring lines by following the guidelines above. Those inconsequential sums pile up over time, particularly for smaller creatures under 25 lbs., such as cats. OXO Possessing Secure Holding Set of Plastic Measuring Cups Additionally, if you want to feed your cat by weight rather than volume, consider purchasing a portable and easy-to-clean digital pet food scale/scoop combination.
More information may be found in this post titled “How Much and How Often You Should Feed Your Cat.”
3. Consider What You’re Feeding Your Cat
Not only is how much you feed your cat crucial, but also what you feed him. Keep an eye out for “diet” kibble from commercial sources. They are frequently inflated with air. You may believe that you are providing sufficient nutrition for your cat, but they will continue to be hungry since the air does not provide any actual fullness. Furthermore, a cat who is constantly hungry might become aggressive and less tolerant of other pets and people. Who can blame them, after all? I’d feel a little “hangry” as well!
- In addition, make certain that the first three elements on the ingredient list are comprised of a high-quality protein source.
- The high water content and density make this a particularly satisfying meal.
- As a result, your cat may consume a significantly greater volume of food while still keeping under their daily calorie limit.
- Try mixing in a little amount of canned pumpkin into your cat’s diet.
Start with 1/8th teaspoon and work your way up to roughly a teaspoon each day over time. Make certain that it is pure pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling. In order to ensure that nothing goes to waste in the fridge, you may divide out portions in an ice cube tray and freeze them.
4. Weigh Your Cat Regularly
When your pet’s weight is recorded, it may be a reliable predictor of his or her overall health. Pet owners who track their pet’s weight on a regular basis, rather of simply during yearly check-ups, are more likely to notice tiny variations in weight that could otherwise be overlooked. As a result of their tiny stature, which makes gradual weight loss or increase more difficult to detect in cats, this is especially crucial for them. Consider the following for an average 10-pound cat: If you lose only 6 percent of your body weight, or less than 10 ounces, it might be an indication of a medical concern if it occurs over a short period of time (less than a week).
A few pounds of weight increase may go unnoticed for a short period of time, but over time, those few pounds begin to accumulate.
How to Weigh Your Cat
Being weighed is something that many cats (as well as dogs and people) despise doing. Here are a few pointers on how to determine your cat’s weight at home:
- Begin by stepping on the scale and weighing yourself. Make a note of your current weight and height. Make a gentle pick-up of your cat, ensuring that they are well-supported in your arms. Holding them in your hands, step on the scale and weigh yourself and the cat all at the same time. Make a note of the total weight of the items. In order to determine the weight of your cat, subtract your own weight from the combined weight. If your cat does not enjoy being carried about, you may use a cat carrier instead. To begin, weigh the cat carrier while it is completely empty. Record the weight of the carrier in your notes. Placing your cat in the carrier and ensuring that the door is firmly closed is essential. Take a weight reading of the carrier with your cat inside. Make a note of the total weight of the items. Calculate the weight of your cat by subtracting the weight of the empty carrier from the combined weight. Another approach is to throw a towel or non-skid pad on the scale and then have your pet step on it once it has been reset to “0.” A simple change in the surface of the scale may often make pets feel more secure on it, which encourages them to stay on it for longer periods of time. Purchase a low-cost digital scale that is suited for newborns and small dogs if you want greater precision. They are more exact in measuring pounds and ounces
- Thus, they are the most appropriate for usage since they are more accurate.
IMAGINE THIS DIGITAL SCALE FOR INFANTS AND PETS
5. Monitor Your Cat’s Treat Intake
Treats may be a source of happiness for cats, just as they can be for dogs. And there are a plethora of options available, making it tough to make the best decision for your cat’s overall health. We recommend that you read our article “Choosing the Best Cat Treats,” which has some helpful advice. Most cat treats, in contrast to commercially produced cat diets, are not nutritionally full and balanced. Due to the fact that the amount of carbohydrate required to manufacture a crispy cat treat is typically too high for cats, this is the case.
Cats that consume an excessive amount of treats not only become overweight and fat, but they can also have a negative influence on their nutritional balance and appetite for their normal meal.
Ensure that the sweets you choose are healthful and that they haven’t been seasoned with salt, preservatives, or artificial coloring.
6. Increase Physical Exercise for Your Cat
Increase the amount of everyday activity your cat receives. For cats, this frequently manifests itself in the form of interactive play with their human companion. As well as letting your cat express their hunting instincts, offering mental and physical stimulation, and strengthening the link between the two of you, this activity burns calories while also enriching their lives. The sessions do not have to be particularly long, but they should be predictable in their duration (for example, daily at about the same time).
- It imitates the motion of a bird in flight.
- This toy fosters natural behaviors and physical activity, which will help to keep your cat healthy and active.
- When cats are playing with toys that look like birds, they can improve their hearing by engaging their sense of hearing.
- Original Feather Wand Toy by Da Bird If your cat enjoys chasing after objects, you may take a bit of their regular kibble and use it to engage in a small game with them.
- This is an excellent method of getting them to move.
- It is important to remember that the usage of laser pointers may result in frustration if the cat is unable to capture the prey (that is, the light from the laser).
- There is a deadline for them to complete the search and catch process.
- This is another excellent source of exercise, provided that it is done in a safe manner.
- Please keep in mind that, just as humans can’t go out and run a marathon without first preparing our body, our pets can’t do the same.
When it comes to obese or geriatric pets, as well as those who have health difficulties, going slowly is very crucial. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the most effective manner to begin and maintain an exercise regimen. The race is won by those who go slowly and steadily.
7. Use Slow-Feeders, Interactive Food Puzzles, or Hide and Seek
Slowing down the rate at which your pet consumes his or her food will encourage him or her to stop when he or she is satisfied, rather than devouring their meal regardless of whether or not they are hungry. This may be accomplished by substituting a puzzle or interactive object for the traditional bowl of food on the table. Another method of slowing down their eating is to add some water to their meal before serving it to them. More information may be found in the article, “The Best Cat Food Bowls and Interactive Feeders to Delight Your Kitty,” which can be found here.
Under the sofa, on the dining room chair, under a cushion — all of these places provide opportunities for your cat to utilize their noses and go searching.
Dry Food Feeders That Cats Can Push, Chase, and Hunt
Catit Senses 2.0 Food Tree Cat Feeder is a high-tech cat feeder. Cat Feeder from DocPhoebe for use indoors while hunting.
Feeders That Also Work with Wet Cat Food
Feeder for cats with a sense of smell, the Catit Senses 2.0 Food Tree. Cat Feeder from DocPhoebe for use indoors when hunting.
8. Monitor for Medical Problems that Contribute to Cat Weight Gain
Consult with your veterinarian to determine whether your cat has a medical issue that might be contributing to his or her excessive weight gain (such as a low-functioning thyroid, overactive adrenal gland, a buildup of fluid, or one of any other number of possible underlying conditions). If your cat has been given the all-clear, talk to them about a safe and successful weight-loss strategy that they may follow. In order to be safe and successful, weight reduction in pets should be gradual and continuous.
9. Don’t Free Feed Your Cat
When feeding your cat, remember that even if he or she is a “grazer” (meaning that they do not consume all of their food at once but rather eat slowly throughout the day), you must properly measure out their food to ensure that they receive proper nutrition and the appropriate amount of calories each day. Make sure you aren’t just filling their bowl at random. Pet obesity and overweight are on the rise, and free feeding makes it much more harder to detect early indications of discomfort and other issues.
For additional information on this subject, please see our article “Think Twice Before Allowing Your Dog or Cat to Free Feed.” Additionally, leaving food out is not a good idea.
Alternatively, if it becomes damp, it can mildew, which can make your cat sick if they consume it.
How to Manage Your Cat’s Calorie Reduction
There are prescription diets that your veterinarian may offer to help your pet feel fuller on less food, reducing the likelihood that they will become agitated and beg. Always remember that you should never abruptly modify your cat’s food.
Instead, transition from the old diet to the new diet gradually over a period of 1–2 weeks, sometimes even up to 3 weeks, starting with the old diet and ending with the new diet. More information on how to change your cat’s food may be found here.
How Quickly Should I Cut Back My Cat’s Food?
The majority of people are unable to maintain a diet when they are forced to severely reduce their calorie intake. Your cat isn’t able to either! Reduce the amount of food consumed at each meal by little amounts at a time until the appropriate portion size is attained. Reduce the amount of food served at each meal by 14 teaspoons, for example. Slow and steady wins the race!
What Rate of Weight Loss is Ideal for Cats?
Your cat can safely lose 0.5–2 percent of their body weight every week, depending on their age and breed. In the case of a 20-pound cat, it is possible for them to shed 0.2–0.4 pounds (or around 4 ounces) every week. It is OK to drop less than that amount every week; but, your weight reduction strategy will take longer to complete. Depending on how much weight reduction is required, you should anticipate your cat to attain their optimal body weight in 6–8 months, depending on how much weight loss is required.
Your veterinarian can assist you in determining the amount of weight that they can and should shed in a given month.
This process of weight loss and control for your cat is best handled by your veterinarian, who can answer any questions you have and lead you through this process.