Overweight Cats: Diets and Associated Health Risks
Jack, the adult cat owned by Bea Sacks of Huntington Woods, Michigan, is referred to as “huge.” She, on the other hand, has no idea how much he weighs or whether he has to go on a diet. This is due to the fact that Jack, like many other housecats, feeds whenever he wants and rarely goes to the veterinarian for examination. If Jack gains even one pound over his desired body weight, he may be in serious danger of losing his job. The development of osteoarthritis, type 2 diabetes, respiratory difficulties, and non-allergic skin diseases in overweight cats is considerably more common than in lean cats.
It’s a good idea to take your dog to the veterinarian first to rule out any other problems.
It is impossible for the veterinarian to prevent you from rewarding your cat with goodies or from giving in to their mewling when you adjust their food.
Is Your Cat Fat?
A domestic shorthair should weigh between 8 and 10 pounds on average, and while you can attempt to weigh Tiger, there are other ways to determine his or her fitness level:
- Gently pinch the sides of your cat’s rib cage to release trapped air. If you can easily feel the ribs, it is likely that they are not excessively overweight. They might be far heavier than they should be if you are forced to press to get at them. Take a look at the size of your cat’s waist. There should be a noticeable difference in their physique from the belly to their hindquarters. A pouch between your cat’s hind legs that swings back and forth is a symptom that your cat is overweight.
Slimming Down Kitty
The fundamental job that you, as the cat’s caregiver, have is to keep the amount of calories that your cat consumes to a minimum. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, an indoor cat weighing 10 pounds should consume around 200 calories per day. Here are some of the fundamentals of calorie restriction and weight loss for your feline companion:
- Food should be measured out. The cat’s recommended calorie intake should be divided into four to six little meals. Maintain a full water dish for them. Cat food should be left out for a short period of time. Consult with your veterinarian about setting a weight loss target
- Treats should be avoided, or if they must be given, a few bits of their dry food can be substituted. It is not recommended to feed your cat human food because it is fatty and can cause diarrhea. Please don’t let your cat get access to the dog food.
Veterinarians have come to the conclusion that a new diet should be introduced gradually. Cats may stop eating if they are abruptly presented with a different type of food. Johnny Hoskins, DVM, PhD, DACVIM, of Branson, Missouri, explains that the basic line is that you must reduce the quantity of calories consumed in accordance to the amount of effort the cat is performing. “We try to spread it out over a period of a couple of months.” According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, a reduction of around 1 pound each month is considered healthy.
The Best Cat Diet
There have been numerous approaches of approaching a cat’s nutrition that have been discovered via research. Fortunately, there are several commercially available therapeutic canned and dried meals that are both delicious and nutritionally sound. According to Hoskins, a veterinarian at WebMD, it is OK to blend canned and dry meals in your cat’s diet. The Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine is home to Joe Wakshlag, DVM, PhD, DACVN, a clinical nutritionist who works with animals. He suggests a low-calorie canned food diet since canned food has more fillers than dry food, according to him.
- The canned food has the effect of making you, the cat’s caregiver, believe that you are providing adequate food for your cat.
- “I think the fundamental message is that you have to replace fat with protein and carbs,” he says in an interview with WebMD.
- Hoskins says he favours low-carb cat foods because he feels carbs increase the chance of developing diabetes in the feline population.
- A variety of other studies have demonstrated that obese cats may lose weight without losing lean body mass when fed low-fat/high-fiber diets or high-fat/low-carb diets.
- Make sure that the top components in the cat food are meat, animal byproducts, or seafood, and that the cat food is labeled appropriately for your cat’s life stage by reading the label.
Taurine and B vitamins, among other nutrients, are beneficial. Keep in mind that cats are carnivores by nature, therefore vegetarian diets will not suffice.
In a nutshell, no. A high-quality cat food provides all of the vitamins and minerals required by your cat. Supplements should not be used unless specifically instructed to do so by your veterinarian.
What if the diet doesn’t work?
If the diet isn’t working, it’s likely that your cat is still eating excessively. According to Hoskins, maintaining a healthy weight is rarely associated with medical concerns. “There is no sickness that contributes to obesity” in cats, according to the researchers. Furthermore, endocrine problems such as diabetes and hyperthyroidism do not result in obesity in cats, according to Wakshlag.
Getting your cat to move
One of the most difficult tasks a cat caregiver faces is getting Nibs to move for reasons other than feeding. This is especially true if the cat does not wander outdoors. The use of laser pointers, which create a pinpoint of light that cats are drawn to and which frequently causes them to leave their hiding places, is recommended by veterinarians for owners who do not wish to move much themselves. Other types of interactive toys, such as sticks with feathers at the end and balls, are also acceptable options.
According to Hoskins, cat owners should encourage physical exercise in their cats from an early age, even when the cat is still a kitten.
How to Feed Your Cat So It Stops Begging and Starts Losing Weight
Kittens who are given an acceptable quantity of calories each day will get hungry (in the wild, you look for food while you still have adequate calories). As a result, feeding a cat until it is satisfied is nearly always considered overfeeding, unless the cat is a kitten that is actively developing and under eight months of age. Cats naturally consume numerous tiny meals each day as a result of their hunting and devouring of the prey they catch. If your cat has access to a dish of dry food, it may consume many little meals of a high-calorie diet with little effort on his or her behalf, which is a formula for weight gain.
Domestic Cats Retain Their Wild Appetites
Cats who are fed have a lower caloric need per day than cats who must forage for, catch, and eat their food for a livelihood on their own. Cats experience a large decline in activity and metabolic rate as they age, but they do not experience a fall in hunger. Over time, this makes it more difficult to maintain a healthy weight.
Your Cat May Have TrainedYouto Feed it
The act of feeding is a training exercise for both the cat and the person who is feeding him. Cats frequently focus on the actions and acts that provide as a preview of when they will be fed and attempt to get the feeder to engage in similar behaviors and acts. For example, feeding the cats as soon as you get out of bed in the morning is a smart practice to follow. The cats will frequently attempt to get the person out of bed in the morning so that they may be fed earlier and earlier in the day.
Another example is the cat racing into the kitchen every time the refrigerator door is opened because they know that’s where you keep the canned food since they know where it is.
A Hungry Cat Often Looks for Mischief
Yet another thing to consider is that a hungry cat is a busy cat, frequently searching out food, stalking or being cranky towards the other cats (which it blames for eating the food that isn’t there), annoying others in the home, or participating in other destructive actions. It is beneficial for the cat to be busy in that it encourages him to be more active, which helps him burn calories; nevertheless, his family does not always enjoy the nature of his work. When a cat is fed in response to these actions, the cat is encouraged to continue acting in this manner.
Choosing Between Dry Food, Canned Food, Or Both
In general, it is not necessary to provide cats with a variety of flavors and textures. They become quite adept at teaching their owners to add something different to the mix if the cat shows any signs of reluctance to consume what is being offered. If the cat is generally performing normally, refusing to eat what is presented might be considered typical behavior, or it can be seen as the cat testing the waters to see if anything better will appear. Very, very few cats require any kind of incentive to consume their food.
Canned Food is the Best Choice For Healthy Cats
There are a variety of reasons why canned food is preferable than dried food. However, it is more expensive to feed as well as more difficult to clean up after. Cats in the wild are fresh-kill hunters, and they consume the majority of their water together with their prey. They do not have a strong need to drink on their own without eating. I feel that most dry food cats do not ingest enough water, causing stress on their kidneys and the production of excessively concentrated urine. The water content of canned food is similar to that of their prey in the wild.
Canned food also has a lower carbohydrate content as compared to dry food (since dry food cannot be made without wheat) and a greater protein content as a result.
The majority of cats require 4-5 ounces of canned food each day on average.
Dry Food: An Affordable, but Less-Healthy Option
Dry food contains a high concentration of calories. It does not contain any water, thus it cannot add volume to the dish. As a result, giving just dry food implies that your cat will be hungrier even if he or she is getting an acceptable quantity of calories in the meal due to the reduced volume of food provided.
Free choice dry food, even if it is low in calories, will not prevent weight gain if consumed in this manner.
How to Control Your Cat’s Weight on a Dry Food Diet
The most effective way to distribute dry food is to divide it into many little regulated portions throughout the day. As a result, the cat is never completely satisfied and never completely hungry. Most cats will get very hungry if their dry food intake is reduced to less than 1/3 to 1/12 cup each 24 hour day, even if they are receiving an acceptable amount of calories. Cats require different amounts of food at different stages of their lives, and the quantity required by each cat will vary (and maybe decrease) as the cat grows older.
This should not be done with cats that have a history of urinary tract crystals (FLUTD) since the vegetables elevate the pH of the urine, which makes the cat more susceptible to crystal formation.
Beware Feeding Your Cat Both Dry and Canned Food
Feeding both canned and dry food is the most efficient method of obtaining and maintaining an overweight cat. Even if a cat has just finished its dry food, the majority of them will happily consume any canned food that is supplied (or vice versa). It is difficult to manage the amount of each type of food consumed so that the cat consumes the appropriate number of calories.
Feeding Recommendations From Your Local Veterinarian
My initial preference is to eat just canned food. In the beginning, feed an adult cat 12 of an 8-ounce can (Friskies/9 Lives-size can) twice daily without adding any more food. This is the beginning point, and it is probable that the amount will need to be reduced. Little cats may benefit from half of an 8-ounce can (Fancy Feast-size can) twice day, rather than the full can. This quantity is also cat-specific, and it is frequently adjusted upwards or downwards. It appears that feeding canned food creates a better balance between calories and feeling full, and the meal appears to tide the cat over more effectively than feeding dry food does.
Recommendations For Owners Who Stick with Dry Food
Dry food can be provided, but it must be done with care, in small portions, during set meals, and without snacking. The components in today’s dry meals are considerably superior, allowing for a larger amount of useful calories per cup, resulting in even less servings being required as compared to the Little Friskies of 30 years ago. While providing many feedings throughout the day is beneficial, it may also be a cause of dispute as the cat attempts to get fed in between feedings. There should be no open dishes of food on the table.
It is sometimes beneficial to remove the bowls from the table so that there is no reminder of the lack of food, in order to prevent begging.
Pre-measure Your Cat’s Food to Keep From Overfeeding
The most effective way is to measure out a day’s (24-hour) ration in the morning and then feed out of that container to deliver feedings throughout the day that follows. When the container is completely depleted, there will be no more food till the next day. There will be more involvement in feeding since more people will be involved, and they will not be fooled into supplying more food because the cat claims that someone forgot to feed them and that they are going to perish from malnutrition.
A further advantage of measuring by weight is that it allows for considerably smaller alterations in daily meal portions than can be accomplished with precision by volume measurement (a 10 percent change in a quarter cup is almost impossible to do accurately by volume measure).
A excellent food scale may be purchased for roughly $50 dollars at places like Target or Bed, Bath, and Beyond.
Weigh Your Cat to Ensure a Healthy Rate of Weight-Loss
The most important thing to remember is that access must be limited regardless of diet. Additionally, a scale for correctly weighing the cat comes in helpful. By weighing the person both with and without carrying the kitten, digital scales may be used to determine weight. Weights taken once a month at the same time of day are sufficient. We’re looking for roughly a pound of weight loss every month, not more. In cats, rapid weight loss can lead to major health problems, such as kidney failure.
It is a tailored regimen for each kitty, just as it is for people, and coping with the behavioral implications of a hungry cat can be one of the most difficult problems.
I Tried Putting My Cat on a Diet—Here’s How It Went
Photograph courtesy of Lindsy Van Gelder
My fat cat
Jean-Philippe, my cat, is not what you could call “big-boned,” to put it mildly. Both his head and tail are rather small, especially when compared to the rest of him. There’s also his enormous, jiggly stomach to consider! He weighed 24 pounds a year ago at this time. His weight has dropped to 21 pounds, but our struggle is far from complete. If you were to characterize him as the feline Orson Welles, or the kitten John Belushi, or the tabby Notorious B.I.G., it would depend on your age and cultural preferences.
I refer to him as Phat Phil most of the time.
That makes him endearing and likable, but it does not bode well for his health.
Courtesy Lindsy Van Gelder is a model and actress.
Phil’s feral past
I’m not going to make excuses for him, but allow me to share some of his background with you. When he was around 6 months old, I decided to adopt him. A couple of weeks before arriving at my house, he had been found with two other kittens hiding in an open sewage grate in a Miami neighborhood. He had been wild before coming to my house. The rescue crew that apprehended him informed me that he had been maintained alive by chasing lizards and the charity of a man who worked in a nearby bagel store and provided him with handouts.
Cat lovers (and even those who aren’t) will not want to miss these adorable cat adoption photographs that will warm their hearts.
Phil, like many previous ferals, had a tendency to behave as if he were on the verge of starving to death. He wolfed down his cat food and begged for more until he was satisfied. At the very least, as an indoor-outdoor cat, he was getting enough of activity. Outdoor living is dangerous for cats since they can be hit by automobiles, succumb to illnesses, or be preyed upon by predators. However, waistline enlargement is not a significant threat to their well-being. Then I relocated Phil and his (non-feral, non-fat) adoptive sister, Tufa, to a fourth-floor condo in a different city across the nation.
Feline flabulosity weighing in at twenty-four piggishly chubby pounds. In retrospect, perhaps building a pet paradise in my backyardwould have been a good idea to guarantee that he had a bit more exercise and stimulation. Courtesy Lindsy Van Gelder is a model and actress.
Mom can’t say no
Because I am the one who opens the cans, I can only hold myself responsible. I’ll confess that I’m a softie in this situation. I felt sad for him since he had been denied access to his reptile kingdom. I also made the same error I’ve done in the past while attempting to drop a few extra pounds from my body. Oh, a couple of slices of turkey, what could possibly go wrong? I was plainly in denial at the time. When he outgrew his cat carrier and the new one that was the proper size for him was marketed to medium-sized dogs, I understood that things had gotten out of hand—OK, out of paw—and that I needed to take action.
Courtesy Lindsy Van Gelder is a model and actress.
Health concerns mean it’s time for a diet
His veterinarian strongly recommended that he go on a diet. The same health issues that plague fat humans affect cats as well, and X-rays reveal that Phil is already suffering from arthritis in his front paws, according to the veterinarian who examined him. In his particular instance, the stakes are much higher: he had a tumor removed from one of his hind legs, and if the tumor returns, the veterinary professional’s advice is amputation. The experts say that tripod cats normally do pretty well under those conditions.but not if they’re lugging about the equivalent of another cat’s worth of weight.
Courtesy Lindsy Van Gelder is a model and actress.
Shedding pounds the right way
Phat Phil needed to become Sylph-Like Phil, or at the very least a little less of a Chonkster Phil, but he shouldn’t have lost too much weight too soon because it is unhealthy for cats to drop weight too rapidly. Crash diets can result in a potentially deadly illness known as hepatic lipidosis, which is caused by fatty liver. Rather of attempting to reduce Phil’s weight by half or more, the veterinarian chose to set a more moderate goal of 18 pounds, which is still 25 percent of his overall weight, or the equivalent of a 200-pound human being being reduced to 150 pounds.
We were on our way to our destination.
You apparently need advanced algebra to count cat-food calories
Phil consumes a variety of raw, freeze-dried, and canned foods, and he started out on a 271-calorie-per-day diet to lose weight. Have you ever attempted to figure out how many calories are in a certain brand of cat food? Some people don’t say anything at all. Others inform you in teeny-tiny letters and numbers. Or they write it in such a way that you have to go back to high school algebra to figure out, for example, that if an ounce of freeze-dried chicken nuggets includes 125 calories, and a kitchen cup weighs roughly 1.6 ounces, and 50 nuggets fit in a cup, each nugget has 125 calories, etc.
Hold just a moment, carry the three. According to veterinarians, this is the very greatest diet for cats in general. Courtesy Lindsy Van Gelder is a model and actress.
Finding Phil’s happy place
As is to be expected, I have a tiny food scale and a calculator permanently installed in my cat-food pantry. I also noticed that there is a significant variance in the amount of fat that various meals contain. Phil’s preferred brands can include anything from 50 calories to more than 100 calories in a little pouch of their product. For this reason, one of the first things I had to do was come up with an acceptable compromise between flavor and filling him up while still staying inside his calorie budget.
Courtesy Lindsy Van Gelder is a model and actress.
Old habits die hard
And, last, a rousing cheer! His weight has been decreased to 21 pounds—20 and change on a good day—and his daily calorie intake has been reduced to 250 calories. However, it is a never-ending battle. He’s a food thief who’s become tough, cagey, and cunning. Although I prepare his sister’s meals on a high counter that he cannot reach, he considers the dining-room table to be the 50-yard line (i.e., fair turf). Recently, I became sidetracked for a brief minute and discovered that he (who had already had breakfast) had dashed off with a piece of my smoked salmon.
Courtesy Lindsy Van Gelder is a model and actress.
And the battle continues
He wheedles and squirms. In addition, she nags. He starts campaigning for supper about 1 p.m., occasionally rearing up on his hind legs and poking me on the shoulder with his front paw while I sit at my computer, which I find amusing. (If he had a watch on his person, he’d be pointing at it. ) It takes more self-control on my side to resist his pleadings than I’ve had to muster since I was a teenager riding in the back seat of a Chevy in high school. But I’m determined to keep going. And any month now, my kid will be able to shed his canine weight and grow to the size of.a very huge cat.
On January 29, 2020, the original publication date was:
Sign up for articles sent right to your inbox
Enjoy receiving the greatest articles, tips, and humor delivered directly to your email every day! SubscribeSAVESave up to 84 percent on your subscription!
How to Put Your Cat on a Diet
Documentation Download Documentation Download Documentation In addition to being a problem for humans, obesity is also a problem for cats. Unfortunately, obesity is closely associated with bad health in cats, with the risk of liver disease and diabetes mellitus in particular being increased in obese cats (sugar diabetes). A substantial majority of pet cats are now tiny couch potatoes, maybe as a result of the availability of high-calorie meals for a bored cat to indulge in, as well as the lack of necessity for a house cat to exercise or employ her hunting instincts.
- 1 Perform a bodily condition assessment. First and first, it is critical to assess whether or not your cat actually needs to reduce weight before putting him or her on a diet. A body condition score is calculated on a scale of one to five, with five indicating obesity and one indicating emaciation. A perfect score is three points. On the scale, give your cat a score based on the following criteria:
- A score of 1 indicates that the ribs, spine, and pelvis are prominent and can be seen from a distance. The cat appears to be famished and thin, as if it had no body fat. Score 2: The ribs, spine, and pelvis can all be felt with ease. When viewed from above, the cat’s waist can be clearly seen. When viewed from the side, the stomach seems to be tucked in. The cat appears to be underweight
- Score 3: The ribs and spine can be touched, although they are not visible. A small waist may be seen from above, and the cat’s belly seems level (but not droopy) when viewed from the side. Ideal
- Score 4: Finding the ribs and the spine was challenging. From above, the belly appears to be pear-shaped, and it is sinking down from the side. It is possible to characterize it as chunky or thick
- A score of 5 indicates that bony markers are covered by fat. A thick layer of fat covering the chest and stomach. A silhouette in the shape of an oval. Obese
- 2 Take your pet to the veterinarian. If your cat’s bodily condition is rated as a four or five, you should consult your veterinarian for more advice and recommendations. Depending on your cat’s exact size, your veterinarian will have the tools necessary to determine the appropriate target weight for your cat. These measurements will include things like the length of your cat’s head, the width of its head, the length of its backbone, the radius of its wrist, and the measurement of its girth.
- Visiting the veterinarian is also necessary because your veterinarian will do a physical examination of your cat to confirm that simple overeating is not causing your cat’s weight problem and that your cat does not have a more serious medical condition.
- 3 Discuss a number of different choices. There are a variety of ways available to assist your cat in losing weight. When your veterinarian determines a goal weight for your cat, talk with him or her about the many alternatives accessible to you. In most cases, your veterinarian may prescribe a mix of treatments, which may include decreasing your cat’s calorie intake, placing your cat on a metabolic diet, and/or making modifications to your cat’s lifestyle.
- Whatever weight-reduction plan you and your veterinarian decide is best for your cat, be prepared to make a long-term commitment since progressive weight loss is more beneficial to your cat than a drastic shift in diet. In fact, starving your cat puts her at risk for developing hepatic lipidosis (also known as fatty liver disease), which is a condition in which an excessive amount of fat storage overwhelms and impairs the functioning of your cat’s liver.
- 1Understand the relationship between calorie intake and weight. Weight reduction via a calorie-controlled diet is as simple as following a basic equation: the difference between the calories in and the calories out equals weight loss or growth, respectively. Consequently, your cat will gain weight if she consumes more calories in a day than she expends in that same day. As a result, in order to get the cat to lose weight, she must consume slightly less than her daily requirements. 2 Make a calculation of your cat’s optimal daily calorie intake. The calories consumed by your cat while on the decreased diet will need to be counted in this choice. The majority of veterinarians recommend that you feed your cat 75 to 80 percent of her resting energy requirements in order to maintain her optimal weight. This quantity should allow your cat to lose weight at a healthy rate of one to two percent of her body weight every week, which is one to two percent of her total weight. You should consult your veterinarian for the specific calorie intake, however the following are some guidelines:
- It takes 180 calories per day to maintain an optimum weight of eight pounds, 210 calories per day for an ideal weight of ten pounds, and 230 calories per day to maintain an ideal weight of twelve pounds.
- Change your cat’s food to a prescription weight reduction formula if you haven’t already. It is possible that you will have difficulties attaining this caloric intake with a typical, calorie-dense cat diet simply because there will be far less food available. Your cat, in particular, will not be pleased with you. Typically, a formula designed to assist with weight loss in cats would have fewer calories and more fiber than a standard formula, allowing your cat to consume almost the same quantity of food per day while yet attaining the targeted reduction in calorie intake.
- The reduction in a typical diet will leave your cat feeling hungry and underfed, which will result in her pestering you for more food as well as her body’s metabolism slowing as a result of the sense of underfeeding, making it more difficult for her to lose weight. Your veterinarian will assess which weight reduction solution is most effective for your cat’s specific needs. Hills R/D and Purina OM are two brands to consider. These formulations also frequently contain L-carnitine, which is a supplement that can help your cat’s body to burn fat instead of lean muscle, as well as other nutrients. Use a kitchen scale instead of a dry measuring cup while you are measuring to ensure that your measurements are accurate.
- 4Weigh your cat once a week. On a weekly basis, weigh your cat and make a note of the weight. You should expect your cat to have weight loss plateaus during the procedure, during which she may stop losing weight before reaching the desired weight. Consult your veterinarian about lowering the calorie intake by another five to ten percent in order to get better outcomes overall. 5 Consider bringing the cat to a pet weight-loss facility to lose weight. Those who participate in pet weight watchers are far more likely to attain their goal weight than those who do not participate. This is due to the fact that the frequent weigh-ins and moral support provided by the staff make you less inclined to give in to your cat’s constant begging for food. Additionally, the staff can frequently identify areas where you can make a difference or where you may be stumbling
- These cat weight-watching clinics may be organized via your veterinarian’s office, or your veterinarian may be able to provide you with further information on where to find one in your region.
- 6Separately feed each of your pets. For example, if you have two cats but only one of them is overweight, you should feed them in separate rooms to avoid the problem compounding. Thus, each cat will only consume the portion of her food that is appropriate for her nutritional requirements.
- 1 Gain an understanding of what metabolic diets are and how they work. In order for these diets to function, your cat’s metabolism must be stimulated to work harder and burn more fat, while yet maintaining lean muscle mass. It has been shown that lean cats have genes that code for a faster metabolic rate, and it has also been determined that some food components are more likely than others to turn these genes on more than others.
- Researchers discovered that calorie-restricted diets shut off these genes, making it more difficult for certain cats to lose weight.
- 2 Speak with your veterinarian about your options. if your cat is unable to lose weight on a reduced-calorie diet—or if she has reached a weight loss plateau prior to reaching her target weight—then consult with your veterinarian about a metabolic diet for your cat.
- Hills Nutrition is the leading manufacturer of metabolic formula diets. In accordance with your cat’s desired weight, follow the manufacturer’s directions.
- 3 If you have a diabetic cat, you might consider the ‘catkins’ diet. Your cat may also benefit from a “catkins” diet, which is a low-carb, high-protein diet that is particularly beneficial for overweight cats that have acquired feline diabetes. The “catkins” diet, according to one research, helped 68 percent of diabetic cats wean themselves off insulin, compared to 40 percent of diabetic cats on a normal, high-fiber weight reduction diet.
- The presence of feline diabetes in your overweight cat will be tested by your veterinarian, and you will be informed of the results. When feeding a high-protein, low-carb weight loss formula food to your cat, always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for your cat’s desired weight.
- 1 Make sure your cat gets enough exercise. Increased physical activity burns more calories. A cat who is physically active will lose weight far more successfully than a cat who does not participate in any physical activity. Exercise for your cat will not only help her burn calories, but it will also help her lose weight by decreasing her hunger and increasing her metabolic rate—which can help her counteract the sluggish metabolism associated with low-calorie diets.
- Using a laser pointer, display a pattern on the ground and have your cat chase after it to create a game of chase
- If you want to play with your cat and get her to burn calories, you may use toys that are linked to a string. If you’re having difficulties persuading a sluggish cat to begin moving, try a catnip toy.
- 2Make sure there is enough of water available. Water is essential for keeping your cat active and for assisting in the proper functioning of his or her metabolism. While on a limited diet, drinking fluids can also help your cat feel fuller. This is similar to how it works with humans. Make certain that her water dish is regularly clean and filled. 3 Make your kitty feel welcome. Cats, like us, can become bored and eat to pass the time. Many cat owners make the mistake of paying attention only in the form of food and treats to their cats, rather than any other way. In order to avoid boredom, spend more time playing with and combing your cat. Increase the frequency of smaller meals by a factor of two. It is not a good idea to put out all of your cat’s food for the day at once, whether it is a diet formula or another type of food. This allows your cat to eat at his leisure throughout the day. The consumption of restricted quantities at regular intervals is preferable for cats, therefore you should split your cat’s meals into two or three servings each day. 5 Reduce the number of goodies. You should drastically reduce the number of goodies you give your cat, as they are essentially empty calories that should be avoided. Instead, utilize positive reinforcement such as play, grooming, and other forms of attention. 6 Make use of your cat’s natural hunting instincts. Getting your cat to emulate hunting behavior is another behavioral method you may use to train him. Untrained wild cats, who subsist solely on mice, will kill three to four times a day, and they are accustomed to eating multiple tiny snacks throughout the day. Fill many tiny food bowls and place them strategically throughout the house to simulate hunting behavior. In order to find her food bowls, your cat will have to go ‘hunting’ and use some energy in order to do so.
- This simulated hunting activity helps to interest your cat both physically and cognitively. Another approach is to use a play ball packed with food to capture your cat’s attention. To get the kibble out of these balls, the cat must play with it and hit it about in order for it to work properly.
Inquire about something There are 200 characters remaining.
Include your email address so that you may be notified when this question has been resolved. Submit
- It takes effort and communication from all members of the household to successfully diet a cat. If you meticulously measure out the day’s ration only for someone else to offer her a second breakfast when you are out of the home, the diet will not be successful. In order for the diet to be successful, you must ensure that everyone in the home is on board. Dieting has a number of health benefits, including a reduction in the incidence of diabetes and pancreatitis. The stress placed on your cat’s joints will be lessened, minimizing the likelihood of her developing early arthritis. Dieting for a cat may be irritating since you reduce the amount of food you feed the cat, yet the cat does not appear to lose weight. Due to the fact that the cat is likely to have been gaining weight on a continual basis, and you have succeeded in reducing the calories just enough to prevent future increase but not restricting them enough to induce weight loss
- Make certain that you provide your dieting cat a well-balanced diet. Provide him or her with healthful, low-calorie meals.
About This Article
In order to put your cat on a diet, you may either limit the amount of food you give him at each meal or switch to a cat food that is particularly intended to help him lose weight. Use a kitchen scale to weigh out each amount of the cat’s food to make sure you’re not overfeeding him or her. Also, if you have more than one cat, feed them individually to ensure that each cat receives only the portion of food that is meant for him. Before beginning any diet, speak with your veterinarian to determine the approximate number of calories your cat need each day.
Did you find this overview to be helpful?
Did this article help you?
In Australia, roughly 30-40 percent of cats and dogs are overweight or obese*, according to the Australian Veterinary Association. As responsible pet owners, it is our responsibility to keep an eye on our pets’ waistlines and prevent them from becoming overweight. Consequently, if your purring companion is beginning to appear a bit pudgy around the midsection, it may be time to put your cat on a diet. Excess fat in our companion animals can be harmful to their health in the same way that it is in us.
Even though it’s hard not to listen to your cat’s imploring purrs, it’s important to recognize when it’s time to intervene.
According to Vet Voice, the following are risk factors for obesity in pets:
- Being feminine
- Becoming neutered
- Being a woman Inadequate physical activity
- Having owners that are overweight
- Unhealthy eating habits
As much as you may like your cat’s company when he or she is a little overweight, it’s vital to remember that obesity can have a detrimental impact on an animal’s overall health and well-being. The following are health risks:
- Heart disease
- Early start of arthritis
- Respiratory difficulties
- Increased susceptibility to infections
- Skin problems
- And other conditions.
Knowing when to put your cat on a diet
You say ‘cuddly,’ I say ‘fat,’ but it’s crucial for cat owners to be able to recognize when their cat needs to lose some weight in order to keep him healthy. This, on the other hand, can be difficult. In general, when a cat’s fat content exceeds 20% of its total body weight, the cat is considered overweight by veterinarians. Nonetheless, as a cat owner, how can you determine how much weight your cat is carrying? You can’t, but fortunately, there are several telltale symptoms that will assist you in determining when it is necessary to put your cat on a diet.
For the second time, your cat should not have a flap of fat hanging down from his or her back when walking.
Other indicators of obesity in cats, according to the RSPCA, include an inability to groom, visible fat deposits at the base of the cat’s tail, loss of movement, and difficult breathing, among others.
After all, the scales aren’t deceiving you!
According to Animal Planet, an additional two to three pounds (0.9 to 1.36 kilograms) in weight for a cat is similar to an additional 40 pounds (18 kilograms) in weight for a person! Consider the potential consequences for your cat’s heart and overall health.
How to put your cat on a diet
If you’ve evaluated all of the telltale indications and you feel your cat is on the naughty side, it’s critical that you take immediate action to prevent more damage. Putting your cat on a diet requires dedication, but keep in mind that adhering to a nutritious regimen is critical to your cat’s overall health and quality of life. To begin, consult with your veterinarian about your options. A veterinarian can do a full health check-up on your cat, advise you on the right weight range for your cat, and assist you in developing an appropriate and personalised weight-loss strategy for your cat.
If your cat is suffering from a medical condition that is causing it to gain or lose weight, it has to be treated.
Police their food
The most prevalent reason for a cat to get overweight is, without a question, overeating. As soon as you’ve spoken with your veterinarian about how much food your cat should be consuming, you must assume responsibility. When you put your cat on a diet, you are responsible for measuring out the appropriate quantities of food and following the plan’s guidelines. It may be beneficial to invest in an automated feeder if you find it tough to measure out the necessary amount of food at each feeding time.
- It’s fine to give Kitty the occasional treat (you still want her to feel loved), but make sure it’s a nutritious one that is devoid of excessive fillers and chemicals.
- Cats, like humans, are susceptible to mistaking thirst for hunger.
- Feed your cat at the same time every day, and only keep their food out for a specified length of time after they have eaten it.
- This might be especially useful if your cat is refusing to eat anything on his or her new food regimen.
Set up an exercise plan
Older cats are prone to become inactive, so establish a regular exercise routine for your cat to keep him or her active. It’s possible that you’ll need to manufacture or purchase some new toys. Another option is to set aside some time each day to spend quality time with your feline companion (see below). Try to add games that involve jumping and chasing into your cat’s routine since this will appeal to his natural hunting instincts. If your cat is refusing to engage in play, consider taking him or her for a stroll on a leash.
- Play for five minutes four times a day instead of ten minutes twice a day, and you’ll get the same results.
- This, on the other hand, may lead to their increasing their calorie intake by hunting animals and stealing crumbs from their neighbors’ tables.
- Don’t forget that having a cat with a bad heart, diabetes, or sickness may be quite expensive in terms of veterinary expenditures.
- More information may be found by visiting thePet Secure insurance plans website.
*Resources for information The Growing Problem of Obesity in Dogs and Cats, by Alexander J. German, is available online. The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 136, Issue 7, 1 July 2006, Pages 1940S–1946S, is a peer-reviewed journal published by the American Society for Nutrition.
Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!
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.
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
Last but not least, be patient. If you substantially reduce the amount of food you give your cat or increase the amount of activity he gets, he may become ill. Cats that go two days without eating, for example, are more likely to acquire fatty liver disease than other cats (hepatic lipidosis). If this illness is not addressed, it might progress to liver failure. This potentially dangerous illness may be avoided if you arrange a complete health assessment with your veterinarian and work together to develop a solid weight-loss strategy.
A cat may safely lose between 0.5 and 2 percent of their body weight per week, so use it as a guideline for your expectations of how much weight they will drop.
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
To make your cat feel fuller even if they are eating less food than they were previously, mix some water into the food you are serving them. For our dehydrated food, you may increase the quantity of water added to the dish to make it more palatable for them. Dehydration is a common problem for cats, and adding water helps to increase their hydration. You may achieve the same result by adding water to wet or canned food. Alternatively, if your cat is still clamoring for food even if it is not mealtime, consider providing them with fresh drinking water instead.
A low-calorie hydrating snack, such as our Instant Goat’s Milk for cats, might be be used as an alternative.
It only has 10 calories per serving and is low in fat.
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. (We’d love to see photos of your cat out on a stroll, too.) Please use the hashtag #honestkitchen on Instagram.)
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.
The Honest Kitchen offers a variety of delectable, lean, human-grade cat meals that are ideal for indoor cats.
- 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. In order to receive particular advise on this issue, please visit your pet’s veterinarian or other healthcare specialists.
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.