Do you have an overweight cat and don’t know what to do? Overweight and obese cats outnumber cats of normal weight and are being seen more and more commonly by veterinarians for various disorders. In fact, obesity in cats can predispose the cat to other more serious illnesses. So today we’re going to discuss weight control for cats and how you can help yours avoid a life of sedentary obesity.
It’s interesting that our pets have copied our own tendency to have trouble with weight control. The major difference, though, is that we humans have complete control over what our pets eat and how much.
Far too many pet owners believe that food intake has little to do with their pet’s weight and can be tough convincing them otherwise. To help with weight control for cats, any feline that is overweight should have a physical exam performed, exact weight measured and blood and urine tests run.
First, let’s discuss some causes of obesity in cats.
Free Choice Feeding: Many cats are fed “free choice,” which means there is food available all the time and the cat eats whenever it wants. This has probably been the biggest single factor contributing to feline obesity.
Carbohydrates: Cats are carnivores. In nature they eat meat and little else. Because of this they are physiologically designed to deal with diets high in protein and low in carbohydrates. Hard food is by nature mainly carbs. Many cats get fat because of this high carb diet.
Hard Food: Most owners feed hard cat food because it is cheaper and more convenient. Unfortunately, it is mostly carbs and it is not what cats are designed to eat and metabolize.
Protein: For proper weight control for cats, pet owners must feed them a diet with high percentages of protein and fat and low percentages of carbohydrate if we expect them to maintain optimum body weight and a proper state of nutrition. Almost all cats do better and will maintain a better weight when eating soft cat food.
Label Recommendations: All pet foods come with recommended feeding instructions, and, truly, many of those recommendations have you feeding too much. Your veterinarian can help you know how much food is right for your cat.
Exercise: Increased physical activity helps you and me lose weight, and it will help your cat as well. To assist in improving the cat’s physical activity, you can add some interactive play toys to the cat’s environment.
How To Put A Cat On A Diet
First, your veterinarian needs to do a thorough physical exam, blood chemistry profile and record an accurate weight for the cat. Then over a period of three to four weeks, you should gradually start putting your cat on a suggested feline weight-loss diet by adding larger proportions of the suggested food.
Mix the new diet with the old, slowly decreasing the percentage of the old diet and increasing the percentage of the new one.
Once you have established a feeding plan that induces gradual weight loss over a period of months, the cat will reach a point where weight maintenance begins.
Remember…feed your feline high quality, meat-based food, control the amount fed, provide more exercise and be persistent. Help your pet live a longer, leaner and more enjoyable life by addressing your weight control for cats today! Need help? Call our office today to schedule a consultation!