Your Cat’s Weight

Help You Cat Lose Weight

 

In the last post, we talked about how to get your dog to lose weight. And that’s difficult enough. But I think it’s (arguably) even more difficult to get a cat to lose weight. So, that’s what we’re going to talk about today.

Start with a Physical Exam Before You Start a Weight Loss Program for Your Cat

Because there are some health issues that can cause weight gain and even a bloated abdomen in cats, it’s a good idea to have your veterinarian examine your cat before you start a weight loss program for him. Once your cat has earned a clean bill of health, it’s time to think about some feeding and exercise changes.

The Equation for Weight Loss in Cats

In cats, as in other species, there are two factors that govern weight gain or weight loss:

1.  The number of calories consumed in the diet

2.  The number of calories burned throughout the course of the day

By controlling one or both of these factors, you can help your cat control his weight. Ideally, both factors are taken into consideration in a weight loss plan.

Weight Loss and Food

In almost all cases where a cat is overweight, over consumption of food is at least in part responsible. Taking control of your cat’s food consumption is one of the first steps in controlling your cat’s weight. You will need to start measuring your cat’s daily portion of food and restricting his access to additional food. That means no more filling the food bowl every time it becomes empty!

It is possible for your cat to lose weight by simply decreasing the amount of his regular food on a daily basis. But it is also important to make sure all of his nutritional needs are met. Be careful of reducing the food intake too much at once. Aim for slow but gradual weight loss over time.

You should also decrease or cut out entirely any treats or in-between-meal snacks you are giving your cat. If you must give your cat treats, remember to account for the calories by subtracting a similar amount from his daily meals.

There are special diet foods that are formulated to help your cat lose weight also. If your cat is severely obese, it is possible your veterinarian may recommend one of these weight loss diets. However, when changing your cat’s diet, it is important to make sure your cat continues to eat. A cat that goes without eating for several days, especially an obese cat, is in danger of developing hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver disease), a disease which can become life-threatening. So, do not attempt to starve your cat into weight loss.

Exercise, Weight Loss and Cats

Exercise is an important part of weight loss but getting your cat to exercise can sometimes be challenging. Here are some tips that might help:

  • Throw out your cat’s food dishes and instead use food puzzles, hiding your cat’s meal in the toy. This not only forces your cat to move (i.e. exercise) to get his food but also keeps his mind occupied and stimulated, keeping him from getting bored.
  • Set aside some time each day to play with your cat. Interactive play will also help provide exercise for your cat and help him burn calories. Experiment to discover what type of toys your cat prefers and take advantage of his preferences to tempt him into activity.
  • Toys can also be filled or rubbed with catnip to encourage your cat to play as well.

A combination of a good diet fed in the proper quantity and increased exercise will help your cat lose weight and return to a fit condition.

This article is posted with the permission of the Pet Health Care Gazette