Whether your cat is obviously obese and struggles to fit through its cat flap, is maybe just a little bigger than she should be and you want to take action before it gets worse, or maybe she is a healthy weight and you want her to stay that way, a cat weight management plan is an important part of your responsibility to your cat.
Your cat will happily keep putting on weight but your chubby kitty doesn’t realise what effect carrying around a few extra pounds may have long term: obese cats are far more prone to arthritis and digestive problems, liver problems, heart disease and, of course, diabetes.
Weight management starts with knowing how far overweight your cat is; even if you think your cat is currently a healthy weight you should weigh them regularly and track their progress, especially once they are fully grown; you can ask your vet to advise you of what weight your cat should be. If you are going to try and help your cat lose weight then you may even want to have a log book to keep track of their weight and also their diet, how much they are exercising -or at least how much time they are spending outside-, and any other notes on their general health or any specific health issues they have.
You may think your overweight cat is cute that way and struggle to resist their cries for food but you have to be cruel to be kind here. The easiest way however for you and your cat is to use diet foods for cats; these foods are usually lower in calories and fat, yet still have the same important vitamins and minerals, the same amount of protein and, importantly, the portion is the same size so your cat doesn’t feel he or she is being short-changed.
It is of course also essential to avoid giving your cats any scraps or human foods that aren’t good for them and if you have more than one cat you may need to feed them separately to give them each a meal based on their needs. There are also a number of cat treats available that are lower in calories and fat meaning that you can slowly wean your cat off snacks between meals, which they don’t really need but have got used to.
Using these diet foods for cats, of which there are now a large range including wet and dry foods, can allow your cat to lose weight without really trying but other elements of cat weight management should be considered as well.
Like humans, cats need to not just eat fewer calories to lose or manage their weight but also need to exercise. The more overweight your cat is the more difficult this might be, and therefore, it is best to take action sooner rather than later.
While cats are outdoors some will be very active and others will laze about which makes it difficult to keep track of their activity level; nevertheless, you should make sure they do go out even on rainy days when they may not fancy the idea. One problem of letting your cats go out is that they may also be getting food elsewhere and if you suspect this you may need to cut what you feed them even further.
For indoor cats and cats that rarely go outside you need to give them the chance to exercise indoors. A cat tree is basically a gym for cats and it is surprising how much weight they lose from climbing and jumping and generally bounding around. Even older cats can benefit from cat trees aimed for less agile felines and you should take a look at our earlier post on choosing the right cat tree.
Other games and toys can encourage exercise as well and if your cat is willing to play catch or chase this can be a way to get them on their feet and an oppurtuinty to bond with them; other cats will happily chase a light or laser pointer around for hours so you should find the game that suits your cat.
If you find your overweight cat is still sluggish and doesn’t want to exercise though then a boost to their metabolism may help, this will mean that they have more ready energy and should naturally burn through more fat reserves more easily. Two potential products that help with this are Luposan Moor Liquid, a supplement containing peat, and Pro-fit Cod Liver Oil with Safflower Oil, each as well as boosting metabolism also aid digestion and the appearance of your cat’s fur too. There are also a number of wet and dry cat foods with similar ingredients that may have the same effect.
By using all of these elements in your cat’s weight management plan and carefully planning exercise and diet for them, cats can lose weight fast and without withdrawal symptoms from food.