Tips to Help Your Cat Lose Weight
This article is written by Pet Circle Veterinarian,
Although pudgy cats may seem cute and cuddly, being overweight can have a significant negative impact on your cat's health and longevity. Carrying a few extra kilos puts strain on your feline friend's joints, makes them prone to conditions like diabetes and fatty liver disease, and ultimately shortens their life considerably.
Helping your cat lose weight may seem like a difficult task at first, but it is one of the biggest things you can do to keep them happy, healthy and enjoying a longer lifespan. Remember that good things take time, and weight loss in cats is no different. Most weight loss programs for cats aim for a loss of about 0.5% to 1% per week, so even a loss of 250g a week for a 5kg cat can be step in the right direction!
To help get you started, we've written a helpful guide with tips on diet, exercise, and more!
Signs Your Cat Could Be Overweight
The signs of obesity in cats aren't always obvious. A fluffy coat can sometimes mask the secret pudge underneath, so you may need to look for these signs instead:
- Sagging belly
- Large 'pouch' under abdomen
- Loss of obvious waist
- Unable to feel ribs
- Reduced activity and sleeping more
We all want our cats to live long and happy lives, so what can you do if you think yours might be overweight?
2. Talk to Your Vet About the Right Diet
If you think that your cat may be overweight, you should seek advice from your veterinarian. They may recommend a special prescription diet like Hill's Metabolic Advanced Weight Solution as part of a weight loss program. It is important to remember that prescription diets are only used under the direct instruction of your pet's veterinarian.
Our Top Vet-Recommended Weight Loss Diets for Cats
Royal Canin Satiety is formulated specifically to 'satiate' your cat's appetite. It's the perfect option if your kitty never seems to feel full.
Including wet food into your cat's diet can help provide variety. Hills Metabolic Wet Food is formulated for weight loss and is highly palatable.
The perfect option for kitties who also suffer from urinary issues or stress, Hills Metabolic and Urinary Stress contains L-tryptophan, the precursor to 'happy hormone' serotonin.
Specifically designed for neutered cats, these tasty pouches are low in calories and highly palatable.
When feeding a weight loss diet it is crucial to stick to the amount recommended by your veterinarian. Even an extra ten pieces of kibble a day can cause a cat to gain an extra half a kilo of fat over a year!
Increasing your cat's activity will help to burn off some extra calories and kick-start their metabolism. Schedule in at least two 10 minute play sessions each day. Not only will your cat benefit from getting moving, but they will love the one-on-one time with you!
The Best Toys for Overweight Cats:
Ideal for keeping home alone cats busy, the Catit Senses Roller Circuit is interactive and will keep any indoor cat entertained for hours.
This interactive Laser toy provides a moving laser spot for endless fun and chasies.
Cats go crazy for this butterfly toy, which provides natural and unpredictable movements.
Teasers can help your cat exercise their body and mind. The fluffy streamers help stimulate natural instincts and encourage play.
Make Your Cat Forage and Work for Their Food
If your cat is constantly begging for food and then gobbles up their meal in 5 seconds, you may want to reconsider your feeding method. Try slowing down their eating with a brain-teasing feeder like the Food Tree or CatIt Senses Food Maze. (See these products below). As well as slowing down their eating, these toys help to keep your cat mentally stimulated and physically active.
Treat Them the Right Way
Even a small amount of treats can send your cat's weight loss program off the rails. But that doesn't mean your kitty cat has to miss out on their favourite nibblets. There are plenty of ways to 'treat' your cat without adding to their calorie load.
Kibble for thought
As an alternative to high calorie treats or human food, you could set aside a few of your cat's kibble every day as a 'treat ration' or use non-food rewards like a scratch behind the ear or some extra playtime.
Low Fat Cat Treats
Avoid Human Foods
Be especially careful of human food, as the calorie load is a lot more significant to your cat's tiny body. For example, 1 cup of milk might not seem like much to us, but for a 5 kg cat 1 cup of whole milk is the equivalent of three hamburgers to an average sized woman! For more treat conversions, check out this great chart from Hills Pet Care: