Tips to Help Your Cat Lose Weight

Last Updated THURS 10 OCT 2019

This article is written by Pet Circle Veterinarian, Dr Teagan Lever BVSc.

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!

1. How To Tell if Your Cat is Overweight

2. Diet: Which is Best?

3. How to Encourage An Active Lifestyle in Lazy Cats

4. Make them Forage for their Food - Interactive Feeders

5. Choose the Right Light Treats

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

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.

Hill's c/d Multicare Stress Cans

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.

Hills Metabolic + Urinary Stress Dry Food

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.

Royal Canin Weight Balance Pouches

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!

Encourage Activity

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:

Catit Senses Super Roller Circuit

Ideal for keeping home alone cats busy, the Catit Senses Roller Circuit is interactive and will keep any indoor cat entertained for hours.

Frolicat Bolt

This interactive Laser toy provides a moving laser spot for endless fun and chasies.

AFP Flutterbug

Cats go crazy for this butterfly toy, which provides natural and unpredictable movements.

Go Cat Go Teaser Snakey

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

Of course, you might also like to purchase some tasty low-calorie treats. Our top suggestions include: Greenies and Vetalogica Natural 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: