How do you know if your cat is overweight? What are the health risks of obesity for pets? And if your cat is overweight, what can you do about it? We have answers and tips to help you learn about cat weight management and feline obesity.
The most common cause of weight gain is overeating. And overeating is typically due to overfeeding. So while they might look up at you with those sweet, adoring eyes, constantly giving away those treats and rewarding them with table food can add extra pounds.
How to Recognise Extra Weight
When you look at your adult cat, you should be able to see their waistline. They should have a slight tuck at the waist, and you should be able to feel their ribs and back bone when stroking them. If you can’t, consult your veterinarian to see if your cat might need to switch to a weight loss or weight management diet.
Weight-Related Health Conditions
Overweight cats can develop serious health problems. Here are a few that you can help reduce the risk of simply by making sure your cat is at an optimal weight.
- Joint problems
- Diabetes mellitus
- Breathing problems
- Skin problems
- Shorter life spans
Help Manage Your Cat’s Weight With Food
First, cut down gradually on bad habits, such as filling your cat’s bowl to the top. Instead, follow the feeding guides on the package of a natural adult cat food. These guidelines are targeted to keep your cat’s body in ideal condition. Measure out the recommended amount for the day and feed in several small meals. Cats naturally like to eat frequent, small meals, but it’s good to ration food so they don’t eat all of their small meals at once. Research has shown that wet food can be beneficial for weight management in cats. A higher moisture content was shown to decrease food intake, increase activity and decrease weight gain when the same amount of calories was eaten. If you are doing mixed feeding, at least 25% of the calories (or about 1/3 of the volume) should come from wet food.
Choose the Right Adult Cat Food
Another way to help manage your cat’s weight with food is by choosing the best formula. There are many ways pet parents can help their cats get to healthy weights. The first step is to feed a formula that matches your cat’s lifestyle. Indoor cats should be fed a cat food tailored specifically to them. They have a calorific content and feeding guidelines tailored to maintaining a healthy body weight with indoor cats. If your cat is overweight work with your vet to determine a weight loss plan, and follow the feeding guides on your cat food packages for weight reduction until the desired weight is met. When your cat has reached the ideal weight, feed the appropriate formula and amount for optimal weight management.
Establish a Playtime Routine
In addition to healthy feeding habits, there are plenty of activities you can do to help your cat shed a few pounds. Get your adult cat moving with toys or other activities. You might find yourself burning some calories, too. Use food puzzles to make your cat work for their food. They’re the perfect way to turn eating time into playtime. You also can simulate outdoor play by getting your cat to “hunt” toys that look like rodents or birds.