Fat feline? Here’s help!
If your feline is looking a little on the zaftig side after the holidays, it may be time to trim down a few ounces, or even pounds. There is no secret formula to helping your cat get back to his or her sleek and trim form, just two not-so-magic words: Diet. Exercise.
Cats are natural hunters. They stalk and capture prey to eat whatever small meals they catch throughout the day. Many modern day cats are kept indoors where there isn’t much room (or reason) to roam, and the food bowl is readily accessible any time they want to eat. It’s not surprising then that many cats are overweight. And sadly, overweight cats have a higher incidence of diseases such as diabetes, liver disease, skin disease, and even cancer.
Here are some things you can do to help your cat lose weight:
Measure portions and feed more frequently. To help your cat maintain or lose weight, measure out the food to his or her OPTIMAL weight, divide the daily food into smaller amounts and feed more frequently to help your cat get used to eating less food without being constantly hungry.
Increase canned and raw foods in the cat’s daily diet. Raw and canned foods have a high moisture content— (between 65% to 77% for raw and 75% to 80% for canned — leaving little room for fat and carbs. This leaves your kitty feeling nice and full, plus it’s great for her/his urinary tract health!
- Stella and Chewy’s or Primal freeze-dried raw rehydrate and serve
- Stella and Chewy’s or Primal frozen thaw and serve
- Canned varieties such as Precise, Boreal, and Weruva have shown good results.
Feed a dry food properly formulated for weight loss, such as a food that has less calories per cup
- Precise Weight Management, Nature’s Harvest Senior/Light, Pro Series Weight Management, and Oven-Baked Senior are our most popular.
Treats are okay, but… you will have to include the calories from treats as part of your cat’s total calorie consumption, meaning less kibble or canned, which is really the part that’s good for her/him. HIgher protein treats like these are best for chubby kitties:
- Orijen or Naturawls
Feed your cats in different areas if you have more than one cat. A portly puss, in a multi-cat home, is often the cat dominating the food. If possible, feed each cat in a separate room. Or, try feeding the overweight cat on the floor, and the other cats on top of a cat tree, or other vertical space.
The study, Human-Animal Relationship of Owners of Normal and Overweight Cats showed that owners of healthy weight cats played with their cats more often than owners of overweight cats.*
Here are some suggestion of how to increase your play time:
The game is on! Introducing new toys and games into your cat’s daily routine can relieve boredom, reduce tensions in multi-cat households, and of course, strengthen your bond with your cat.
Cats play with toys that look like prey, and many cats have favorite toy “species.” Does your cat prefer mouse, bird, or bug-shaped toys? For even more active fun, attach the toy to a wand and really get into it!
- We have a wide selection of toys for play, but our favourite prey toys are from GOCAT DaBird. They are designed to look very much like mice, birds, bees, and even butterflies. Cats love ‘em!
Try toys of different colours. Cats can easily see blue, green and yellow and might respond better to these colours.
Try catnip to pique a cat’s interest in a toy. Catnip contains aromatic compounds that up to 80% of cats go wild for.
Go old school with empty boxes, paper bags, paper towel or toilet roll tubes. Your cat will love you for it!
Create vertical spaces. Adding a tall, sturdy cat post to a commonly used area of the home is an effective way to add fun, safe, vertical spaces for cats.
By helping your cat to lose weight, you are actually helping to improve your relationship with your cat, not to mention potentially adding many more healthy years to his or her life — and to yours!
*Piobot, Biourge, Elliot, Encyclopedia of Feline Clinical Nutrition, Royal Canin, 2008.
**American Society for Nutrition, in Journal of Nutrition 136: 1947-1950S, 2006.