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How to help your cat lose weight!

Updated on March 28, 2014

Tons of fun

I love cats!

I've always been a cat lover, anyone that loves cats knows what wonderful companions these animals make. I used to think over-weight cats were really cute. All that round blubbering fat covered in fur that purrs when you squeeze it. That gooey belly that swings and sways when your feline friend tromps by. That friendly trusting animal that sprawls out belly up, legs in the air for a long rub on a big old belly!

Yeah...it's cute. But it's harmful for your pet. Obesity is not good for anyone.

My recent adopted cat got me to thinking about obesity when I noticed him walking down the hallway sounding more like an elephant than a cat. I also noticed I was affectionately calling him "fatty boy" for about a month prior.

Well...it turns out my boy Henry is not obese, but he's on the boarder. So some changes need to happen.

Naturally large cats

Is your cat tipping the scales?

Is your cat over-weight?

  • Make sure your cat does not have intestinal parasites before assuming they are over weight
  • An average adult male cat weighs 9-12 lbs. This is considered a healthy weight
  • Females usually weight between 7-11
  • Check your cats breed, some domestic cats are larger based on their breed, Maine Coons and Norwegian Forrest Cats tend to be larger (I've had the privilege of owning both!)
  • Does your cat snore? Having extra weight to lug around is hard on the cardiovascular system and can make breathing harder, so pay attention if you hear snoring.

Intestinal parasites

Out-door cats are more susceptible to acquiring intestinal parasites. If you suspect your cat has parasites, you should promptly take them to a professional vet.

A cat with "worms" will most likely show the following symptoms;

  • Extreme hunger with little to no weight gain
  • A distended big hard belly
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • You may even see live or dead worms in their stool

Worms will make your cat very sick, this is why they must be treated by a vet.

Shed some weight

A domestic indoor cat does not have the luxury of hunting for food as it would in the wild. When you remove a cats natural form of exercise, it can become lazy and obese. The cat simply has to arrive at the food bowl and dig in. My cat likes to beg like a dog. He knows the sound of me packing lunches during the week and graciously (as gracious as he possibly can) waits and prays for any morsels or scraps to hit the floor, at which point he promptly gobbles them up.

Unless it's a medical emergency, there are simple things you can do to slowly help your cat get to an ideal weight range for age, gender, activity level and breed.

  • PLAY! You must play with your cat. Get out some string, old rubber bands, pens, ribbons, milk carton rings, wads of paper, even crinkly bags and make play time fun and interactive for your cat. Make time during your busy schedule to play with them. Not only is it good for their weight, but it's good for their happiness as well. Most things lying around the house can entertain your cat, there really is no need to buy special toys, but by all means, if you must spoil them, get interesting, fun, interactive toys. Laser pointers are great, especially if you're lazy too!
  • Consider NOT free feeding. Free feeding means food is available to your cat at all times. Most people assume cats are "grazers" and only eat out of necessity. This is not true. Cats are natural predators. Some indoor cats eat out of boredom. Free feeding is not natural for a carnivore! And some cats truly can't help themselves when it comes to over-eating, like my Henry. You should however ALWAYS have fresh water available to your pets at all times!
  • If and when possible, try a raw diet for your cat. Dry food really isn't the best option, even when it's a premium food. I particularly like Rad Cat Raw Diet Premium Cat food. You can even make your cat super happy by making them a raw diet at home with recipes.
  • If a raw diet is not possible, measure and ration out their food. 1/2-1/3 cup of a premium dry food morning and night is usually good, requirements will be different for kittens or nursing cats. I say premium because most dry cat food is packed with a filler (corn), which makes your cat feel hungry most of the time. A premium food will be dense of nutrients, therefore, more filling for your cat, requiring less intake. When choosing a premium food always consider protein and moisture content. Moist food is important. Cats need the liquid in moist food, this is important for healthy kidney function, so add a small can of moist food daily or a few times a week as well. Limit snacks and table scraps.
  • Weigh your cat weekly to monitor progress. You can easily do this by first stepping on a scale and getting an accurate reading of your weight. Next, pick up your cat and weigh yourself holding them. Subtract your weight from theirs to get a pretty good reading of their weight.
  • Make changes slowly! You can't just suddenly change all the eating habits of your cat, this will stress them out, they don't like sudden change. Make changes slow, and adjust appropriately on your cats behavior.

Talk to your vet

Hopefully these suggestions get your feline companion(s) heading toward a healthier weight and nutritionally supportive diet that gives them all the nutrients they need.

It's always best to talk to your vet about the health of your cat. Discuss diet and exercise plans with them in full detail to get your cat at an ideal healthy weight, and to rule out any undetected health conditions.

Take good care of your kitty cats, and be rewarded ten fold for the length of their lives with unconditional love and friendship.

© 2013 Rebecca

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    • Maren Morgan M-T profile image

      Maren Elizabeth Morgan 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      The fat cat dilemma: I have 2 cats - one who is a healthy weight and the other whom I must watch. This means sometimes locking away tthe rounder cat o give food to the other guy. Tough love!

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