Weight Loss for Obese Cats

Helping obese cats lose weight and become more active requires patience and dedication from cat owners. Exercise, nutrition and the right diet are essential for successful cat weight loss.

The Importance of Cat Weight Loss

A healthy cat will have a visible waist when looking down at the cat from above, should not have any fat over their shoulders or extra fat on the abdomen and only have a small amount of fat covering the ribs, which owners should be able to feel.

Obese cats are more likely to develop diabetes, arthritis, heart disease and joint problems. If your cat is overweight it is important to get your pet active and on a balanced diet as soon as possible to prevent these health issues and making sure your cat lives a long and healthy life.

Exercise for Obese Cats

Any cat exercise regimen should be gradually introduced to prevent sudden weight loss, especially if your cat has been leading a lethargic lifestyle for some time or is older. Dedicate a certain amount of time every day to play with your cat and get him moving again at a gradual speed. Toys can help cats stay interested in playtime and will also keep them busy while you're out of the house. Cat nip is another way to get a heavy cat moving again.

Scratching posts, cat trees and cat condos are also helpful exercise tools. Scratching, pouncing and climbing are a natural part of cat behavior and will help your cat stretch, maintain healthy claws, relieve stress and lose weight. Cat trees and posts will also save your furniture and shelves from becoming your cat's play areas.

Diets and Feeding Methods

Once your cat becomes more active keep plenty of fresh water available and leave 30 minutes between feeding and exercise. Free-choice feeding can be a major cause of cat obesity. Instead, feed your cat based on a set schedule with 3 to 6 small meals a day to boost metabolism and control calories. Cut out treats in between meals and make sure any guests in your home also know about this rule. Affection and praise can be used in the place of treats.

Every cat should have a diet that is high in protein and low in carbohydrates. Many commercial dry cat foods contain a large amount of carbs and fillers like wheat and corn products that offer little nutritional value. Look for cat food labels with a high protein content and healthy fats (chicken fat, sunflower oil) while cutting out fillers. Protein should come from named animal ingredients like chicken, fish and beef and not meat by-products to provide the right nutrients and amino acids.

Always discuss a feeding schedule and diet with your veterinarian to ensure that your cat is receiving the right nutrition. Make a gradual change to a new diet by mixing old food with the new diet to prevent digestive upsets.