Obesity is not only common in humans. Many cats experience obesity due to laziness and diet and may find themselves requiring to lose weight. If your cat is 15 to 20 percent above the ideal body weight, your cat would be considered overweight.
Obesity in cats is more common than you think. About 44 percent of the pet population in North America is obese. It is one of the most common nutritional disorders amongst pets and what they eat has much to do with this.
Your cat may be lazy or you may have been feeding your cat a diet that is bring about weight gain. Regardless of the reasons why they are gaining weight, it is important that you try to get them to shed those pounds before it becomes a health concern. What’s more, fat cats usually have a hard time getting around and are often seen sitting ideally. You want your cat to be more active and the less excessive weight they have to carry around, the more active they will be.
Is My Cat Overweight?
With humans, we have ideal body weights for a specific body size, which makes it easier for us to understand when we are overweight. Cats have varying body sizes which makes it difficult to pinpoint exactly the ideal body weight for all cats. Instead of relying on charts to determine body size and shape, we use something known as the Body Condition Score (BCS) to visually grade cats.
BCS is a subjective rating from 1 to 9 with the ideal body weight being 5/9. Therefore, a very thin cat would score 1/9, where you would have visible ribs, spines and bones. On the other hand, a very obese cat would score 9/9, who would have a layer of fat covering their ribs, fat deposits on their hips and neck and an obvious and distended abdomen.
A cat has an ideal body weight of 5/9 if they have ribs that can be easily felt without having to push a layer of fat. They would also have an abdomen that is tucked in and not saggy and should also have a visible last rib.
The only way to tell if your cat is overweight is by looking at it. At a glance, you should be able to understand if your cat is slightly overweight or very obese and would require the loss of a few pounds to attain and maintain better health.
If you are reading this and have already come across this article, it is probably because you think your cat has a weight problem. They may not be obese, however, do stand to benefit from losing a few pounds.
You are the best person to decide whether your cat is obese. Otherwise, you can consult your veterinarian for a second opinion, who would be able to confirm whether your cat is obese and would similarly be able to advise you on things you can try at home to get them to lose weight.
What Makes Cats Gain Weight?
If your cat is fed more meals per day than what they require, surely enough they will gain weight. It could also happen that they have free access to dry food, which could lead to overeating, resulting in weight gain.
Diet has much to do with weight gain since cats, in general, are not very active pets. They do walk around and play sometimes, but that is mostly the extent of it.
Most cats like to graze and eat small meals throughout the day. This could lead you to provide free access to dry food that they could eat when they prefer. The trouble with this is, there is no control over the amount of food that they eat. Without you prescribing exactly how much they eat at a single meal, they run the risk of overfeeding themselves.
Weight gain is a result of an increase in body fat. Eating too much is part of the equation. Cats don’t usually get a lot of exercises. The combined lack of exercise with a bad diet leads to obvious weight gain, which is not only common with cats but even humans.
What Should I Feed My Cat to Lose Weight?
When feeding your cat, you want to feed it fewer calories in each meal so as to ensure they are maintaining a calorie deficit which will lead to weight loss. A good estimate would be about 40 calories fewer than normally consumed.
You don’t want to shock your cat by reducing their meal to too small of a proportion. Instead, lower it by 40 calories and adjust this every time they lose some weight. Over time, you would have fed them lower and lower calories and would have brought their weight down to an ideal body weight and resultantly lowered the amount of food they eat too.
For many cats, canned diet food is considered a good approach to take. Changing to a diet food allows your cat to consume almost the same amount of food, that contains fewer calories, making it possible for them to lose weight. You can feed them canned diet food several times a day.
It is best to measure and control the amount of food they eat. So don’t simply leave food on the floor all day for them to eat when they prefer. Instead, feed them several times a day and take control of their consumption.
If you are looking to make the food for your cat at home, you can incorporate a good portion of vegetables to make their meals healthier. Though cats are carnivores, they do benefit from the vitamin and mineral content of vegetables. They are able to slowly digest vegetables and can use the nutrients to benefits them. This would be a great way for you to manage your cat’s diet better to help them to lose weight. For a better idea of the vegetables that are considered safe and good for your cat, we recommend that you read this article, linked herewith.
You also want to ensure that you keep an eye on the pet treats that you feed your cat. Pet treats are often high in calories and add to the daily calorie intake for your cat. The more pet treats they eat, the more calories they will consume, leading to more weight. A good way to control the number of calories they consume on a daily basis is by controlling the amount of cat treats you give them.
Fruits make for healthy alternatives to cat treats which are low in calories and are considered good for your cat. They would work to lower your cat’s calorie intake and help you better control their diet. For more information on safe fruits that are good for your feline, we recommend that you read this article, herewith attached.
You should also work to avoid feeding them people food. Take the time to prepare meals especially for your cat. People food tend to be higher in calories and may contain too many components that are simply too unhealthy for your cat.
It is also a good idea to separate your cat from other cats that you may have in the household during feeding time. This will work to reduce the amount of competitive eating and food sharing which could also lead to weight problems.
The most important thing that you have to do when trying to get your cat to lose weight is to take control of their diet. Do not leave food out all day for them to eat when they prefer. This will not lead to weight loss. You have to play an active part in controlling what your pet eats to ensure they are eating healthy foods in healthy portions.
How Should I Feed My Cat to Attain Lose Weight?
Typically, you should look to feed your cat two or more small meals throughout the day. Don’t allow your cat to eat one large single meal for the whole day as this could lead to overconsumption and greater fat storage. It is also important that you feed them more than twice a day to prevent them from experiencing hunger or even begging for food.
You have to work to maintain a calorie deficit and 40 calories lower than what they are normally consuming is a good starting point. When they start losing weight, you can measure the change and adjust the number of calories by further decreasing it.
You also want to cut down on snacks and treats to allow them to reduce energy intake. If your cat begs, you want to divert their attention to something else by petting them, exercising or playing with them. Use treats sparingly and substitute treats with low-calorie treats such as pieces of fruit.
When you do give them treats, you want to balance this out with their normal meals and reduce the amount you would normally feed them otherwise. This will help compensate for extra calories.
How much of the food you feed your cat depends on the caloric density of the specific food. It is a good idea to use a measuring cup to accurately measure the portions that you are feeding them, to ensure a calorie deficit that will lead to weight loss. Work to maintain a consistent diet as this will lead to better results.
When it comes to canned diet food, not all such products are the same. Some contain more fat with fewer calories, while others have a higher fibre content. There are a wide variety of caloric restrictions between diet cat foods. It is best to consult your veterinarian for advice on the best diet cat food you should be feeding your cat. Each cat is different and your veterinarian would be able to best advise on what is best suited for your cat.
How to Help Your Cat to Lose Weight Naturally?
If you do nothing, your cat will not lose weight. Naturally, you would have to take control of what they eat and feed them food that is low in calories. You have to work to ensure that you maintain a calorie deficit which will lead to weight loss. If you prefer, you can opt to making your cat’s meal yourself, using low-calorie vegetables.
Naturally, your cat will not become more active without you playing a more serious role in it. Though canned diet food is considered a good option for pet owners trying to get their pets to lose a few pounds, they are not considered the most natural means to achieve this. Hence, when it comes to natural means to get your cat to lose weight, you may opt to prepare the meals for yourself.
Meals that have vegetables in them are a good means to control the number of calories that your cat consumes. Usually, homemade cat food will have lower calories than store-bought cat food.
Hence, if you are looking to help your cat lose weight naturally, you should try preparing their meals at home and include elements like vegetables that are considered safe for them.
As mentioned, you can also replace cat treats with fruits that are considered safe for cats. This will allow you to maintain a more healthy and natural diet, composed of less processed cat food that is usually higher in calories.
Another great way to get your cat to lose weight naturally is to incorporate some form of exercise. Exercise is an important aspect of weight loss and some gentle exercise every day will go a long way in helping your cat lose weight.
How to Make a Lazy Cat Lose Weight?
If you are dealing with a lazy cat, you may have trouble getting them to increase the amount of exercise they get every day. As a result, the best way to approach these cats is by controlling their diet.
Feeding them low calorie meals will lead to eventual weight loss even if your cat isn’t very active. Lazy cats have the tendency to sit around and sleep all day and the food that they eat gets stored as fat as a result.
You can try to get your cat excited with a new toy and try to play with your cat. Even lazy cats do like playing sometimes and may even take a liking to a new toy which will get them more excited and active.
Canned diet food is also a great way to lower the calorie intake and control your cat’s diet. Do not leave food on the floor all day for your lazy cat to eat when they prefer. This will make your cat even lazier and will lead to more weight gain as opposed to weight loss.
With lazy cats, you want to give it time. Take control of the diet and give it time. Have patience and eventually you should start to notice results. The results may be slower than with more active cats, but if you control their diet to lower the number of calories they consume, it will lead to eventual weight loss.
Remember, exercise is a huge part of weight loss. Regardless of how lazy your cat is, you should work to get them more excited about exercise and playing. Using catnip may help you achieve just that.
How Much Exercise Does My Cat Need?
Increasing the amount of exercise that your cat gets is a great way to increase the calorie deficit. The more active your cat is, the more they will burn, leading to more weight loss.
You have to take active control of the amount of exercise that your cat gets. Do not expect your cat to engage in exercise on their own, they will not do that. If you have a cat that is already used to some form of activity, you want to slowly increase the amount of activity to allow them to get a good amount of exercise.
You can try exercising for 10 minutes, multiple times a week and slowly increase the activity to 30 minutes daily. If you exercise your cat 15 minutes twice daily, this will lead to increased energy and an increased metabolic rate which will allow them to burn more fat at rest and retain lean body mass.
Cats are generally not very active pets, but supervised playtime with cat toys could be quite effective in producing good results. You could use a laser pointer to get them dancing around for a while or use feather teasers to engage their activity.
If you find that your cat is not receptive to toys, buying them a new toy may excite them and lead to increased activity. You can also try using catnip to try to encourage them and enhance playtime.
For indoor-only cats, you want to enrich the environment as much as possible to try to engage them more. An enriched environment will lead to increased activity and you have complete control of the environment, so make the changes that you need to make in order to get your cat to get more exercise.
Increase the distance from their food to the litter box and they will be walking more. Use food puzzles and they will more engaged and active. You can also try using interactive toys to enrich the environment or use food balls to get them to become more active.
What Are the Benefits of Weight Loss for Cats?
Weight loss can work to improve your pet’s quality of life. They will be free to move around and play. The excess weight prevents them from being active and losing weight can help them live a more active lifestyle.
Weight loss has greater impacts on health than simply allowing them to become more active. It can work to decrease the amount of stress on joints and can be especially important for cats with arthritis. Weight loss can also help facilitate better examination and can be important for surgical procedures they may have to go through. Your vet may recommend that your cat lose some weight before they go into surgery, to prevent complications from arising.
Weight loss also works to improve cardiovascular health. It can work to increase athleticism and make your cat more active than they already are. It could also work to eliminate medications for certain medical disorders that you are managing.
Weight loss will drastically improve your pet’s quality of life and will allow them to live longer, happier lives.
How Long Will it Take for My Cat to Reach Ideal Body Weight?
Though the time it takes for a cat to reach ideal body weight depends on diet and amount of exercise, most cats will attain ideal body weight within six to eight months. If you notice that your cat is taking longer to lose weight, then there are surely certain changes you have to make. Either you work to better control their diet or increase the amount of exercise they are getting.
A healthy amount of weight to lose per month would be about 1 pound per month. Some cats will lose weight at a slower rate while others will shed those pounds much faster. It depends on how active your cat is and how much exercise they are getting.
Lowering the calorie intake will help you maintain body weight and may even lead to weight loss. However, without exercise, the weight loss experienced is slow. Exercise and the amount of exercise is the primary tangent to the amount of time it takes for your cat to lose weight. The more active your cat is, the faster they will lose weight.
How to Maintain Ideal Body Weight for Your Cat
Though your cat may lose weight, it is more likely that an unwatched diet could lead to weight gain again. Hence, to better maintain ideal body weight, you want to keep track of what they eat and control portions to ensure they are consuming only what they need. The portions depend on the activity of the cat. The more active your cat is, the more you can feed them without worrying about weight gain.
It is a good idea to maintain a daily amount of food they consume every day. This will allow you to have a consistent meal plan that works to maintain your feline’s body weight without adding extra pounds.
If you notice that your cat is losing too much weight, you want to increase the amount of food that you give them. That being the case, do not go back to leaving food on the floor and allowing them to eat when they prefer, for this will for certain will lead to them gaining weight again.
It is very important that you feed them the right amount of food to help them maintain their ideal body weight. Every cat is different and the amount of food will vary. Hence, it is a good idea to speak to your veterinarian and work out a diet plan that works best to help your cat maintain a healthy weight.
Watch out for those treats as they could become a culprit in allowing them to gain that weight back. Do not overfeed them treats and when possible, stick to healthy alternatives like fruits.
Weight loss for cats isn’t something that can be attained by the cat alone. You as the pet owner play a significant role in the results that may be observed. You have to take direct control of their diets and work to incorporate as much exercise as you can on a daily basis.
The more exercise your cat gets, the easier it will be for them to lose weight. Cats have much to gain by losing weight. The extra fat otherwise could place their lives at risk and can lead to serious health complications over time.
A healthy cat has a healthy body weight and you as the cat owner should do what you can to help them maintain a healthy weight, allowing them to live a more active and happier life.
We hope after reading this word to word, you have a better idea of what you should do to help your cat lose weight. You are in complete control and it is your actions that will lead to results. So speak to your veterinarian and work out the best course of action and get started. In due time, you will have in your hands a healthy and more active cat.