Your cat’s weight could have a huge impact on your cat’s health and wellbeing. Would you be surprised if we told you that more than half of cat owners have in their hands an overweight cat? It is easy enough to think your cat to be more adorable and cute due to the extra weight they carry however there are real risks of excessive weight for cats and can even shorten their life span.
Some cats have such trouble with weight that they have mobility issues. Further to this, they simply aren’t as active as they used to be. All these things could have a huge impact on your cat’s health and could lead to greater chances of health problems.
If your cat stands to lose 2 to 3 pounds, you may think of this being insignificant. After all, what is 2 to 3 pounds of weight loss in human terms? However, when it comes to your cat, who has an average weight of 10 pounds, 2 to 3 pounds actually portray a huge problem. So when your vet tells you that your cat has to lose a few pounds, don’t take it too lightly. A few pounds is the difference between an obese and overweight cat and one that has a healthy weight and an active lifestyle.
When it comes to feeding overweight cats, many cat owners have trouble understanding how to go about feeding them. They simply lack the information that is necessary to understand the types of food that are considered healthy for cats. This is exactly why you are here right?
So without further adieu, let’s jump into the good stuff and understand exactly what you should be feeding your cat to help them shed those extra pounds.
Diet Alterations for Weight Loss
When it comes to cats, they are known to be carnivores. However, that being the case, house cats are able to digest and use carbohydrates. Many brands of cat food contain carbohydrates and fibre and have some form of a plant compound in them.
That being the case, it was noted that feeding your cat a low carbohydrate diet could lead to natural weight loss. Eating the same amount of lower-carbohydrate wet or raw food could lead to more weight loss in comparison to food that contains a higher amount of carbohydrates.
Further to this, it has also been noted that there has been more weight loss observed when switching from wet to raw food. That being the case, many cats will not take lightly to a diet switch, which is why it is important to incorporate both wet and raw food in the diet and slowly shift the proportions more towards raw food.
Raw food contains a higher level of moisture which helps protect your cat from chronic dehydration and urinary stones. It can even protect your cat against various infections. Weight loss is just a desirable side effect of the whole thing and comes as a bonus for those who make the switch to raw foods.
Protein is an essential part of a cat’s diet and they respond best to weight loss when they are fed a quality protein source that will protect their muscles. Carbohydrates are simply not as important for cats and should be kept to a minimum. Cat food usually contains beef, chicken, turkey, lamb or fish which stands as the base protein source. In combination with this, you can find carbohydrate sources such as grains, potatoes and legumes which provides a certain level of starch to the food.
A good way to go about weight loss is by taking control of what your cat eats. This is why you are here trying to understand the best things that you should feed your overweight cat. You don’t have to always rely on store-bought cat food. Instead, you can use the guidelines on the labels of cat food, or better yet speak to your veterinarian to understand how to go about preparing good pet food at home. This will help you take more control of your pet’s diet.
What is great is, it will allow you to replace unhealthy carbohydrates with healthier alternatives through vegetables that are considered lower in calories and carbohydrate content. This in combination with a reliable protein source will allow you to prepare a meal that is highly nutritious, lower in calories and will for certain help with weight loss.
Protein for Overweight Cats
It has been noted that cats do best when they are placed on a high-protein diet. This type of diet allows them to slowly lose weight over a period of time. A high protein diet usually contains carnitine which is an amino acid that is important for cats. The amino acid is responsible for turning fat reserves into energy, which is why a high-protein diet is especially useful for overweight cats.
With a reduction in calorie intake, though cats can technically lose weight on almost any diet, a high-protein diet is known to be exceptionally good for maintaining muscle mass. It is this muscle mass that helps to keep burning those calories that they consume. Hence the more maintained muscle mass your cat has, the more likely they will burn more calories, leading to weight loss and healthy weight management.
Cats are usually drawn to meals that have a higher concentration of protein in them. Hence, when you are preparing the meals yourself, make sure to include a greater proportion of protein in comparison to other nutrients such as carbohydrates.
Reliable protein sources to add to your pet’s meal include,
Cats are carnivores, which means you should design their meals to contain a large portion of protein. They need this protein to stay healthy and you shouldn’t be sidestepping the protein source in hopes of weight loss. The protein in their meals will aid better muscle management, which will evidently lead to more weight loss.
Vegetables to Feed Overweight Cats
Though cats are carnivores, they have much to gain from vegetables. Though wild cats never eat plants, house cats have gotten accustomed to eating plant components, with corn and peas usually being found in cat food. That being the case, when you are trying to get your cat to lose weight, preparing your cat’s meals at home gives you the advantage of having complete control of the vegetables that you include in the meals.
Corn for instance is a starchy vegetable that has a high carbohydrate content. This makes it a bad choice when it comes to getting your cat to lose a few pounds. With most cat food containing corn, it isn’t difficult to see why feeding them wet cat food could make it difficult for them to lose weight.
It is the carbohydrate content that is important for cats when you consider weight loss. In reality, cats don’t really have any need for vegetables. They can source these nutrients from elsewhere. However, vegetables do provide a great filler to meals and works to add more fibre which will help to keep your cat feeling full for a longer period of time.
It is the fibre content of vegetables that make them so useful for cats. When looking for vegetables that are good for weight loss, you need to source vegetables that are high in fibre and low in carbohydrates. Carbohydrates that are lower in the glycemic index is considered better, for they contain less of the unhealthy nutrients that will work against weight loss.
When it comes to vegetables, there are certain vegetables that are good for cats when you consider weight loss.
- Green Beans
- Bell Peppers
- Brussel Sprouts
These vegetables are not starchy vegetables and contain a host of nutrients that are considered beneficial for your cat’s wellbeing.
Similarly, when it comes to vegetables, there are certain vegetables that your cat should never be fed. These vegetables are not considered safe, some are toxic, which will lead to serious health conditions when fed.
- Wild Mushrooms
To understand better the types of vegetables that are considered safe for your cat and why certain vegetables are considered harmful, we recommend that you read this article, linked herewith.
Best Homemade Meal Combination for Overweight Cats
When it comes to preparing your cat’s meals at home, you want to keep it simple. Cats do not need spices and condiments add to their food. In fact, spices could cause reactions which could lead to them not being able to digest the food properly. This could lead to stomach distress and a host of other issues. Refrain from using oil and don’t cook the food as you would cook for humans. You want to prepare your cat’s food separately.
For cats that are looking to lose weight, a good protein source should be the primary component of the meal. The protein source is important to maintain muscle mass and you have to remember that cats are carnivores. This means they acquire most of thier nutrition from protein and animal products.
Look to combine a good portion of protein with a smaller portion of vegetables. For a 3/4 proportion of protein, you can serve them 1/4 portion of vegetables. So long as you stick to low carbohydrate vegetables, this will lead to a great low-carb meal that will lead to slow and steady weight loss.
Refrain from feeding your cat grains and starchy vegetables. These contain too much starch and can work to offset the carbohydrate requirement leading to weight gain and to better state, lack of weight loss.
Unless you make the changes to their diet, you are unlikely to notice results. When it comes to preparing your meals at home, you can consult your veterinarian for advice and they will be able to direct you further with regards to how you should go about preparing your meals for your cat at home and what to include.
What About Cat Treats For Overweight Cats?
Pet treats can be a primary reason why your cat gains weight. Store-bought pet treats usually tend to be high in calories making them useless when you are trying to get your cat to lose weight. They simply contain more of what your cat doesn’t need.
If your cat is used to treats, you can try making a switch to healthier options such as cooked carrots and zucchini. Small bite-sized pieces of vegetables can work really well as an alternative to cat treats and can provide them with a nutrient fix that is low in calories.
When working with overweight cats, you should look to avoid conventional cat treats and stop feeding them these treats altogether. Think of it like snacking and junk food. You can’t expect to lose weight snacking all day and eating junk food. Hence, when it comes to cat treats, avoid them altogether and replace them with healthier options.
Though cats are picky eaters and may not take a liking to certain fruits, fruits can be a great way to replace cat treats. They could work to provide your cat with good nutritional value, while simultaneously providing for a great occasional treat.
Fruits to Feed Overweight Cats
Fruits are yet another great addition to your cat’s diet to help them lose weight. Fruits do not contain high amounts of carbohydrates and are often low in calories, making them the perfect treat for your cat.
Work to find the fruit that your cat loves the most and use it as a treat in place of conventional cat treats. You would be drastically reducing the number of calories they consume, thereby facilitating greater weight loss.
When it comes to fruits, certain fruits are considered safe for cats, while others are not so much.
Safe fruits for cats include,
Certain fruits much like vegetables are harmful to cats. When it comes to these fruits, you want to avoid them completely as some of them can be toxic even in small quantities.
On a hot summer day, a frozen piece of fruit can be a great treat for your cat. Find a safe fruit that they take a liking to and use that to replace the conventional high-calorie cat treats that you otherwise feed your cat.
For a better idea of the types of fruits that are considered healthy and safe for cats and reasons why some are harmful, we recommend that you read this article, linked herewith.
Canned Diet Food for Overweight Cats
If you aren’t at the task of preparing your cat’s meal at home, you could quite easily choose a canned diet food for your cat which will similarly work to help them lose weight.
Canned diet food contains a good balance between calories and nutrients and will work to keep them feeling full for a longer period of time. Your cat will not have any issues eating these meals and may even take a liking to them.
Canned diet food is designed for the task of helping your cat lose weight. There are a variety of brands to choose from and if you prefer, you can consult your veterinarian and they would be able to advise you on a particular brand that you can go with.
With canned diet food, it is easy to control the portion of the meal making it less likely that you would overfeed your cat. Is canned diet food better than preparing your cat’s meal at home? It depends; it is for certain easier, however preparing your cat’s meal at home gives you more control over the nutrients that your cat consumes and may lead to more effective weight loss.
How to Measure Amount of Food to Feed?
When considering feeding your overweight cat, the amount of food that you feed your cat also plays a significant role. It is as important as what you feed them. You don’t want to be overfeeding your cat and should work to lower the meal proportions to ensure that your cat is losing weight.
A good way to go about understanding how much you should feed your overweight cat is by feeding them 40 calories lower than what you usually feed them. This will lead to a calorie deficit.
Meal size and portion depend on the size of the cat which is why as a rule of thumb, feeding them 40 calories fewer provides a general guideline for all cats. You want to observe your cat’s weight and further adjust the meal by decreasing the number of calories every time they lose a pound.
You don’t want to leave food down on the floor for them to eat when they feel. Rather, take control of their eating habits and make times of the day that you go about feeding them. You want to feed them several times of the day and refrain from feeding them only one large meal per day. Eating smaller meals will lead to less overconsumption and better metabolism.
Opt for feeding your cat two to three times a day and control the portion of the food they consume. Do not overfeed them. Overfeeding could lead to lack of weight loss or in exceptional circumstances, weight gain.
You should work to feed your cat 1/3 to 1/2 cup of dry cat food per day. When feeding them more than once a day, divide the total portions into parts and feed them accordingly. If preparing your meals at home, you should look to maintain 167 to 250 calories of food per day. Once again, you can divide these total calories based on the number of meals and feed them accordingly. If you don’t notice weight loss, lower the calories by 40, which is the general rule of thumb.
Weight management is as important for your cat as it is important for the cat owner. Obesity in cats could lead to many health complications arising and may even work to lower life span. Obvious to state, the negatives of excessive weight are many and you should do whatever you can to take control of your cat’s wellbeing and bring them back to a healthier weight.
If you have an overweight cat in your hands, feed them meals rich in protein with a good combination of healthy vegetables. Otherwise, you can choose canned diet food which has been proven to be similarly effective in helping your cat lose weight.
Remember, just as diet is important for your cat’s weight loss, exercise plays a significant role too. To better understand how to go about helping your cat lose weight, we recommend that you read this article, linked herewith, that provides a set of great tips that could help you along your cat’s weight loss journey.
We hope you found this article useful and that reading this word to word has helped you better understand how to go about feeding your cat to help them shed those extra pounds. Remember, weight loss in cats is a slow process, so give it 6 to 8 months before you expect results.