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Does your cat spend the whole day lying on your couch and scratching at the litter box? If he does, you should seriously consider changing his lifestyle with a weight loss plan. More than 50 percent of cats in the United States suffer from obesity. If your cat has more than 20 percent body fat, then he is classified as overweight. There is a rule of thumb to determine whether or not your cat is overweight. His waistline should be noticeable between the hips and the back of the ribs. If there is an abdominal tuck or no noticeable waistline, then your cat is most probably obese. What can you do as a pet parent to help your cat shed those extra pounds?
- Proper diet – Avoid feeding your feline friends pet foods that have a high carbohydrate content. Check the quantity of ingredients like peas, grains and potatoes. If it is in the neighborhood of 4-5 %, then you can go ahead with it. Since cats are obligate carnivores, their bodies can no longer synthesize amino acids and vitamins. Their diet needs to have meat source that includes muscle meat and not byproducts like spleen, lungs or kidneys. Also, avoid a fiber rich diet as it can make your cat feel temporarily full, but end up blocking the absorption of nutrients in their small intestine. Consequently, your cat will feel hungrier, eat more, and gain more weight.
- Exercise – Physical activity reduces appetite, burns calories and changes the body structure. Regular exercise can also lead to an uptick in the metabolic rate. Just turn the bathtub into a hockey rink by placing a ball in it. Your cat will chase after it and it will provide him plenty of physical activity. Of course, you can always let him play outdoors as long as the environment is safe.
- Regular weigh-ins – Monitor your cat's weight on a monthly basis so that the vet has a good idea of his health. Recognizing weight gain in pets can prove to be difficult. If you are concerned that your cat is gaining weight, then schedule weigh-ins at the same time of the day on the same weighing scale.
- Cat toys – A climbing tower or scratching post make for excellent exercise options. Offer your cat a number of scratch-friendly options, like vertical and horizontal scratching toys, sisal ripe, cardboard, carpet and wood. Cats tend to get bored with toys quite easily So, you should keep rotating them once every two weeks to keep them interested.
- Spay/neuter – Neutering or spaying your cat ensures that he/she will live a long and healthy life. Female cats are no longer at risk for u terine or mammary cancer and male cats are no longer at risk for prostate or testicular cancer. Neutered and spayed cats also need fewer calories to maintain their weight. Therefore, they are healthier than their intact feline counterparts.
The 5 Simple Tips That Can Help Your Cat Lose Weight
Obesity in cats is common than you think. In fact, obese and overweight cats have actually outnumbered cats with normal weight. Obesity in your feline friend can be dangerous because it predisposes it to diseases like hepatic lipidosis, diabetes and arthritis. Diet and activities are extremely important for helping your cat lose weight. When it comes to eating, cats either simply skim on their food and don't over-eat or keep craving for more food despite being heavily fed. Cats can face significant health issues even with 0.5-1 kilogram of extra weight, subjecting them to diabetes and reducing their lifespan.
How to help your cat lose weight?
Now that you know the perils of obesity in cats, you must be wondering how to help your feline friend lose weight. You can follow the following five tips that we have compiled to help you achieve this:
Determine your cat's calorie requirement:
To do this, multiply its weight in kilograms by 30, then add 70, and then multiply the result by 0.8. To illustrate: (5kg x 30 + 70) x 0.8 = 176 calories per day. If your cat eats less than this, it is likely to lose weight and vice-versa. You can reduce its calorie intake by 15% for steady weight loss.
Use a dispenser or treat ball:
You can consider putting all your cat's dry food in a dispenser or treat ball for slowing down its eating and increasing its exercise. You also make a dispenser at home with a toilet paper roll holder which is sealed at both ends with tape. You should avoid free choice feeding and think in terms of ounces instead of cups of food.
Consider giving small meals:
Another way to control the diet of your cat is by feeding it with small meals throughout the day. Most cats like to eat 7 times in a day. So you can consider splitting its day's meal into small parts for increasing its satiety. Also add more proteins to its diet for better metabolism.
Add more water to its diet:
Water keeps your cat's body hydrated and makes it feel full. You can add more water to its diet so that it curbs your cat's hunger pangs and satisfy its appetite quickly. You can do this with both dry and wet foods for your cat. Also, cut down the amount of dry foods you give to your cat because they contain less water and more carbohydrates.
10 minutes of exercise:
Finally, you should at least play with or exercise your feline friend for at least 10 minutes a day. Use cat toys that enable it to jump and pounce. You need to keep its predator instincts alive through regular exercise, otherwise it would become lazy and gain weight.