Throughout both the US and Europe, cats have become obese. Ironically, this problem of feline obesity is very similar to obesity among humans. Of course, the main problem in both populations can be boiled down to one thing: diet. What are you feeding your cat? How many times per day? What about treats? Does your cat get an adequate level of exercise?
Cats have largely benefited from becoming domesticated. They now have very safe living environments, steady food, longer life spans, etc., but these benefits have also come with a major downside: lack of exercise. If your cat isn’t getting enough exercise and also being fed a poor diet along with numerous treats throughout the day, it really shouldn’t come as any shock if it develops weight-related issues.
Luckily, there are numerous ways to mitigate these problems, and to manage your cat's weight-related health issues in general. The easiest way is to alter your cat’s current diet. There are many different cat foods on the market aimed towards solving this issue (e.g. Royal Canin feline weight control) Whether you’re feeding it too much, too often, or a combination of both, chances are that you need to adjust your dietary management strategy to focus on fewer calories (and higher-quality food, if possible).
There are many problems associated with being overweight (in both cats and humans), with one of the most common being diabetes. If your cat develops diabetes, there’s a large chance that their lifespan will be dramatically altered and that you will need to put them on special medication to help manage the health issues associated with diabetes.
Setting Goals and Tracking Progress
The very first thing that you need to establish is what your cat’s goal weight should be. That means determining what their current weight is, and then setting an ideal weight (which will serve as your goal). If you need to, you can schedule an appointment with your vet to help you during this stage. It’s also a good idea, in general, to take your cat in for a checkup before making any major dietary/lifestyle changes, that way you can also get your vet’s opinion on your plans.
Weighing your cat at least once per week is ideal, and at the very least you should be weighing them once per month. This is the only way to accurately determine whether or not the weight loss plan is actually working. Remember to write down your cat’s weight loss records, and to discuss them with your vet. It’s important to focus on not making your cat lose too much weight too fast because this can lead to health problems. Slow and steady wins the race, especially in regards to feline weight control.
Weight Loss Strategies for Cats: The Basics
The number one problem in regards to weight gain in cats (as well as humans) is eating at a caloric surplus. Simply put, this means eating too many calories throughout the day. There are two general methods for lowering the total number of calories consumed per day: eating smaller portions or eating less frequently. Usually, people employ a combination of those two methods, along with increased exercise/physical activity.
Lots of owners make the mistake of filling their cat’s bowl full of food and leaving them to their own devices throughout the day. Unfortunately, most cats will take full advantage of this and eat far too much for their own good. This is one of the main problems.
The second main problem would be giving your cat too many treats throughout the day. Even the smallest of calories add up (quickly, by the way), and if your cat isn’t getting a lot of exercise, that can mean putting on some added pounds (in a relatively short period of time). The best way to fight this is by doing some of the following:
Feeding your cat a specific weight loss cat food
Not feeding your cat as often
Feeding your cat smaller portions
Making sure your cat gets a lot of exercise
Don’t Forget About Exercise
Managing your cat’s diet is very important if you want them to lose weight, but you also need to remember exercise! Making sure that your cat receives an adequate level of physical activity is crucial for their quality of life and overall health. Not only in terms of weight management, but also for the health of their heart, lungs, joints, and other body parts.