Managing Your Catโ€™s Weight Through Dietary Changes Feline obesity is very similar to obesity among humans

BY | April 06 | COMMENTS PUBLISHED BY
Managing Your Catโ€™s Weight Through Dietary Changes Benoit Daoust / Shutterstock.com

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 is 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 its 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 exercises, 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

  • Make sure your cat gets a lot of exercises 

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 to 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.

How To Feed Your Cat Healthily On a Limited Budget

It can get expensive to keep a pet. Not only does a pet require your time and effort, but the monetary investment is also required in raising a pet. If you’re on a tight budget, this may come across as a problem. No pet owner wants to let their pet go because the cost of keeping them is taking a toll on their budget. While there are plenty of “cheap” food options available for cats in the market, these are usually detrimental to the cat’s health. One should weigh their options while investing in these low-grade food options for their cat. Once sick, a trip to the vet will cost them more in the long run than choosing to buy medium-cost quality cat food.

Know where to save

On top of that, cats have complex nutritional needs. They need over 40 nutrients in their daily diet for healthy body function. Leftovers and scraps from your plate won’t meet your cat’s diet needs. Buying “complete” prepared pet food ensures a nutritionally balanced meal. They are available across all cost ranges and won’t necessarily empty your pockets. Researching before you shop for your cat’s food can save you a great deal. Visit the websites of different cat food brands and look for their loyalty discounts/coupons. Many cat food brands offer deals to new and returning customers.

Cost per Feed, Not Cost per Kg

Don’t calculate the cost of feeding your cat in cost per kg of cat food. Instead, learn to calculate in cost per feed. The amount you need to feed your cat can vary greatly according to the kind of food you are feeding it. It is important to go over the feeding guidelines printed on the packaging here. Buy big bags or multipacks to reduce the cost per feed. Wet food significantly costs more due to its packaging. Switch to dry foods to save up. Pick up trial cat food packs whenever offered. It is a splendid way to not only feed your cat but find out what it fancies eating for further reference. Practice portion control.

Don’t overfeed your cat. Two helpings of food per day are enough for a fully-grown cat. Make your own cat food at home. Experiment with different cat food recipes. Maybe try the recipe for a treat, for starters. Don’t forget to include animal-based proteins. Cats require a lot of calcium and bone matter in their diet. Ask your vet for pet food samples and coupons. They usually have plenty of both. Set up a delivery subscription. Not only will this save you a trip to the supermarket, but it will also save you some cash too. PetCo, Amazon are among a couple of websites that offer discounts on delivery subscriptions.

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