With a little persistence and time, you can soon help your cat get back in shape and significantly improve their health.
How do I know if my cat is overweight?
You should be able to feel your cat’s ribs and not see them and they should have a discernible waist behind the ribs when viewed from above. Cats tend to put fat on their tummies so even if you can see a waist, but you can feel large deposits of fat in this area, then your cat is overweight.
Why does it matter if my cat is fat?
Obesity can predispose to many diseases such as diabetes, pancreatitis, it can intensify heart and lung disease and osteoarthritis. A fat cat will die on average 2 years earlier than their healthy counterpart.
If your cat is middle aged but you have noticed them slowing down, check their weight to see if they are carrying around too much fat.
Owners will often think that they are slowing down because they are getting old but in actual fact it’s because they are carrying too much weight. If you are unsure whether your cat is overweight then take them to your vets for a weight clinic, most vets will offer free weight checks and they are normally very happy for you to pop in just to weigh your cat.
How do I help my cat lose weight?
The simple answer to this is simply to feed them less and exercise them more. However in reality this can be difficult, especially if your cat has got you trained to feed them just be looking at you sadly and letting out a pitiful cry! – we all know how persistent they can be!
Cut their food down slowly over a couple of months so that their stomach shrinks and they don’t feel as hungry – if your cat is very overweight they should be fed half the amount that you are feeding at present.
Some owners may feel like they are then feeding nothing at all, if this is the case think about feeding a light diet which contains less calories per gram of food or bulk the food up with vegetables – if your cat will accept them.
It doesn’t really matter how much food the manufacturer generic guidelines advise that you feed, all cats are different.
If your cat is fat then you are giving too much, try:
- Weighing out the food and stick to the same amount every day. If your cat is not losing weight then reduce it.
- Give some of their daily food allowance instead of a treat if they have been good.
- Don’t give your cat human food as the calorie content will often be a lot higher than you realise which can cause weight gain.
- Weigh your cat regularly: monitor their weight to make sure you are getting the measure right.
- Taking time each day to ‘exercise’ your cat – use toys to encourage then to jump around and move about.
With a little persistence your cat will be healthier in no time.