An estimated 60% of all cats in the U.S. are packing too many pounds. The consequences of this extra weight include increased risks from diabetes to urinary tract disease, as well as the possibility of a shorter lifespan.
Wondering if your cat is overweight? Check out a quick guide to tell if your cat is overweight here>>
Here are the 8 things you should do in 2020 to help a cat lose weight:
- Before you do anything, talk to your vet
- Reduce your kitty’s caloric intake
- Don’t leave food out all-day
- Switch to wet food
- Amp up the playtime
- Don’t give in to begging
- Provide plenty of water
Wondering how to help a cat lose weight? We’ve got some tips that can help.
Our feline friends tend to put on weight as they age. This can be due to a number of factors, including changes in appetite, physical activity, and body composition. And while overweight kitties are certainly an internet favorite, there are plenty of good reasons to help your cat cut back.
An estimated 60% of all cats in the U.S. are packing too many pounds, according to Pet Obesity Prevention. If you have to press firmly on your cat’s sides to feel her ribs, or if she’s more round than hourglass, it’s probably time to make a plan. Consequences of this extra weight include increased risks of everything from diabetes to urinary tract disease, as well as an overall decrease in a cat’s quality of life. In many instances, it can also shorten a cat’s lifespan.
Of course, you want your kitty to be at their healthiest — and so do we! To help you do it, we’ve outlined some of the best tips out there for helping a cat lose weight. So if your furry friend needs to slim down, start with the advice below.
How to Help a Cat Lose Weight
Little changes can make a big difference when it comes to your cat’s weight. And if it’s time for a lifestyle adjustment, these eight tips are a great place to begin.
Talk to your vet. First and foremost, you should definitely consult with your vet on your cat’s weight status and weight loss goals. Having a professional opinion will help you put into perspective what you’re trying to achieve, and it can only be useful to have your vet as a resource on this journey. Your vet may also be able to suggest special foods or supplements that can assist you in helping your cat lose weight.
Reduce your kitty’s caloric intake. Just like humans, cats gain weight when they eat too many calories and lose weight when they eat fewer calories. Since cats are inherently small though, their caloric needs aren’t quite as robust as ours — which means that small subtractions can count for a lot. It’s a lot easier on both of you to reduce portion sizes than to skip meals though, so just try cutting back on treats or reducing the amount of food you put in your cat’s bowl.
Don’t leave food out all-day. If you tend to just leave food out for grazing throughout the day, switch to a consistent meal schedule instead. Having constant access to food can result in your four-legged family member eating more than they need to. It can also mess with their hunger and fullness cues. Set mealtimes are a better alternative, providing structure to your kitty’s day while giving you more control over how much they consume.
Switch to wet food. Does your cat eat all (or mostly) dry food? While there’s nothing wrong with that, dry food tends to be less filling than wet food since it doesn’t have the benefit of added water content. Most cats love wet food though, so start gradually replacing some of your kitty’s dry food with wet until you strike the right balance. They should feel more satisfied, and as a bonus, they’ll be more hydrated too.
Amp up the playtime. Unlike dogs, cats aren’t usually keen to slip on a leash and harness and go for a long walk to get in some extra exercise. So what’s a cat parent to do? Introduce more opportunities for a play! Playing is one of the best ways for your cat to get in some more physical activity, and it’s good for their mental health too. To keep it exciting, look for interactive toys like the Wicked Ball and kitty board games, both of which continually engage your cat to keep their interest and keep them moving.
Go vertical. Cats love to climb. And in addition to being a fun pastime, it’s also a way to sneak more exercise into their day. Put out vertical structures like cat trees and shelves that your kitty can climb on, and move their food bowl either up or downstairs (depending on where they’re hanging out at feeding time) so they have to tackle the staircase if they want to get to the good stuff.
Don’t give in to begging. Our kitty friends have really perfected their puppy-dog eyes. But no matter how much begging you get, resist the urge to hand over additional treats to your cat, including any human food that you might be enjoying. Instead, ignore the begging and go about your day. When your cat realizes there’s nothing to be gained, they’ll give it up.
Provide plenty of water. Water is important for your cats’ health for a lot of reasons, but it’s also crucial when they’re trying to lose weight. Keep a running water fountain or a bowl of fresh water out at all times to help satisfy their desire to consume something and to help them feel more full throughout the day.
Healthy cats are happy cats. If you find that your cat is struggling to lose weight even after implementing the tips above, return for another vet visit to see if there are other unique factors that need to be addressed.