So, you have an overweight cat? You are not alone!
In fact – I, myself, have an overweight kitty that has been on a weight-loss plan, and I am seeing amazing results!
Approximately 58% of all cats have been diagnosed as overweight by their veterinarians. That’s a lot! There are a lot of factors “weighing in” here. Once you and your veterinarian have determined that your cat’s extra pounds are not related to a medical condition, then you can begin utilizing these suggestions for shedding some weight off of your feline friend. These tips are working for my cat, and they will work for your’s too!
TIP #1 – DIET:
Working with a holistic veterinarian (Dr. Angie Krause) for almost 3 years now, I have learned A LOT about diet therapy and cats.
In essence, our cats are carb addicts, so they love dry food. That said, an overload of carbs isn’t exactly a species-specific diet for our kitties, since they are obligate carnivores. It’s also really hard for them to shed that carby-goodness once it’s been consumed.
One quick and easy transition towards your cat’s weight loss is to switch to an all canned diet (which equates to high protein, low carbs, high moisture). Now, if you consulted with your kitty about this idea, they may protest. While many cats enjoy their canned food, most will not likely support a carb intervention!
Once you’ve made the transition over to a strict canned diet, I would recommend breaking their two large meals into three or four smaller meals. This will leave less room for protest.
It’s imperative that your cat NOT stop eating during this transition, as hunger strikes are very dangerous for cats. If your cat absolutely must eat something crunchy, there are plenty of freeze dried treats on the market. My cat goes absolutely ga-ga for freeze dried treats – she’s satisfied with the crunch and flavor, but not consuming the traditional dry kibble! Win-Win!
TIP #2 – ACTIVITY:
Since the majority of our feline companions are indoor-only, or primarily indoor, we often forget that they too need physical (and mental) stimulation. Mental stimulation will help with your cat’s overall sense of wellbeing, and the physical stimulation can help shed a few calories.
Here are a few suggestions that I have for increasing your cat’s daily activities:
STAIRS! If your home has multiple levels, utilize this to your advantage! Offer food and water on one level, and litter boxes on the other. If she’s extremely treat motivated (like my girl with her freeze dried goodies!), try tossing one up a few stairs, so she can go retrieve it. This will allow for your kitty to climb stairs regularly, which is a sure calorie burner! (SIDE NOTE: If you don’t have stairs, you can still play this game by tossing your kitty’s favorite treat across the room).
TOYS! Find your cats favorite toys. Does your cat like da-bird (seen here), or is she more of a catnip kinda kid? Maybe she enjoys laser pen chasing, or feathered toys to bat at. Whatever it is, take a few minutes to play with her each day. This is a great way to engage your cat physically and mentally, while also providing quality time.
PUZZLES! Food puzzles for the win! Food puzzles are excellent for mental stimulation, but also for getting your cat to work a little harder for their treats! Check out Nina Ottosson’s collection of cat puzzles here.
TIP #3: REGULAR “WEIGH INS” AND POW-WOWS WITH YOUR VETERINARY TEAM:
Staying consistent with your cat’s weight loss program can be a challenge, but it’s crucial for success. Knowing that obesity can lead to chronic pain, orthopedic issues, and illness, are motivators enough – right?
Regular weigh in’s will help you gauge how the program is going, and hopefully will feel motivating! Even shedding just a few ounces is a game changer for you and your cat! Try not to feel discouraged, and if things are not going as planned, consult with your veterinary team on how to tweak the program.
I sure hope that these tips are helpful! Please comment with any of your OWN tips and tricks — oh, and don’t forget to post some pictures of your sweet cat.