Encouraging your cat to lose weight
21st Jun, 2017
Many cats are overweight or obese these days and the figures are rising; this can contribute to health problems including:
• Insulin resistance
• Hepatic lipidosis
• Feline lower urinary tract disease
Risk factors for overweight and obese cats include:
• Male and neutered
• Feeding fresh meat or fish
• Indoor cats
• Single and two cat households
• Owner perception- thinking cat is not overweight
Wild and feral cats would spend 6 or so hours a day hunting or searching for food, domestic cats don’t! They are generally not that active. Coupled with this many cat owners feed highly palatable foods and regularly change the flavours in order to keep their cats interested. Most cat food manufacturers are more concerned with their profit margins than our cats’ health. They therefore design cat food to be highly palatable. Many of us feed both wet and dry foods, both of which are designed to be highly palatable to our cats.
• Current advice is to feed either wet of dry food not both
• To feed a ‘light’ dry food which your cat doesn’t find palatable
• Religiously weigh out your cats daily requirement and stick to this amount
• Maximise your cats activity levels. Play! Play! Play!
Even if your cat doesn’t seem interested in play, if she just turns her head to look at the toy then that at least is movement! Stop before she wants to stop and circulate your toys so that there is always something new and interesting to play with. As she loses weight she is likely to become more interested in play.
Often cats seem as though they are solely asking for food. However, this maybe the only way that they know how to ask for attention, you need to learn to ignore demands for food and give other kinds of attention instead.
It can help to put dry food in a plastic bottle or activity feeder such as a ‘pyramid’ so that the cat requires some level of activity in order to access the food. Alternatively, hide pieces of food around the house so that the cat has to find them. This will also mean that the cat eats more slowly and therefore feels fuller quicker and eat less.