Is Your Cat Overweight?
8 September, 2014
Our cats come in all shapes and sizes with all their different funny and quirky personalities. Some cats love to eat and can gorge all day long while some cats are dainty eaters or don’t like to eat at all. While we love our cats to eat wholeheartedly, it can sometimes lead to an overweight cat. Of course, overweight kitties and/or cats can lead to further health issues so it’s better to get your cat on a diet right away.
How can you tell if your cat is overweight?
Look down at your cat. You should be able to see a waist when you look down at your kitty from the top, or when you run your hands from its ribs to its hips. Run your hand along your cat’s abdomen from his or her ribs to his pelvis and it should be indented. If you put your hands on the side of your cat’s chest, you should be able to feel his or her ribs without a thick layer of fat over them. There are also charts at your veterinarian’s office that show how to evaluate where your cat falls.
Take your cat to your veterinarian to rule out a medical condition
It’s always better to take your cat to your veterinarian first to see if your kitty has a thyroid or medical condition contributing to the overweight condition. Your veterinarian can also give you some recommendations as to what type of food that your cat should to eat to lose weight.
Find a high quality food wet food and monitor the portions
Wet food is generally recommended for an overweight cat as they tend to be higher in protein and have more water. It’s important to keep your cat hydrated and make sure they drink plenty of water. There are many high protein, healthy wet cat food on the market that are designed for chunky kitties. If you have to give your kitty dry food, monitor the portions and only leave a little out each day.
Cats don’t like change. Therefore, it is important to change your kitties’ food slowly and mix the new food into the old food and eventually transition the old food out. If you change the food too quickly, your cat won’t eat it and you will be forced to go back to the old food and start over.
Your cat could be overweight due to his surroundings
Sometimes our cats are overweight because of his or her surroundings. Is your cat bored because there’s nothing to do in the house so he just sits around and eats? If that’s the case, then changing his diet or the amount of food he eats won’t help his weight problem. So the issue then is making your home a happier place for your cat. They need windows they can look out. If there is something in your house that is scary to them, they won’t come out to exercise. If your cat’s happier and more active, then he’ll probably lose weight.
Make sure your cat gets exercise
Overweight cats (or any cats) need to get exercise. Make sure to have toys like mice on sticks and balls and encourage your kitty to climb by placing climbing structures around your home. Try to play with your cat and get him moving for at least ten minutes a day. If your cat is very old or very obese, you may have to build up to ten minutes.
Use healthy cat treats as incentive to move around
Hide edible treats for your cat around the house and hide them at different levels so he or she has to climb to find them. If your cat can’t find the treats, help him out the first few times you hide them. Also, only buy healthy cat treats and always check the treat labels and ingredients list.
If you gradually change your cat’s diet, provide plenty of exercise and an enriched environment, he or she should be able to lose weight over time.