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Tips for Putting Your Cat on a Diet

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Obesity is the most common nutritional disorder in cats – affecting around one in three cats in the UK.

You may not realise that your cat is overweight – even an extra two or three pounds can become a serious health issue for your cat. In this blog we will tell you how too find out if your cat is overweight and how to make the changes to your cats diets for the better.

One of the most common problems for overweight cats is diabetes, as well as lower urinary tract problems, osteoarthritis and constipation. Skin problems and infections can also become an issue as overweight cats have difficulty keeping themselves clean.  

How to tell if your cat is overweight

First check your cat against a body condition chart – the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) have an easy to use scoring chart that will help you determine if your cat is overweight and to what degree.

To check yourself run your hands over your cats body – you shouldn’t be able to see their ribs or backbone but you should be able to feel them pretty easily.

It’s important to remember before you make any diet changes to consult your vet – as any weight gain could be due to an underlaying health issue.  

Diet Change

If your vet recommends a diet, be patient as your cat adjusts to new eating habits. More structured meal times, less food or a different kind of food may result in a temporary refusal to eat.

The best way to start a diet is to reduce feeding amounts. Another strategy is to replace dry food with wet food. Cats utilise protein calories better than carbohydrate calories and wet food accomplishes this better. 

Exercise

Increasing the amount of exercise your cat is getting will help with weight loss as well as your cats overall health. Interactive toys are a great way to increase indoor cats exercise.

Successful weight loss should be slow and gradual – your cat should lose about one pound a month. Your veterinarian should monitor your cat’s process and make adjustments if the weight loss is happening to quickly. Rapid weight loss can affect a cat’s liver function or be a sign of metabolic condition like kidney disease, diabetes or hyperthyroidism.  

TIPS 

  • Measure out food by dividing the calorie intake into four to six meals – cats naturally eat several small meals per day
  • Only leave the food out for a limited amount of time
  • Don’t allow your cat access to dog food 
  • Avoid giving treats, but if you must use a few pieces of dry food as a substitute 
  • Keep the water bowl full
  • Set a weight loss goal with your veterinarian 
  • Don’t share human food with your cat – some human foods are poisonous to cats, e.g. onions


 


   

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