The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) released a nationwide survey in February 2012 showing 55% of cats are overweight or obese. Getting an obese cat to lose weight can be a bit more challenging, than say a dog, due to their independent nature. And multiple cat households can be even trickier!
If you think Buttons might be too boxy, here are some tips that can help:
1. Reduce Portions
Use the 20% for cats too! Determine exactly how much your cat eats in 24 hours, then reduce by 20%. In single-cat households this can work nicely; when the daily allotment of kibble is gone, no more until the next day. It is possible to feed pre-measured meals also. Cats may benefit from more feedings through the day versus just two. Cats can be trained to eat meals, just like dogs.
2. Make a Feeding Box
If you have one small, thin cat and one heavier cat, try making a feeding box with an opening that only the smaller cat can fit through. The smaller cat can sneak into the box and eat free-choice food, but the heavier cat is limited to the reduced portions.
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3. Reduce Treats
When Frisky starts to pester you, turn this into an opportunity for playtime instead of food.
4. Switch to Lower-Calorie Food
Most reputable pet food companies will offer a reduced calorie food. Look for words on the bag such as lite, reduced calorie, restricted calories, weight control or for less active cats. Always transition over to the new pet food gradually by mixing in the new with the old over a week or so.
5. Get Moving!
Cats require a little more creativity to get them active, but it is possible. Buy a laser light toy for them to chase, hide their food around the house so they have to ‘hunt’ for it, make a daily play session with cat toys.
One note about cats though– when tinkering with a cat’s diet, always ensure they are actually eating, especially if you switch to a new kibble. An overweight cat that suddenly stops eating can become very ill quickly if weight is lost too quickly– this is one of the many reasons cat insurance is so important and something I speak with each of my clients about.
Your veterinarian should be a helpful partner in your weight loss efforts. Stop by the clinic frequently to use their scale in order to track progress. Let them advise your pet’s target weight loss goal. The benefits of weight loss will be visible and rewarding, as your furry best friend becomes more active, less out of breath and has less risks for serious diseases associated with obesity. Just like with humans, patience and persistence is the key to success!
For more information about pet health and behavior, or to learn more about pet insurance, visit Pets Best Insurance today!