How to Help Your Cat Lose Weight
Cats are wonderful and fluffy and many cat lovers feel their hearts melt when a big chonky kitty presents themselves with their spherically round head. While most cats are fluffy and cuddly, a fat cat does not necessarily mean it is healthy. In fact, weight watching your cat is as important as keeping our own weight in check. Domestic indoor cats are not exposed to the same daily adventures in the outdoors like dogs who go out on lengthy walks. Older cats tend to adopt a sedentary life where they will sleep for most of the day and general calorie expenditure begins to drop, obesity can become a problem very quickly. Let’s take a look at the dangers of obesity in cats and how we can help our feline partners lose weight safely for a happy and healthy lifestyle!
Dangers of Cat Obesity
We appreciate a podgy cat when we see one, their beautiful eyes and rounded face create huggable exterior that many find adorable. Yet the body of a chunky cat is a cause for concern when it is apparent that a cat has excessive amounts of fat in its body composition. If a cat carries excess fat during its lifespan it puts them at a number of health hazards including heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. Fat may even envelope vital organs, causing obstruction internally which can eventually lead to organ failure.
Weight considerations are very important for your cat’s long term health, even during its younger years. Cats should feature a lean body structure that scales to their natural body composition. If a cat carries extra weight, joints and bone problems can occur as additional stress is exerted on the supporting frame of your lovely cat. Skeletal and joint problems such as arthritis can arise. High fats in cats can shave five years or more off of your cat’s life expectancy and its best to act before they get to a state of obesity.
Finding Out if Your Cat is Obese
Cats come in different shapes and sizes, sometimes identifying obesity in your cat can be a little hard to determine from a glance. Weighing your cat is the best way to get an accurate idea of how heavy your cat is. A home scale should suffice but a visit from your local vet for a physical examination will also help to set the record straight. An average sterilized male cat will grow to around 5kg in weight, females will be a kilogram or so less. This is only an average estimate and different cat breeds will have their own diet and natural weight requirements.
How Do Fat Cats Lose Weight?
Cats are not accustomed to gym sessions of hitting the treadmill but just like us humans, diet combined with sufficient exercise will pave the way to healthy weight loss. Reducing calorie intake of your cat will help to create a deficit that will help to shed fat over time as it loses weight. Exercise is the other side of calorie expenditure as muscles, organs and the entire body need to work in order to improve overall performance and health of your cat. While reducing food intake is an ideal way to kick off weight loss regimes, it’s important to consider that a cat needs sufficient nutrition and energy to go about its daily life and intended exercise. Don’t let your cat go hungry and try to split smaller meals throughout the day.
Achieving an ideal diet is no easy task but a lean and healthy source of proteins and vitamins will help get things on track. We like to use a gradual approach to diet changes, switching foods and portion sizes suddenly can lead to detrimental effects on your cat. If you’re thinking about switching food sources, do this in increments so that their stomach and body may acclimate to the new foods. The portion sizes should gradually change and eventually splitting up meals throughout the day will help to encourage better digestion and eating habits in your cat. It can be tough to keep track of exactly how much your cat is eating throughout the day, picking up a Smart Pet Bowl ensures that the correct amounts of food are being served and consumed without serving too little or too much.
Low-calorie cat foods or vet prescribed diets are a great way to ensure the right food choices are being made for your cat. Avoid food sources that are high in fats, reading and understanding what is inside your cat’s meals is very important. For some, switching to homemade solutions have been difficult to master but rewarding long term. Feeding your cat smaller meals for up to 4-6 times a day is an ideal number to target, a little but often goes a long way in supporting metabolism and energy expenditure throughout the day. Fat cat be stubborn but with a consistent effort, your cat will start to enjoy a healthy and active lifestyle.
Working Out With Your Cat
Stimulating your cat’s physical activity level is a key component to weight loss. We can’t expect our precious kitties to start running marathons or bench pressing. A gradual increase in activity will ensure that their bodies slowly strengthen and adjust to elevated levels of physical exertion. Going too fast from the very beginning can overload muscles, joints and the feline cardiovascular system. If your cat has been trained or is willing to go out on walks, you can slowly introduce a daily walk with a gradual increase in walk time as the days go by. For most obese house cats, going outside is not an option and indoor solutions are needed to stimulate activity. Picking up some cat toys for personal interaction will help you monitor the level of exercise they receive every day. We like to play with our cats using feathers toys and laser pens for short bursts of pursuit action that will get them moving. Cats also love to engage with teasing cat wands and cat climbing trees. You can be creative in discovering things that will keep them motivated and occupied to move and burn calories. Try to avoid rewarding them with too many snacks during or after exercise as this may negatively impact weight loss goals.
A New and Healthy Cat Lifestyle
Weight loss and fat burning is a marathon than needs to be observed consistently. Cats are susceptible to weight gain rebounds just like us humans. A consistent and steady approach is an introduction to a new and improved lifestyle. Persistence is key, be sure to monitor your cat’s weight changes on a regular basis and continue to do so once their target body composition has been met. Once they are have reached a healthy weight, avoid reverting back to old habits. Stick to healthy sources of foods and maintain regular levels of exercise. Your vet will be able to advise you about a new diet plan to support maintenance of your cat depending on their individual needs.
Keeping our cats healthy is a priority for any cat owner and it’s important that we take responsibility when discovering a cat has become overweight. Using these simple yet effective tips will help to strengthen your bond with a cat while leading them to healthier and happier lifestyle. It might take some time and continuous effort but patience will eventually yield wonderful results for both you and your purrfect cat. Remember, exercising and eating smart is the gateway to a healthy and active lifestyle for your cat. Meow!