How to Help Your Cat Lose Weight Safely
This post is written by our holistic veterinarian at "I and love and you", Dr. Angie Krause, DVM, CVA, CCRT
One of the most loving things you can do for your kitty is to keep them at a healthy weight. Cats that are overweight are more prone to liver disease, diabetes, arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. Cats that are kept at a healthy weight are healthier and live longer. In this article, I am going to outline the steps you can take to ensure your kitty stays trim and healthy.
- Get a baseline. Let’s assess your kitty’s current weight. You can take your kitty to your local veterinarian or get a baby scale to monitor your kitty’s weight at home. Monitoring your kitty’s weight over time can help you detect disease earlier and give you information to adjust the amount of food you are feeding.
While your kitty’s weight in pounds can be helpful, giving your cat a body condition score is the most accurate assessment. For example while most cat’s are around 10-12 lbs, it is possible for an 18 lb cat to be an ideal weight for their body type. You can use The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA)’s scoring system from 1-9. If your kitty is above a 5 (most cats are), employ the following steps 2 and 3 to see if you can decrease your cat’s weight and body condition score.
- Feed the right food. Cats are designed to eat mice. This is a low carbohydrate, high protein diet with a high moisture content. Feeding cats a canned diet also meet these requirements for moisture and protein. Unfortunately, kibble formulations contain high percentages of carbohydrates (even if grain free) and can contribute to obesity. Many cats will gain ideal body condition when kibble is removed completely from their diet. If you decide to remove kibble from your kitty’s diet, they will want to eat several small meals per today. I recommend feeding 3-4 meals with the help of automatic feeders.
- Increase exercise. Cats need exercise too! One easy way to help your kitty get some exercise is to build in a 3 minutes exercise routine into each meal time. I recommend using a stick and string toy like Da Bird and play with your kitty around the house. Stairs are an added bonus! After a few minutes when your kitty catches the toy, put their food down for meal time. This allows them to complete a prey cycle and can relieve stress.
Your kitty is so lucky to be loved and cared for by you! If you have any questions about your kitty’s weight or ideal diet, I would love to hear from you in the comments below!