• Dr Grant Hampson

How To Help Your Cat Lose Weight



If you have reached this article, there is a good chance that you have decided perhaps your cat has a little bit more cushioning than you would like and are looking for a way to help them shed that extra fur. If you're not sure, then check out our Body Condition Score to help you tell!


Helping your cat lose weight gives them the chance of being much happier and healthier in the long term and reduces the chances of them developing disease associated with obesity.


So let's get started!


There are two ways, and only two ways that your cat can lose weight. The first way is by increasing the amount of energy spent on a daily basis, achieved through exercise. The second way is by reducing the number of calories that are eaten.


A good weight loss strategy will involve both a reduction in calories and an increase in exercise.


If you are going to put your cat on a diet, be sure to discuss this with your vet practice as they will be able to offer some fantastic advice. Some vets even run specific weight loss clinics to help you every step of the way.


Start a diet and stick to it!


The best way to start a diet is by feeding fewer calories than what is needed to maintain their current weight, so instead we feed for a target weight lower than this. For example, if you have an overweight cat that is 7kg, you feed 6kg worth of food.


It is really important not to do this too quickly, “crash diets” can be overwhelming for your cat's body and can even do more harm than good, so if you are unsure, chat to your vet.


Here at KatKin we do all of this for you! When you become a member of our club, we ask you to enter all of your cat's details including their weight, body condition and activity level. We take all of this information and calculate your cat's ideal weight, and using that we figure out the ideal calories required for your cat.


Slow Bowls


If you find that your cat is wolfing their food down and then crying for more food then you can use things like slow bowls. These bowls are designed to force your cat to eat much slower and allows time for them to get full.


Bye bye treats ... well just about.


In an idea world treats would end full stop. But we are realistic and know that the odd treat may or may not fall right in front of them and you are just “too slow” to get it before they eat it. Luckily you can use our Nibbles as a natural snack to accompany meals - they're freeze dried to lock in all the nutritional goodness and available alongside our Fresh frozen meal pouches.


Don’t let this happen too much, as this will create an uphill battle for both of you. However, when it does happen compensate by taking some food away from their daily meals, meaning you balance out the calories.


Exercise


Exercise can be fun for both you and your cat, and it will really help burn those calories. Exercise not only helps weight lose but also maintains lean body mass long term.


There are a couple of different ways to encourage your cat to get their body moving, the first is through play time. Cats have instinctual hunting behaviour, resulting in them preferring short bursts rather than long periods of play. Also, don't just play in one spot, get them to run around and burn those calories.


Toys, Toys and a few more toys


Dangler pole toys:


These are fantastic toys to get your cat playing chase! Don’t just get them to chase, allow them to catch the feather or ball on the end, otherwise they may be left unsatisfied and get bored.


Balls:


Some cats will play with balls if you just leave them around the house. We would encourage you to throw a ball for a cat as much as you would a dog, they will love chasing the ball around the house.


Catnip Toys:


Nothing will get your cat playing with a toy more than those filled with catnip. Catnip is an excellent stimulant for cats to encourage play and sometimes relax them. The key is not letting them overindulge, cats are unlikely to overdose on catnip, but if they eat too much it can make them feel a bit sick.


Interactive Toys:


There are lots of interactive toys available for cats that get them playing in many different ways. These cleverly designed interactive toys encourage play and provide mental stimulation.


Another way to get them moving is to spread their food out around the house, this will get them to work a little bit harder to get all their food.


Nothing is working!


In some cases you can be doing everything right, but the weight just isn’t shifting as well as you would like it too, and it may take a little bit of investigation to find out why. Start with everyone in the house, remember this is a family challenge. Everyone needs to be on board for it to be successful. If you are cutting back on their daily intake, but someone else is giving them a lot of treats, the job is ten times harder. If you have spoken to everyone in the house and you are satisfied that the culprit is not there, move on to the neighbours.


It is not uncommon for a cat to have a second home where they are getting that second dinner. So if you are suspicious your cat is disappearing for a late night snack, have a chat with your neighbours and explain they are on a diet and too cut out this extra meal. Alternatively, you can also get a tag for their collar which explains they are on a diet.


Keep up the good work!


After putting in all the hard work and you finally reach the ideal weight it's so important to keep up the good work. Remember to keep treats to a minimum and keep the exercise up! Go for regular weight checks at your vets so you can notice any weight changes suddenly, it may be worth investing in some baby scales so you can way them at home.


If you have any more questions about weight loss in cats, get in touch with the KatKin team at meow@katkin.com.


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