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Helping Your Cat Shed Those Extra Pounds: A Guide to Feline Weight Management

Updated: 3 days ago

Is your cat starting to look more like a fluffy pillow than a sleek predator? While chonky cats can look cute, it’s important to remember that obesity in cats can lead to serious health issues, including diabetes and arthritis, and also significantly impact on your cat's quality of life. Here are some simple tips to help your feline friend lose weight and get back to their agile self.


1. Make an appointment:


Before starting any singificant weight loss program, it’s important that you make an appointment to assess your cat’s overall health, determine an ideal weight, and suggest a tailored plan. We’ll also rule out any underlying health issues that might be contributing to weight gain.



A vet cuddling a chubby cat
Make an appointment to discuss your cat's weight issues with one of our vets.

2. Measure Meals


One of the biggest causes of feline obesity is free feeding, where dry food is left out all day for cats to graze on. Instead, switch to measured meals. Use a kitchen scale or measuring cup to ensure you’re not overfeeding. Our vets can help determine the right amount of food based on your cat’s weight, age, and activity level.



3. Choose the Right Food


Opt for a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet to help your cat feel full and maintain muscle mass while losing weight. There are many weight management cat foods available that are specifically formulated to be more satisfying.. Wet food can also be a good choice, as it typically contains fewer calories per gram. The addition of steamed or lightly boiled zucchini cubes are a good way of reducing the caloric density of your cat's food. A great guide to feeding zucchini to your overweight cat can be found at this link.



A cat eating a bowl of dry food
All-day access to dry food is one of the biggest contributors to feline obesity!

4. Increase Activity


Just like humans, cats need exercise to lose weight. Encourage playtime with toys that stimulate their hunting instincts, such as fake mice, feather wands, and other interactive toys. Aim for at least 15-30 minutes of active play per day. You can also make your home more interesting by setting up climbing trees and perches.



5. Use Food Puzzles or Set Up a Food "Treasure Hunt"


Food puzzles or treat-dispensing toys can turn mealtime into an engaging activity. Likewise, placing small freeze dried food treats around your house can also encourage foraging activity.


The feeder toys make your cat work for their food, which can help slow down eating and provide mental and physical stimulation. There are various types of food puzzles available, from simple ones to more complex challenges. For a guide to puzzle feeding check out our blog post.


A devon rex cat using a feeder toy
Using puzzles to feed your cat has many health benefits

6. Stay Consistent


Consistency is key when it comes to weight loss. Stick to the feeding schedule, maintain regular playtimes, and avoid giving extra treats or table scraps. If you have multiple pets, feed them separately to ensure your overweight cat doesn’t eat more than their share.



7. Monitor Progress


Regularly weigh your cat to track their progress. You can do this at home using a flat baby scale, or by making a booking with one of our nurses. The flat scales are readily available to purchase online and are relatively inexpensive.


Aim for a gradual weight loss of about 2-5% of their body weight per week. Losing weight too quickly can be dangerous for cats, potentially leading to a liver disease called hepatic lipidosis.



A flat baby scale
A set of flat "baby" scales is much more accurate than regular bathroom scales.

Achieving weight loss for cats can be a gradual process that requires patience. Recognising small milestones and staying positive are crucial. Remember that your efforts are benefiting your cat's health, happiness, and longevity. Your dedication and persistence will be rewarded with a better quality of life for your cat!


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