Cats can easily put on a few pounds, but with all the fur, it can be difficult to recognise. As cats get older, they get less active and they tend to stay indoors more where it’s warm and cozy. Obesity is the most common health problem in adult cats, affecting 1 in 3 in the UK. So what can you do about it?
Is my cat overweight?
It’s important to frequently monitor your cat’s weight and body condition, so make sure you get your feline friend checked out at by your vet. In between visits, have a feel of your cat’s tummy – if they’re an ideal weight you should be able to feel their ribs quite easily. When they walk, if there’s swaying folds around their waist, then you have a tubby cat! Purina has a useful Body Condition Chart on their website to help you check your cat’s actual size against their ideal size and keep using it as a reference tool.
Tips to help your cat lose weight
Fat cats may look cuddly, but they’re at greater risk of serious illnesses such as diabetes, arthritis, and liver disease. And because strapping a sweatband on your feline and putting her on the treadmill isn’t really an option – how do you help your cat get exercise? Help your cute kitty go from flabby to fit with our simple tips:
1. Get your cat moving – outdoors!
We understand that many cats prefer the comfort of being indoors, but if your cat is an ‘indoor cat’, have a think about allowing access to the garden by fencing a certain area or building a play pen outside.
Encourage your cat to have a dedicated daily ‘play time’. Invest in some cat toys, such as scratch posts and towers around the garden to encourage them to go outdoors
Tempt them with some food in a special treat ball and let them play in the garden – the cat will need to make an effort to get access to the food, and use up some energy in the process!
Build areas in your garden for your cat to jump on – be it special posts or shelves on the fences, to hiding holes, and ladders – get creative!
With a little training, a lot of patience, and the right equipment, you can entice your cat to walk with a leash and a harness outside just like dogs do. Make sure the harness fits properly and can’t be wriggled out of. Young cats are easier to train, but in all cases it takes patience and perseverance, but it’s a great way to burn some kitty calories.
2. Trim the treats
Whilst it’s tempting to reward your furry friend with treats and snacks, try to cut these out for a while – two weeks is enough to reduce their calorie intake.
3. Portion control and special ‘light’ formulas
You can take control of what your cat is eating by splitting their food up into smaller quantities as regular intervals. You can also work with your vet to place your cat on a special low-calorie diet by using special ‘light’ formulas, such as Purina’s Veterinary Diet Feline OM wet and dry cat food. These formulas are less concentrated with lower calorie content, and this way, you don’t need to control portions as the food is enriched with all the nutrients your cat needs.
And finally, be patient with your cat. To be healthy, your cat’s weight loss needs to be a gradual and may take several months.
If you’ve managed to turn Puss from tubby to trim, do let us know how you did it. Comment below with your best advice for owners of other cuddly cats…