If your furry feline is starting to struggle with their weight, then it is probably time to look at their diet. Something as simple as changing to a lower calorie food can help them reach and maintain a healthier weigh and take pressure off their joints to reduce the risk of long term health complications. However, with so many different foods for weight loss available it can be hard to know which to choose. Our panel of pet lovers and cat experts have put together a list of the best cat foods for weight loss to help you make the right choice for your cat.
Best Cat Food For Weight Loss Buying Guide & FAQ
Helping your cat reach and maintain their ideal weight is crucial if they are to have long, healthy, and happy lives. In this part of the buying guide we look at some of the risk factors for overweight cats, how you can judge whether you cat is overweight, and what else you can do to help your cat reduce their weight.
Health Risks for Overweight Cats
Just like humans and other animals being overweight puts additional stress on your cat’s system. As well as their joints, their cardiovascular system must work harder, increasing the potential that they will develop a life shortening condition. The main health risks for overweight cats are:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Respiratory problems
- Non-allergic skin conditions
The more over weight your cat is, the greater the risk of them developing one of these conditions.
Is Your Cat Overweight or Obese?
Experts suggest that the average shorthair domestic cat should weigh between 8 and 10 lbs. However, most owners will probably admit that they have no idea how much their cat weighs and don’t relish the idea of trying to get them on the scales. Luckily, there are other ways to judge whether your furry feline is overweight.
- Activity levels
If your cat has become more sedentary over time, then their weight may be becoming a problem. Of course, there are a host of other reasons why this may occur, so you should get this checked with your local veterinarian.
- Change in sound
That may sound strange, but if you can hear your cat landing with a thud when they jump off things such as the bed or a chair, then its an indication that they weigh more than they should.
- Give them a squeeze
Gently give your cat a squeeze at the sides of their ribcage. If you can easily feel their ribs, they are unlikely to be overweight. If you have to press to feel the ribs, then this is a definite sign that they are overweight.
- Visual inspection
Generally speaking, your cat should become slenderer from their stomach to their hindquarters. If this is not the case, then they may need to cut back on the treats a little. Another telltale sign that you can see through visual inspection is a swinging pouch between you cat’s hind legs. If this is present it is another clear sign that your cat is overweight.
The more obvious these signs are, the more likely that your cat has passed overweight and is heading towards obese. Just as with dogs and humans, this can be very detrimental to their overall health and wellbeing.
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What are the Contributing Factors for Obesity?
House cats are more likely to become obese than outdoor cats. This is simply because, as a rule, they use less energy and therefore burn less calories on a daily basis. However, this is not the only factor that can contribute to obesity in cats. Other factors include:
Some breeds are more predisposed to obesity than others. It is important to find out as much as you can about a breed before you buy or adopt.
Some diseases or illnesses make it easier for cats to gain weight. The same is true of some medications used to treat illnesses and conditions.
- Feeding methods
How and what you feed your cat is of course the biggest contributing factor to their weight and any weight gain.
The type, among, and frequency of treats also play a vital role in your cat’s weight management.
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Tips for Helping Your Cat Lose Weight
On average a 10lb indoor cat requires around 200 calories a day. Of course, if they are pregnant, nursing, or recovering from injury this will differ. If you think your cat might be overweight the first thing you should do is see your cat’s veterinarian. Any weight loss plan should be agreed with them beforehand. Especially if your cat is obese or very overweight. Other things you can do to help them maintain a healthy weight are:
- Check their ideal calorie intake and measure out food accordingly. Dividing their daily allowance over 4 to 6 meals ensures they are getting the energy they need throughout the day.
- Ensure they have access to plenty of fresh water at all time.
- Don’t leave food out all day, this just encourage grazing behaviors and means you’ll find it harder to monitor their food intake. You may want to try out an automatic cat feeder.
- Avoid giving treats, or at least limit them, and ensure that they are suitable treats. Avoid human food as it is very fattening and can cause stomach problems, such as diarrhea.
- Set aside time to play with your cat and keep them active.
By following these tips and providing your cat with a sensible diet that is suitable for their age and breed, your cat will be back at their ideal weight before you know it. What’s more you will find it easier to maintain their weight and they will find a new lease of life and energy.
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- Over weight Cats: Diets and Associated Health Risks, WebMD
- Factors of Dog and Cat Obesity, Banfield Pet Hospital
- Fat Cats at Risk of Illness or Early Death, Cats Protection