Did you know that an estimated 53% of cats in the United States are considered overweight or obese? And while many pet owners will crack jokes about an overweight feline or think it’s “cute,” the fact remains that obesity is cats can be deadly. If your cat is overweight, it is your responsibility as its owner to take measures to help your furry friend lose weight. By doing so, you can help him or her lead a happier, healthier, and longer life.
Is Your Cat Overweight?
A lot of people struggle to determine whether or not their cat is overweight to begin with. The best way to find out if your cat is overweight and, if so, how overweight he or she is, is to simply bring your kitty to the vet. A vet or veterinary assistant will be able to weigh your cat as part of a routine examination and make recommendations regarding his or her weight.
Focus on Slow Weight Loss
If your cat is overweight, understand that “crash diets” and other methods to shed pounds rapidly are never recommended for cats. Felines need to lose weight slowly or they run the risk of organ failure, so expect it to be a gradual process.
If you’re free-feeding your cat, now is the time to stop. Free-feeding allows your cat to eat as much as he or she wants, which is likely more than what’s needed. Instead, ask your vet for a recommendation and then feed your cat small portions throughout the day. For example, if your cat should eat one cup of food per day, consider feeding him or her a third of a cup, three times a day. Also, cut back on using treats as rewards; give your kitty some affection instead.
In order to lose weight, your cat needs to burn more calories than he or she consumes; it’s the same principle as it is in humans. There are plenty of ways to increase your cat’s activity, such as toys and catnip. Experiment with different types of cat toys to see what gets the best reaction. Laser pointers are a big hit for many.
Obesity in cats is a very real problem in the United States. If you’re looking for expert advice on helping your cat lose weight, schedule an appointment with Banning Veterinary Hospital today.