Did you know that more than 57% of cats are overweight? Nearly 27% are clinically obese, according to a survey by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, and these numbers are rising. Because overweight cats lead to diabetic cats, it is crucial to help our feline friends lose those extra pounds. The only way to accomplish that is through a combination of diet and exercise supervised by a veterinary professional.
Cats don’t particularly enjoy exercise alone, so disguise it with playtime activities. With interactive toys, most kitties respond to their humans. My cats love wand toys with small, dangly objects hanging from them, and they love to chase the laser light pen. Those types of activities burn a lot of calories because, if most cats are like mine, they will chase that pen light for a long time. The puzzles that hold cat treats will keep some cats focused on retrieval, thus exercising the animal’s brain.
Changing a feline’s diet won’t be easy and should always include advice from your veterinarian. Kidney damage can occur if the pounds come off too quickly. Several brands of food are designed for weight reduction and your vet should be the expert.
One example is Hill’s Pet Nutrition Ideal Balance products which are designed for weight loss within a 10-week period. Spring Naturals produces Dry Dinners for Cats, which are suitable for diabetic kitties and overweight animals. Wellpet offers Holistic Select Natural Pet Foods which focus on diet/weight management. These are dry cat foods with 30% less fat and higher fiber than regular cat foods. But again, your pet should be examined by your veterinarian before switching his food. Look for food dishes specially designed to make cats work for their meals. Be careful with the in-between-meal treats. It is very tempting to give in when Fluffy sits in the kitchen meowing for food. Be strong and remember that you are trying to improve Fluffy’s health. For some low calorie treats, a small piece of cooked chicken always pleases. One of my cat’s likes a small piece of cheese, but the other one does not. A very small bite of tuna fish won’t hurt as long as you haven’t already mixed it with a dressing. One bite of a treat is sufficient and will usually distract Fluffy so you can get her mind on something besides food.
Whatever method you choose, your cat will benefit from losing the extra pounds and maintaining a healthier lifestyle.