Category Archives: Is Fluffy Fat?

Fighting the Feline Bulge: How Overweight Cats Can Lose the Pounds

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.

overweight cat

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.

overweight kitty

Max

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.

 

Flabby Felines

The primary factor contributing to fat cats is diet; to be more specific, dry cat food.  Certainly, one can blame lack of exercise as a likely cause but the fact is, that slow-down in activity and exercise comes on gradually as the animal gains weight.

Dry cat food typically contains way too much grain and not enough meat.  Pet food manufacturers love to use corn as a cheap substitute for protein, and our cats pay the price.  Cats are carnivores and don’t need plant-based proteins.

Of course, there are grain-free cat foods on the market, and you can also find dry food containing only healthy grains and a healthy meat source.  But those products are expensive and you’ll likely need to visit high-end pet stores to find them.  Grains are difficult for felines to digest and are also high in carbohydrates, thereby contributing to weight gain.

Another problem with pet food heavy on plant-based proteins is that cats who live on those diets often end up with allergies or even diabetes.  To make matters worse, Fluffy will eat more of these protein deficient foods, trying to get her needed nutrients, and then she gains weight.

Dry cat food is deficient in moisture.  This becomes a problem, because cats seldom drink enough water to compensate.  With a diet low in water, kitty is prone to urinary tract infections and kidney issues.

The obvious question is how should one choose the perfect diet for Fluffy.  If money is no object, feed your cat only a diet of high-quality canned (or wet) food, supplemented with the best quality dry food you can find.  But since most of us don’t have that luxury of unlimited funds, we need to find a happy medium.

At our house, Lucy and Chico used to eat only dry cat food, because I didn’t know any better.  As I gained more knowledge, we began the process of adding wet food to their meals. To say that effort was met with disdain is an understatement.  Chico resisted our efforts for a long time, so we had to be very careful and persistent.

First, we found a really healthy, dry food that our persnickety felines would tolerate.  I began with giving a few pieces of this new food as snacks.  Then we began to gradually add a teaspoon of the new food mixed in with the old dry food at each meal.  The process took several weeks to complete the change-over to the new product, as we gradually increased the amount of the new food every few days.

Once the cats were completely on the new dry food, we began adding ½ teaspoon of a canned food on top.  It took numerous brands and flavors to find one they would even consider.  Lucy was the first to eat it, and we gradually added a bit more to her dish every 3-4 days, at the same time, decreasing the amount of dry food.

Chico is a piggy and has always enjoyed stealing Lucy’s food, so he began ingesting a bit of her mixed-in wet food in that manner.  Whatever gets the job done works for us.  We just made sure Lucy received a bit more when Chico was finished.

We now add about 2 tablespoons of canned food on top of the correct amount of dry food for their weight, and we no longer leave a bowl of dry food out for the cats to graze on through the day.

Be very careful to read the label on the dry cat food you purchase.  Remember the following when you shop:

  1.  At least 1 quality named meat should be in the first 4 ingredients (preferably 2)
  2. NO grains in the first 4 ingredients.
  3. NO corn in any form in the food.
  4. NO animal fat, no animal digest and no artificial colors, flavorings or preservatives in the food at all.
  5. Be sure the chosen product contains taurine.

*Check the ABOUT page on this website for exactly what Fluffy needs in her diet.

When you choose canned food for your cat, follow the same list above, and your kitty will be assured of receiving the diet she needs to stay slim and trim and healthy.  Your goal is to feed your pet a diet with a lot more wet food and a small amount of a high-quality dry cat food.

Obesity: A Death Sentence for Cats

If a cat is overweight, her entire body will suffer.  The stress that the extra pounds place on the animal’s joints is bad enough, because arthritis is often the result.  However, the toll the excess weight takes on Fluffy’s heart and kidneys can be fatal.

Diabetes is common in cats and obesity contributes to the propensity for the disease.  Diabetic cats often contract other serious health conditions, including failing kidneys.

Fat cats waddle slowly around from bed to litterbox to food dishes.  They have very little energy for any other activities. Breathing can be labored because the extra pounds affect the lungs.

If your cat is overweight, the first order of business is a visit to the veterinarian..  He or she must be included in the process, because dieting cats can get into serious trouble in a hurry.  A cat whos food is suddenly changed may well refuse to eat at all.  Felines are fussy creatures and often react emotionally to disruptions in their routines.  You need professional advice before attempting major changes in your kitty’s diet.

If your cat is already eating a healthy diet then canned, or wet, food is already a part of her meals.  Dry food usually contains more calories than wet food, so you should be able to safely increase her wet food and decrease the dry cat food a bit at each meal, gradually switching her to an all-canned food diet.

But if Fluffy only eats a diet of dry food now, it won’t be so easy.  Cats usually object to canned food of any sort, if they aren’t used to it.  Only your vet can help you deal with this.  There are diet, or low-calorie, dry cat foods on the market if your medical professional recommends that.  Overweight pets already diagnosed with diabetes should eat only what and how much her doctor recommends.