Flabby Felines

by Carol North on October 2, 2012

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.

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