Getting Your Cat To Exercise
Weigh Your Cat Regularly
Your pets weight can be a good indicator of health when it is tracked. Regularly tracking a pets weight, rather than just at yearly check-ups, helps pet owners notice the slight changes in weight which might be hard to see. This is especially important for cats because of their small size, making gradual weight loss or gain more difficult to recognize. Consider a typical 10-pound cat: Weight loss of only 6% less than 10 ounces could be an indicator of a medical problem if it takes place during a short period of time.
Ideally, it would be best to weigh your cat weekly, or at a minimum, monthly.
It is easy to not notice a few pounds of weight gain but after a while, those few pounds start adding up. Its easier to be proactive about weight gain if you know your pets ideal weight for their age, breed, and size, and can frequently check what they weigh.
Make Food More Appetizing
Elderly cats can lose weight fast because their senses decline during their golden years. A loss of smell can cause your cat to lose its appetite. You can restore it by:
- Adding aromatic ingredients
- Heating the food to enhance the aroma
Ensure that none of the flavorings and additives are bad for cats, such as spices.
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What Causes Weight Gain In Cats
Cats will usually gain weight from eating too much and moving too little. But there are other contributing factors:
Age: the older your cat gets, the less energetic and active your cat will become. Because of this more sedentary life, theyre more likely to gain weight. Average cat weight tends to increase as they get older.
Breed: Mixed breed cats are more prone to weight gain than their pure breed counterparts. Also, some breeds are more energetic than others and therefore are less prone to weight gain.
Gender: Female cats are more likely to become overweight.
Neutering/Spaying: Neutered or spayed cats are twice as likely to become obese because they tend to be less active. Dont let this deter you. You should still spay and neuter your cats, but make sure to watch their weight.
Overfeeding: Cats with an unending supply of food will absolutely eat more than they need to. Free feeding is a huge contributor to overweight cats, especially among indoor cats who tend to eat out of boredom.
Overeating: Commercial cat foods are often highly palatable, with high salt and fat content. This means they taste great but can lead your cat to overeat. Sharing your human food with your cat in addition to their cat food will also lead to weight gain.
Lack of exercise: Cats sleep a lot, so its important to provide plenty of stimulation for them when they are awake. Regular, scheduled playtime is essential to maintaining a healthy weight.
How Exercise & Fitness Can Help
Cats are typically sedentary creatures, but during the hours your kitty is awake, get them moving! Nutritious food is just one part of weight loss. Think of yourself as your cat’s personal trainer. Toss around a small toy that they can chase, or build a DIY cat scratching post. Even a wadded-up piece of paper will entertain your little hunter. Mix up activities to keep them interested.
Want to combine exercise with your cat’s feeding time? Consider getting a puzzle feeding box. These special dishes require your cat to work to get their food out, helping them burn those extra calories.
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How Can I Get My Cat To Lose Weight
Obesity is becoming as much a problem in pets as it is in humans, with an estimated huge 39-52% of cats in the U.K. being classed as overweight. When we think of poor nutrition, our minds often leap to thin, scraggly malnourished cats, but actually the commonest form of poor nutrition is a massive over provision of calories, leading to obesity. Obesity is known to actively shorten lifespan and can contribute to many diseases such as diabetes and liver problems. Getting your cats weight under control is one of the most beneficial things we can do for their overall health.
How Long Will My Cat Need To Be On A Diet
Most cats will achieve their ideal weight within six to eight months. If the process is taking longer than this, something needs to be changed. A healthy weight loss would be close to one pound per month. Some cats may need to go slower while others may shed the pounds more quickly.
“Most cats will achieve their ideal weight within six to eight months.”
For most cats, the secret to weight loss is a dedicated, committed, and concerned family. Cats do not understand that their excess weight is causing them harm. It is up to us as good stewards to protect them from harm and not inadvertently contribute to their premature death or development of debilitating diseases. Together, you and your veterinary healthcare team can help your cat achieve a healthy body weight and condition safely and successfully.
|Contributors: Krista Williams, BSc, DVM Ernest Ward, DVM|
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I Have More Than One Cat But Only One Is Overweight How Can I Feed Them Different Foods
While you may come up with more creative solutions to this problem, here are a few suggestions to start:
- Feed the cats separately – this is the ideal solution for multi-cat households. Feed the overweight cat her diet in one room while feeding the other cat her food elsewhere. After allowing them to eat for a specific time, generally fifteen to thirty minutes, remove any uneaten food until the next feeding.
- Feed the normal weight cat up high where the overweight cat cannot go.
- Depending on the size discrepancy between your cats, you can devise different ways to allow the smaller cat access to food where the larger cat cannot fit. You can use a safety chain or hook and eye closure on a door, so the door opens just enough for the thin cat to get in. Alternatively, you can use a large box and cut two small doors in it to allow the smaller cat in to eat.
- There are now commercial feeding stations that only open when it recognizes your cats microchip!
- Never leave food out while you are away. You cannot control who eats what when you are not around.
Try Using An Automatic Feeder That Opens Based On A Timer
Another tool that pet owners can use to fight cat obesity is an automatic feeder. An automatic feeder releases food at a preset time each day, carefully measuring and controlling the amount of calories your cat receives, even if you arent home. Use a timer-based feeder, not one that opens based on your cats actions, to prevent overeating.
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How Many Calories Should You Feed Your Cat To Help Them Lose Weight
To figure out how many calories to feed your cat to help him lose weight, you first have to determine how much your cat is currently eating. Count all food, treats, and table scraps. Then reduce the amount by 20 percent, says Simpson.
For some pet parents, it’s hard to establish a cat’s daily caloric intake. That may be because multiple family members feed the cat, you frequently switch food brands, or you leave unmeasured food out all day. If that’s your situation, don’t worry. Simpson recommends using this formula to calculate the number of calories your furry pal should eat for weight loss:
Ideal weight in kilograms x 30 70. Take this answer and multiple by 0.8 to get the number of calories to feed your cat each day.
And remember: Healthy weight loss takes time, so be patient. “Aim for a weekly weight loss of a half to two percent of your cat’s body weight,” advises Simpson. “Because if overweight cats lose weight too fast it can cause fatty liver disease, which is a serious health issue.”
Automatic Feeders And Treat Balls
Feeding your cat by using automatic feeders can help get your cat get accustomed to scheduled meals, which can help with weight loss and long-term weight management.
Using treat balls or food puzzle toys to dispense your cats meal can help slow down your cats eating while also providing stimulation and exercise.
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Dont Overfeed Your Cat
If a cat takes in more calories than they burn in a day, just like with a human, they will gain weight. Some cats love food too much and cant handle free-feeding.
This can be especially true of a cat who used to live outside and is now an indoor cat. Those cats are used to getting more exercise and theyre also used to having to eat every bite of food they can find, in case food is tough to find later. Cats who used to be strays may have a tough time not overeating.
For most cats, depending on their size, a healthy weight is about seven to ten pounds. According to PetMD, a seven-pound-cat should eat about .6 to 1 ounce of food per meal. Coincidentally, this is about the same weight as a mouse!
All Feline Hospital adds that for maintenance, you should feed an indoor cat about 20 calories per pound each day. This means a ten-pound cat should get about 200 calories a day. To help with weight loss, reduce the number by no more than 20 calories a day.
If youre not sure if your cat is overweight or how much food they should get in a day, talk with your vet.
How Much Should I Feed My Cat To Promote Weight Loss
In order to answer this question, your veterinarian will examine your cat to determine its ideal body weight, based on its body size and build. Formulas and charts have been developed to assist your veterinarian in determining this weight, as well as the number of calories required to achieve it safely.
In general, the average domestic cat should weigh approximately 8-10 pounds . Based on your cat’s degree of obesity, your veterinarian may recommend an initial target weight that is higher than the ideal weight. For example, if your cat is 18 pounds , you can calculate its ideal weight to be 10 to 12 pounds , but a more realistic initial goal may be 15 pounds . After the cat loses this weight, a re-evaluation will be made to determine whether further weight loss is needed.
Here are some general guidelines for daily calorie needs based on your cats weight:
Note: This is a general guideline only and is not meant as a substitute from your veterinarian’s specific recommendations. If your cat fails to lose weight on this amount of calories, the total will need to be reduced further.
“The amount of food that is necessary to provide this number of calories will depend on the calorie content of the food.”
For many cats, the best way to lose weight is with a canned diet food fed several times per day, rather than leaving food down all of the time. One of the reasons canned diet foods work better is because finicky felines often prefer wet food to dry.
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How To Tell If Your Cat Is Overweight
There are plenty of ways to tell if your cat is tipping the scales . Here are a few things to monitor to ensure your cat maintains a health weight:
You can see a âpoochâ emerging at the level of her lower belly when theyâre laying down or, more often, when theyâre standing up and walking around. No longer do they have the straight across or even slightly tucked-in belly of a young kitten. The lower abdomen hangs down lower than the chest and even waddles as they walk.
Viewed from above, overweight cats lose their waistline. Instead of a straight line from chest to hips, their belly expands out in a pear shape.
It’s harder to feel their ribs. You should be able to feel them with slight pressure just below the skin every time you run your hand across their chest.
They weigh more now than they did at their first âadult catâ visit. If they weigh more than that, theyâre too heavy. The first weight as a yearling serves as a baseline for determining a healthy cat weight throughout their life.
Safe Ways To Help Your Cat Lose Weight
Have you ever had a chubby cat who needed to lose a few pounds?
Being overweight can be detrimental to a cats health. However, just like crash dieting is a bad idea for people, its a really bad idea for cats. In fact, trying to get your cat to lose weighttoo fast could actually kill them!
If you suspect your cat is overweight, you must consult your vet and rely on their advice to help your cat shed the pounds in the right way. Here are a few tips on how to help your cat safely lose weight that you should discuss with your vet.
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What Is The Best Way To Lose Weight
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Older Cat Eats But Losing Weight
If you have a senior cat thats eating but losing weight, consider gradually changing its diet over the next 1-2 weeks. The food could be missing essential nutrients to keep it at a healthy weight.
According to Companion Animal Medicine, older cats derive more calories from protein-rich foods than younger cats. However, these foods must contain less phosphorus and sodium when a cat has kidney problems.
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Consult With Your Vet
Every pet is unique, and developing a plan to help your cat lose weight is best done in partnership with your veterinarian. A professional can give you a weight loss goal for your cat, provide strategies and recommendations on how to start shedding those pounds and monitor your pet’s health during the process.
To find the best cat foods for weight loss, check out Purina.ca’s selection of Pro Plan dry and wet cat foods specifically designed to help your cat stay at a healthy weight.
Best Way To Get A Senior Cat To Gain Weight
The best way to get a senior cat to gain weight is to provide it with food and water at all times. Cats love to eat small meals throughout the day rather than once or twice at scheduled times.
Your senior cats napping routine and playtimes may leave it without an appetite at those hours. By letting it free-feed , it wont go hungry.
Heres how to get your senior cat to eat more frequently:
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