Recent studies show that out of every ten cats, six cats are obese or overweight. Obese cats are at a higher risk of health problems, including lower urinary tract infections, diabetes, and arthritis. Obese cats struggle to groom themselves, and they often have a greasy or matted hair coat, probably at their rump. To allow your cat to lose weight can be difficult, but making little changes in their lifestyle can prove fruitful. Here are some tips to help your cat lose weight.

Talk to your Vet

Putting your cat on a diet without consulting a vet could have drastic effects. When you compel your obese cat to have a drastic shift in her diet, this can result in hepatic lipidosis, which is a life-threatening form of liver disease. So, to do this properly, consult a vet for a checkup. Your vet will do a physical exam, and some diagnostic tests to determine the level of obesity and underlying health problems your cat may be suffering from that could affect her weight loss.
Your vet will discuss different options for weight loss with you once he makes sure that your cat does not have any health problems. The most common health issue that can affect your cat's weight loss plan is diabetes. For a diabetic cat, your vet may prescribe a nutritional program to lose weight safely.

Determine a Target for your Cat

For making a diet plan for your cat, first, you have to determine a target weight for your cat to achieve. According to the physical exam done by your vet, your vet will help you build a diet plan according to your cat's size. The average weight of a domestic cat is about 3-4 kg or 8-10 pounds. Depending on your cat's build, your vet will prescribe a weight higher than the average value. If your cat weighs 17 or 18 pounds, your cat's ideal weight would be 10-12 points, but you should set your target to 15 pounds and reach there gradually. Once you have achieved your goal, set a new plan for slightly lower body weight. Your cat should lose weight in a pattern of one pound per month to protect her from developing liver disease.

Determine your Cat's Ideal Dietary Intake

To determine the number of calories your cat requires for a day, you have to count your cat's RER. RER is the resting energy requirement for a cat while she is not doing any physical work. If you know your cat's weight in kilograms, you can determine her RER by using the following formula:

RER= 30 × (body weight in kg) + 70

In this way, you have to feed your cat about 80% of her RER per day. If your cat's ideal weight is 12 pounds, you have to provide her 230 calories. If her ideal weight is 10 pounds, her perfect calorie intake should be 210. Your cat's diet must reach this calorie value. If you underfeed your cat, she may develop severe health issues.

Try High-Quality Canned Food

An effective way to lose weight for overweight cats is by feeding her dry canned food. Cats usually prefer wet food over dry food. Canned food is recommended because it offers detail on the total calories the food contains. One should read the calorie count mentioned on the can and give your cat food according to her daily calorie need. Canned wet food has its advantages. Cats usually nibble on food all day, if you feed her dry canned food.

But wet food prevents this from happening because aimless eating can also cause weight gain. For diabetic Cats, there are special canned foods that help in weight loss without affecting their diabetes.

Transition your Cat Gradually into her New Diet

To avoid disturbing your cat's system, we should take one to two weeks to transition the cat to her new diet. Some cats adapt reasonably well, but some take their time. Start by mixing her food in such a proportion that it contains 1/4 of fresh food and 3/4 of the old food for 2-3 days, then try to adjust it into a 50-50 ratio. If your cat settles fairly well, move it to 3/4 of new food and 1/4 of the old food for 3-5 days. If this goes on nicely, you can put her on an entirely new weight loss diet. Create a feeding schedule so that you fix the feeding time and feed your cat 2-3 times each day at the same time. This will help her get used to the new food, and your cat's body will adapt according to the change in diet. Try warming up the food or adding extra flavor like salmon, tuna juice, or ketchup to increase the taste.

Add Dietary Supplements to your Cat's Diet

When you put your cat on a weight loss diet, she can suffer from malnutrition. As with a decrease in food quantity, there is also a decrease in the number of food supplements delivered to your cat with food. To ensure that your cat stays active and healthy, you must provide her essential supplements like omega-3 fatty acids and multivitamins.

Give Low Calorie Treats to your Cat

Giving your cat high-calorie treats can also cause your cat to become overweight. You should treat her with low-calorie foods without carbs or sugar. Low-calorie treats include frozen or baked canned diet food, air-popped popcorn that is unbuttered and unsalted, cooked green beans, or broccoli pieces. You can slice the canned food and freeze it as a small snack or bake it till it gets crispy. You can also give her commercial treats as long as they are low in sugar and fat and don't contain extra calories.

Do Regular Exercise

You can help your feline partner in losing weight by playing with her once or twice a day. You should play with her for at least 30 minutes. You can play chase in which you will run with her favorite toy, and she will chase you and run after you. You can motivate her to play by rewarding her. You can also use different toys every time you play.

You can make your cat walk on a leash. Some cats like doing this, while other cats don't. The only way to find them is to let them walk around the block. Walking can be challenging mostly for indoor cats, but it is an excellent exercise for your cat.

One useful approach is to place climbing and scratch posts in your cat's space. There should be levels for the climbing posts so that your cat stretches to scratch the post. The posts must contain platforms for your cat to rest. You can also place her toys at different levels to motivate her.
You can make interactive toys for your cat with cardboard or toilet papers. Toys must be made in such a way that your cat has to move, stretch and toss to get the low-calorie treats hidden inside the box or a pyramid made of toilet paper. They can motivate your cat to play all-day, especially indoor cats who don't spend time running or playing outside.

In a nutshell

Obesity in cats can lead to several health problems and may prove life-threatening for your cat. According to a survey, about 58.9% of cats in the US are overweight. Just 2 lbs. of weight more than your cat's ideal weight can put her at risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney and liver disease, heart and respiratory problems, osteoarthritis, cancer, and a decrease in their life expectancy. That's why it is essential for your little partner that you should make her lose the extra pounds to have a healthy life. You need to maintain your cat's weight by keeping a record in a log and adopting a long-term diet and exercise plan.

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