You probably don’t need anyone to tell you that your cat is overweight, you probably already know it. The problem is, how can you help your cat lose weight? Some cats will just nibble at their food here and there, but never really eat more than they should. But, others just can’t seem to stop eating and are always hungry. Unfortunately, being even just a little bit overweight can significantly shorten a cat’s lifespan.
Clearly, it’s important to get your cat down to a healthy weight. Here are some easy steps you can take to help your kitty drop some weight without too much stress.
1. Use a Treat Ball
By placing some of your kitty’s food in a treat ball, you’ll slow down his eating while increasing the amount of exercise he gets.
2. Add Some Water to Your Cat’s Food
Adding some water to your cat’s food will fill him up faster while helping him stay hydrated.
3. Cut Back on the Dry Food
It’s best if you can cut back on the dry food because it’s usually loaded with calories. Since dry food usually contains 5% or less or water, it’s kind of like feeding your cat concentrated, dehydrated calories. In fact, dry foods often contain as much as 400 calories per cup of food, but the average cat only needs about 200 calories each day. On the other hand, canned food contains about 80% water so it’s less calorie dense and much more filling.
4. Encourage Your Cat to Play
Try to play with your cat for at least 10 minutes every day. Encourage running and pouncing with a laser pointer, fishing pole toy, or by tossing a jingle ball.
5. Use an Automatic Feeder
Using an automatic feeder will allow you to divide your cat’s food up into several small meals each day. This should help to keep him from constantly begging you for food. Splitting up his meals will also help to keep him satisfied.
6. Try a Diet Cat Food
If your cat is a fiend for his dry kibble, consider switching it out for a diet or weight loss version. These specialty foods are usually higher in protein and fiber to encourage weight loss, energy, and help your cat feel fuller longer.
7. Count Those Calories
Most indoor cats will need to consume about 20 calories per pound to maintain their weight. So, if your cat weighs in at about 10 pounds, don’t give him more than 200 calories a day or he will gain weight. The amount of calories contained in a commercial food will be listed right on the label. For healthy, steady weight loss, decrease the amount of calories your cat gets slowly until it’s about 15% less than the amount he needs to maintain his current weight.
Helping your cat lose weight won’t be easy. Some serious dedication will be required, but it can be done. The reward of having a happy, healthy cat that lives a long life with be totally worth it.