Obesity is not just a human problem. More and more pets are starting to be affected with this problem, as well. Some people think that an overweight cat is a sign of good health, the opposite is true. Obesity can cause all sorts of health problems. The biggest problems include less activity, more strain on the joints and excess fat around vital organs.
Ask your vet if your cat is overweight. Most vets have a poster in the office showing ideal weights for average cats. If your cat is in the overweight or obese category, try these simple steps to get him back down to a healthy weight for his size.
Ask your vet or check out the poster in his office. This will give a rough idea of how much your cat should weigh. To really pinpoint an ideal weight, do a little research online. Weigh your cat and compare this weight with what the ideal weight should be. As a general rule, you should be able to feel the cat’s backbone and ribcage. Check your cat’s belly as this is where excess fat usually accumulates.
2. Feed your cat high quality cat food.
Not all pet foods are made of high quality ingredients. Read the label carefully to make sure the cat food contains real meat protein. Cats are not vegetarians. There should not be any fillers or vegetables or fruits in the cat food. That may strange, but it is true. All animals in the feline family are strictly meat eaters. Feeding them fruits or vegetables can be very harmful to their digestive systems.
Lower quality cat food is made up of fillers and low grade meats. The higher quality food, the healthier your cat will be. High quality food keeps the insides of your cat healthy. The digestive system works better, which means that more of the food is turned into energy and less is stored as fat. Also remember to carefully follow feeding instructions.
The portion size on the label is a guideline. Active cats may need more and less active kitties don’t need as much. Cats tend to be quite greedy and can not judge for themselves how much food they need. They will eat until they explode if you let them.
3. Give your cat plenty of exercise and fun times.
Some people complain that they are too busy and don’t have time to play with their cat. You can’t really take a cat for a walk, so you have to find other ways to make sure he gets the exercise he needs. If you are too busy to play with your cat, maybe you should consider giving him to a family that has more time. That may sound cruel, but it is crueler to have a pet you can’t properly care for.
It doesn’t take much time to exercise your cat – about ten minutes is usually enough. Get lots of fun toys and encourage your cat to climb up kitty climbers. Toys that wind up and run around on their own or are propelled by your cat are the easiest toys because you don’t have to be as actively involved. Of course, personal interaction is the best, but as long as your cat is getting plenty of exercise, it doesn’t matter how you do it.
4. Use cat treats effectively.
Just giving your cat a treat for no reason might be fun, but that is not teaching your cat anything. To encourage your cat to hunt, hide treats around the house and at different levels so your cat will have to hunt and climb to get to the treat.
At first, you may have to help him find the treats so that he knows there are treats hiding for him to find. And hide them in the same places so he gets used to looking in places where he is allowed to play. Safe places where he can’t hurt himself. Make sure to read the label and only use healthy treats.
5. Help your cat lose weight gradually.
Don’t starve your cat to help him lose weight. It is very dangerous for a cat to go without food for a few days. This can cause hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver syndrome). This disease can lead to liver failure. Super fast weight loss may also lead to an inflammatory response in your cat’s lungs and joints or to a condition called hypoglycemia.
It is much better for your cat to lose weight gradually. Because of the small size of the animal, a very small amount of weight loss per week is the best way to go. Check with your veterinarian to find out how much weekly weight loss is safe.