Weight gain is a common issue in cats and dogs in America. According to a survey, almost 45% of pets in North America are obese, which makes this issue the most common nutritional disorder.
Obesity means being overweight by 15-20% of the ideal body weight. People often find chunky kitties adorable, but too much chub is harmful. Obesity and overweight can lead to many serious problems. Let us take a look at these problems first.
Health Risks of an Obese or Overweight Cat?
An overweight cat can have a variety of problems like
- A sudden increase in blood pressure,
- Skin infections,
- Heart diseases,
- Diabetes mellitus,
- Arthritic and Orthopaedic disorders,
- Hepatic lipidosis.
Lower urinary tract issues and fatty liver disease are one of the most common health diseases in overweight cats. Being overweight can also lead to increased anesthetic and surgical risk.
How to Help Your Feline Lose Weight?
Your first approach should be visiting the vet to identify any underlying medical condition and treat or rule it out. Now, you can go back to the basics if there are no underlying problems. You have to try that your cat utilizes more calories than it consumes.
There are three main components of an effective weight-loss program.
- Change in the ways you feed your feline,
- More exercise,
- Restricting the calories your feline intakes.
How to Change Your Feeding Strategy?
Cat’s feeding strategy changes from understanding its dietary needs. Vets use a Body Condition Scoring system to check if your feline’s weight is ideal. Schedule an appointment with your vet to assess the situation and change the diet strategy.
One of the biggest causes of cat obesity is an unsuitable diet. You can change the diet as soon as your vet assesses your feline is overweight. You can also use these different feeding strategies, which make a significant difference.
1) Feed all meals only in the cat’s bowl, which helps control overfeeding because you and your family have to put more effort into every meal.
2) Be strict and do not allow your furry friend anywhere near the kitchen. It is a decent strategy that eliminates the temptation to give people food to your cat.
3) You can also try to feed all your pets in different bowls and areas in your house. You can try separating your overweight cat from other pets while giving them meals. It will reduce food sharing and competitive eating.
4) Do not give larger meals to your cat. Two or three small meals throughout the day are more than enough. Several people feed a single but large meal to cats so they can rest or do their daily tasks in peace. However, it does not give proper nutrition to your cat and increases the chances of weight gain or loss.
How Much Exercise Does My Feline Need?
You must be more active than your pets to help them exercise daily. It becomes more disciplined and demanding if you want your pet to lose weight. People give up early because their pets do not exercise properly. Sometimes, your pets are not used to it, and you have to increase the activity gradually.
You can start by exercising your cat for 10 minutes a couple of times or thrice per week. You can keep this routine up for one or two weeks with better diet plans and habits.
After one or two weeks, you can go up to half an hour of exercise daily. You do not necessarily have to exercise your cat for 30 minutes straight. You can divide the process into two or three parts. Exercising will help it to increase metabolic rate, expand energy, and retain lean body mass. Follow this list of some decent exercises for your feline friend that will enjoy.
Exercising your furry friend can be difficult, but you can find effective ways like feather teasers, laser pointers, etc., to get the best results. The list I mentioned above will give you some decent and fun ways to exercise your feline. Catnip is also an effective way to enhance playtime for your cat.
How to Help My Cat to Consume Fewer Calories?
The primary step in reducing calorie intake is cutting down on snacks, treats, oily human food, and more. Several people think their cat is only begging or asking for food every time it comes to you with those cute and undeniable eyes. However, according to vets, your first response to situations like these should be petting, playing, or exercising your pet.
You can feed it some treats if it still asks you for love and attention. However, you might need to be sure you are using them sparingly. You also need to keep a count of the number or amount of treats you have been giving to your feline so that you can reduce the regular meals. Catnips and low-calorie meals are the best options for treats. Exercising and diet go shoulder to shoulder. You can not get effective results by ignoring any one of them.
The most important factors to help your cat fight obesity are choosing a high-quality diet and understanding its dietary needs, ditching the all-day buffet habit, switching to canned food, and engaging your cat’s instincts.
Monitoring your cat’s weight twice or thrice every week and taking suggestions from your vet is also a great option. Overweight is a stage you can try controlling yourself but consider visiting the vet as soon as you think your cat is obese.