Although some amount of fat is typically healthy and usually nothing to be worried about when it comes to cats, if your feline friend has been looking a little too round these days, it might be time to consider putting them on a weight loss program.
Cats that are a healthy weight tend to live happier and more fulfilling lives and are at a lower risk of serious health problems like heart disease and diabetes compared to cats that are overweight or obese. If you are concerned about your cat’s weight, the good news is that there are several things that you can do to help them get back down to a healthier size.
Ask Your Vet
Your vet should always be your first port of call if you have any concerns about the health and welfare of your cat. Your vet will weigh your cat and let you know where they are in terms of their weight and if a diet plan is recommended. A visit to the vet will also ensure that you are able to rule out any underlying health conditions that could be causing your cat to gain more weight than usual and address any other health concerns that you might have for them.
No More Free Feeding
Leaving kibble out in the bowl all day long for your cat to graze on whenever she likes could be the main culprit when it comes to your cat’s weight. Cats tend to prefer grazing on their food compared to other pets, but constantly having food available can lead to them eating more than they actually need to and gaining weight as a result. Instead, provide your cat with two to three meals at set times of the day. Your cat can come back to the meal and graze on it later if she likes, but don’t refill the bowl until the next set mealtime.
Try a Diet Switch
Consider the food that you are currently feeding to your cat. Most commercial cat foods are accessible and affordable, but they are not always the most nutritious meals to be giving your pet, especially if your cat is struggling with his weight. Many cheap cat food brands will only contain the bare minimum amount of protein and are filled out with grains and other carbohydrates, and your cat is not getting a balanced and nutritious meal. Raw food for cats is an excellent alternative to consider since it offers a much broader range of nutrients and provides your cat with everything that they need to be at a healthy weight and improve many other aspects of their health as well. If you are interested in learning more about raw food for cats, check out Bella and Duke where you can find feeding guides, more helpful tips and advice and raw food that can be tailored to your cat’s individual needs.
Try a Feeding Ball
If your cat loves dry food, instead of putting it in her bowl at mealtimes, it might help to get a feeding ball that she’ll need to chase around to get the food out. These balls are excellent for cats since it engages their natural hunting instincts, and most cats love the challenge. If your cat is a little bit of a coach potato who has gotten used to domestic bliss and having her food placed in front of her in a bowl every day, a feeding ball can get her up and moving more.
Consider Walking Your Cat
Cats that are able to go outdoors to explore safely will often be in better shape compared to indoor cats who don’t get the same amount of exercise. There are many good reasons to keep your cat indoors, including the risk of injury and death on the roads, the risk of being attacked by dogs, wildlife and other cats, and of course the harm that cats can do to the natural environment. However, cat leashes are becoming more and more popular with cat parents as they provide a way to help your cat get some healthy outdoor exercise without putting them or the local wildlife at risk. Walking your cat is a fun way to spend time with them and encourage a lazy cat to move.
Cats are natural hunters, so if you’re trying to encourage your cat to get more exercise, this natural instinct is one of the best ones to engage. Hiding treats around the house for your cat to find or moving their food bowl around at mealtimes so that they can follow their nose to find out where it is will be an exciting experience for many cats who enjoy hunting. Plus it gets your cat up and moving more around the home.
Fun and Games
One of the best ways to get your cat to move more is to provide fun and games for her that she cannot resist. Laser pointers are an ideal toy for cats as many of them will go crazy for the little red dot and run all around the room trying to catch it. If you’re going to use a laser pointer, it can be a good idea to use it at the same time as a cat toy so that eventually your cat will have something to ‘catch’ and they are not left feeling frustrated after all that hunting. Dangly toys are also a great way to get your cat’s attention and get them up off the cat tree or the corner of the sofa where they would happily perch all day if you let them.
Many cats will love treats and we all know that they can be used to reward good behaviour, bond with your cat, or even teach a clever cat some tricks. However, treats can contain a huge number of calories, so it is important to be careful with the type and number of treats that you are giving. Always give high-quality, low-calorie treats that are designed for cats and don’t feed your cat any human food, even if they are meowing and batting at you while you’re trying to eat it. If you’re using treats as a reward for your cat, it’s a good idea to switch it up and use something else that your cat enjoys as a reward from time to time such as a game with their favourite toy or a scratch between their ears.
Provide Constant Access to Water
Sometimes, cats can go and eat simply because they are bored and have nothing to do. Some cats eat because they are thirsty, especially if they are fed wet food as many cats will get the majority of their water from this. To try and prevent your cat from eating when he is not actually hungry, it’s important to make sure that clean and fresh water is always available. Many cats are not too keen on drinking out of a water bowl and prefer a running source of water instead – if your cat drinks out of your tap, this is a sign that they might do better with a water fountain rather than a bowl.
Being overweight can seriously affect your cat’s quality of life. If you are worried about your cat’s weight, keep these tips in mind to help them get healthier and fitter.