Last Updated: 2 years by Caitlin
If your cat’s legs aren’t the only things touching the floor when she’s walking, it’s probably time to put your cat on a diet.
Sure, there are times when a cat simply eats so much that its belly grows in size for a short time and that’s completely normal. But if this is constantly the case with the entire body, it’s time to do something about it.
Here’s a simple guide to how you can put your cat on a diet.
Why does my cat need to go on a diet
Obesity is on the rise in the cat world, with more than half of the domesticated cats in the United States being classified as overweight.
And whereas that roly-poly fat can look quite adorable, obesity in cats can be accompanied by other physical conditions like asthma or heart and liver issues, to name a few, and can significantly reduce the quality of life, as well as the life, of your beloved cat.
Is your cat overweight
The ideal weight of a cat depends on the age, breed, lifestyle and gender, as well as other individual traits like bone structure.
The average adult cat usually weighs around 7- 11 pounds, male cats weighing more than females. A cat with more than 20 % body fat is classified as overweight, however there are certain ways to establish your cat’s body state.
For example, your cat’s waistline should be visible when viewed from above and although you shouldn’t be able to see the ribs, you should be able to feel them without applying too much pressure.
How to feed your cat, the right way
Feeding your cat is more than just slapping some food on a plate. Most cat owners make the mistake of thinking their cat will eat as much food as its body needs. The truth is most cats will eat as long as the food tastes good, and if it’s something they really like they will eat too much.
That’s how you can get a walking floor cleaner because your cat’s belly will be wiping the floor clean everywhere it goes, and although it may be convenient, it’s not very healthy.
It’s important to establish a feeding schedule for your cat and stick to it. Cat food usually has a table of measurements for each meal so that can come in handy.
Cats usually respond with discomfort if they notice feeding changes, be it the time or the content of the food given. Be patient and don’t fall for the cute stare. Furthermore, canned food can be a good solution for losing or maintaining optimal weight. Canned products contain specific amounts of carbohydrates and its ingredients help metabolize food better. Avoid dry foods as they’re mostly designed for the convenience of owners, not the cats.
Also keep in mind that you should be careful before starting a drastic change in your cat’s diet. Sudden changes can cause certain digestive problems or cut out necessary nutrients. Certain changes may even cause distress for the cat and contribute to health problems or even have fatal consequences.
Before doing any extreme diet changes be sure to consult a vet to see if your cat has any other issues aside from being overweight, and you’ll most likely receive an eating regiment and food suggestions if they’re needed.
While getting a cat on a treadmill is a fun idea, it isn’t the best one. Physical activity is a huge plus when it comes to maintaining your cat’s health, and you should be the one to provide it if you can.
You can start by providing certain platforms or scratching posts for your cat, and while this doesn’t necessarily look like the outside world, your cat won’t really care. After all, human bodies don’t usually look like the wilderness and yet most cat owners will testify to have being climbed on by their cats.
Playing is the best exercise
Playing with your cat really is the easiest way to help your cat maintain a healthy lifestyle while bonding with her at the same time.
Even if it’s just for a few minutes, spend daily time playing with your cat and getting her moving. After a while, being more active will become more second nature and your cat will look for ways to keep herself amused.
You can get toys for your cat to play with, or you can make a few of your own. A small empty container and some dried rice and you have a toy ready for use! Same with a simple string tied to a toy mouse.
Another great option is to get your cat a work out buddy. ‘Though cats are usually viewed as lonesome animals, this isn’t entirely true. Two cats will always have more fun and when one is playful, it will definitely drag the other one into some fun work out sessions.
This may provoke some noise in your household but it’s a good thing, especially when you’re away.
Take a cat for a walk…or a swim
You don’t often come across cats on leashes, but there are a surprising number of indoor cat breeds who’re more than willing to be tethered to a leash for some outside-world activity.
It is a good idea to start early though, since getting your cat used to a harness or a leash will take time. There are various systems made specifically to help you walk your cat without the worry of her getting loose.
Swimming is also another option, no matter how strange it sounds. Some cat breeds adore the water and to accommodate these aqua-friendly felines, certain pet healthcare facilities have swimming pools designed to help cats get a good workout.
This is the best solution for cats who have a more serious problem with obesity as it provides a rigorous workout that proves to be a lot of fun, too.
Please keep in mind that any of the above changes of putting your cat on a diet can prove challenging to your feline friend but be sure to keep your efforts and encouragement consistent!