Help, my cat is overweight! Tips for losing weight and overweight among cats
Does it seem like your cat never has enough and just keeps begging for food? Or is it such a cute little bugger that you love to spoil it with an extra treat? Do not overdo it! An estimated one third of all Dutch cats is overweight. Here are some tips about how to prevent overweight among cats and how to get them to lose weight.
Causes of overweight among cats
Too much food and not enough exercise are the main causes of overweight among cats. Cats love to eat. Overeating can also be caused by boredom and behavioural problems. In addition, cats like to sleep a lot and take frequent naps. Plus, some cats are more prone to it than others. Pedigree cats, for example, are less sensitive to overweight than ‘regular’ house cats. Age plays a role as well: a cat between 2 and 10 years old runs a higher risk of gaining too much weight than cats younger than 2 and older than 10. Certain medication, like Prednisone, may cause your cat to gain weight as well. And you may already know that neutering a cat will change its metabolism which increases the risk of gaining weight. This requires you to pay special attention to the amount of food. On average, the energy need of a neutered cat is reduced by 30 percent.
Need help calculating the right amount of food for your cat? Use our food calculator.
How do I know whether my cat is overweight?
Noticing that your pet is gaining weight can be difficult because it doesn’t happen overnight. Luckily, it is easy to check: all you need to do is place your hand on its chest. Can you feel its ribs? All good. If not, your cat is probably overweight. Its behaviour can tell you something about its weight too. Overweight animals are often lazy, moody, have difficulty walking and jumping and tend to get exhausted quickly.
3 Tips for losing weight
Overweight can cause a lot of health issues. In addition to joint problems, there is also the risk of heart disease and diabetes. This is why it is important to help your cat get rid of its excess weight, or even better, prevent it from gaining weight in the first place. Here are three tips:
Let your cat lose weight gradually!
Switching to a strict diet all of a sudden is not the way to go. Rapid weight-loss may cause liver fattening (feline hepatic lipidosis). This involves depositing fat in the liver as a result of a sudden change in energy input. This can be fatal to a cat. Make sure you reduce its food intake gradually; consider halving the number of treats.
Give it the right food
Giving your cat the right food is almost as important as the amount of food. Cats need properly balanced food with the right ratio of proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Pay attention to the age of your cat as well as its level of activity. Yarrah offers various types of cat food.
Check out the vital nutrients for a cat.
Make sure it gets enough exercise
Exercise is vital in helping your cat lose weight. Stimulate your cat’s exercise by placing its kibble in a place that requires it to climb. Or buy a food ball. It will get some exercise while finding its food. Challenge your cat for a game on a regular basis.
Read more about how to challenge and stimulate exercise in an indoor cat.