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Putting Your Cat on a Diet

There are a staggering number of fat cats. Approximately 53 percent of cats in the U.S. are either overweight or obese.

Flabby felines  face an array of possible health problems, including arthritis, diabetes, heart and liver issues. They may also suffer illnesses, such as bladder stones or skin conditions that require special eating habits.

Most vets classify a cat with more than 20 percent body fat as overweight. You should , be able to feel, but not see, your cat’s ribs. However, a cat's ideal weight depends on age, breed, life style, bone structure and gender, but the average adult cat generally weighs 7 to 11 pounds, with females weighing slightly less.

Two to 3 extra pounds for a cat is equivalent to a whopping 40 pounds for a human.

Cats that have been spayed or neutered use fewer calories than intact felines, so they often don't need to eat as much; they put on pounds because their owners offer too much food and not enough exercise.

Consult your vet before changing your cat’s diet as the vet can determine  if your cat has health problems in addition to being overweight and  suggest the right food and portion sizes.

To stay healthy, cats should shed pounds gradually, losing no more than 0.5 to 2 percent of his total weight per week. That means  a 20-pound cat should drop no more than about a pound in a month. Losing too quickly can create problem including liver disease and it’s also more likely the lost weight could reappear.

Diabetic cats are often overweight or even obese, and their extra pounds are a major factor in their inability to produce or correctly process insulin, the pancreatic hormone that turns food into energy. The latest trend in feline weight loss management is a high-protein/low-carb diet, the so-called “Catkins” diet.

However, never change a diabetic cat's diet without your vet's advice.

Here are some steps you can take to help slim down your cat:

  • Measure out food. Divide the cat’s targeted calorie intake into four to six small meals.
  • Keep their water bowl full.
  • Leave out cat food for a limited amount of time.
  • Set a weight loss goal with your veterinarian.
  • Avoid giving treats, or if you must, use a few pieces of her dry food as a substitute.
  • Don’t share human food with your cat; it’s fattening and can cause diarrhea.
  • Don’t allow your cat access to dog food.
  • Get in extra play time. Like humans, cats need exercise in combination with a diet. Get them moving more and the weight is more likely to come off.

IdealPetX Staff
IdealPetX Staff