How do I know if my cat is overweight?
You should be able to feel your cat’s ribs and not see them and they should have a discernible waist behind the ribs when viewed from above. Cats tend to put fat on their tummies so even if you can see a waist, but you can feel large deposits of fat in this area, then your cat is overweight.
Why does it matter if my cat is fat?
Obesity can predispose to many diseases such as diabetes, pancreatitis, it can intensify heart and lung disease and osteoarthritis. A fat cat will die on average 2 years earlier than their healthy counterpart.
If your cat is middle aged but you have noticed them slowing down, check their weight to see if they are carrying around too much fat.
Owners will often think that they are slowing down because they are getting old but in actual fact it’s because they are carrying too much weight. If you are unsure whether your cat is overweight then take them to your vets for a weight clinic, most vets will offer free weight checks and they are normally very happy for you to pop in just to weigh your cat.
How do I help my cat lose weight?
The simple answer to this is feed them less and exercise them more. However in reality this can be difficult, especially if your cat has got you trained to feed them just be looking at you sadly and letting out a pitiful cry!;
Cut their food down slowly over a couple of months so that their stomach shrinks and they don’t feel as hungry - if your cat is very overweight they should be fed half the amount that you are feeding at present.
Some owners may feel like they are then feeding nothing at all, if this is the case think about feeding a light diet which contains less calories per gram of food or bulk the food up with vegetables - if your cat will tolerate them.
There are now foods on the market which will switch on fat burning genes so you can continue to feed them a good amount but they will burn the calories faster. Ask your vet about such diets.
It doesn’t really matter how much food the manufacturer advises that you feed. If your cat is fat then you are giving too much, why not;
Weigh out the food and stick to the same amount every day.If your cat is not losing weight then you will know how much to reduce it by.
Give some of their daily allowance instead of a treat if they have been good. Look for treats with a lower fat content and limit them to 1 or 2 a day.
Don’t give your cat human food as the calorie content will often be a lot higher than you think, and their stomachs find it difficult to digest.
Weigh your cat regularly: monitor their weight to make sure you are on the right track.