How to help a cat lose weight, it is important to understand the reason for its development. Sometimes excess weight appears due to illness, and not because of excessive appetite. Ways to lose weight are selected strictly individually and depend on the physiological characteristics of the pet.
How to help a cat lose weight
In theory, everything is simple: consume fewer calories, spend more – and this will lead to weight loss. Unfortunately, in fact, everything is somewhat more complicated. Never put a cat on a diet without consulting a veterinarian.
Physiologically, cats are different from humans and dogs, and a two-day hunger strike can lead to the development of a deadly disease, known as liver lipidosis (or fatty hepatosis). First, your cat should be examined by a doctor who can prescribe additional tests to make sure that she does not have hidden diseases or other obstacles to weight loss. If all is well, you can already think about how to help your cat lose weight.
Why does a cat need to lose weight
A single kilogram of excess weight already increases the risk of serious illness in your pet. Unfortunately, if your cat is overweight or obese, it’s not about whether she will have any complications or illnesses associated with it, but when exactly they will manifest and how serious they will be. Most often, excess weight is accompanied by:
- Type II diabetes – in cats with obesity, it occurs three times more often than in animals with normal weight;
- Heart disease
- Increased risk of joint injuries;
- Osteoarthrosis (arthritis);
- High pressure;
- Some forms of cancer, especially tumors in the abdominal cavity.
Pets that are overweight and obese usually live less than their slender counterparts. If the cat is overweight, she moves less, becomes less energetic and playful. Murlyka prefers to just lie down, and because of this, it is easy not to notice the first signs of the disease, taking lethargy as “normal laziness.”
How to feed a cat to lose weight?
To answer this question, the veterinarian must examine your cat and, based on the characteristics of her physique and size, determine what weight will be ideal for her. In this he will be helped by specially developed formulas and graphs, thanks to which it is also possible to calculate the cat’s need for calories per day in order to achieve the desired weight without harm to health.
On average, an adult domestic cat should weigh 3.6 – 4.4 kg. Depending on the degree of obesity, the doctor may recommend first to achieve an intermediate weight, which is slightly more than ideal. For example, if your cat weight about 8 kg, an ideal weight for it will be 4.4 – 5.5 kg, but an intermediate weight of 6.8 kg will be a more realistic goal. After it is achieved, it is necessary to re-evaluate the condition of the pet and determine whether the cat should lose weight further.
How to calculate calorie requirement for cats
The formula for losing weight for cats is based on the energy requirement during rest (the number of calories a cat needs in the absence of physical activity, or PEPP), which is calculated as follows:
- Method: PEPP in kcal / per day = 70 x (ideal weight in kg) x per ¾;
- Method: PEPP in kcal / per day = 30 x (total weight in kilograms) + 70.
For weight loss, a cat should receive 80% PEPP (multiply PEPP by 0.8). In order not to waste time counting, you can use the table:
|Ideal Weight: lbs (kg)||Calories of 80% PEPP per day|
What food to choose
Since cats are obligate predators, human diets do not suit them. A high protein and low carbohydrate diet should help your cat lose weight. This is the kind of food you need to choose.
The amount of food needed to provide the right amount of calories depends on its calorie content. Typically, the calorie content of the feed is indicated on the package, and a specialist will explain to you what portions should be given.
Typically, a cat loses weight most effectively, receiving canned or dry food several times a day. It is impossible to leave it in a bowl during weight loss, because regular eating is more useful than constant snacks throughout the day. How to make a cat lose weight if she always has the opportunity to crunch something from boredom or for pleasure?
It is very important to learn how to count calories and measure the prescribed amount of food. If there is too much food, the animal will not lose weight, and if it is too small, it will begin to starve, which, as already mentioned, is very dangerous for cats.
How long does it take to train a cat to diet?
Give the cat a week or two in order to get used to the new diet. First mix ¼ new feed with ¾ usual for 2 to 4 days. Then increase the amount of new feed to half, and in the last 3 to 5 days before the final transition to a new diet, to ¾.
To improve the taste, you can heat the food, add flavoring additives, for example, based on fish oil, with the content of omega-3 fatty acids.
If a cat refuses a new diet, or if you have any questions in the process of accustoming her to a new feed, do not hesitate to contact a veterinary clinic for advice.
How to make a cat move more
Place a bowl of food in different places, for example, above or below the stairs, and try to place it so that the cat overcomes a certain distance before it reaches the feed. Cats are smart: realizing that the bowl is now upstairs, they themselves will often go upstairs.
Place the bowl of food as far away as possible from your favorite cat places. Many obese cats sleep and rest near the bowl so that they do not have to go far for food.
Get toy containers with food – they usually have the shape of a ball that the cat rolls to get a treat. Inside these interactive toys you need to put a certain amount of dry food, and the cat will have to work hard to get it.
Take time to play with your cat, use feather teasers, laser pointers, paper or foil balls – everything your cat will be interested in catching. Try playing with your cat for ten minutes twice a day. This can be done while eating, watching TV, or even reading.
There are many moving and squeaking toys that may interest your cat. Cats love variety, and the toy that the animal liked today may get bored tomorrow.
What to do if a cat constantly begs for food
When cats wake us up at four in the morning, demanding food, shout like crazy or poke their forehead at the owner non-stop – we give up. Cats trained us very well, they know very well which buttons to press to get what they want! Here are some tips to pacify annoying Persians or indefatigable Siamese:
- Do not use automatic feeders. It’s obvious that an automatic feeder for a fat-tailed man is a candy machine full to the top.
- Stroke the cat or play with her when she begs for food. Many cats perceive food as the equivalent of housekeeping, and you may find over time that the game replaces the cat’s meal.
- Feed your animal in smaller portions, but more often – this way you can provide a late dinner to a cat who likes to wake you up in the morning. Divide the total calories into four, six small servings. Most importantly, do not give your cat food beyond the prescribed norm.
- If the bowl is empty and the cat does not stop, put a couple of pieces of food in the bowl. A couple of pieces, not a handful.
- Offer the cat fresh water instead of food. When a cat stares blankly at an empty bowl, a sip of fresh cold water can moderate her appetite.
How to feed other cats if you need to lose weight only one?
You may find a more effective solution to the problem, but here are some tips to get you started:
- Feed the cats individually – this is the ideal solution for such cases. Pour diet food into a slimming cat in one room and feed the rest in another. When the time allotted for the meal is over, usually from fifteen minutes to half an hour, remove what the animals have not eaten until the next feeding.
- Feed the cat, not overweight, upstairs, where it’s more difficult for the fat man to climb.
- Never leave food in the public domain unattended. So you can not control who, what and when to eat!
How long will a cat have to diet?
Most cats reach their ideal weight in 6 to 8 months. If the process dragged on, then something needs to be changed. Healthy weight loss is about half a kilogram per month. Some cats need more time, while others, on the contrary, lose weight faster.
For most cats, the secret to effective weight loss is attentive and responsible owners. Cats do not understand that obesity kills them. We, as good owners, must protect them from danger and, of course, not involuntarily contribute to the development of serious illnesses or premature death in them.
Only in close cooperation with the veterinarian and your whole family can you ensure that your cat remains in good shape and good health.
The recommendations are based on the work of veterinarian Ernest Ward.