How will you know if your kitty needed to slim down? Fat felines are so natural that you might not even recognize yours is on the portly side.
However overweight and fat cats now outnumber those at an ideal weight, and vets see more super-obese felines, too.
“The dilemma for us is we like to spoil our cats, and the felines like to eat, so it’s easy to overfill a little bit,” says Philip J. Shanker, DVM, proprietor of The Cat Hospital in Campbell, CA.
It’s something to consider seriously. Even just a some of extra pounds can cause your pet more likely to get some health dilemmas like type 2 diabetes and make others, like arthritis, worse. It can even prevent them from grooming themselves suitably. Keeping off excess weight should begin to a healthier, happier cat.
Ideal Weight for Felines
Most indoor cats should weigh about 10 pounds, though that can vary by breed and stage. A Siamese cat may view as few as 5 pounds, while a Maine Coon can be 25 pounds and fit.
Your vet can let you identify if your cat is overweight. However, there are some indications you can see for on your own, says Melissa Mustillo, DVM, a vet at A Cat Clinic in Maryland.
“Feline should have that hourglass shape when you’re looking down at them, they shouldn’t have a saggy stomach hanging down, and you should be able to feel their ribs,” she says.
How to Prevent the Pounds Off
Vets say that cats’ mass gain usually comes down to the type and quantity of meat they’re fed, along with plain old apathy.
“When they’re bored, they believe, ‘I might as well go eat. … Oh, look there’s no meat in my bowl, I’m going to bother mom for extra food,’” Mustillo says.
And during their whine, many keepers give in to keep their pets happy.
But it is possible to restrain or curb weight gain:
Substitute dry food with canned, which serves to have more protein and fewer carbohydrates. Canned food is also a great way to set separate mealtimes for your pet. Many cats gain weight when owners neglect out a bowl of dry kibble so they can feed all day long.
Chop back on treats. Cats do just as well with other awards, like playtime with you.
Make your beloved feline work for its food. Vets have discovered cats are better and calmer when their owners use “food puzzles,” which the kitten must roll or manipulate to get treats out.
You can store some in the compartments of a wine box or cut one or more small pots in a plastic bottle and fill it with kibbles. The puzzles reduce down their eating while tapping into their senses to hunt and forage.
If you own more than one feline, you may need to feed the overweight one in a separate bedroom or put the healthy-weight cat’s meal up high where the fat cat can’t go.
Before you set your cat on a diet, get him for a physical exam to make sure he doesn’t have an underlying medical dilemma.
Substituting all-day grazing on kibble with defined snacks might be sufficient. But a more large cat may need to switch to canned diet food or a special formula diet that has more protein, vitamins, and minerals per calorie.
Be patient, Mustillo says. “If your purpose is [your cat] dropping a pound, it might take a whole six months, maybe up to a year. It’s very slow.”
And don’t freak out if your kitty’s on the curvy team, Shanker says. Your vet can help with this kind of problem.
“If the feline’s a little bit full-figured, it doesn’t mean they’re going to fall of heart disease,” he says.