It may be a little while since you suspected it, without really admitting it, but the facts are there: kitty has undeniably grown! Even if its small rounded curves don’t make it any less cute, you start to think seriously about dieting it. By doing this, you will contribute to the long-term health of your feline: being overweight in cats can lead to different pathologies (diabetes, liver disease, joint pain, etc.). But beware: slimming a cat is not something that is done “lightly” and takes time. Here are some tips for implementing a weight loss program that is both effective and safe for your cat.
Is your cat too big?
Let’s start at the beginning: does your cat really need to diet? We are not talking here about aesthetic criteria (minou does not need to be the most beautiful in a bikini this summer on the beach …) but objective elements to keep him healthy. A cat is considered overweight when it exceeds its ideal weight by 15-20% and is obese above 30%. But this “ideal weight” will be different for each cat, depending on its breed, morphology, etc.
To determine if your cat is too big, you can first observe its profile silhouette: it must have a slightly hollowed waist, with a curvature between the ribcage and the hind legs. You can also put your hands on his flanks: without pressing you to guess his ribs and his spine. But the safest thing is to take the kitty to your vet. He will be able to determine if your cat is too fat and check if his weight gain is not related to a disease. It will also help you develop a weight loss strategy for your pet.
Put your cat on a diet: use the gentle method
To make your cat lose weight, avoid a diet that is too brutal. If you drastically reduce his usual meals, you risk indeed the famous “yoyo effect” but you have above all chances to make crazy pussy! Cats are often difficult when it comes to food and don’t like to be disrupted. Their metabolism may also not tolerate forced fasting and sudden food deprivation may stress them out.
Your cat’s weight loss should, therefore, be gradual and can be considered over a long period of time. First, you can decrease and then remove the treats you may have used to give it. Gradually change your food to reduce your calorie intake. To do this, choose a food that is lower in carbohydrates and fat and richer in protein and fiber (read the labels carefully!). Finally, you can split the kitty meals into several small portions (6 to 10) distributed throughout the day.
Get your cat to exercise
Fewer calories and more sports: this is the key to any successful diet, in both humans and felines! To make your cat lose weight, you will have to try to get him to do more exercise. But beware, here too things must be progressive: no way to turn kitty into a competitive athlete overnight!
Try to organize small play sessions of about ten minutes each day with your cat (with a ball to catch, a string to pursue, etc.). You can also “certify” your apartment so that kitty moves more when you’re not there: for example by installing a cat tree or turning your shelves into a feline perch.
One last tip: use a “playful” kibble dispenser. There are different shapes (balls, cylinders), which you can buy commercially or make yourself. You can put the daily ration of your cat, who will have to play with to release one by one the croquettes. A good way to reduce access to kitty food a little while making it move more!