Regardless of their size, cats racing down the hall (often in mad pursuit of something that only they can see) have the uncanny ability to sound like a herd of rampaging elephants. However, if the floor shakes every time that your feline friend jumps off the couch, it may be time to take a critical look at their waistline. Overweight cats face an increased risk of many health problems, including diabetes, arthritis, cancer, cardiac troubles, and respiratory issues. Thanks to their smaller stature, a few extra pounds can make a massive difference for cats. Learning how to help your cat lose weight and putting that information into practice just might extend your pet’s life.
How to Help Your Cat Lose Weight
Cats come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and levels of furriness, so before you focus on how to help your cat lose weight, you need to discover if it actually needs to do so. One test involves looking at your cat’s shape. Most normal-weight cats will be slimmer from their belly to their hindquarters when viewed from above. Of course, if your cat has a high fluff factor, this visual exam will likely be inconclusive. For a more hands-on approach, try running your fingers along your cat’s sides. If you can easily feel its rib cage, it’s probably at a healthy weight. However, if you have to squeeze a bit, there’s a good chance that your cat is carrying more weight than it should.
Ultimately, the best way to tell if your pet needs to lose weight is to pay your vet a visit. Your vet can confirm that your pet needs to lose a few pounds, help you identify a healthy goal weight, and offer advice for how to reach it. What sorts of recommendations are you likely to hear if your cat is too hefty? All of the tips below can be useful if you’re wondering how to help your cat lose weight.
Offer the Right Food
If your cat poaches from the dog’s bowl or sneaks treats from the table, it’s time to put an end to these behaviors. Neither dog chow nor people food is a healthy choice for a cat, so don’t feed it to them. Instead, opt for a high-quality cat food with plenty of protein and other nutrients. However, if you need to switch your pet’s diet, do it gradually. A change that’s too quick can result in a cat that refuses to eat. Losing too much weight too quickly can endanger your cat’s health, so you need to proceed with care.
Offer the Right Amount of Food
Portion control is a crucial part of any weight-loss plan. Instead of leaving a bowl of food out 24/7, determine how much food your cat should eat each day. Then, serve it up in a series of small meals. What about treats? Cat treats can be counterproductive when your feline friend is struggling with extra weight, so it’s best to avoid or limit treats. Is treat time part of your daily routine? Either feed a smaller portion or swap in a few pieces of dry cat food in place of the treats.
Enrich Your Cat’s Environment
Creating an enriched environment is as simple as providing things that encourage healthy, natural behaviors. Adding vertical spaces is a good start. Most cats feel safer in elevated places, so offering them a perch with a view can reduce stress. Offering new items can also help by sparking curiosity. Crinkly bags, balls, and other toys that prompt cats to chase them, surfaces that encourage scratching, and birdfeeders hung near windows can all keep cats entertained and active.
Encourage the Thrill of the Hunt
Cats are natural predators. While their strong prey drive may not be required to secure their next meal, many cats are delighted by the prospect of honing their hunting skills via playtime. Encouraging them to embrace the thrill of the hunt is a fantastic way to increase your pet’s activity level and help them lose any extra weight. Different cats enjoy different things, so experiment with the possibilities to find your cat’s favorites. Cats may not see colors the same way that people do, but they can likely see blue and green. A brightly colored toy might be exactly what your cat’s been hoping for. The species can also make a difference. Many cats have a preferred prey, so manufacturers make toys that mimic birds, rodents, snakes, and bugs. Try a few different options to see what gets your cat excited for playtime.
Whether you are searching for the best food for your feline friend’s needs or are eager to encourage them to move more with new toys or perches, the pet experts at Petsway can help you find the perfect thing among our wide selection of top-notch pet products. Our knowledgeable associates can provide further tips regarding your cat’s care. We carry a wide range of high-quality cat food, and we also offer grooming services like bathing and nail trimming. With locations in Springfield, Nixa, St. Louis, St. Peters, and Poplar Bluff, Missouri, we’re sure to have a store near you. To learn more about how to take care of a cat, please contact us online or call your nearest PetsWay location.