How To Put a Cat On a Diet

Skylar Dial
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Determine if a Diet is Necessary

If your cat is just a little chunky, don't panic. Many cats are obese and the most common reason is overfeeding. Many cat owners choose to have two smaller meals a day rather than a single large meal. Changing your feeding schedule to a smaller meal and treats can definitely assist in helping your cat lose weight. You may want to ask your vet about specific advice for your cat.

Weight problems in cats and some dogs can be caused by an underlying health issue. Make sure your vet has thoroughly examined your cat. The vet will check your cat's diet, activities and medical history. Based on the results, a vet may prescribe a special diet or suggest other therapies.

Monitor Your Cat’s Food Closely

There are many diets that are marketed towards overweight cats. There are also several foods that are advertised as being tasty yet healthy for cats. The important thing to remember, however, is that just because a food is advertised as being healthy does not mean that it is actually good for your cat.

Therefore, in order to safely and effectively put your cat on a diet, you must closely monitor her food intake and get your vet's approval before making any significant changes to her diet. Your vet will be able to tell you the most appropriate diet for your cat in order to help her lose weight.

It's also important to remember that your cat's weight is not necessarily the same as her size. You may be able to easily tell if she's gained or lost weight, however you may not initially be able to tell if she's at a healthy weight. This is especially true if your cat has only gained a small amount of weight.

Your vet will be able to tell you whether your cat is at a healthy weight based on her height, age, and sex.

Keep Your Kitty Well Hydrated

Many cat owners will tell you that cats are born hunters and that they’re not fans of water. But this is not true. Cats should always have access to clean, fresh water.

Think about it, like all mammals, cats are mostly made up of water. So for them to live, they must replenish the water they’ve lost.

Now, there are a variety of water sources on the planet and some of them are more appealing than others. For example, a running sink will be more appealing to your cat than an unsightly water bowl.

But when water is available (and in relatively appealing forms) cats will drink it. They will also drink more water if they live in a warm or hot climate. This is because cats regulate their body temperature by having their paws in water and eating and drinking.

So if you’re worried about your cat’s nutritional intake, you can relax. Cats will, in general, make an effort to keep themselves properly hydrated and fed.

Limit Access to Food and Treats

Diners tend to overeat when they’re presented with a variety of food. The same goes for your cat.

Cats can eat a large quantity of food in a short time. Just like humans, they also inhale their food in a manner of seconds, and then take a well-deserved nap! As a cat parent you must make the food rationing even. At times you might get tempted to feed them more, but it’s not necessary and it’d also mean more weight.

Before you start the diet, you must be very vocal that your cat is getting on a diet. Try verbalizing what you’ll be doing and why you’re doing it. An in-the-know cat will be inclined to work with you.

Pick a Lean Cat Food

If your cat's weight exceeds the ideal amount that's recommended by most veterinarians (and I'm sure your vet did recommend it), then it's time for you to put your cat on a diet.

The best way to assess if your cat needs to go on a diet is by checking her body condition.

The easiest way to perform this is to:

Get a small ruler and place it on the floor. Place your cat or kitten on top of the ruler. Use another ruler or measure tape and measure the girth of your cat. Look to see which category your cat falls into (under, ideal, overweight). Place a piece of paper in front of a mirror and gently place your cat on top of the paper. While you are facing the mirror, look at the reflection of your cat and see which category your cat falls into (under, ideal, overweight).

If the cat is obese, then you should put your cat on a diet, but you should remember that weight loss programs do not work overnight.

It could take a month for your cat to lose 10% of his/her current body weight. Be patient.

Get Her More Active

Your cat needs to get more physical activity. As simple as that.

Some of you may be thinking, “My cat is already very active, and he plays with me all the time. So why does he still weigh too much?” If your cat is being active and playing with you, great. But sometimes fat cats simply need more activity. It can be difficult to know if your cat is getting enough exercise if he plays alone. But just because you can’t see your cat playing with toys or chasing a bird, doesn’t mean that he isn’t getting enough activity.

For example, if your cat suddenly gains weight after a new kitten joins the family, it’s likely because the cat is spending less time chasing and playing because he has another cat to entertain. If your cat spends most of the day sleeping or has grown tired of the same toys and games, he needs more stimulation. Try to get your cat more active with the tips below.

To encourage exercise, a healthy diet filled with high fiber, low calorie foods will help keep him feeling full and satisfied for longer than normal meals. But exercise is just as important.