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Are you worried that your cat is obese, or even just a little bit above the average weight? Being overweight can cause extra wear and tear on your cat’s joints and make some diseases like diabetes more likely. Your vet will be able to tell you what is a healthy weight for your cat and give you advice on the most effective and healthy way for them to shed those extra kilos.
Here are some tips on how to make sure your cat attains their ideal weight and maintains a healthy weight for life.
- Track your cat's weight loss.
Losing weight can propel your cat towards better health, but only if the weight is lost in a healthy, controlled way. To make sure your cat is losing weight at a healthy pace, make sure to weigh your cat regularly and assess their body condition score. Your vet or vet nurse will be able to explain this to you and tell you your cat’s body condition score. Every two weeks is ideal to start, and then monthly. Most veterinarians' offices have a scale available to use free of charge, but if your cat is happy to be picked up, you can also use your own bathroom scale. Simply weigh yourself holding your cat, then subtract your own weight to find theirs.
- Include healthy activity.
When you feed a complete and balanced weight loss cat food, you know your cat will be eating healthily. However, your cat's weight management programme isn't complete without a healthy amount of physical activity. Make sure your cat is getting the physical activity they need to get and stay healthy. Playing games with your cat strengthens your bond and gives them exercise in a stimulating way.
- Visit your veterinarian often.
Frequent visits to your veterinarian help ensure that your cat’s weight management programme is going smoothly. Your veterinarian knows your cat’s ideal weight, how fast they should be losing weight, and which foods are best for each stage of the weight management plan. They can also give you tips about how to split their food intake through the day to help keep your cat feeling full for longer.
- Maintain an ideal weight for life.
Your cat's weight management plan shouldn't be temporary. Once your cat has attained their ideal weight, talk to your vet about whether to stay on the same food, maybe at a higher ration, or switch to something different. And don’t forget to keep up the exercise and weigh them every month or so in case their weight starts to change again.
Your cat may gain or regain weight more easily than others. Breed, age, food selection, state of health and a variety of other factors can determine how quickly a cat gains weight, and what kind of nutrition is needed to help control it. If you think your cat might be in need of a weight management programme, ask your veterinarian for advice.
Reviewed by Dr. Hein Meyer, DVM, PhD, Dipl-ECVIM-CA and Dr. Emma Milne BVSc FRCVS