How to Keep Your Cat from Getting Fat

image of a fat cat.

A fat cat may appear happy and provide visitors with a source of amusement, but feline obesity is certainly no laughing matter. Cats who carry excess weight have a heightened risk for diabetes, cancer, liver problems, degenerative joint pain and other conditions that could severely curtail its quality of life. Recent studies discovered that more than half of all dogs and cats are diagnosed as either overweight or obese by their veterinarians. Fortunately, there are simple steps you can take to keep your feline from getting fat.

The most obvious reason for feline obesity is the ingestion of more daily calories than a cat can burn off through activity or normal metabolic processes -- the same basic issue faced by so many overweight humans. If your cat is encased in a thick layer of fur, you may have trouble telling whether he is overweight. You should feel deeply with your hands to see if you can feel ribs, spine or hip bones. You can also compare your cat to the body condition charts developed by Purina diets that are used by all veterinarians. If your cat is too heavy, do some serious thinking about your cat's eating habits and activity level.

Weight Control Tips and Tricks

The main tip for keeping your cat at a good weight, or getting your overweight cat to lose weight, is to feed them only canned food. In order for manufacturers to make a food dry, they have to add a lot of carbohydrate to the ration. It is believed that cats need more of an Atkins-type diet, high in protein and low in carbohydrate. It should be a good quality food, balanced with the right proportion of protein, fats, etc, and formulated according to AAFCO guidelines. You should look for this statement in the fine print on the can.

Since calories that go unburned will only turn to fat, you may need to get your sedentary cat moving if you wish to keep him from getting heavy. Try playing games with him, or get him a canine or feline playmate who will keep him on his toes. Senior pets are at a disadvantage due to their slower metabolism, especially if they cannot move as freely or comfortably as they once did. For these animals, dietary reductions and modifications, coupled with supplements such as glucosamine or omega-3 fatty acids to ease joint problems, may prove helpful.

Changing a cat's eating habits may require changes in his owner's behavior as well. Veterinarians urge owners to reduce the number of treats and remove their cats from the dining room during human mealtimes.

Sources:

ASPCA,“Overweight Cats.“

Levs, Josh. “Obesity Epidemic Strikes U.S. Pets.“ CNN, 2012.

American Animal Hospital Association. AAHA Diabetes Management Guidelines

Kealy, et. al. “Effects of Diet Restriction on Life Span and Age-Related Changes in Dogs.“ JAVMA 2002; 220:1315-1320

Exclusive Offer

New patients receive 15% OFF first wellness exam.

Location

Testimonial

  • "I can not say enough about these wonderful people. Dr. Reda is the most compassionate veterinarian I have ever met. My beloved dog passed from cancer, but they were there every step of the way with any questions or concerns, even when they were oh vacation and I was totally distraught about it, they made sure to address my concerns and never made me feel like I was crazy. There should be more people like Dr. Reda and his staff in this business. I am forever grateful for all of you."
    Patricia Schwartz / East Islip, NY
  • "Dr. Reda and his staff are amazing!! Dr. Reda is the most compassionate vet I have ever met. He took wonderful care of a feral cat I brought in today. And Chauntelle was so brave handling this cat..I am so grateful for their expertise and professionalism."
    Jackie S.
  • "I am happy with the veterinarians response to most issues. The staff is kind and caring and they usually see you the day you called. They're always happy to do refills by phone."
    Stephen B.
  • "I had such a good experience when I brought in a feral cat family during a TNR mission that I returned a month later when I adopted two of the kittens. Dr. Reda is simply a wonderful veterinarian. I appreciate his well-informed, holistic approach to treatment. He & his staff take the time to give me plenty of information and answer all my questions, while doing everything they can to minimize any distress and discomfort my cats experienced during the visit. In short, if you are looking for a vet that is highly knowledgeable, accessible, and compassionate, I cannot recommend All Friends highly enough."
    Anna
  • "Dr. Reda and his staff are so thorough and caring with my dog. I've never had a vet that I really trusted before now that makes me feel like my dog and family's best interests are at heart. Thank you All Friends for making everything easier for my dog and family."
    Michelle T.
  • "Best veterinarian! Very pleasant and wouldn't go anywhere else. Staff is very pleasant too."
    Lynn M.
  • "Had a great experience at All Friends Veterinary today.
    Dr. Reda and his staff quickly diagnosed our Dog's issue. They were very accommodating and compassionate. I would highly recommend his services."
    Steven P.

Newsletter Sign Up