Is your cat holding onto a few extra pounds?
The truth is, obesity in cats isn’t exactly a rarity. In fact, more than 45 percent of domestic cats are classified as overweight. While Fluffy may not be feeling her most agile these days, she can rest assured that she’s certainly not the only hefty cat on the block.
Of course, we can all agree that Fluffy is equally as charming with a few extra pounds. After all, we’re certainly not about body shaming over here. But, it’s also safe to say that slimming down is the best option for her health and overall lifespan.
An overweight cat is more likely to suffer from health problems such as urinary tract issues, diabetes, and respiratory disease. When these issues present themselves, they can lead to more complex health problems in the future or even premature death.
So, if your furball is looking a little on the heavier side, this one is for you. We’re uncovering five ways to help encourage your four-legged friend to drop that extra weight.
It’s time to get ready for beach season!
1. Weight Loss Specific Food
First and foremost, it’s time to hit the diet aisle.
That’s right, we’re officially on the hunt for good old, low-calorie cat food. While us humans can differentiate diet vs. non-diet food in a heartbeat, our furry friends are not so fast. More often than not, you can rest assured that your cat won’t even blink an eye at the difference.
Fortunately, large-scale supermarkets carry an incredibly wide selection of pet food. This means that you should have no trouble finding the right diet-specific food for your precious cargo.
Generally speaking, diet-focused cat food carries high amounts of nutrients while limiting calories and fat. This food also contains higher amounts of fiber which will keep your cat feeling full for longer.
It’s a win-win, really.
2. Smaller and More Frequent Feedings
Of course, it’s beneficial to minimize your portions while also feeding more frequently.
In general, it’s recommended that you feed your cat once or twice per day. However, for those cats that are slightly tipping the scale, feeding more frequently is actually more advantageous.
Try feeding your cat three different times throughout the day -breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In doing so, incorporate smaller portions of the food mentioned above.
For this, you may find it helpful to begin carefully measuring your cat’s food servings. This way you can monitor exactly how much your cat is eating and provide that same amount each time.
3. Fewer Treats
Now that we have the feeding schedule arranged, it’s time to talk about all those treats that Fluffy has been on the receiving end of.
Of course, it’s always tempting to reward our well-behaved cats with heaps and heaps of treats. But, if your furball is carrying some extra weight, these treats are more than likely contributing to the weight issue.
That’s right, it’s time to cut down on the treats.
Instead of rewarding your good cat with treats, try to reward them with alternatives. This could be anything from extra attention and cuddle time to providing them with new toys or their favorite catnip.
While they’re still receiving praise for their good deeds, this new version of praise is slightly lower on the calorie scale. There are also a number of diet-friendly healthy treats on the market for pets in general. This includes both healthy cat treats as well as healthy dog treats.
4. Play More
Once your cat gets into a healthier eating routine, you should begin to see the weight slowly disappear.
While consuming a more nutritious diet is priority number one, it’s also important to ensure that your cat is getting proper exercise. During the weight loss journey, it’s your responsibility to interact with your cat and encourage them to be active.
This could be anything from hiding their favorite toys and encouraging them to hunt to allowing them outdoors and providing them with activities and physical grounds to play.
If your cat isn’t exactly interested in playing, try using catnip to encourage them to interact with their toys. Refresh your cat’s favorite toys with catnip and you’ll slowly begin to see their interest peak. If your cat doesn’t respond well to catnip, try using honeysuckle instead.
5. Consider a Second Cat
Are you currently a one-cat-household? If so, it may be time to consider adding a second cat to the pack.
When a cat is on their own, they feel very little encouragement to be active. This is especially the case when your cat is left on their own for much of the day. Without another cat to chase, solo cats tend to spend much of their time resting and taking cat naps.
With the addition of a second cat, your extra flurry friend is naturally going to become more active. This second cat helps to trigger activities such as chasing, playing or hunting.
The best part? The majority of cat owners agree that a second cat isn’t significantly more work or more time-consuming than a single cat. These cats play together, keep one another company and encourage play.
The Trials and Tribulations of an Overweight Cat
Has fluffy been struggling to shed those last few pounds?
It’s safe to say that there’s no judgment here. After all, we all know just how difficult it can be to shed those pounds before beach season.
Fortunately, we humans are in control of our own weight loss. This means that we can make the decision to eat a healthier diet and incorporate exercise into our daily lives.
Unfortunately, cats are not exactly as in charge of their own destiny as we are. This means that it’s ultimately up to you, the owner, to help set your overweight cat up for success.
From using portion control and buying weight-loss specific food to playing more and rewarding with fewer treats, shedding a few extra pounds doesn’t have to be such a process. In fact, if you follow the above guide, yourself and your furry friend can look forward to a healthier bod’ in no time at all.
It’s time to start cutting!
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