Obesity in Cats

Obesity in Cats

| January 7, 2022

Keeping your cat’s weight under control

There is nothing wrong with a curvy cat. But curvy can become a health problem if unmanaged. Obesity puts cats at a higher risk of diabetes, arthritis and heart disease, to name a few. How to know when your cat is obese? This condition scoring chart can help you make that assessment. Your veterinarian can also let you know when your cat’s weight is a concern. 

Weight loss in cats can be a difficult process – so prevention is the key. To prevent obesity, it is important to know why it happens in the first place. 

Why do cats become overweight?

  • Indoor cats do not need to be as active as their ancestors once were to find food as they have you, their loving pet parent, providing them with a delicious meal on a regular basis.  
  • The common practice of “free-feeding”, or constant access to kibble can also lead to overeating. Although a convenient way to feed your pet, this can possibly lead to weight gain. 
  • Treats and “table food” are also contributors. We know it is hard to resist slipping a little something to your kitty. But in excess these treats can contribute to obesity. 
  • Finally, because many commercial diets are high in calories, your cat may be taking in more calories than they should. Even though it doesn’t seem like your cat is eating much! 
  • Spaying and neutering have many benefits and are strongly recommended for cats.  

So, what can you do?

  • Measure how much you feed your cat each day using a measuring cup or, better yet, a gram scale. 
  • Use feeding toys to encourage your cat to “hunt” for their food – these help to burn calories and can be a lot of fun for you and your cat! 
  • Feed your cat a high-protein, low-carb diet. This is more natural for cats, as they evolved as predators.  
  • Feed your cat wet food – these diets are usually 75% water, which means that they are lower in calories than kibble and help cats feel full. Canned food is also lower in calories than the dry equivalent. 
  • Get active! Use a leash and harness to take your kitty for a walk (so long that they are comfortable using such equipment) or use their favourite toys, like Da Bird or like a laser pointer, to get them moving.  
  • Utilize low-calorie treats – these are higher in fiber and lower in calories to help your cat feel full longer.  
  • Cats should never lose weight rapidly as this can damage the liver – your veterinarian can help with diet recommendations and weight loss plans suitable for your individual pets’ needs 

Curvy is one thing, obesity is another. If you think your cat might be obese, talk to your veterinarian about how to keep your cat’s weight under control. 

More information