Helping Your Overweight Cat

overweight cat

When you have an overweight cat, you need to consider changing its diet.  Many cats are coming into the office overweight and unhealthy.  You may wonder if it really matters if your cat is overweight but let me assure you it does.  Overweight cats are more likely to be ill and suffer from kidney and heart disease. 

How To Tell If Your Cat Is Overweight

You should be able to see a narrowing of the body behind the rib cage.  This is their waist.  You should also be able to feel the bones down your cat’s back.  If you can’t see a waist or feel the bones you have an overweight cat.  Your veterinarian in Richmond can help you determine if your cat is overweight and give you advice on how to help your cat get thinner.

Your Cat’s Veterinarian Exam

You will want to start your cat’s diet program with a trip to your veterinarian in Richmond.  The veterinarian will do a thorough exam and test for thyroid dysfunction as well as other problems associated with obese cats.  They will also determine the weight of your cat and show you what its ideal weight should be.  A weight loss program will be established with possible food guidelines and a special formula  cat food, to assure weight loss, may be offered to you.

Dangerous Weight Loss

It is important to note when you are starting your cat on a diet that you remember cats can get sick if they are starved or lose weight too fast.  You should start off gradually.  A typical cat should only lose about ½ a pound each month.  If your cat loses weight too rapidly they could get hepatic lipidosis.

Adjusting Your Cats Food

Overweight cats eat too much food.  It may not seem like your cat is eating too much but you have to realize cats don’t need very much food to begin with.  Make sure your cat isn’t sharing food with other pets in your home or getting handouts from the neighbors.  Instead of serving dry food that sits out all the time, try serving your cat small portions 2 to 4 times a day.  Dry food tends to have more carbohydrates than wet food.  You want to increase your cat’s protein and reduce the carbs.  A good ratio is 25% carbs, 25% fat and 50% protein.

Cats that vocalize when they want fed, usually aren’t hungry.  You may have conditioned your pet to vocalize this way.  If you’ve trained your cat to cry and run to his bowl, you may need to find other ways to pay attention to your cat that will be equally satisfying.   Try petting and grooming your cat or removing them from the area each time they cry for food.

Weigh Your Overweight Cat

You will want to weigh your overweight cat often. You can do this by placing your cat in a carrier.  Weigh the cat with the carrier and then subtract the weight of the carrier from the total weight. You should notice that your cat is losing weight after a few weeks.  If he or she isn’t losing anything you need to lower her food intake.  Read the labels and buy diet food for your cat.  Remember the amount of food they need should be based on their ideal weight not how much they weigh now.  If you are doing things right, you should see a reduction in your cat’s weight, gradually over time. 

The other part of losing weight is exercise.  This is a little tricky with a cat.  You can buy your cat toys to play with and spend time playing with your cat.  Maybe having another cat to play with would do the trick but I wouldn’t go out and get a new companion because often cats will choose to not interact.  You can also get toys that are motorized and mimic mice or birds. 

If you have any concern about your overweight cat or if you would like help keeping them on a healthy diet, contact your veterinarian in Richmond at Advanced Animal Care.  Keeping your pets healthy and helping you give them a long, healthy, quality life is why we are here.