As a loving cat owner, you are no doubt aware of the need to provide a healthy balanced diet for your cat. This diet should not only provide the necessary nutrition essential to optimal health but also should provide no more or less calories than necessary. Of course, keeping your cat healthy, particularly for indoor cats also means giving your cat access to fun toys to keep your cat exercised, happy and entertained.
Obesity In Cats Is Very Common In America
However, we are all susceptible to wanting our pets to feel loved and we sometimes do so by providing an extra treat or by constantly filling the food bowl even though we may suspect this is leading to our cat gaining unhealthy weight.
If you suspect that your cat is overweight or even obese then you are not alone amongst cat owners. In fact, the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention advises “In 2017, an estimated 60% of cats and 56% of dogs in the United States were overweight or obese.”
Assessing If Your Cat Is Overweight
Determining the ideal weight for your cat is complicated by breed, sex, spayed/neutered and other factors. However most domestic cats should weigh in the 8 to 10 pound range. If you are concerned, we recommend you have your Veterinarian perform a physical exam. This make sure that there are no underlying medical issues and if necessary, to make recommendations on diet and exercise.
However, if you want to make a quick assessment for your self there are several tools available on the internet for that purpose.
The guide that we like the most is a Body Condition Score Chart for Cats prepared by the World Small Animal Veterinary Association WSAVA. This guide provides pictures of cats ranging from thin to obese so you can compare your cat to these images and make your own assessment. WSAVA describes an ideal cat condition as a Waist observed behind the ribs, ribs palpable with slight fat covering and minimal abdominal fat pad.
Steps Toward Helping Your Cat Achieve A Healthier Weight
If having reviewed the body condition score card you decide that you need to start reducing your cats calories and increasing your cats exercise then the first step is to stop leaving food in the bowl for all day consumption and going to defined meals at fixed times. We actually have an article where we list the best food dispensers for overweight cats.
Again, your veterinarian can help with formulating this diet(see the best cat food for overweight cats) as it is very important to be patient and continue to provide the required nutrition even while reducing total calories at an appropriate rate. If you first decide to do your own diet assessment one tool we like is provided online by the Pet Nutrition Alliance. Please note this tool is designed to be used by Veterinary professionals so we don’t recommend you make changes to your pets diet without consulting with your Veterinarian however we like the estimate this tool provides as feedback about our pets current diet.
Knowing that your cat is overweight is a very scary thought. Now, that you know that your cat is overweight you have to make progress in helping your cat lose weight. You should consult your veterinarian, and they can help guide you through this process. Helping your cat lost weight is not a sprint, but a marathon. You have to be consistent in doing the right things to achieve a healthier weight in your cat. Furthermore, here is an article we have where we cover the best cat toys for overweight cats if you are interested in learning about toys that will promote exercise in your overweight cat.