Maintaining a healthy weight is an important component of your cat’s health and plays a large role in helping your cat live an extraordinary life. While pet obesity is common, there are a lot of ways you can help your cat get down to the right weight and ideal body condition.
HOW TO TELL IF YOUR CAT IS OVERWEIGHT
Since you see your cat all the time, you may not notice that he or she has reached an unhealthy weight. Also, your cats’ coat may make it difficult to spot a gain in weight.
Do a rib check: Place both of your thumbs on your cat’s backbone and spread both hands across the rib cage. You want to be able to feel your cat’s ribs. If you can’t, it’s time to consider making changes to your cat’s diet and increasing the amount of exercise.
PROVIDE PROPER NUTRITION
It is important to consult with your veterinarian to identify the right diet to help your cat lose weight. Proper nutrition involves consideration for both the type and quality of food you’re giving your cat, as well as the amount.
One of the first changes you can make is to ensure that your cat isn’t eating too much food. If you’re feeding dry food, we recommend setting out the recommended measured amount of food every morning – that way, your cat can forage throughout the day but not eat more than they need. You can find the recommended daily feeding amount on the packaging of your cat’s food or on ProPlan.com.
If you feed your cat a combination of dry and wet food, be sure to reduce the daily intake of dry food to prevent overfeeding.
The amount of food that will maintain an ideal body condition varies depending on your cat’s age, activity level and environment. Monitor your cat’s weight and adjust intake based on what you see and in consultation with your veterinarian.
GET YOUR CAT MOVING
There are so many ways you can encourage your cat to be more active. After all, cats are naturally agile and quick-footed. Here are some ideas for getting your cat moving:
- Consider adopting another cat.
If your cat has another cat to play with, he or she may play more and be more active.
- Establish daily playtime with your cat.
For at least 15 minutes a day, play with your cat and make sure he or she moves around vigorously. Use string, balls, toys or even everyday objects like empty water bottles to stimulate your cat’s natural instincts to run, pounce, stalk, and be energetic. Cats are naturally crepuscular, which means that they are typically most active at dawn and dusk. Consider establishing a daily playtime routine right around feeding time in the morning or evening to encourage activity before mealtime.
- Set up your home for climbing
Cat’s naturally seek out elevated spaces, where they can explore and feel comfortable. That’s why your cat loves to climb, whether it be on the back of the sofa, atop a book shelf or the refrigerator – anywhere that’s elevated. When there are clear, elevated surfaces for your cat to jump up to and down from, muscles stay strong and calories get burned. Add a cat tree or two for even more exercise opportunities.
- Encourage play even when you’re not home
Surprise your cat with small toys along your cat’s usual path and across shelves or furniture. When your cat finds one, he or she is likely to knock it off, and then chase will be on.