Animals can gain weight and become obese just like the rest of us. When cats are overweight, they are at serious risk of contracting obesity-related diseases like: type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, heart disease, high blood pressure and kidney disease. Additionally, obese cats are much more difficult for veterinarians to treat. They are more likely to die during surgery, less tolerant of warm temperatures and are far less disease resistant. Below are a few tips to help keep your feline friend trim, or to get them to slim down if they’ve already gained a significant amount of weight.
Feed your cat wet food instead of dry. Wet food has a higher protein content than dry food (which has more carbs), and cats are natural carnivores. Feeding them the type of food that they’re biologically accustomed to is a good start to maintaining their weight.
Limit treats. We all love our pets, which can sometimes make it difficult not to give them treats or table scraps (especially when they ask so nicely). Unfortunately, too much snacking has the same effect on cats and dogs as it does on people.
Control your cat’s portions and only feed them twice a day. Cats are less likely to overeat than dogs are, which leads a lot of cat owners to leave their cat’s food out so they can just eat when they’re hungry. If food is always available, the cat may start overeating and gaining weight. To curb this behavior, feed your cat once in the morning and once in the evening, and make sure to measure out consistent portions.
Last but not least, play with your cat often and give them toys – especially if you live in a small house or apartment. When there’s nowhere to go and nothing to do, cats can get sedentary and start putting on weight. Forcing your cat to exercise by taking time out to play with them and providing toys for when you’re not around can help give them the stimulation and exercise they need to properly utilize the calories that they take in each day.