Sadly, over half of our patients are overweight and many of these are clinically obese. As little as an extra 1% of intake over caloric requirements can result in 25% excess bodyweight by middle age.
Overweight cats risk developing health issues like diabetes, arthritis, breathing difficulties, bladder problems, liver disease, decreased exercise and heat tolerance, and an overall compromised quality of life.
Obesity is caused by overeating and lack of exercise. Indoor cats eat more and exercise less, often through boredom and lack of opportunities to play and hunt. It’s up to their carers to give them an appropriate amount of food, a good quality diet, and mental stimulation.
So how can we help our overweight cats to lose weight?
¨ Overweight cats lose weight most reliably on a high protein, low fat diet like Hill’s Metabolic diet
¨ Make sure everyone in the household knows the new feeding regime so that meals are not fed twice and treats are rationed
¨ Weigh the kibble allowance. An extra piece or two every day adds up
¨ Don’t allow free access to kibble
¨ Feed more wet food. A can Hill’s Metabolic is available and palatable
¨ Avoid fatty treats like cheese, liverwurst or pate. Hill’s Metabolic treats help control hunger by keeping you cat feeling full and satisfied between meals
¨ Make sure you overweight cat is not taking your other cats’ food or raiding the neighbours’ dog and cat food bowls!
It is vital to increase your cat’s opportunities to exercise. Cat towers, high shelves, window sills and a variety of toys on rotation out of the cupboard are a good start. Tunnels and hideouts made from cardboard boxes are cheap and amusing. You can join in the fun with a fishing rod type toy or a length of ribbon or string, ping pong balls, scrunched up foil, or a laser light.
If possible install an outdoor cat enclosure so indoor lounge lizards can have a run and a stretch in the sun,
Food puzzle toys are ideal for plump pussy cats. They slow down food consumption, increase movement and mentally stimulate your cat.
Please book an appointment with our weight control nurses. They will help your cat achieve safe and effective weight loss. Too rapid weight loss in fat cats may cause liver damage.