Have you noticed your cat looking a little more portly than usual? Like humans, a cat’s metabolism slows as they age, making it easy to gain weight. Unfortunately, packing on extra pounds can be detrimental to your cat’s health. Not only does carrying excess weight add strain to your cat’s joints, but it has been linked to health problems like type 2 diabetes, urinary tract disease, heart disease, oral cavity disease, and high blood pressure.
We all want our pets to live long, healthy lives. So, if your feline friend has filled out recently, use these simple tips to help your cat lose weight.
1. Use toys to encourage exercise
Many cats are highly sedentary, which only contributes to weight gain. Encouraging your cat to move around and get some exercise will help burn extra calories and keep extra weight off. Plus, playtime is fun and mentally stimulating for your cat!
Introduce fun and exciting new toys, like a new wand, a ball, or cat-nip-infused stuffed toys that your cat will enjoy chasing. Or, fall back on an old classic: the laser pointer. Any toy that gets your cat up and moving around will do!
2. Feed your cat several small meals throughout the day
Instead of feeding your cat all at once, spread their daily food allowance into small meals throughout the day. This strategy can be especially helpful if your cat regularly hassles you for more food on top of their regular portion. Smaller, frequent meals will help your cat feel satiated without overeating.
3. Take your cat for a walk
Going outside will surely pique your cat’s curiosity and encourage movement to help them lose weight. If your cat doesn’t have regular access to the outdoors, consider taking them for a walk! Make sure you use a secure harness and leash so your kitty doesn’t accidentally break free.
Choose a somewhat secluded destination to walk your cat, as a busy park might be overstimulating or intimidating. Ideally, you will visit a peaceful park or trail where your cat can stretch their legs in the grass or even climb a tree.
4. Use puzzle toys for feeding
For cats that are particularly food motivated, a puzzle toy is a great way to make mealtime an active endeavour. Puzzle toys provide much-needed mental stimulation for your cat while encouraging them to move around more. There are all kinds of interactive puzzle games you can choose from, ranging from treat mazes to jungle gyms and beyond.
5. Switch up their diet
Weight-loss diets can be effective for helping cats lose weight, but you should administer them under the guidance of your veterinarian to ensure your cat receives all the nutrients they need.
The best weight-loss diet for your cat will depend on their age, current body weight, and overall health. Never change your cat’s diet abruptly. Instead, transition slowly from one food to another to avoid shocking your cat’s system.
The bottom line
Weight gain, especially as your cat ages and becomes less active, is completely normal, but to lower your cat’s risk of illness, do your best to keep them svelte. Ultimately, helping your cat lose weight usually comes down to two main things: diet and exercise. If you notice your kitty looking more overweight than usual, monitor your cat’s diet and try to increase their activity levels.