If your pet is overweight, simply cutting back on the amount you feed will not do the trick. In fact, doing so could conceivably lead to a mild state of malnutrition and cause your cat to be constantly hungry (and begging!). Cats that are malnourished can develop serious liver disease as a result.
Instead of cutting back on its ration, switch your pet’s feed to one that is specially formulated for weight loss. Studies have shown that a high-protein, low-fat diet can promote weight loss while maintaining lean body mass. Such diets are readily available from a veterinary clinic.
They might cost a bit more than what you are accustomed to paying for pet food, but the switch is only temporary and the benefits to your pet are immense. Also, most of these “diet” foods have a high fiber content, which allows for calorie reduction while still giving your pet that feeling of fullness after eating.
A veterinarian can assist you in determining how much and how often to feed your pet. Be patient with the results. You might not realize it, but even 1 pound of weight loss is significant for a cat.
It is vital that during the weight reduction period that you remain consistent with the feedings and avoid giving any snacks (a few kibbles of the special diet now and then can make for an excellent snack substitute).
Make sure that your pet gets enough exercise. As with people, lack of exercise does its part to promote obesity.
A brisk, 15-minute aerobic walk or jog twice a day is all that should be needed. Cats kept indoors rarely get enough exercise, unless, of course, they are leash-trained and can be taken for daily walks. However, simply playing with your cat more when you get home from work can do its part to help burn those calories!
You should also rule out medical reasons for obesity. Finally, just to be fair, the pet owner can’t be saddled with the blame for his or her pet’s obesity in all cases. There can be medical reasons behind a pet’s weight challenge.
In summary, follow these guidelines to protect your pet from the health risks caused by obesity:
– Be strict when it comes to your pet’s diet. Keep it regular and feed a formulation suited for your pet’s stage of life and physical activity level. Avoid feeding table scraps! If your pet needs to lose weight, don’t just cut back on its ration. Switching to a specially formulated high-fiber diet is a must. Slow, steady weight loss is the goal. Eliminate all treats and special snacks during the weight reduction period, and never feed free-choice.
– If you haven’t already done so, implement an exercise program or a regular playtime for your cat. Not only will you be helping control your pet’s weight, you’ll also be preventing potential behavioral problems. Don’t overdo the exercise, and keep plenty of water available at all times.
– Always have a medical check-up performed on your pet before embarking on any weight-loss program. A veterinarian can tell you if your pet is actually overweight and can give you specific guidelines for weight reduction in your pet if needed.