Obesity in cats is very common and can predispose your cat to diabetes, Hepatic Lipidosis and arthritis. Overweight cats are being seen more and more by veterinarians for various disorders. Weight loss foods don't usually work because the ingredients are inferior and substitutes like corn and wheat are used instead of protein, so your cat will be hungry and eat more. This page will help you determine what to do about overweight cats so that your kitty won't have to be encumbered by obesity.
40 percent of cats in the United States are considered to be obese! Only 5 to 10 percent of all cats can be classified as only slightly overweight. In recent years Feline Diabetes Mellitus (diabetes) has become almost a daily diagnosis in animal hospitals all across America. Our cats are at risk for a number of obesity related disorders. Documented research indicates obese cats are far more prone than cats of normal body weight to disease.
Dr. Jane Bicks, the holistic veterinarian who formulates products for Life's Abundance, hasn't made a cat weight-loss food because she isn't convinced that it can be done safely. Instead, here's Dr. Jane's plan for helping a cat lose weight safely without feeling deprived:
1. Weigh your cat, and write the weight down with the date. Put a chart on your fridge with six columns: Date, Weight, Body Score, Food, Treats, and Exercise.
2. Get a measuring cup that shows a full cup (8 ounces), 1/2 cup, 1/3 cup, and 1/4 cup.
3. Then do a "body score": With the cat standing and facing away from you, put your hands on the cat's shoulders, and pull your hands back over the ribs.
If you easily feel ribs, the score is 1, and the cat doesn't need to lose weight.
If you feel up to 1/2 inch of padding on the ribs, the score is 2, and the cat probably should lose weight.
If you don't feel any ribs, the score is 3, and the cat definitely needs to lose weight. Note the score with the date on your fridge chart.
4. For a few days, measure all food and count all treats the cat eats. Record all that information. You may be feeding or treating a lot more than you thought.
5. Use the Life's Abundance food calculator to see how much dry cat food your cat should eat. Let's say your cat is 13 pounds. The calculator says 1/2 to 3/4 cup a day of Life's Abundance Dry Cat Food. An overweight cat is probably eating at least the high end of the range.
6. Start with the total quantity at the high end of the suggested range for your cat, assuming your cat is eating that much now.
Give two-thirds to three-quarters of the quantity of Life's Abundance Premium Health Food for Cats, and substitute Instinctive Choice Premium Canned Cat Food for the remaining food. The water in the canned food will help fill the cat up, and extra water is always good for cats. Here's the comparison:
1 cup of Life's Abundance dry = about 500 calories (3/4 cup = about 375 calories).
1 can of Instinctive Choice canned = about 100 calories.
For this example, let's say the high end of the range is 3/4 cup a day of dry. Instead of giving the whole 3/4 cup of dry food per day, give this combination: 1/2 cup of dry (about 250 calories) + about 1/4 cup of canned (that's a little more than a whole can, roughly 100 calories) = about 350 calories a day.
7. Divide the daily amount into at least four meals. If you don't want to leave canned food out when you're gone, use it in the evening or whenever you're home.
8. Give treats very sparingly, and use healthy, nutritious treats. Life's Abundance Gourmet Cat Treats are best. Don't give "junk food" cat treats that contain corn, wheat, gluten, soy, or sugar. Don't give tuna as it can contain too much mercury.
9. As the diet progresses, continue to record the food and treats daily.
10. To help your cat lose weight faster, spend more time playing with your cat. Get a feather teaser (like a fishing pole with a feather toy on a string). That's a good way to get almost any cat to play. Also record each time your cat plays.
11. Repeat the weighing and body scoring weekly. Those things help you see when the cat is building muscle, which will happen from the extra playing. Building muscle may cause the weight loss to slow down or even seem to reverse for a while, because muscle weighs more than fat. Muscle is much healthier for the cat!
12. As always, if your cat loses energy or shows other signs of illness, consult your vet. If time permits, ask Dr. Jane for ideas on her open conference call about what to ask your vet.
13. As your cat's needs dictate, adjust the quantities slightly up or down, keeping the total amount of food where it needs to be and the calories less than you started with.