Find food that fits your pet’s needs
Find a dog food that fits your pet’s needs
Find a cat food that fits your pet’s needs
Worried about your overweight cat? Some people think they look cute, but a fat feline may not be as happy (or healthy) as you think. One possible reason for weight problems is eating cat food that doesn’t give them satiety. The word ‘satiety’ means feeling full or satisfied, and it’s an important feeling to animals and humans alike. If your cat’s food isn’t satisfying their hunger, you may find your cat begging for snacks between meals. But with balanced nutrition that focuses on making your cat feel full, you can help control your cat’s weight and still have them feel satisfied between meals.
Why Weight Matters
Just like people, more and more cats are weighing in above their ideal weight, which can create health issues. According to International Cat Care, overweight cats are specifically more prone to long-term conditions like diabetes, bladder disease, and arthritis. So while that pudgy belly may look cute to some, it really is in your cat’s best interest to maintain a healthy weight.
It’s normal to feel concerned if your cat is carrying extra weight. The first thing you should do is consult a veterinarian to find out if there's an underlying cause to the weight gain. It is most likely that your cat is simply eating too much food and expending too few calories. If an exam shows no underlying cause, it may be time to consider changing their diet to focus on satiety.
Don’t Just Cut Back
When your cat feels full and satisfied after meals, they’re less likely to beg you for food outside of a typical feeding time. This makes your ability to control food intake that much easier, and your time together that much more enjoyable.
Some owners worry about changing their cat’s food in case they don’t like the new one, and are tempted to just reduce the amount they feed. This is far from ideal. Not only will your cat feel hungry, but you may end up underfeeding other important nutrients like protein or vitamins and minerals.
Foods formulated for safe, healthy weight loss take all of this into account. They may be higher in fibre to help your cat feel full, but will be balanced to make sure the proportions of all the essential nutrients are right. Some weight loss foods can even change your cat’s metabolism to favour fat burning rather than fat storing.
What to Serve
There is an overwhelming choice when it comes to pet foods. Sticking to reputable, well-established brands will help give you peace of mind, but it’s still important to make sure you have the right food specifically for weight loss.
Always involve your vet in a weight loss plan for your cat. They can help you choose the right food, advise you on feeding amounts, and track your cat’s progress to make sure they’re losing weight at a safe and healthy rate.
Supermarkets, and even pet stores, may not have the specific weight loss foods you need. Once the weight is off, you may be able to switch back to a supermarket brand, but always check in with your vet before making any changes.
Making Time for Exercise
Of course, it's not just food choice that can be an issue when it comes to your cat's weight. Just like their favourite two-legged friends, cats need exercise. Today's typical house cat simply doesn't spend enough time on the prowl to burn the calories they consume. Along with feeding your cat the right food that keeps them feeling satisfied, be sure to spend some time playing together every day.
Your cat will look to you to help them maintain their weight, so you need to be consistent in putting a plan together and sticking to it. By serving them the right food and finding time each day to get them moving, your overweight cat can soon be the picture of health and vitality. Your feline will look and feel better, and will have you to thank.
Kara Murphy is a freelance writer in Erie, Pa., with a cat named Olive.
Reviewed by Dr. Hein Meyer, DVM, PhD, Dipl-ECVIM-CA and Dr. Emma Milne BVSc FRCVS