You probably love your cat no matter the size, or he even seems fluffier and softer when he’s a little bit overweight. However, you need to think about his health in the first place. Cats, just like people, should stay in shape and eat healthy to live longer, stay in a good mood, and develop properly. Of course, you shouldn’t make any decisions yourself, but if your veterinarian recommends putting your cat on a diet, whether it’s because of his weight or other health issues, you should definitely consider it. It’s not easy to keep your cat on the right diet, but we’ve got some tips that may help you.
Pick the right cat food
The first thing to do is to ask your veterinarian about any food recommendations. There are many types of cat food available on the market right now, and only your vet knows the exact needs and issues of your cat. Then, when you have some basic guidelines, you can start researching things like Sheba canned cat food, types of wet and dry foods, etc. Wet foods tend to have more calories than the dry ones; plus, your cat needs to eat more wet food to feel satisfied, so it may not be helpful when you want him to lose some weight. If your cat is on a regular wet food diet, you may consider switching to the dry.
The right cat diet food should be high in proteins and moderate or low in calories. Also, don’t make your cat a vegetarian – they are, and they will probably always be carnivores. Beware cheap cat food, as even those marked as diet food may contain way too many carbs.
Plus, no matter what you were doing before, it’s time to stop giving any human food to your cat.
Stay in contact with your veterinarian
It’s especially important if your cat is significantly overweight or if he has any other underlying health conditions. You may have his best interest in mind, but you can still harm him when you don’t have all the necessary knowledge. Your vet will recommend you the right food, apply medications (if required), help you to feed your cat the right amounts, and to monitor the progress and your cat’s overall condition.
Take it slow
Cats are extremely sensitive when it comes to losing weight, and not just because of their moody natures. If a cat loses his weight too fast, or the diet is wrong for him, it may even lead to some graver health conditions, such as hepatic lipidosis, a metabolic liver disorder, or muscle loss. Weight loss needs to be controlled; it should be slow and steady and monitored by a veterinarian.
Feed the right amount
Free feeding is never helpful, and it’s especially true in the case of cats. If you start measuring your cat’s meals, you will be able to keep track of how much he eats. But to do it right, you need to know what number of calories is the right number per meal. The needs are different for all cats. It depends on their lifestyle, age, breed, health condition, and individual characteristics. Don’t trust the bag, as it will probably recommend way too many calories per day; contact your veterinarian. This is the safest way to estimate the right amount of food you should feed your cat.
It’s vital, especially if your cat became less active for some reason – an injury, a particular health problem, or an old age. Cats tend to stick to their eating schedule, even when they become less active. If you struggle with measuring or your lifestyle is not that regular, you can consider buying an automatic cat feeder.
Keep your cat hydrated
Staying hydrated is just as important for your cat as it is for you. Very often, your cat may not know he’s thirsty; he will only know that he needs something, so he will try to fulfill this need by eating. Providing access to water that’s always cool and fresh will definitely reduce the amount of food your cat is consuming. Not to mention that staying hydrated is healthy.
Be reasonable with cat treats
For a cat on a diet, treats are like sweet or salty snacks for a person on a diet – not helpful. Commercial cat treats are very high in calories and low in all the necessary nutrients. If you use treats for training, try to reduce the number of them your cat gets or look carefully for some diet, low-fat treats – it’s hard to find them, but it’s possible.
Keep your cat active
The best way to keep your cat active and for you to stay reassured that he’s active is to play with him regularly. If you don’t want to always run around the house with him, it may be enough to buy a laser pointer to let you stay on the couch while keeping your cat active. There are many cat toys that can allow you to stay active and bond with your feline, but cats, just like people, have their preferences, so you will probably need to try several things.
It may take some time for your cat to achieve the right weight, but it’s definitely worth all the troubles. It will help your furry friend stay healthy, which results in a longer lifespan and a better mood.