Steps to a Healthy Cat Weight
The VCA Big Pet Project can help you achieve and maintain your cat’s ideal weight.
Quick reminders to keep your cat at a healthy weight
Keep a close eye at feeding times
Be sure to follow your veterinarian’s personalized nutrition plan!
Many cats will replace food for affection. If your cat begs for a treat, try a belly rub instead!
Keep your cat active!
Play with your cat for at least ten minutes twice a day. You can even turn mealtime into a game by hiding your cat’s food bowl!
Monitor your cat’s weight
Keep a record of your cat’s progress, and have regular weigh-ins with your veterinarian.
Nutrition Tips for Dieting Cats
Ask your veterinarian for a diet plan geared towards your cat’s specific needs and state of health. Reduced calorie foods and foods that are specially designed to speed up your cat’s metabolism are great menu options for an overweight cat.
Cat food labels can be confusing. Your veterinarian can help you decipher the information and choose food based on ingredient quality and the right balance of nutrients for your cat’s stage of life.
It’s not about simply feeding your cat less of the same food-the nutritional content may not be adequate.
Ask your veterinarian how many calories you should feed your cat each day, and then measure portions to match.
Always make sure your cat has water-sometimes a drink can make them forget they were hungry.
Replace high calorie treats with low calorie options like diet treats. Treats should make up no more than 10% of your cat’s daily caloric intake, and food should be reduced accordingly.
Weight loss is sometimes easier with small meals spread out during the day instead of one big one.
Break treats into smaller pieces. Your cat will enjoy the reward regardless of size. Or better still, replace treats with affection-if your cat begs for a treat try a belly rub instead.
Exercise Tips for Overweight Cats
Before you change your cat’s exercise routine for weight loss ask your veterinarian for a safe regimen that’s appropriate for your cat’s weight.
Overweight Cat Tool
Go Back to Top
Playing with your cat just 15-20 minutes a day can make a difference. Keep it interesting by mixing it up…include laser pointers, feather toys, paper bags or boxes-anything that gets him/her active.
Make your cat walk to his/her food bowl by keeping the bowl away from favorite snoozing spots.
Give your cat at least one or two elevated areas to climb onto to keep his/her muscles toned. Carpeted cat towers are ideal. Running up/down stairs with them gets you some exercise too!
With the proper training, cats can be enticed to walk outdoors with a harness (not collar) and leash-but don’t expect them to run along like dogs.
Obesity in Cats
Today’s cat population is mirroring the weight issues of the human population-and the health risks that go along with it.
Our cats are packing on the pounds and it’s not cute. 45% of cat owners don’t realize their cat is actually overweight3 and don’t understand the risks that extra weight poses to their pet. In reality, a cat’s weight impacts their overall health, longevity and quality of life.
But there’s great news:
Overweight or obese cats that return to their normal weights may once again enjoy lively activities and could even experience the reversal of some weight-related health conditions.
What can you do about your cat’s weight?
With help from your VCA veterinarian, you can prevent your cat from becoming overweight or obese, and if it’s a little too late for that, your cat’s added weight can be reduced. Before starting your cat on a diet or exercise program, consult your VCA veterinarian for a proper diagnosis, and to get the right diet for his/her age, body condition and general state of health.
1.“Obesity Facts & Risks” Association for Pet Obesity Prevention
Go Back to Top
2. Ward E, Budsberg S, Bartges J, et al. Big Pets Get Bigger: Latest Survey Shows Dog and Cat Obesity Epidemic Expanding, 2012.
3. 2012 National Pet Obesity Survey Results, Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP)