How Do I Put My Cat On A Diet?

(Picture Credit: Getty Images)

(Picture Credit: Getty Images)

Question:

My cat is overweight. What is the best way to put her on a diet?

Answer:

The best way to start a diet is to reduce feeding amounts. The recommended daily feeding amount listed on the food bag is based on the metabolic needs of unaltered animals. Most family owned cats are spayed or neutered. Their metabolic needs are 80% when compared to unaltered animals, so they need 20 percent less calories, thus 20 percent less food. You should feed your cat the amount of food for the weight you want your cat to be, not the weight your cat is now.

Another strategy is to replace dry food with wet food. Cats utilize protein calories better than carbohydrate calories. Wet food accomplishes this better. I know a lot of people think dry food will help your cat lose weight, but it’s just not true. They tend to over eat dry food more than wet.

It is also important to try to increase a cat’s exercise. Laser pens, cat dancers, and various other toys encourage activity and provide quality time for you and your cat. Engaging your cat is going to increase their activity level. Don’t just put a toy on the floor and walk away, your cat wants to interact with you.

Weight loss in a cat is a slow process. A cat should not lose more than 1/2 pound per month. Rapid weight loss can affect a cat’s liver function or be a sign of a metabolic condition like hyperthyroidism, kidney disease, or diabetes. Do not put your cat on a crash diet. If you start giving your cat the right amount of food for the weight you want your cat to be, the weight will even out slowly, your cat will feel much better and be healthier and happier.