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Weight Loss Guide for Cats

 by wai on 12 Mar 2014 |
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Is your feline friend beginning to look more like a pot-bellied pig than a cat?  It might be time to start a weight loss regimen.  Helping a cat lose weight will take patience and persistence, but will improve the overall health and well-being of your pet.

Cats lose weight the same way humans do.  There’s no secret science for either species.  Overall, your pet will need to eat less and exercise more.  If your cat currently controls the amount of food they receive, you’ll need to take note of how much food they eat in one 24-hour period.  If they are just overweight and don’t appear to be gaining or losing any weight, then the amount of food they are currently eating is considered their maintenance diet.  It’s just enough food for them to maintain their current weight.

To change their weight, you’ll simply need to begin controlling the amount of food they eat by decreasing the amount of food they are given each day to below their maintenance level.  If they currently eat 2 cups per day of cat food, then try feeding them only 1.75 cups.  While this is likely still too much food for the average adult cat, you will be able to gradually step them down to a healthy weight. 

While they are on a reduced calorie diet, you will notice their weight drop initially then level off to a stable weight.  It may take up to a month between feeding reductions for their weight to stabilize.  Continue to reduce their food intake a quarter cup at a time each time until they are a more healthy weight.  Most cats will need 5-6 ounces of wet cat food per day.  For dry cat food, the feeding recommendations are typically listed on the outside of the packaging.

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Since different brands and types of cat food have different nutritional values, the amount of food they’ll need is brand-dependent.  Simply switching brands and feeding them the same amount can cause a cat to lose weight.  Some cat foods are high in fats and filler material while others are mainly lean meats.  While quality cat food is often more expensive, you’ll find that you don’t need to feed them as much of it to get the same nutritional value.

Aside from feeding habits that take in calories, you’ll also need to be aware of your cat’s overall calorie expenditure.  How active your pet is will play a big role in how much of that food they consume gets used in running around and climbing things and how much will go to fat storage.  If you have a house cat that spends all of their time indoors and much of it sleeping, then they will need at least 20% less food than the average cat.  Outdoor feral cats that hunt for food and are very active need much more food than the average cat to maintain their current weight.

As both calorie intake and export play a role in shaping the figure and health of your cat, you can manipulate one or the other to see positive results.  Increasing your cat’s time spent exercising has the same effect as decreasing their amount of food.  The only thing that is important at the end of the day is that the overall difference between the amounts of calories they take in and calories they use up is less than it was when they were overweight.  If you follow that simple formula, you’ll see positive results in your feline friend, and they’ll be on their way to a happier, healthier life.

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