We often get the question from cat parents about what foods to feed overweight cats. Obesity in cats is rising rapidly and it’s causing much illness and disease in our feline friends, so understanding the right way to feed your overweight cat is imperative.
Arthritis, diabetes and renal disease are three of the most common ailments we see in overweight cats. While many traditional veterinarians will simply try treat the symptoms of these ailments with medication, diet is very important. Cats who are fed the correct diet will usually show great improvement just from changing their food.
How Best To Feed Overweight Cats
- Schedule set feeding times. Cats do not benefit from having food available to them all day long. Free feeding cats is one of the top reasons that they’re plagued with obesity. Instead, feed portion controlled amounts at least 2-3 times per day.
- Transition from dry to wet or raw food. Pet food companies are not required to list the amount of carbohydrates on the bags you purchase, but every kibble food is high in carbs, which you should not feed overweight cats. Carbohydrates convert to sugar and cause weight gain. Kitties who are overweight should be weaned off of carbs and onto a more species appropriate diet. Cats with diabetes often go into remission with this dietary change alone. Our cat went from 25 lbs to a healthy 16 lbs by simply taking him off of kibble.
- Count the calories. Consult with your veterinarian about exactly how many calories your cat should be eating on a daily basis. Then portion that amount in a moist food diet (no kibble unless still in the transition phase) over the scheduled feeding times each day.
Overweight cats will also benefit greatly from daily exercise routines. If you are able to set aside 20 minutes a day to get your kitty active, this will help his or her weight loss as well as strengthen joint and mental health.