For pets and people alike, it’s often easier to keep the weight off than to lose it. Even a few extra pounds can lead to disastrous consequences to a pet’s health and longevity. Weight loss diets can be difficult to maintain, and indoor cats have the added challenge of perhaps not being as active as other pets may be. 

Indoor cat weight loss can be tricky, but Summeridge Animal Clinic has some tips and tricks to help you get started!

The Dangers of Obesity in Pets

Over half the pet population in North America is overweight or obese. And the perils of pet obesity are becoming more commonly understood. Diseases like heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and cancer are common side effects of being overweight. Overweight pets live shorter lives and often have diminished quality of life as well. 

The Basics of Helping Your Indoor Cat Lose Weight

Weight gain occurs when an individual consumes more calories than they burn off. Many indoor cats live sedentary lives, and eat energy-dense food. Fewer opportunities for exercise and the availability of regular meals and snacks may be more damaging than you think.

Start Here

Although it seems simple, difficulties with weight loss may have roots in diseases that can affect the metabolism. Before you embark on helping your indoor cat lose weight, it’s a good idea to first have them seen by your veterinarian to rule out any disease. Together, we can establish a simple and effective weight loss program from there. 

Up The Ante

Although restricting unnecessary calories is the cornerstone of weight loss, the process can be supported by increasing activity. Preserving muscle mass and increasing metabolism are two other benefits of exercise

How to exercise your indoor cat? Think like a lion! Give them opportunities to use their natural instincts, and you’ll foster a desire to move more. 

Try: 

  • Installing varying height perches along a wall to encourage climbing
  • Playing a game of laser pointer tag
  • Placing scratching posts in several locations to increase stretching
  • Teaching your cat to fetch (really!)
  • Teaching your cat to walk on a leash (really!)
  • Making a game of feather wand a regular activity
  • Investing in a slow feeder or food puzzle toy

The RX Factor

Over the years, prescription diets have developed into amazing health tools. There are several very good diets that have been specifically formulated to help your pet lose weight while providing essential nutrients. We’re happy to give you a recommendation based on your pet’s breed, age, and lifestyle. 

The Measuring Cup

A key factor in weight loss is feeding the recommended amount. Many cats are “free feeders” which, although convenient, can be a recipe for disaster to those cats that don’t self-regulate. Measuring your cat’s food with each meal is an extremely effective way to help them lose weight. 

Treat Them Right

Many of us love our own treats, and don’t want to deprive our pets. It is possible to treat your indoor cat with single ingredient or prescription treats that won’t add unnecessary calories to their diet – and don’t forget to include any treats in the overall daily calorie intake. Ask us if you need help building treats into your indoor cat’s diet. 

Lastly, make sure your entire family is on board with helping your indoor cat lose weight. Weight loss is a team effort, and everyone needs to be using the same measuring cup and adhering to the same treat and food restrictions in order to be successful. 
Although preventing weight gain is ideal, helping your indoor cat lose weight can provide her with a longer and healthier life. Give us a call if you need help or have any questions.