Just like in humans, obesity is detrimental to your cat’s health. Indeed, it favors the appearance of pathologies such as diabetes, urinary stones, joint pain or skin disorders, aggravates existing diseases and reduces its life expectancy.
How do I know if my cat is overweight?
A cat is considered overweight when it exceeds its ideal weight, generally between 3 and 5 kg, by 15%. Beyond 30%, the cat is obese. But this excess weight is not necessarily obvious, which is why it is recommended to perform a quick and simple test on your pet.
To do this, simply palpate your feline’s ribs by placing your hands on either side of his thorax and then moving them back and forth. If his ribs are palpable but impossible to count, your cat is overweight. If his ribs are not even palpable, he is obese.
The main causes of overweight in cats
In the case of a sterilized cat, weight gain is almost automatic and is even more so in males. The decrease in the secretion of sex hormones goes hand in hand with the decrease in his energy needs. As your cat becomes more sedentary, it will tend to eat more and exercise less.
Similarly, if your cat lives in an apartment or has a sedentary lifestyle, he or she is more likely to be overweight.
Finally, an animal living in an unstimulating environment, with no opportunity to go outside and no activities offered to him, tends to develop anxiety which he usually compensates by overeating, a source of appeasement in his eyes. Therefore, watch his behavior and spot the signs of depression: sleep disorders, too much or not enough grooming, incessant meowing, abnormal fearful behavior…
Paradoxically, a hyperactive cat can also develop a propensity to be overweight. Always on the move, it has the habit of eating a lot and does not feel full. Frequent vomiting can be a sign of hyperactivity.
How to put your cat on a diet?
Offer him a balanced diet
It’s not necessarily a matter of reducing the amount of food given, but of making him eat better. Give preference to proteins and fibers, which make him feel fuller, and limit foods rich in calories and fat as much as possible.
Don’t eat leftovers. If you want to please your cat, give him special treats instead, but only occasionally.
Your cat’s eating habits should not be copied from those of his owner. Instead of giving him two “big” meals, encourage him to be independent by serving him small amounts on his plate. Keep in mind that a cat eats 15 to 20 meals a day!
Avoid abrupt diet changes
Wanting to provide your cat with a healthier diet is a laudable goal, but be sure to change his diet by making a transition. Changing his diet drastically from one day to the next could expose him to major digestive problems.
Encourage regular physical activity
If your cat has access to a garden or the outdoors, it’s important to let her go outside several hours a day. If, on the other hand, your cat lives exclusively indoors, it’s a good idea to give her time to play or exercise independently, especially with a cat tree.