Cats are known food lovers, and because of this passion, they tend to grow bigger and healthier over time.
But when this love and passion for food is kept unchecked, it can lead to an unhealthy body and can cause many types of health related issues.
So how do you keep your cats healthy with the right weight?
Well, this is possible through a combination of effort, change in lifestyle, proper diet habits and automation – more on cat feeders here.
Here are some important pointers to remember that can help cats maintain their weight, or even reduce a few extra kilos!
Pay Attention to their Calorie Intake
Maintaining the cat’s food.
A number of calories consumed among cats differs, depending on their nature, or if they are the indoor or outdoor type.
An indoor cat can maintain a healthy and average weight by taking in a maximum of 20 calories per pound.
However, outdoor cats should only get 35 calories per pound.
For instance, an indoor cat weighing ten (10) pounds should have about 200 calories each day.
If a cat weighs fifteen (15) pounds, then approximately 300 calories per day should be eaten to maintain weight.
Lose weight by cutting calories.The calorie intake of cats should be monitored to avoid obesity.
In case a cat is overweight, you might consider adjusting their calorie intake, by reducing their calories by 40.
Adjust the feeding amount until you get a healthy weight and maintain it eventually.
Plan according to differences in metabolism rates.In terms of metabolism, not all cats have the same metabolism level.
Some cats may find it difficult to maintain weight with 20 calories per pound, which is considered a rough guideline.
You have to lower the level if your cat is not losing weight even after six (6) months using these guidelines.
This means that their metabolism is not that fast unlike others.
How to calculate food, based on metabolic rate.
Calculating the metabolic rate and weight of cats is based on food consumption of cats on a daily basis.
To monitor cat’s weight and metabolism, it has to be done for several days to ensure weight is maintained.
The metabolic rate of cats can be calculated by breaking down the calories per pound, as consumed per day.
A cat might be overweight if it consumes 15 calories per pound or 30 calories per pound.
For cat owners with multiple cats at home, you can figure it out by putting a pre-measured amount of food in a feeding bowl.
Do this every morning at same scheduled time, while keeping a track of wet food given to them throughout the day.
The next day, calculate the amount of food left and make it a routine to do this for several days.
This strategy will help you determine the exact amount of calories your cats can eat within 24 hours.
For food that will not help you track the number of calories, you might want to consider changing to another food brand, that helps you keep track of the number of calories.
The Type of Food that Your Cats Will Eat Also Matter
The quality and type of cat foods are different.
Some foods let your cats feel so full that they do not get hungry so often.
Others can drive your cat crazy, as they become more obsessed with food.
Some cat foods never satisfy your cat’s needs which make it hungrier.
The solution is to find a cat food that will be loved by cats, but will not cause obesity.
1. Meat-based cat foods
Cats require meat-based diets since they are carnivores.
They are not omnivores, unlike dogs and people.
This is why they do not go well with cereal diets.
If they are fed with meat-based cat foods, they will be satisfied as compared to grain-based diet.
Thus, you have to find a cat food free from grains or those that use meat as part of the first three ingredients.
2. Cat foods with moderate fat content
Let your cats have a moderate fat diet.
Low-fat diet causes your cats always feel hungry and never full.
This situation might not be good for you and your cats.
Though fats are not that bad, it should be fed in the right amount.
Fats are the key elements in cat foods that can make your cats feel full.
Some foods over the counter are labeled with low content in fat.
These foods do not have sufficient fillers, which may cause cats to feel hungry most of the time.
3. Fiber-rich cat foods
Fiber promotes efficient caloric utilization and digestion in cat’s body.
However, finding meat-based cat foods with high fiber content is a bit difficult.
So there is a need to provide supplemental fiber to help your cat’s digestion become efficient.
Here are some suggested cat foods with high fiber content.
You can only make use of these for cats that do not have health problems like end-stage constipation and megacolon.
- A teaspoon of Benefiber on a daily basis mixed with moist food, will work well for your cats. Most cats enjoy food with a touch of Benefiber, without noticing that the ingredient is present in the cat food.
- Canned pumpkin. You can also give your cats a tablespoon of canned pumpkin, and you’ll be surprised at how well your cats will love this.
You can also count on canned goods if you want to keep your cats healthy.
Canned foods have high protein content, lower carbohydrate content, moderate level of fats, and lower calorie level compared to dry cat foods.
Since it has a moderate fat content, it can work for cats on a diet.
Canned foods can be easily mixed with a little amount of Benefiber.
Roughly 70 percent of canned foods are made up of water, making it beneficial when it comes to increasing the water intake of your pet cats.
Cats fed with canned foods that have high calorie will lose weight easily, since they get filled up much faster.
Also, cats do not get hungry so easily if fed by this food.
However, for cats that have experienced urinary crystal formation, feeding them with canned foods should be reconsidered.
This can only worsen the health condition of cats, as this diet will increase the risk of developing struvite crystal formation among cats.
At first, cats might not like canned foods and it will take a while for them to get used to it.
So, you have to do some begging until your cat starts to eat all of the wet food served for each meal.
If possible, feeding time can be done in different hours of the day.
5. Dry food for cats
Dry foods can also do its share in allowing cats to lose weight.
If your lifestyle does not allow multiple feedings of canned foods each day, then you can opt for dry cat foods.
Some cats refuse to eat canned foods because they prefer dry foods.
If you want to feed them dry foods, make sure to calculate first the number of calories.
In most cases, wet cat foods have lesser calories compared to dry cat foods.
If you easily get attracted to over-the-counter weight management cat diet, you might be taking the wrong path.
Those foods can only spice up your cat’s appetite and obsession to foods and they get even hungrier.
These types of foods do not have sufficient fiber to counteract low fats.
If you feed your cat with 1/3 cup of dry cat food each day and weight doesn’t change, there is a need to change to a weight loss diet prescribed by animal nutritionists, particularly those who specialize in cats.
Feeding them with less than 1/3 cup of dry cat food will only prevent them from getting enough nutrients daily.
Common weight loss diets prescribed have lower fat and caloric content.
However, these prescribed weigh loss diets are rich in fiber that counteracts lower fat level to keep cats satisfied.
New prescription weight loss diets are based on meat as the major ingredient, with the idea to keep your pets filled up for a longer time.
The feeling of hunger among cats is lessened since they always feel full.
However, you have to watch out for the caloric content of these new prescription weight loss diets since they are found to have higher calories.
Whether you go for new or common weight loss diet, it is still a necessity to count the calories.
Exercise When You Want Your Pets to Lose Weight
There are activities that may help your cats lose weight using the traditional way.
Here are a few suggestions for your cats to reduce weight without sacrificing their food intake.
Whenever possible, you should let your cats work the stairs.
Just make sure that there are litter boxes and water fountains on every level of your house or the building.
If they will sense that food is available upstairs, they will make the effort to climb the stairs.
Let your cats play with toys.
You have feather toys placed on a fishing pole.
Most cats get tempted to play with those toys and this activity can serve as an effective weight loss exercise.
Using laser pointer can also make cats move and play from time to time.
Also, you can find other toys available for cats, and some feeders can act as toys as well.
Find an adjustable leash and harness and take some time to take your cats outdoors.
A harness is different from a collar since it fits your cat and can be easily adjusted.
If you find nothing at the cat section, you can look for this at the dog section of a pet store.
Let your cats use it every day so he gets used to it eventually.
They may refuse having a harness initially, but you just have to be more patient.
Once they get used to the harness, they will end up loving your outdoor walks and activities.
But don’t leave your cats unattended outdoors when they are on a leash.
Cats may not like it, and they may eventually escape if they are confronted with other animals, like dogs.
Lastly, do not expect your cat to go fast.
You can start with short walks around the vicinity of your house.
This allows your cats to explore and move freely at their own pace.
Do not forget to keep your cats away from dogs and pull him quickly away when a dog approaches.
You can protect your cats by bringing some dog repellant with you in your pocket.
Start by exploring your neighborhood, and try to visit parks, which can also serve as your relaxing activity.
Go Easy on the Treats for Cats
While cats really love treats, it doesn’t mean they are good for your cats.
Treats contain higher amount of calories, which may not be recommended for your cats.
Before giving out treats for your cats, make sure you have factored out the calorie content of the food.
It is recommended to look for treats intended to clean the teeth of your cats.
This means that giving out of treats should have a purpose, and should help in promoting the general well-being of your cats.
- Do not miss counting the calorie intake of your cats. The average cat should maintain eating food with 20 calories per pound, and be fed for 2 pounds less to lose weight.
- If possible try to feed your cats with a meat-based diet, considering moderate fat levels and high fiber level. However, you might want to give the fiber foods separately.
- Feeding them with canned foods is a good way to lose weight, although it may not be suited to all types of cats.
- Do not reduce the amount of dry cat food you feed your cats by less than 1/3 cup on a daily basis because this might affect your cat’s health. Avoid over- the- counter weight control management diets since it can only make your cats feel hungrier
- Increase the physical activities of your cats in every way you can, while keeping them relaxed and free from stress.
- Giving out treats to them is fine, but you still have to monitor the calorie intake of your pets.