Happy, Healthy & On Track - Tips for Improving Your Cat's Health

Did you know that between 44-60% of all domestic cats are overweight? Although this number varies depending on country and survey, it's clear to see a growing trend in the number of overweight cats from year to year.

Why is that? In some cases, our cats are simply being fed too much food and too many scrumptious snacks. There are are also certain health conditions that can have an impact.

The ongoing COVID-19 crisis and continuous lockdowns also have a part to play, with 71% of vets stating that the pandemic has been affecting our pets' eating behaviours.

So what can be done about it? Read on to find lots of information about obesity and weight gain in cats, as well as show you what you can do to help your overfed feline slim down!

If you suspect that your cat might be overweight or even obese, you should always consult your vet. However, there are also a few simple steps you can carry out yourself to make an initial assessment of the problem.

  • How to recognise if your cat is overweight

    Place your hands loosely on your cat's chest, then move them slowly up and down. If you can easily feel your cat's ribs, then everything is fine weight-wise. However, if you have to press to feel the ribs, your cat is probably overweight.

    Your cat's silhouette can also give you a good idea of whether it is overweight. If there is no longer a clearly defined waist or your cat is looking in any way 'round', then it is highly likely your cat has a weight problem that needs addressing.

The right food for overweight cats

What's the difference between dietary and light food?
What is the difference between a diet and a light cat food?

Dietary foods have been specially formulated to support cats with specific health conditions, such as a tailored diet for cats with diabetes or renal failure. These should only be fed after consulting with your vet and are not always a suitable choice for healthy weight loss.

A light cat food, however, is often the perfect dish to choose, as it offers a reduced calorie recipe. This is the best way to get your cat started on a healthier track in life.

Exercise is key in fighting obesity in cats

Make sure your cat gets plenty of exercise
Increase exercise slowly and steadily

The basic rule for overweight cats and exercise is not to overdo it - for you or for your cat. Losing weight is a gradual process that will not offer overnight results.

It is important that you and your cat enjoy the exercise you are doing, as it needs to become a part of daily life. A great option is to encourage your cat to play chase and catch, using a laser toy, a feather dangler or an enticing catnip toy. Start with just a few minutes to begin with, as this will be enough for an overweight cat. Over time, gradually increase the amount of time and the intensity.

If your cat is reluctant to get involved or is not a naturally playful cat, you can try hiding some of its dry food or treats around the house or in special toys. This means your cat will have to work for its food, as well as keeping it entertained.

How to keep your cat in great shape

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Choose the right food for your cat based on its nutritional needs

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Weigh out your cat's daily rations and include any treats in the calculation

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Encourage your cat to be more active by providing interactive toys or cat furniture for them to climb

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Schedule a few minutes of playtime with your cat every day

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Check to see if you can feel your cat's ribs easily, and keep an eye on their silhouette

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Weigh your cat often and visit the vet on a regular basis