Most cat parents have asked themselves at one point or another if their cat is overweight. There is nothing cuter than a chubby cat, but it is important to know that overweight cats are more susceptible to additional health problems. So, why is my cat fat and how can I help them lose weight?
Cats are often overfed and given extra treats and people food, which can cause weight gain. Cats are also less likely to exercise as they get older, further worsening the problem. Luckily, dietary changes and changes in exercise habits can help your cat lose weight at a healthy rate.
If your cat is overweight due to a health issue, they will likely require further testing and treatment. For a comprehensive look at why your cat is overweight and how they can lose weight, continue reading this article.
Feline obesity is an epidemic that can lead to many cat health problems. Your cat may be overweight, and you may not know why they seem to have packed on the pounds. If your cat is fat, there are a few possible reasons why:
Cats can become lazy or lethargic as they age, leading to them gaining weight. At a certain age, jumping may seem too risky to them, and they would rather spend their time taking a well-deserved cat nap. This inactivity, combined with too much food or the wrong food, can make them fat.
Many cats eat a lot of dry food, which is often heavy in carbohydrates. Combine that with wet food, treats, and not enough exercise, and you have a recipe for feline obesity. Furthermore, most cats also eat people food, such as cheese or whipped cream. Cats are carnivores, and they need quality animal protein to be able to thrive.
If your cat eats too many carbs or calories, they may gain weight. They may also be eating too many big meals in a day. Smaller, frequent portions are the way to go. People are not the only ones who glean the benefits from eating this way. Cats who eat this kind of diet will surely lose weight if they include exercise in their daily activities.
If your cat has gained weight but lacks an appetite, they may have a health issue, such as hypothyroidism or Cushing’s disease. The following explains both health issues:
Hypothyroidism is a hormonal condition that causes the metabolism to slow, stimulating weight gain. Some of the symptoms of hypothyroidism in cats include:
Cats with hypothyroidism may experience excessive weight gain and hair loss despite a lack of appetite. It is rare for a kitten to be hypothyroid, as most cats develop hyperthyroidism when they get older. Hypothyroid cats usually benefit from hormone replacement therapy with levothyroxine.
Cushing’s Syndrome is caused by an abnormality of the pituitary gland. The syndrome causes the gland to produce excess cortisol. Some of the symptoms of Cushing’s disease in cats include:
In some cats with Cushing’s disease, the skin bruises easily, and wounds do not heal at an average pace. Many cats who suffer from this condition also have diabetes mellitus, due to the increased cortisol affecting insulin in the body. Treatment of Cushing’s disease can be drugs to control the production of cortisol, surgery, or radiotherapy.
Many people leave out a bowl of dry food every day so their cats can always have food at their disposal. By doing this, you may be overfeeding your cat. You must figure out the appropriate number of calories your cat should eat for their size. There are many different ways to help your cat shed some pounds:
Figure out how much food your cat requires per day. Weigh the food on a kitchen scale. Depending on the number, determine whether your cat needs to cut back on their food intake. If the number is within the correct range, you may need to check to see if the diet you are feeding your cat is healthy for them.
You may also want to try giving them smaller meals more frequently. You can make use of a slow feeder bowl to help control your cat’s eating. It can assist you in your quest to get your cat’s weight in check, and it also helps to improve digestion.
Cats are obligate carnivores, requiring animal protein to be healthy. Animal protein contains taurine, which is necessary for their overall health. They also need important fatty acids, like omega 3’s and 6’s. Many of the proteins your cat needs can come from:
You should aim to give your cat around two grams of protein per day from an animal-based source. Cats should avoid carbohydrates because they turn into sugar within the body, which can lead to weight gain in cats. Cats have a higher protein prerequisite than many other animals. Read the label of your cat food before purchasing to make sure it is higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates.
If your cat has gained weight, one of the surefire ways they can successfully lose it is to exercise and play more. Many cats become sedentary as they get older, which makes them more likely to sleep and less likely to move around. Kittens generally do not have these problems, as they burst with energy and constant joy.
You can use a cat teaser wand by dragging it around the house and enticing them to chase after it. You can toss a ball into a room and watch them run after it. Puzzle feeders are also a great way to help increase activity. Cats also tend to like laser pointers. You can also try placing their food in different areas of the house daily so your cat must hunt for it to find and eat it.
Cats can sleep up to sixteen hours daily, making them lethargic and inactive. Ensure your cat gets regular exercise to keep them fit and trim. It keeps their muscles strong and triggers quality mental stimulation. Sharing in playtime also encourages bonding between you and your cat.
Cats need a high protein diet to sustain their energy. They derive the optimum amount of nutrients they need from a high protein, low carbohydrate diet. Some of the benefits of this way of eating include:
Cats who eat this way also tend to suffer less from chronic illnesses, like chronic kidney disease. Not only can this process of eating help your cat maintain a healthy weight, but it can also increase their lifespan.
Just like humans, cats can gain weight very easily. Because cats are so small, slightly overfeeding them with excess food or extra treats can result in an unhealthy weight gain over time. Furthermore, as cats age, they are less likely to be active compared to when they are kittens. If you have any questions about your cat’s weight gain or how they can lose weight, reach out to your veterinarian.
For cat parents in Sewell, NJ and Deptford, NJ, Pet Check Urgent Care offers both general wellness and urgent care to pets. Call us today at 856-404-9858 or visit our wellness page to learn more about our weight check and body score programs for your cat!