Today, the feline population has started mirroring the obesity issues of their human partner. Unfortunately, this has begun escalating the associated health risks among household cats. A few chubby streaks here and there are acceptable, but when your pet starts to put on unwanted weight, it is no longer cute. The issues worsen further if a pet parent doesn’t realize that the pet has become overweight.
This extra weight can pose several health issues that affect your cat’s mobility and impact their lifestyle and wellbeing. However, this obesity doesn’t have to be a permanent story for your cats. Obese or overweight cats can retain a normal lifestyle with weight reduction.
In addition, with time, it can help with the subsequent reversal of weight-related diseases that ail your cat.
In this context, the cat food provided to your pet plays a significant role. So, let’s find the best weight management cat food!
In case you are looking for food for a kitten then our resource best cat foods for kittens help you to choose the right one, which can provide the required nutrition to your little furkid.
Why should your cat lose that extra weight?
Even a 2 pounds increase in the cat’s body weight might put your pet at the risk of developing severe medical issues. As soon as you notice your cat gaining weight, it is important to start working on weight management with the proper diet practice.
When left unmanaged, excessive weight could lead to these health issues:
- Heart disease
- Type-II diabetes
- Arthritis or osteoarthritis
- Joint injuries
- Certain types of cancer, including intra-abdominal cancer
Generally, obese and overweight cats have shorter lives than their fitter counterparts. The key is to introduce a well-balanced diet for your feline’s existing body weight.
Starting a diet-based weight loss routine for your cat
Technically, weight loss for your cat would seem a simple task. The key is to reduce caloric intake and increase the burning of calories in the body. It is the formula for weight loss. However, it seems simple, yet a bigger picture lies within. It is essential not to create a diet plan for your obese cat without consulting a veterinarian.
If your cat is deprived of food for even 2 days, it could lead to life-threatening liver issues like hepatic lipidosis because a cat’s body physiology isn’t the same as dogs or humans.
How Much Your Cat Eat for Weight Loss?
Your veterinarian can suggest the ideal caloric requirements of your cat depending on its build, body size, and daily activities. There is a formula in place to assist with the weight loss process. A domestic cat must weigh about 8 to 10 pounds.
Depending on how obese your cat is, the veterinarian might recommend a slow and targeted weight loss diet chart. However, losing weight too fast could negatively affect your cat’s health. So, it is essential not to rush things.
Moreover, it is crucial not to starve them at all. For example, if a cat weighs 18 pounds, we assume that the best weight range is 8 to 10 pounds. However, dropping weight this fast could affect your cat’s health.
So, a realistic goal would be 15 pounds, followed by a gradual decrease in body weight. Here is a general guideline to be followed for your cat’s daily caloric intake depending on the target weight:
|Caloric Intake (kcal)
Keep in mind that this guideline cannot surpass the guidance provided by your veterinarian.
How to Keep Your Cat Satiated While Reducing Weight?
When your cat isn’t full, it would look and crave more food. This leads to weight gain in the long run. If your cat has constantly been begging you for food even though you fed it recently, it is a sign that your cat isn’t satiated.
Your cat must get access to high-quality protein in its diet to feel complete. Cats in the past used to hunt their prey, gaining access to the best and freshest protein diet.
However, this is something most modern-day cats have been missing. Pet parents don’t necessarily pay attention to the type of protein that comes in the cat’s packaged food.
The key is to seek cat food rich in high-quality protein from a single source instead of multiple sources. Providing your cat with high-quality protein instead of by-products would keep them satiated for long and avoid overeating.
When practiced in the long run, this will help your cat lose that extra weight.
Necessary Ingredients for Cat’s Weight Loss
While a raw or homemade diet is the best thing you can give to your cat, working pet parents aren’t always possible. So, it is ideal that you know the necessary ingredients that should be a part of your cat’s diet.
Here are some ingredients that should be a part of your cat food:
- High-quality protein from fish or meat (duck, chicken, pork, etc.)
- Fatty acids (omega-3 & 6)
- Amino acids such as arginine and taurine (acquired from fish or meat)
Carbohydrates such as corn and rice in a small amount are suitable for your cat. However, they aren’t crucial for the cat’s diet. A small part of carbohydrates in the diet would provide the cat with the necessary energy required for weight reduction.
The more energetic your cat is, the better is a chance for weight reduction.
Make sure your cat food doesn’t have a lot of filler content that doesn’t provide any nutrition to your pet. Filler content is found mainly in dry food as compared to wet food. It is because dry food requires these fillers as a binding agent.
However, wet food doesn’t have any binding necessities. So, it is better to opt for wet food than dry ones.
If your cat currently relies on dry food, you can slowly transition them to wet ones. However, remember that cats do not like sudden dietary changes. So, it is vital to bring on the changes gradually. Additionally, wet food provides the cat with essential hydration while ensuring better digestive health.
Portioning food as per body weight
A cat at its ideal weight can consume 2 to 2.5 percent of food (in pounds) as per its body weight. Additionally, senior, less active, or overweight cats need to ingest 1.5 percent of their current body weight. Underweight or active cats can consume about 3 percent of food in pounds per their body weight.
Ideally, it would help manage the portion of food your cat eats. For example, if your cat eats twice a day and craves food throughout the day, it is vital to increase the number of meals without increasing the amount.
It will help keep your cat satiated throughout the day without increasing the feeding proportion.
What can you feed your cat along with such a diet?
It is important to check the cat food labels for ingredients as a pet parent. Check for cat food that contains ideal fat, protein, fiber, & moisture. Search for cat food with high-quality protein with meat-first as the base ingredient.
If your cat food has any grain content, it is better to prefer whole grains as they contain more nutrition.
Cats don’t just need protein for their weight loss journey. Cat food needs to contain fatty acids, minerals, vitamins, or amino acids. Apart from this, make sure your cat food contains non-synthetic preservatives such as Vitamin-E or Vitamin-C.
Synthetic preservatives can cause issues in the weight loss process. Additionally, it is vital to check the treats you give your cat apart from the diet. In the diet management process, we often forget that treats could also be loaded with calories.
Try to look for homemade alternatives to treat your cat instead of the store-bought ones. Even if you seek store-bought or online options, it is important to check for ingredients that do not include fillers with minimum fat content.
Also, avoid wheat, soy, or corn-based gluten fillers that might lead to weight gain issues. Also, check for added artificial colors and ensure that your cat is hydrated enough.
Also, ensure that your cat food should contain high-quality probiotics that provide better digestion of food. It helps promote better intestinal flora and a healthy gut. Better digestion means better nutrient absorption, increasing body metabolism with faster weight loss.
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Remember that cats are obligatory carnivores, and they thrive with fresh meat they hunt down. So, you must provide your cat with high-quality protein to help with better muscle mass maintenance. More muscles mass allows your cat to stay metabolically active.
It helps your cat achieve a healthy weight-reducing and caloric deficit lifestyle. It is also essential to consult your veterinarian to ensure nothing goes wrong in the weight loss process.
It is important to keep your cat active by playing with them and keeping them engaged with interactive toys. Spend time with your cat, take them out on a quick walk, and notice any changes in behavior during the weight loss journey.