Pet obesity is becoming a serious problem. The latest statistics show at least 58% of cats in the U.S are overweight or obese! With these statistics, pet obesity prevention is becoming a priority.
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How To Tell Whether Your Cat Is Obese
The easiest way to tell if your cat is obese is to check his body by standing over him. Cats at a healthy weight have a slight inward tuck between ribs and hips, comparable to our waistline.
You should be able to stroke your cat’s side and be able to feel his ribs. If you can look at him and count the ribs, he’s underweight. If there is a layer of fat that makes it impossible to feel the ribs, your cat is overweight.
Once you determine your cat is obese, there are changes you can put in place to help your cat lose weight. Here are five tips for pet obesity prevention in cats:
Note Cat’s Daily Food Intake
Pay attention to your pet’s daily food intake, including all those treats given here and there, and then reduce that amount by 25%.
Feed High Protein, Low Fat
Choose foods high in protein and fiber and low in fat. The experts recommend at least 30% protein in a cat’s diet. Kibble tends to be higher in carbohydrates than canned food.
Incorporate canned food into your cat’s diet. This will lower the carbs and add more water consumption for your cat, a win/win!
Check with your veterinarian before making drastic changes in your cat’s diet. It’s important for cats to lose weight gradually to prevent health problems such as hepatic lipidosis, or fatty liver disease,
Stop “Free Feeding”
If you leave food out for him and continually refill the bowl when it looks low, it is difficult to monitor exactly how much food is being consumed.
Look at the recommended portion size shown on the food can or bag for your cat’s weight. Do NOT give more food daily than the recommendation!
It’s easy to reward good behavior with treats, but limit it to one or two treats a day and consider healthier options, such as dehydrated salmon.
Treats are special, and should be treated similarly to dessert. Imagine eating as many desserts each day as number of treats you give your cat. Think about how much weight you’d gain at the end of a month!
Pump Up Activity Level
Above all, remember to indulge in daily activity and playtime. Schedule daily play sessions with your cat. Many cats love wand toys. Have 2-3 wand toys to alternate so your cat doesn’t get bored. They give cats an opportunity to practice their hunting skills, and gets them moving.
For cats that eat kibble, introduce a puzzle toy that encourages your cat to hunt for his food rather than simply eating from the food bowl. Puzzle toys provide mental stimulation and give your cat some exercise.
Pet obesity prevention in cats will help them live a longer and happier life. It’s good for your pet and good for you!