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5 Do's and Don'ts to Maintain Your Cat's Weight

Cute cat sunning itself happily
Feline obesity may lead to major health issues in cats of all ages. So you need to keep tabs on your cat’s weight, whether you are concerned about your cat becoming overweight, or you simply want them to maintain a healthy weight. Keeping your kitty at the optimal weight may seem like a daunting task, but it shouldn't be a challenge if you stick to a routine. Avoid raising a tubby tabby with these do’s and don’ts.

1. DO Schedule a Feline Wellness Exam

Don't wait until your cat develops health issues to schedule a check up with the veterinarian. Wellness exams should be part of a regular routine in cat care. During an examination, your vet can suggest a healthy weight for your cat and possibly recommend a balanced diet that can help your kitty lose weight if necessary.
A check up can also rule out possible health issues. If your cat is putting on weight without an obvious reason, a medical issue could be causing the weight-gain. For instance, feline diabetes or thyroid issues may cause an increased appetite in your cat. If your vet determines that your pet has a health issue, veterinary treatment may prevent obesity.

2. DON'T Leave Food Out All Day

If you're concerned that your cat might be putting on too much weight, don't keep the food bowl filled throughout the day. Instead, fill your kitty's food dish at meal times only. If he or she leaves some food, remove it, and wait until the next scheduled meal time to put out more food. By leaving food out all day, your feline friend could be overeating and consuming too many calories.

3. DO Get Kitty Moving

Most everyone recognizes the importance of exercise for a healthy human body. Providing adequate exercise is also important for the health of your cat. If your feline companion has become somewhat of a cat couch potato, encouraging daily exercise may help control weight.
Break your cat out of a lazy routine by offering incentives. If your cat loves privacy hiding away in cozy spots, buy a kitty condo. A carpeted multi-level cat condo or tower offers plenty of climbing opportunity.
As your cat climbs and jumps to a favorite spot, they will burn calories, and every little bit helps. You might even attach a toy to encourage exercise.
Also, encourage your cat to chase a laser light. Most cats can't resist this, and it will keep kitty moving. Just be careful about where you aim the laser light, and keep it pointed away from eyes.

4. DON'T Forget to Be Creative

With a little ingenuity, you can tempt your cat to forage for his or her food. Chasing after a treat or meal may help keep your kitty in shape. The idea is simple. Take a cat-safe clear container and place your cat's favorite treat or food inside. The container should be small enough for your pet to swat and bat around.
Once your frisky feline sees the treats, he may be tempted to roll it or chase after the container in an attempt to get at the food. The thrill of the chase also satisfies a hunting instinct, which is inherent in most cats. By doing these actions, it may prevent boredom and keep your cat active.

5. DO Ditch (or Limit) the Dry Food

If you feed your cat dry food, it may become easy to overfeed. By choosing a canned variety, portion sizes are more controlled. Raw foods are a good choice for controlling weight as well. Read labels and be sure the diet is meat-based and easily digestible.
Keep your cat at a healthy weight by following the tips above. If you have further concerns, consult our veterinarians at Healthy Paws Veterinary Hospital & House Calls.