Most people know to bring in their new kitten to the veterinarian for vaccinations and regular check-ups until they’re around 16 weeks old. However, many people don’t know when their cat’s weight becomes a problem, especially in those awkward developmental stages. Obesity is diagnosed if a cat is 10-15% heavier than the breed standard. Technically, a Maine Coon is always going to be heavier than a domestic shorthair, but that’s nothing to worry about between breeds. Here are five tips to promote healthy cat weight loss and prevent a trip to the emergency animal hospital.
1. Cut the kibble
Reduce your cat’s intake of dry, processed foods. Because cats are carnivores, they need a high protein diet to survive. Though humans can gain nutrition and lose weight by going vegan, this isn’t an option for cats. People who have done this in the past have unfortunately caused serious health complications for their furry friends. This has resulted to a trip to the emergency animal hospital. Canned and raw foods have fewer calories than their kibble counterpart, and incorporating even a little more wet food into a cat’s diet can help improve their weight.
2. Boost the fiber
Boosting your cat’s fiber intake will help them lose weight and improve their overall health. Just like it’s important for humans to get a lot of nutrition, cats need it too. Fiber will improve your cat’s metabolism and give them the energy to play. If you notice your cat having an adverse reaction to its new food, try a couple different options before taking them to an emergency animal hospital. That, or call your veterinarian — they will have a list of healthy food options and varieties for your cat to try.
3. Play more
Cats sleep between 16 and 20 hours a day — nearly two-thirds of their lives! It’s important to keep them active when they’re awake. Try breaking out a laser pointer or investing in some new, interesting cat toys. However, don’t let your cat outside for a run. Though this may be a good way for cats to get some exercise as they explore, cats are meant to be kept indoors as a domestic breed. Not only are cats invasive species when they’re let outside, they’re at risk for serious injury, disease, infections, and bugs. Avoid a trip to the emergency veterinarian by crafting new play spaces indoors, or interactive places for your cat when you’re not home.
4. Separate food bowls in multi-cat households
If one cat is fatter than the other, try feeding them in different locations. It’s likely that the larger cat is dominating at meal-time and eating more than their fair share. Try putting dishes in separate rooms and block off access to food sources between meals for your overweight cat.
5. Stop the treats
Your cat will survive without eating between meals. This includes treats. If your cat is bothering you for a treat, it’s only because you’ve reinforced this behavior. Distract your cat by playing, or try out healthy treat alternatives like small pieces of tuna or chicken.
Above all else, remember to discuss your options with your local pet hospital or veterinarian before you try any one weight loss method for your cat friends. You don’t need to wait for an emergency to become familiar with our veterinary services. Get the best care you can find for all of your pet’s health needs. We are more than just an animal hospital. Call 520-888-3177 for more information about our specialty services on site, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.