Feline obesity is at an epidemic level in the United States. If your kitty is too heavy, she’s at risk for many serious health problems and probably an early death. Slimming down your cat isn’t easy. It’s better to prevent the problem in the first place.
It’s important for us to recognize when our kitties are getting too heavy. Many people have the idea that their furry friends should be “beefy” to be healthy. Nothing could be further from the truth. You should be able to feel your kitty’s ribs easily. If you can’t, she’s not fluffy, she’s fat!
Too many of us humans equate food with love. We also tend to eat when we get bored. And we’re teaching our bad habits to our kitties.
Are you just starting out with a new kitten? You have a golden opportunity now to expand her culinary horizons. Kitties are creatures of habit. If you feed your new kitten only one kind of dry food, it will be difficult to change her diet later on in life. Feed her a wide variety of different flavors of canned and dry foods. This way she’ll be less likely to turn her nose up at something new later on in life.
Actually you’d be better off keeping her on a high-quality canned food her entire life. Dry foods are very high in carbohydrates, which your furry friend doesn’t need. She’s an obligate carnivore, which means she needs to get most of her nutrition from protein, not carbs. Feeding a kitty a high-carb diet causes her to store all those extra carbs as fat. A high-protein, low-carb diet is much healthier for a cat.
Don’t get into leaving a feeder full of dry food out for her all the time. This is THE leading cause of feline obesity. Prevent it by establishing set mealtimes right away, and feeding her a proper diet from the start.
If your furball is already an overweight cat, what can you do? The first thing is to have her examined by her vet to rule out any problems. Have her weighed, and be sure she doesn’t have any metabolic or thyroid disorders. These problems are not very common, but you’ll be convinced that her large girth is caused by one reason: overfeeding.
Too many vets hear the words, “but she hardly eats anything!” Obviously this isn’t true if she’s too heavy, but somehow too many people just can’t understand the connection between too much food and a fat kitty. It’s unlikely that she’s sneaking off to a fast-food restaurant or raiding the fridge late at night. You are in control of what and how much she eats, so it’s your responsibility to keep her healthy.
If you feed her dry food, think about changing her diet to a high-quality canned food. It make take a while to do this if she’s set in her ways, but you’ll be doing her a big favor. Many cats who are changed over to canned food actually lose some fat since they’re no longer eating so many carbs.
Consider how much you’re feeding your furry friend. If you’re following the recommendations on the food bag, she’s going to get too heavy eventually. If she’s been spayed, she only needs about 75 to 80 percent of the recommended amount. As she gets older, her metabolism slows, too, and she’ll tend to gain weight more easily.
Invest in a good scale. Your buddy shouldn’t lose more than one percent of her body weight in a week. If your feline weighs 20 pounds, that’s 360 ounces (20 x 16). One percent of 320 is 3.2 ounces, which is less than a quarter-pound per week. Crash diets can be dangerous for kitties, so don’t do anything drastic. It took her a while to get that heavy, and it’ll take her a while to lose it.
Exercise will help to burn calories too. None of us were meant to sit around all day. Our bodies were made to move, and regular exercise will help both you and your buddy. If she’s very overweight, it may be hard to get her to move much, as her joints may hurt. Start off slowly and gradually build up. Kitties love toys that move. Even a retractable tape measure is a great toy, as she’ll love to chase it as it disappears back into the case.
Show your kitty your love by giving her attention and playing with her, not by giving her treats!
Author: Darlene L. Norris
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