Posted on by Land of Meow

Land of Meow - Overweight Cat

Humans are known for making mistakes in self feeding. That invisible enemy of fun called ‘the calorie’ often gets away from us and we find ourselves signing up to gyms, diets or other forms of weight loss. Overeating in humans is complex but also simple – we like the taste of food and it gives us comfort.

Just like us, cats also love food and are susceptible to eating far more than their caloric needs. The driver for overeating in cats can be a common behavioural issue such as resource guarding, which is commonly found in cats who had to fight over small food supplies as kittens, or stress reduction - where food is associated with pleasure and offsets anxiety.  

 Land of Meow - BFI Risk Chart

Obesity is a growing problem in cats. It is estimated that over 50% of cats seen by veterinarians are either overweight or obese. Just like humans this is due to incorrect diet, feeding schedule and lack of exercise. Linda P. Case, MS, author of 'The Cat: Its Behaviour, Nutrition, and Health', says our kitties “are more sedentary, as compared to the days when they were barn cats and more active. They're little couch potatoes now and their nutrition needs are much lower, so it's easy to overfeed them.”

Saying no to your cat can be hard. The plaintive meow when they want food, and loving purrs when it has been given, can make it difficult to keep to a diet plan but not impossible. Before putting your cat on a diet, consider visiting your vet to ensure that your feeding plan will be a healthy one, as it is important that your cat's diet is balanced and complete for their current stage of life. Kittens and Seniors have very different caloric and nutrient needs. There are also several health issues that can affect your cat so if the weight gain is sudden or unusual the vet can diagnose if there are any underlying issues.

Here are 3 easy steps that you can easily introduce to help change your cats feeding patterns. Even if your cat is not overweight, instilling healthy eating patterns now will save you having to break a potentially bad habit later.

1. Portion Control

Cats fed two to three smaller meals a day tend to maintain their weight as they are unable to overeat in a single session.

Consider choosing food bowls that holder smaller portions so you don’t accidentally over-fill, or bowls that are designed to slow your cats eating like the Magisso Slow Feed Pet Bowls.

Land of Meow - Magisso Bowl with Cat  Magisso Slow Feed Pet Bowl in Orange

Land of Meow - Pet Food Label

2. Become a label reader.

Cat food labels contain a calorie guide which can help you in understanding how much of any single product you should be allowing your cat daily. Confirm the daily caloric needs for your cat with your vet and measure out the food appropriately.  

3. Add more play time to your cat’s routine

If your cat is a couch potato, start using games as a distraction when they mewl for food outside of set feeding times. The calories burned during a play/exercise session aid both in weight loss for your cat and the conditioning of muscle tone.

Land of Meow - Kitten and Toy

Remember - it is common to worry that reducing your cats food portions would make them angry, depressed or less likely to show affection. After all when a cat’s hungry it is the most affectionate animal in the world and will shower you with love, and most people will do anything to keep their pet happy. However a study in ‘The Journal of Veterinary Behaviour’ has found that after an 8 week trial, cats on a diet actually demonstrate more affection after they were fed on a restrictive diet. I guess absence does make the heart grow fonder! The good news being that cats don’t hold a grudge when you restrict their food intake and their healthier diet will see them live much longer and give you joy for years to come.

Land of Meow - Magisso Bowls Magisso Slow Feed Pet Bowl and Matching Water Dish

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