If your cat has recently packed on a little too much weight, in may be time to help them lose it. Obesity in cats and dogs is on the rise due to poor food quality and food allergies. Many would blame feeding pets table scraps, but if you look at the ingredients list on the leading cat and dog food brands, you may be disgustingly surprised. Here are 5 tips to help you encourage weight loss in your little furry dough ball.
Switch Your Cat’s Diet
As I said above, the most popular brands are some of the worst kinds of cat food. You want to always check the first 5 ingredients and they should not contain anything grain, starch, or corn related. You also want to avoid foods that contain soy and random vegetable oils. For more information on how to find the perfect food, please read my post “All Cat Food Is Not Created Equal”. If your cat is on a strict dry food diet, that is a recipe for disaster. Cats acquire most of their liquids from their diet. This is why it is important to feed them no less than 50% of their diet in wet food. Most cats typically sip water here and there. When a cat is on a dry diet, they will not drink more, they will just become dehydrated. Prolonged dehydration causes the body to store fat more readily. This is why they tell us humans it is important to drink enough water. It is all a part of digestion.
Put Your Cat On An Eating Schedule
Cats need to be on a steady schedule for feeding in order for their digestive tract to stay in tip-top shape. You can do two large feedings, or several small ones. Just make sure they are getting fed at the same time every day. For cats who are prone to puking, smaller meals are best.
Encourage Play & Exercise
This is where you have to do a little work! Some cats just don’t find toys interesting and need encouragement to play. Great toys you can use with your cat to help them play are cat wands, string toys, and catnip filled toys. You will want to play with them twice a day, again, at the same time every day. Schedule is very important with cats.
Allow Sun Bathing
All living creatures (even plants and bugs) need vitamin D3! Just because a cat is covered in hair doesn’t mean they don’t need it! The sun rays get absorbed through the hair follicles. D3 is very important for muscle growth and regeneration, gums and teeth, digestion, and yes, breaking down food. If you do not allow your cat to venture outdoors, allow them to have a window that has direct sunlight. There are also window crates that can be installed which will allow your cat even more access to the outdoors without actually having to be outdoors.
Adopt A Play Buddy
If your cat is alone, it may be a good idea to adopt a friend. Not all cats enjoy other feline company but most do better when they aren’t by themselves. Cats aren’t pack animals but they are prone to depression and boredom when they are housed alone. This is believed to be the cause of their hunter and play instincts being repressed. When you have other cats or animals in the home, it gives your cat something to do.
Remember that weight loss takes time. Your cat doesn’t understand the process but they will be more than happy to cooperate when it is done the right way. Diet and play are the main focus points. Your cat will live a healthier and happier life when he/she is at the appropriate weight.