Obesity in domestic cats is so common that it often goes unnoticed. However, the reality is that over 60% of North American cats are overweight and most of these cases are caused by overfeeding and a lack of exercise. While we love to spoil our pets with treats and extra snacks, allowing them to become overweight can lead to serious weight-related health issues like diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, kidney disease and cancer. To prevent your cat from contributing to these growing statistics, we’ve put together some tips to help maintain their weight.
Provide adequate exercise
Preventing your cat from gaining weight in the first place is much easier than helping them lose weight after the fact. On average, you should incorporate at least 10-15 minutes of playtime with your cat every day. Try stimulating your cats natural hunting instincts with a remote controlled toy that resembles a mouse or bird. A good old shoe-lace or tin foil ball is also fun and affordable!
Follow a feeding schedule
The type and amount of food your cat receives is critical and will vary depending on your cats age. Younger, pregnant or nursing cats will require more protein, minerals and a higher calorie count than lazy or older cats. By sticking to a feeding schedule, offering distinct meals and not allowing your cat to “free-feed”, you can control their intake and adjust accordingly.
We know your cat is adorable! There’s no denying this, and one of the easiest ways for humans to show their love and appreciation is through treat-giving. Treats are high-fat and have low to no nutritional value. When training or simply expressing your love, consider giving your cat some extra attention or affection instead of an edible reward. The result may be more meaningful than a 5-second snack.
Book regular vet visits
Cats are quite stoic and rarely show signs of illness. While weight gain is most often associated with overfeeding or a lack or exercise, it may also be caused by an unknown illness. Booking annual vet visits will not only help you keep track of your cats weight and provide you with vet-recommended tips, but it will also provide regular insight into your cats wellbeing. Speak with a veterinarian today for more tips on feline weight prevention!