Care of obese cats
The optimum treatment of a obese cat consists of two main components:
- Diet (high protein, low carbohydrate canned or raw diet) - possibly
- Exercise (interactive toys, etc.)
Obviously, diet is a primary reason cats become obese, and a primary
means of combating it. Research now indicates that the high-fiber
low-calorie “Lite” foods are not as effective at treating
obesity as high-protein low-carbohydrate wet diets. Studies showed
cats lost more weight, maintained more muscle mass, and kept weight
off better on a low-carbohydrate canned diet than a “lite”
The low-carbohydrate dry foods are not effective, as they are very
high in calories. Studies of low-carbohydrate dry foods indicated
they were not effective at promoting weight loss.
A typical 3 oz can of cat food contains about 100 calories. By
contrast, a typical adult dry food contains 150 to 250 calories
per half cup, contains less protein and is less filling.
Portions may need to be limited in order to facilitate weight loss.
If your cat is currently eating some dry or Lite food, eliminate
that first. If weight loss does not occur, portion sizes may need
to be limited. Most cats need 6 to 8 ounces of canned or raw food
daily. The amount may vary by the size, age, and activity level
of the cat.
Never let your cat go without eating more than 24 hours. Fatty
liver disease (hepatic lipidosis) can occur if a cat does not consume
it’s daily requirement of protein, and can be life-threatening
if not treated quickly. Obese cats are especially at risk for fatty
One rule of thumb targets weight loss of 1% to 1.5% total weight
lost per week. Weight loss may occur more quickly at first, especially
if previously on a dry food diet, but ensuring your cat eats enough
food to meet its daily protein requirements is imperative.
Try to play with your cat for several minutes each day. Interactive
toys, such as “wand toys” are a good way to get your
There have been many advancements in understanding the epidemic
of obesity in our cats today. Where once the only recommendation
for helping our cats lose weight was to limit their portions and
resist their pleas for more, we now know the type of food can be
as important or more important than how much we feed.
Often, the best thing we can do for our chubby kitty is to eliminate
all dry kibble from their diet.
Brochure (printable version)
For futher information, visit:
and Obesity: The preventable epidemics by Dr. Elizabeth Hodgkins,
Obesity: An Epidemic of Fat Cats by Dr. Lisa Pierson, DVM
by Anne at CatNutrition.org
Cat: Know the Basics of Feline Nutrition by Dr. Lisa Pierson,
in Cats: how to get a cat to lose weight
Weight Loss and Diet in Cats by Winn Feline Foundation
last updated: 10/20/2009
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