We all love our fluffy cats, especially if they are a little bit bulky and soft to cuddle. But sometimes you have to pay more attention to your cat’s figure and whether its weight is normal for its age or not. Regular weight checks can prevent several health problems such as arthritis, diabetes, heart disease and liver problems. Fat cats can also suffer from bladder disease that requires special nutritional habits. Moreover, those infected with diabetes need to be closely monitored and require strict care. Therefore, it is not easy to put your cat on a diet before consulting a vet. Small portions of food just don’t make a diet. However, if you know what your expectations are when you try to change your cat’s meal plan, then this guide will help to keep your cat on the right track when it comes to nutrition and healthy body.
STEP 1: Does Your Cat Need to Lose Weight?
Most veterinarians believed that those cats that have over 20% body fat are overweight. More simply, if you look your cat from above and it doesn’t have a waist when you look its profile, you should put your cat on a diet! They should not have folds of fat while walking. You should not see the ribs but you should feel them by touch. The ideal weight of a cat depends on age, breed, lifestyle, habits and sex, but the average adult cat has 6-10 lbs., while females have less.
1lb to 3lb excess of fat for the cat is like 40 lbs. for humans. So we have a problem with an obese cat. Cats that have been neutered or sterilized should not eat a lot. Their owners are offering too much food and not enough exercise which results in weight-gain. Offering any kind of food might also be a big problem. That is why we would like to once again warn you that before putting your cat on a diet it is important to consult your veterinarian. Drastic changes in the amount or type of food can cause digestive problems for cats. Your veterinarian will determine if your cat has health problems caused by obesity.
STEP 2: Help Your Cats Adapt to the New Diet!
Adapting to the new diet plan requires patience. Cats that are used to free feeding tryout may be confused or dissatisfied with strict diets, especially with a small meal or if there is strange and unexpected flavor or structure of the food they eat. If the animal leaves the food unfinished or untouched, remove it after half an hour and try again when it’s time for the next meal. Aromatic spoonful of meat such as chicken or beef can discard over new food and it will stimulate their appetite. Also, in moments when hunger prevails, cats become not so picky about food and they start consuming their diet meals.
For cats to stay healthy, they should lose from 0.5 to 2% of their total weight. For example, if a cat has 18lbs. it should lose about a pound a month. Losing weight too fast can cause a problem, such as liver disease. If this happens, consult your veterinarian immediately and the veterinarian will be able to adjust the size of the meal or recommend vitamin supplements. Being overweight is not the only reason why cats have to go on a diet. Your veterinarian may prescribe certain food that is essential for taking care of the current health state of your cat, like hair, dental disease, problems with bladder and urinary infections. Cats that are allergic to most proteins put in their food require a special diet that is adjusted to their senses.
*Food for Cats with Diabetes
Cats with diabetes are often overweight and they are unable to produce insulin, the pancreas’s hormone that converts food into energy. Therefore, you have to put your cat on a diet that will be specially programmed by your veterinarian. In a strict diet plan it should be avoid soft or wet type of food, the one that is high in sugar that can result in a rapid accumulation of glucose in the blood. They need food rich in carbohydrates and fiber to stabilize blood sugar levels after eating. Some cats require more protein and less carbohydrate. Never change the diet without an advice from your veterinarian.
If you put your cat on a diet you should buy more canned and dry food, because it often helps in stabilizing the insulin. Cats receiving insulin injections may respond well to a special diet so that they will no longer need the injections. If the cat does not want to eat a new food, talk to the veterinarian so you can find an acceptable replacement.
Cats with diabetes need to eat regularly so they can stop insulin overdose. Meals should be two to three times a day. If your cat receives insulin tryout injections, usually it will take them twice a day after the cat digests the meal.
STEP 3: Continue to Visit the Veterinarian
As long as the diet lasts, you must regularly take your cat to the veterinarian so that results can be measured and compared. In the mid of the diet, the cat might experience several changes in the body and the blood structure. Therefore, the veterinarian can perfectly estimate at any moment of the diet if your cat is on the right track to becoming the next super model.
We hope this little guide helped you get some answers to decide whether or not you should put your cat on a diet and how to manage the whole process. We also wish you good luck on taking some pounds down!
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Featured image credits: Alison Groves - Flickr