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How to Help Your Cat Lose Weight

Learn how to help your cat lose weight from board-certified veterinary behaviorist Dr. E'Lise Christensen, DVM in this Howcast video.


If you have chubby cat at home you're really not alone. In fact, people really actually like their cats a little chubby. The problem is that it's not healthy for them; cats are most healthy when they're at an ideal weight or even a little thin. So, if your veterinarian is complaining to you that your cat is a little overweight, don't take it personally. Instead, take action. The first thing you want to do is figure out how many calories you're feeding your cat per day and how many calories your cat needs to lose weight. Your veterinarian will help you figure this out. Once you have that discussed with your veterinarian, now you need to set up a system for feeding.

Keep in mind if you suddenly, drastically reduce the calories without an appropriate diet your cat will be hungry and maybe be more vocal, and maybe be kind of a pest. But don't take it out on your cat; if you were hungry all day and could only get food by pestering people, you'd do it too. Make sure you feed a food that is filling but low in calories and make sure that it takes your cat a long time to eat because that will allow the cat to have a better opportunity to feel full. One way to make sure that your cat takes a long time to eat is to use a food puzzle toy. There's many of those out on the market. I have a few here.

This one you put dry food in, the cat kicks it around and dry food comes out. Same thing with this one, although usually I like to start with it open so that the cat gets comfortable with eating out of them as a dish before closing it. The great thing about this and many other food dispensing puzzles for cats is you can make them more difficult or easier depending on your cat's level. Remember, food puzzles are like reading; you want to start with easy and work your way up to more difficult. If your cat eats wet food you can still make it more difficult for the cat to eat.

That's easy. Just put a piece of paper or a piece of fabric, or some other object in the cat's way. Don't make it too hard to start, though. As always, we want to make it easy for your cat to get the food at first, and then gradually make it more difficult. Then, make sure to add more activity to your cat's day. Many people really don't play actively with their cats as often as they should. Try to spend at least five to ten minutes a day keeping your cat up and moving around with predatory play. If you do those things and check the weight again in four weeks you should start to see the scale moving down and that's how you'll help your cat lose weight.

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