Many cat owners like to make New Year resolutions, and often, that resolution is to trim a few pounds. Well, what is good for cat owners is often good for the cat. Obesity in cats can lead to diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease - all can be expensive when caring for your kitty.
There are several ways you can help provide better nutrition for your cat and here are just a few:
Calculate Calories - If you don’t know how many calories your pet needs each day, you don’t know how much to feed. And don’t think you can trust the bag; feeding guides are often formulated for adult, un-spayed or un-neutered cats. That means if you have an older, spayed or neutered indoor lap cat you’re probably feeding 20% to 30% too much if you follow the food’s instructions. Instead, ask your veterinarian to calculate the proper number of calories your pet needs each day. At The Cat's Meow we are happy to provide such a calculation for you.
Measure Meals - A cat parent’s single greatest tool in the fight against excess weight is a measuring cup. Many cat owners simply feed an “all-day buffet” or “just keep the bowl full” feeding method. After you calculate how many calories your cat needs, determine how much food you should feed each meal – and measure it.
Tactical Treating - If you’re going to give your cats extra goodies, make ‘em count. Too many cat treats are “calorie grenades” laden with sugar and fat inflating up our cat’s waistlines. I like using something simple, such as a prescription tooth diet (it is a regular cat food, but our cats think it is a delicious treat). There are also several dried seafood/meat options that are low in calorie but high in flavor.
Hustle for Health - When it comes to living a long, pain-and disease-free life, research proves our most powerful partner is daily exercise. This goes the same for your kitty! We recommend tossing treats to your kitty and making them chase it across the room. You can also try out one of the many food puzzles we list on our website. Try playing with a laser pointer, a remote-controlled toy, or ball of paper for 5 to 15 minutes each day. Not only does it provide environmental enrichment and bonding time, it will also keep your kitty healthy.
Cut Down the Carbs - Most cats don’t need a carbohydrate based diet as they are carnivores. Many dry food diets are very high in carbohydrates when you analyze the food label. Be sure to check with your veterinarian before making any diet changes; however, we generally recommend a canned/wet food diet for your cat which can be supplemented with dry food as a treat.
* Portions of the above provided by articles written by Dr. Ernie Ward.