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When the numbers on the scale start to climb, you might go on a diet or start hitting the gym—but what happens when your cat’s weight starts to get too high?
Obesity in cats is a growing problem, according to the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, and it affects at least 40% of cats. What many cat owners fail to realize is that obesity is more than just an aesthetic issue – it can have devastating consequences for your cat’s health and longevity.
If your cat is more than a pound or two overweight, it’s time to step in. Keep reading to learn how to help your cat lose weight by increasing his activity and switching to a weight loss cat food.
Tips for Helping Your Cat Lose Weight
An extra pound or two may not sound like much, but it can be significant for a cat whose ideal weight is only 10 to 12 pounds. Obesity can increase your cat’s risk for cancer, diabetes, heart disease, osteoarthritis, and other health problems. It can also lead to a 2.8-fold increase in mortality, especially among older cats (age 8 to 12 years).
If your cat needs to lose weight, there are three things you should do:
- Talk to your veterinarian to see how much weight your cat needs to lose and to rule out underlying medical causes for his weight gain.
- Adjust your cat’s diet to control calories and fat. Don’t drastically slash your cat’s intake but start cutting calories by limiting treats and reducing your cat’s portions.
- Encourage your cat to be more active by playing with him, providing him with vertical surfaces to climb, and giving him toys that inspire him to play.
Healthy weight loss happens slowly. According to Tufts University, cats can safely lose 0.5% to 2% of their body weight per week. Losing weight too quickly can result in a dangerous complication called fatty liver disease which may lead to liver failure, so focus on slow and steady weight loss.
What to Look for in a Weight Loss Cat Food
Simply reducing your cat’s food intake may not be enough. If you just start feeding your cat less of his current food, he may not get the nutrients his body needs, and he could develop other health problems. A better approach is to switch to a low-fat, low-calorie cat food for weight loss.
Here are some things to look for in a good weight loss cat food:
- Complete and balanced nutrition
- Rich in high-quality, lean animal protein (at least 30%)
- Low-to-moderate fat content (about 10% to 12%)
- Digestible carbohydrates and dietary fiber
Cats are obligate carnivores, so protein is the foundation of any healthy diet for cats. Look for a recipe that lists a high-quality animal protein as the first ingredient with low-to-moderate fat content to control calories. Higher fiber content will boost your cat’s digestion and keep him feeling full on fewer calories.
Read on to see our top picks for the best cat food for weight loss.
The Best Cat Foods for Weight Loss
If you want to enjoy your cat’s companionship for as long as possible, helping him maintain a healthy body weight is a must and switching to high-quality cat food for weight loss can help.
Here are our top picks for the best cat food for weight loss:
When it comes to nutritional quality, nothing beats raw food and this healthy weight formula is packed with real chicken and other wholesome ingredients for balanced nutrition.Buy Now on Amazon for $39.99
A holistic weight control formula for cats, this recipe features fresh-caught Alaskan pollock to deliver protein-rich, low-calorie nutrition to help your cat lose weight.Buy Now on Chewy for $33.29
This recipe is formulated for weight management, lean muscle maintenance, and healthy immunity. Plus, it is supplemented with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for balanced nutrition.Buy Now on Amazon for $25.12
Made with real chicken and sweet potatoes, this grain-free formula is highly digestible but low enough in calories and fat to help your cat meet his weight loss goals.Buy Now on Chewy for $22.79
Formulated to manage your cat’s weight without compromising his nutrition, this dry food formula features deboned chicken, chicken meal, and turkey meal as the primary ingredients.Buy Now on Amazon for $32.29
This weight control formula is packed with lean protein and fiber-rich grains. It also contains the omega fatty acids your cat needs for healthy skin and coat without going overboard on calories.Buy Now on Chewy for $32.01
Made with wholesome, natural ingredients, this recipe is formulated to support your indoor cat’s healthy weight. It features wild salmon as the main ingredient and comes in under 400 calories per cup.Buy Now on Amazon for $28.22
Featuring farm-raised chicken as a lean source of animal protein, this weight management formula is highly digestible but low in both calories and fat.Buy Now on Chewy for $34.49
If your cat has a lot of weight to lose or has concurrent medical problems, this veterinary formula made with precise levels of fat and calories may be just what he needs.Buy Now on Amazon for $65.00
Formulated with 35% protein and just 9.5% fat, this low-fat formula features chicken meal as a lean but concentrated source of protein to support your cat’s lean muscle mass.Buy Now on Chewy for $39.78
Many cats put on weight as they mature, and this canned food formula is designed to help your cat achieve and maintain a healthy body weight in his golden years.Buy Now on Amazon for $23.49
Helping your overweight cat achieve a healthy body weight is one of your many responsibilities as a cat owner. If you want to be the best cat owner you can be, check out some of our other tips here!