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- Not a substitute for professional veterinary help.
When the numbers on the scale start to climb, humans might go on a diet or start hitting the gym. But what happens when your cat’s weight starts to get too high? It’s up to you to help them out—with fun activities and cat food for weight loss.
Cat obesity is a growing problem according to the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, who estimate that it affects up to 40% of cats. It’s not just an aesthetic issue, either. It can have devastating consequences on your cat’s health and longevity.
If your cat is more than a pound or two over what your vet says is their optimal weight, it’s time to take action. This may include increasing their activity and changing their diet, which could mean switching to a cat food for weight loss. We’ve found some of the best wet foods and dry foods formulated to help your kitty lose weight.
Tips for Helping Your Cat Lose Weight
An extra pound or two may not sound like much, but it can be a significant burden 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 can do:
- Talk to your veterinarian. They can rule out underlying medical causes for your cat’s weight gain and determine your cat’s goal weight.
- Adjust your cat’s diet to control calories and fat. You don’t want to drastically drop your cat’s intake, but you can start limiting treats and feeding them a weight-management diet.
- Encourage your cat to be more active by providing them with challenging surfaces to climb and giving them toys that inspire play.
Remember that healthy weight loss should happen slowly. According to Tufts University, a loss of 0.5% to 2% of a cat’s body weight is safe. You absolutely don’t want your cat to be on a drastic diet. Losing weight too quickly can trigger a dangerous condition for cats called fatty liver disease—which can result in liver failure. Instead, focus on slow and steady weight loss until your cat reaches their goal weight.
Determining the Best Cat Food for Weight Loss
Simply reducing your cat’s food intake may not be enough. If you just start feeding your cat less of their current food, they may not get the nutrients their body needs, which could lead to other health problems. A better approach is to switch to a low-fat, low-calorie cat food that’s specially formulated 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, including a weight-loss diet. Look for a cat food that lists a high-quality animal protein as the first ingredient and has low to moderate fat content. Expect the food to have a higher fiber content—this will boost your cat’s digestion and keep them feeling full on fewer calories.
The Best Cat Food for Weight Loss (Wet Food)
If you want to enjoy your cat’s companionship for as long as possible, helping them maintain a healthy body weight is a must, and switching to high-quality cat food for weight loss can help. Here are our picks for the best wet food for weight loss.
This canned cat food is specially designed to keep cats enjoying their meals while taking in fewer calories. It leads with chicken, chicken broth, and chicken liver and includes healthy vegetables, vitamins, and minerals (and taurine). What you won’t find on the ingredient list are preservatives, artificial flavors, or filler ingredients. It comes in 3-oz and 5.5-oz cans.
Ground turkey provides plenty of taste for your dieting cat. This “weight management” formula is high in protein and low in fat, making it a good choice for weaning your adult kitty off a high-calorie food. The consistency is midway between smooth pâté and chunky wet food, and it comes in 3-ounce cans.
Many cats put on weight as they get older and become less active. This canned food formula is designed to help your cat achieve and maintain a healthy body weight in their golden years. If your cat enjoys wet food, this ocean fish and poultry pâté will likely appeal to them.
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. It features chicken and tuna and comes in a 5.5-ounce can.
AvoDerm Indoor Weight Control Formula Wet Cat Food
Like all AvoDerm foods, this weight control formula for indoor cats offers ingredients that also support healthy skin and coat.
The Best Cat Food for Weight Loss (Dry Food)
If your cat is a kibble fan, or your schedule makes feeding dry food easier, here are some outstanding foods that will help your kitty achieve a healthy weight loss. These recipes have fewer calories (and less fat) than regular recipes for adult cats.
This tasty and healthy dry food has been carefully formulated by Hill’s veterinary nutritionists to keep adult cats satisfied—even as they safely and gradually lose weight. If your cat’s weight has sneaked up, this is a great way to keep them happy as they get healthier. It’s sold in 3-, 7-, and 15-pound bags.
This high-protein food pairs high-protein kibble with freeze-dried raw bits. It’s packed with chicken and other wholesome ingredients for balanced nutrition. Let your kitty enjoy these great tastes in a lower fat content food. Pick it up in 4.5- and 10-pound bags.
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. You’ll find it in 3-, 6-, and 12-pound bags.
This tasty chicken-and-rice recipe is formulated for weight management, lean muscle maintenance, and healthy immunity. Plus, it’s supplemented with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for balanced nutrition. It comes in a variety of sizes, ranging from 2- to 15-pounds.
Made with chicken and sweet potatoes, this grain-free formula is highly digestible but low enough in calories and fat to help your cat meet their weight loss goals. Pick it up in a 4- or 7-pound bag.
Merrick Purrfect Bistro Healthy Weight Dry Cat Food
This is one of Merrick’s tailored recipes, focused on kitties who need a bit less fat in a satiating kibble.
Formulated to manage your cat’s weight without compromising their nutrition, this dry food formula features deboned chicken, chicken meal, and turkey meal as the primary ingredients. You’ll find the bags in three sizes: 2.25-, 5.5-, and 11.5-pounds.
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. The food is available in 6-pound and 10-pound bags.
Featuring farm-raised chicken as a lean source of animal protein, this “healthy weight” formula for indoor cats is highly digestible while low in both calories and fat. It comes in 3-, 5-, and 14-pound sizes.
Formulated with 35% protein and just 9.5% fat, this formula features chicken meal as a lean but concentrated source of protein to support your cat’s lean muscle mass while helping them slim down. It’s available in 6- and 12-pound bags.