Feline obesity has been one of the main threats to the health of cats for several decades. It is estimated that 40% of cats worldwide are obese, which exposes them to suffer from cholesterol, depression and lower their guard against possible infections and diseases by weakening their immune system.
The explanation for this increase in obese domestic cats is simple. In the comfort of home they stay away from the need to hunt and their diet, based on feed or wet food, is rich in carbohydrates. But is it possible to remedy it? Yes, in the following lines we discover how to achieve it.
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Causes of obesity in cats
The most obvious triggers for weight gain in cats are a sedentary lifestyle and a high calorie diet. Our cats, in general, move less than they should and eat more than they need , also abusing carbohydrates.
However, it is no less true that there are some diseases, such as diabetes, feline urological syndrome, hepatic lipodosis or hyperthyroidism among others, that promote obesity. Stress and contraception also play a role. In fact, neutered or spayed cats are 3 times more likely to be obese .
Do you know if your cat is fat or is getting fat?
There are several very simple tricks that will help you identify if your cat needs to lose weight. The first one consists of taking your pet on your lap and feeling its back, belly and side. In a cat’s weight, its spine and ribs are easily felt.
If your belly rocks when you move or is stiff, rather than firm, it indicates that you need to lose weight. The other trick hangs around your mobility. Is it hard for you to walk? Have you lost the characteristic curve of the cat when moving? If you have answered affirmatively to both questions you should go to your vet to start a weight loss regimen .
Never undertake such a process by establishing your diet on your own. It is recommended that you visit the specialist to tell you what is the ideal weight for your kitten according to its breed, age and whether or not it is neutered or spayed.
How to tackle obesity in cats
As you can guess from what has been said so far, whether your pet is already obese or if you intend to prevent this situation, your efforts have to focus on their diet and exercise . It is effective to put a monthly program on a sheet of paper with the initial weight and the target weight containing the actions to be implemented.
You should place it in a frequented place so that it does not fall into oblivion. Likewise, it is convenient that you consult with your veterinarian so as not to compromise the health of the animal. Next, we delve into the two pillars on which any weight loss plan must be based.
You should pay special attention to what your cat eats, when and how much. Proteins should be a priority in your daily food routine. Therefore, bet on a specific dry feed for obese cats or combine the low calorie weight with soft food, since it usually constitutes an interesting protein source.
The specific feed for minima who need to lose kilos is usually based on protein of animal origin (meat), rice, minerals, vitamins and L-carnitine. Everything you need to stay nourished, satiated, control caloric intake and activate your metabolism in order to promote loss.
Never offer him the remains of your food , many of the foods that humans consume do not belong to the natural diet of felines. Set regular eating times and provide small amounts. It is preferable that it is not completely satiated. Divide the recommended daily amount into 3 servings throughout the day.
Encourage him to exercise
You must motivate him to run, jump and climb. Explosive exercises are the most indicated, also that you accompany him. He will be more willing to move if he finds that you want to play with him. Interactive toys in which you introduce food and he must figure out how to access it are well suited for the purpose at hand.
Prepare a play area and create a circuit or gymkhana with a tower that he must climb and encourage him to do it with the help of a laser pointer or a cord. Repeat it every day and do it with him. You will achieve a double objective , your best friend will exercise and you will both strengthen your bond.
Weigh him regularly to monitor his progress. To weigh him correctly you must first weigh yourself and then do it with him in your arms. You only need to subtract both results to know the actual weight of your cat. If after 2 weeks you hardly notice changes in his weight, consult your veterinarian to make the necessary adjustments.
What about positive reinforcement?
The only downside to this weight loss process is that you can’t turn to food as a reward after good behavior, but don’t despair. Water will be your ally. Accompany your meals with water so that you are satisfied before. Thus, you can take advantage of those leftover feed as positive reinforcement each time you complete the gymkhana.
Remember that catnip can become another of your allies to achieve the collaboration of your cat in the new gymnastics sessions that you are going to propose. As you can see, if your pet is overweight, arm yourself with patience and follow these guidelines. With your support and company you will get it for sure.
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