Currently over a third of our cats are overweight or obese. As an owner it can sometimes feel really daunting to try and help them lose weight.
Cats spend around 70% of their lives sleeping (lucky them!), this lazy approach to life can certainly contribute to weight gain, especially as they get older. Trying to motivate your moggy seems like an impossible task, however there are things you can do to help get them fit.
1) Choose the Right Diet
Of course, what is going into your cat will ultimately make the biggest difference to their waistline. Most standard cat foods are higher in fat as this is what a healthy active feline needs to keep themselves going. However, for a cat whose weight is creeping up, this type of food will only worsen the problem.
Use a proper weight loss food, like MORE Lighter. This diet contains a supplement called L-Carnitine which aids in turning fat to energy and helps cats maintain a lean body mass.
Diets are most likely to fail if the pet is feeling hungry. As this leads to begging, scavenging and the likelihood we will give in and pop more food or a few treats down. Alongside using a proper weight loss supplement MORE contains filling ingredients such as Potato Protein. This is key to being successful as cats feel satisfied and content with their dinner.
Remember to carefully weigh your cat’s food so you know exactly how much you are giving them each day. Watch our How Much Should I Feed My Pet video.
2) Play with your Cat
Our cats are programmed to conserve energy for hunting. However, much like us promising to go to the gym after a lazy day, this exercise often doesn’t happen. Getting cats off their furry backsides is key to getting them fitter. Many owners will suggest their cats aren’t interested in play but often this comes down to HOW they play with cats.
Use a variety of cat toys and keep in mind the perfect playtime is realistic. The point of playing is to mimic a hunt so rather than making big dramatic movements, try being subtler. Hide the frightened mouse toy around a corner! Or pop toys in slightly hidden places to encourage that ambush predator instinct! High quality catnip is brilliant for stimulating cats and getting them in a playful mood.
Dinner is guaranteed to get a cat up and moving. So, instead of feeding your feline in a normal bowl, use interactive toys or a simple cardboard box. Cut a few holes in the top and sides of a shallow cardboard box and make your kitty move the box and dig their paws in to get to their dinner. This simple but effective change in routine keeps cats more mentally stimulated and moving more.
Psst: you can also use an interactive treat toy for their dinner. Great for weight loss and highly entertaining for us owners.
Read our guide on Playing with Cats for tips on making playtime more exciting.
3) Cut Out the Treats
Of course, as devoted cat parents, we love to spoil our feline friends with tasty treats. The trouble is, as loving owners we can often be guilty of giving TOO many. Lots of treats will of course lead to weight gain!
Unfortunately, another weakness we have as owners is simply not realising our cats have gained weight. According to the 2022 PDSA Paw Report lack of awareness of obesity is increasing among pet owners. Regular weighing is key to seeing those subtle differences. However, the number on the scale doesn’t tell you everything you need to know about the health of your cat. Body scoring regularly gives you a real understanding of whether your furry friend is healthy.
For help on getting your cat on the scale and to understand how to body score check out our Guide on Weighing your Pet.
Reducing cats’ daily treats and making the switch from high-fat snacks to lower-calorie options is also key to keeping weight down. Why not just use a few of their kibbles from dinner as a treat during the day? This means they aren’t getting any extra calories but still feel spoiled.
As tempting as it can be, NEVER use human food. Yes, cats do adore cheese (as many of us do) but it is extremely unhealthy for our felines.
So, there you have it three tips to get cats fitter. Consistency is key, so don’t be disheartened if you don’t see rapid change, a healthier lifestyle and better diet will certainly lead to a happier healthier pet.