How To Get My Cat To Lose Weight? A Cat Weight Loss Plan

Posted: November 8, 2021 by Anita

how to get my cat to lose weight
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According to the Association of Pet Obesity Prevention, 58% of pet cats are overweight or obese. Obesity makes your cat susceptible to living a short and illness-filled life. 

Some of us cat owners (myself included) don’t give much thought to what and how much our cat is eating. We fill that cat bowl and leave it up to our cats to gauge how much they should eat.

Some cats are good at portion controlling themselves; others kinda suck at it.

In this article, I discuss:

  • why your cat might need to lose weight
  • how to get a cat to lose weight
  • using a cat calorie calculator
  • how to get your cat on a diet

Why your cat might need to lose weight

Fat cats are predisposed to several diseases that can compromise their quality of life and shorten their lifespan. Here are six common illnesses associated with cat obesity:

  • Urinary Tract Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Chronic Kidney Disease
  • Liver Disease (such as hepatic lipidosis which is the accumulation of fat on the liver)
  • Asthma

Just like humans, if your cat eats more calories than its feline body uses, it will gain weight over time. Less energy expenditure (coupled with energy-dense cat food full of carbohydrates) can cause your cat to become overweight.

A cat is considered overweight when he is 10% heavier than the average cat’s normal weight. Your cat is deemed obese if it is 20% heavier than the average cat’s weight. 

To read more about how much your cat should weigh, click here.

How many calories should a cat eat?

How many calories do cats need? On average, a cat should be eating 20 calories per pound of weight per day to maintain its current weight. For example, a 10-pound cat will need to eat 200 calories a day to maintain that 10 pounds.

If your cat is getting fatter, you might be giving him too many cat calories per day.

It can be challenging to tell if you’re overfeeding your cat. Obesity happens over time, and you probably won’t notice until the weight gain has occurred.

A healthy weight for a cat starts, from the beginning, with good nutrition and exercise habits.

How to tell if your cat is overweight

The best way to determine whether your cat is healthy or overweight is by using the Body Condition Score (BCS). The BCS method considers the body frame and muscle mass of your cat:

  • check to see if you can see your cat’s waistline from above
  • petting your cat’s side to feel for ribs
  • does your cat have a waistline? Can you feel his ribs? If the answer to those questions is yes, your cat might have gained some weight.
  • Check the chart below.

You grade or score your cat anywhere from 1 to 9, with one being thin and nine severely obese. A score of 4 or 5 is considered average weight. If your cat scores over 5, then it is overweight.

BCS chart from Reddit

If your cat turns out to be overweight, it might be time for you to talk with your vet to develop a plan of action for your cat’s weight issues.

How to help your cat lose weight

Time to help your cat lose weight by placing it on a cat diet plan. This is where the fun begins!

How many calories does a cat need to lose weight? In order for your cat to lose weight, your cat needs to eat fewer calories than it’s currently eating.

So, for instance, if you want your 10-pound cat to get down to 8-pounds then your cat must go from consuming 200 calories a day to eating 160 calories a day (8 lbs X 20 calories per pound of weight)

However, it’s not that simple because putting your cat on a starvation diet is dangerous and can cause serious death by liver damage. We don’t want that!

I could bore you to tears with calorie calculations and formulas, but I’ve found an easy way (because I suck at math).

So, I found this fantastic Cat Calorie Calculator to help you develop a cat weight loss program. Please be sure to consult your cat’s veterinarian to make sure you’re feeding your cat enough calories.

How to put a cat on a diet

I found this great Calorie Calculator (click here) to help you figure out how much you should be feeding your cat. Please be sure to consult your cat’s veterinarian to make sure you’re feeding your cat enough calories.

What is so great about this cat calorie calculator is that it figures out how much you should feed your cat to lose weight.

Here’s the information you need to gather:

  • how much your cat weighs now. If you don’t know what you could do is step on your scale while holding your cat. Write down that number then you step on the scale. Then subtract your weight from the number you got while holding your cat.
  • your cat’s BCS score from above using the purina BCS chart
  • the number of calories per cup of your cat’s food

How much should I feed my cat to lose weight?

If you want to know how to get a cat to lose weight, you will love the cat calorie calculator. Can overweight use this tool to determine how many calories your cat should consume to lose weight? The cat calorie calculator calculates:

  • what your cat’s ideal weight should be
  • percentage your cat is overweight
  • estimated daily calories your cat should eat
  • Click on the food tab and enter how many calories per cup (or can if your cat eats wet cat food)

The best way to put your cat on a diet is to transition into this healthier lifestyle. Just think about it; it took time for your cat to gain that weight, and it’s going to take time for your cat to get back to a healthier weight.

How to transition your cat to diet cat food

As stated before, it is best to transition your cat when changing types of cat food. You want to switch to the new food over seven days gradually.

Here’s what transitioning looks like:

  • Day 1 – 75% old food, 25% new food
  • Day 2 – 70% old food, 30% new food
  • Day 3 – 65% old food, 35% new food
  • Day 4 – 60% old food, 40% new food
  • Day 5 – 50% old food, 50% new food
  • Day 6 – 25% old food, 75% new food
  • Day 7 – 10% old food, 90% new food

By day 8, your cat should be fully transitioned to the new food. Avoid giving your cat any treats while transitioning to fresh food.

How often should you feed a cat

The first thing you should do is start feeding your cat a specified amount of food at a specified time every day. This way of feeding your cat is called meal feeding.

So if your cat is supposed to consume a cup of cat food a day, you would split it into two feedings of a half-cup each, making sure to feed your cat the exact two times every day.

The method of feeding where you plop down a bowl full of cat food and let your cat eat and eat and eat is called free feeding. Free feeding could lead to an overweight cat.

Your cat is an obligate carnivore. What the hell does that mean? It means that your cat must eat meat. Cats can’t make amino acids and other essential vitamins on their own as humans do, and they must get their amino acids and various crucial vitamins from meat.

Is my cat getting enough exercise?

How much exercise is your cat getting? Along with dropping calories by eating fewer calories, your cat needs to become more active to burn calories efficiently.

Cats are meant to be very active creatures. Cats in their natural habitat are hunters who expend a lot of energy pursuing food. 

You can help your cat get the exercise that it needs by providing the motivation:

  • No cat can resist the laser pointer. It is a great interactive toy for your cat. And it doesn’t take much effort from you. Click here to check out prices from Amazon.
  • Theo, my cat one, loves climbing his cat tree. Click here to check out the one I got him from Amazon. Use the laser pointer to motivate your cat to climb it.
  • The rainbow cat charmer will have your jumping for joy and burning calories. Click here for more information from Amazon.



Conclusion

In this article, I discussed:

  • why your cat might need to lose weight
  • how to get a cat to lose weight
  • using a cat calorie calculator
  • how to get your cat on a diet

If your cat is getting fatter, you might be giving him too many cat calories per day.

It can be challenging to tell if you’re overfeeding your cat. Obesity happens over time, and you probably won’t notice until the weight gain has occurred.

Fat cats are predisposed to several diseases that can compromise their quality of life and shorten their lifespan. Here are six common illnesses associated with cat obesity:

  • Urinary Tract Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Chronic Kidney Disease
  • Liver Disease (such as hepatic lipidosis which is the accumulation of fat on the liver)
  • Asthma

Free feeding your cat can lead to obesity. The best method for feeding your cat is the meal feeding method. The meal feeding method gives your cat a specified amount of cat food at a specified time every day.

How much exercise is your cat getting? Along with dropping calories by eating fewer calories, your cat needs to become more active to burn calories efficiently.

Cats are meant to be very active creatures. Cats in their natural habitat are hunters who expend a lot of energy pursuing food. 

You can help your cat get the exercise that it needs by providing motivation.

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