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Getting cat to lose weight.

Species: Cat
Breed: Tabby
Age: 5-8 years
Dear Dr Marie,
We have just adopted a fat cat, and are trying to reduce his weight. He is around 7, and a house cat with access to a yard. I would class him as inactive, as he spends most of the day sleeping.
Previously he ate dry food, and we gave him 1 cup a day (in 2 half cup portions), which is less than the 1.5 cups recommend on the packet for a cat of his size to lose weight.
This didn't work so we are moving to wet food. We have chose the food carefully to be low carb, high moisture and decent meat. It says to feed him 6 3Oz cans a day, which seems excessive to me.
So my question is how much should we feed him for weight loss? We are thinking of feeding him dry in the morning and wet in the evening to get him used to the change. Is this a good idea? Should we just feed him twice a day and leave the food out till it's gone, or take away food that isn't consumed within a short time period?
Many thanks for any help you can give,
Nick


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

It's often a challenge to get cats to lose weight! There are a number of "weight loss" foods out there for cats. Some do well on a high fiber food (similar to us eating a lot of salads), but most cats do better at losing weight on a low carb food.

Often, some of the prescription foods are much better at helping a cat successfully lose weight. I like Royal Canin Satiety or Calorie Control best.

It's impossible for me to say how much food he should eat in order to lose weight because every food is different. I would feed the recommended amount for a couple of weeks and then weigh him. (The best way to do this is to weigh yourself, holding the cat, and then subtract your weight). If he hasn't lost any weight, then reduce the amount slightly. Keep doing this every two weeks.

I think the mixture of wet and dry like you are doing is a good idea. However, you should have a set amount that he gets throughout the day. So, if you are going to leave it out all day, if he tends to finish his ration early in the day this isn't going to work because he'll be hungry by nighttime. You may need to reserve some food for night time.

Some other things that may help include:

  • Using a treat ball to feed him his dry food. This way he has to do some exercise in order to get his food.

  • Putting his food in small amounts in several places around the house so that he has to walk around to get it.

  • Playing games with him like using a laser pointer or a cat toy that he likes.



Remember, with weight loss in cats it is a SLOW process.

Hope he does well!

Dr. Marie.

---This question was asked in our Ask A Vet For Free section.---


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.