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Calling all kitty CHUBSTERS! – this ones for you! If you have a fat cat in your life then pay attention!
We love them, we hug them and we feed them, but what happens when you feed them a little too much?! It seems silly but overweight cats can have a host of health problems that can last a lifetime and for us we have let our cats get a bit to fat from time to time. can last a lifetime including (but not limited to):
While a fat cat can be cute, and great for meme’s it can cause real health concerns that last a lifetime that can include things like:
- Arthritis and joint problems (leading to lameness)
- Liver issues
- Diabetes mellitus (sugar diabetes)
- Inability to groom properly leading to skin problems and parasites
- Heart and Respiratory diseases
- Shortened lifespan
Plus, if none of that is enough to convince you, then just think of the associated vet costs! (If you need help with vet bill affordability check out this post)
I mentioned in my Indoor Cat Care post that you are more likely to have a fat cat if they stay indoors and they are prone to weight gain due to the limitations on the amount of exercise they get. However, all cats can have weight problems for a variety of different reasons from what they are eating to the amount that they eat! You should always check with a vet to make sure there are no underlying conditions that could be causing the weight gain and then next you should look at how, where and when you are feeding them. Here are a few ways to get the weight back under control and turn a fat cat into a healthy and happy cat.
*There are many reasons that cats gain weight (and lose it) and you should check with your vet if you have any concerns or if the weight gain is very rapid. It could be a sign of pregnancy in un-neutered females or other more serious conditions*
Regulate Feeding Times – Breakfast and dinner is what we do in our house but you can always do times that suit you. Making sure you only feed your cat at certain times of the day and lift the bowls up when they are done and this can help to regulate their hunger in the same way it does for humans and this controls the amount they eat. If your cat is a grazer and prefer to eat throughout the day, only put food down at the regulated times but don’t bring the bowl up. Ensure that all members of the household know these times and don’t accidentally double feed (we realized several months ago we were accidentally feeding our cats 4 times a day and couldn’t work out how they were getting so porky!)
Check the food – Check the type of food your cat is eating. Are they stealing off plates too? do they get “bonuses” and treats? you should cut these down and ensure the biscuits or wet food that they are being given is part of a well-rounded diet. Check the back of the labels to ensure the food is a good quality. If you are uncertain on what type of food to feed your cat then check out my post: Wet vs Dry Cat Food: Which is Best?
Sneaky Seconds (and thirds) – Make sure they aren’t sneaking food from elsewhere; neighbors, or doing some hunting of their own! Our fat cat likes to visit an elderly neighbor of ours if he is feeling a bit hungry and we had to kindly ask them to deter from feeding him. Make sure that you clean excess food away from plates or the kitchen if they have access and ensure you have a bin with a lid, a few days into the food control and they will go hunting for things.
More Playtime – Play with them more, this provides more exercise for both indoor and outdoor cats, as well as providing extra stimulus to keep them entertained. The more exercise they get, the better! You may think that your cat doing outside will automatically get them more exercise but more often than not they are sleeping in a bush instead of on the sofa so make sure you actually see, and help them to exercise.
Pick up the bowls – If your cat is a grazer but seems to be non-stop eating you can pick the food bowls up after meal times so that there is only food down for a set period of time. This helps with regulating feeding and not encouraging overeating. Grazers may not like this at first but should generally get used to the idea so you should try doing it for at least a week.
Fresh Water – Providing fresh water at all times can help keep your cat properly hydrated and regulate their appetite. It is also essential if you feed your cat dry food which can dehydrate them.