How to help your cat slim down
Does your cat need some help to lose weight? If so, they’re not alone. According to feline charity International Cat Care, it’s estimated that between 39% and 52% of cats in the UK are overweight or obese – but help is at hand. By choosing the right weight loss cat food and adopting a creative approach to feeding, your favourite feline will soon be back to their ideal weight.
It seems that middle-age spread isn’t something that affects just humans. Researchers from the University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College in Canada have discovered that after cats mature past the kitten phase, their weight continues to creep up until they are, on average, eight years old.
The survey findings included:
- Male cats tended to reach higher weight peaks than females
- Neutered cats tended to be heavier than unneutered cats
- Among the four most common purebred breeds (Siamese, Persian, Himalayan and Maine Coon), the mean weight peaked between six and 10 years of age
- Among common domestic cats, it peaked at eight years
How can you tell if your cat is overweight?
The Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association has a useful Cat Size-O-Meter that can help you identify if your cat is very thin, thin, normal, overweight or obese. As a guide:
- You should be able to see and feel your cat’s ribs, spine and hip bones.
- Your cat’s waist should be clearly visible when viewed from above.
- Your cats belly shouldn't be sagging underneath, there should only be a small amount of belly fat.
Being overweight can significantly impact on a cat’s health and wellbeing. Burgess in-house vet Dr Suzanne Moyes advises: “Too many calories and too little exercise causes obesity. This can lead to all manner of health and wellbeing issues including osteoarthritis, diabetes, cardiac disease and cancer – along with the inability to exhibit natural behaviours. Without regular monitoring, a cat’s weight can gradually creep up – and it can be hard for them to lose it. For very overweight cats, it will require a vet- devised weight loss programme, which may take up to a year before the cat reaches their ideal body condition.”
Too many calories and too little exercise causes obesity. Without regular monitoring, a cat’s weight can gradually creep up – and it can be hard for them to lose it. That’s why it’s worth investing in a weighing scale and getting into the habit of regularly weighing your pet.
A key factor in weight gain in felines can be neutering. While this is recommended by experts (find more about the benefits here >>) for both male and female cats, it does mean a cat’s needs can change as their body has less work to do. For example, did you know that just 48 hours after neutering, cats need an estimated 20% fewer calories?
Choose an award-winning cat food
To help address the issues associated with neutering, such as weight gain, Burgess has undertaken detailed nutrition research and developed Burgess Neutered Cat – which won GOLD at the PetQuip awards 2019 for the best Pet Product of the Year in Foods/Treats/Health cat category. This advanced, high protein recipe is suitable to feed from the age when a cat is neutered and contains:
- L-carnitine, a naturally occurring amino acid derivative involved in metabolism, for maintaining a healthy weight
- Controlled levels of minerals and cranberry to help support urinary tract health Yucca extract for stool formation and reduced odour in the litter tray
- Fibres to help prevent hairballs
- Dental defence technology, which contains a specialist ingredient to reduce plaque formation and support healthy teeth and gums
Never underestimate the importance of portion control
Along with choosing the appropriate food, accurate and regular weighing of food portions is essential to maintain a healthy weight. Here’s what to do:
- Use a kitchen scale to weigh out the correct daily amount of cat food as outlined on the packaging or use a dry-food measuring cup.
- Place the weighed or measured-out food into a storage container. Whether you feed your cat twice, three times or more a day, take the amount from their daily ration in the container. That way, you’ll know your cat is getting just the right amount of food – not too much and not too little.
- Cats naturally eat little and often. Try splitting their daily intake into several small meals (unless advised otherwise by your vet).
Always read and follow the feeding instructions detailed on the packaging. You can also find more feeding tips based on weight and life stages on each Burgess Cat Food product page.
Turn feeding time into a fun activity
In the wild, cats have to work for their food, which exercises their bodies and stimulates their minds. According to International Cat Care, cats would naturally spend up to six hours a day foraging, stalking and catching prey, eating around 10 or more mice, probably involving about 30 attempts at capture.
As a rough guide, it’s recommended that cats (particularly indoor cats) receive about 40 minutes of playtime daily
Food dished out twice a day in a bowl in the kitchen presents no kind of challenge. Providing their kibbles in feeding balls or cat puzzles can deliver a much more exciting and rewarding experience for your cat and encourage them to move more – which has to be a good thing for felines trying to slim down.
Treats should never make up more than 10% of your pet’s daily calorie intake. If you do provide treats, always reduce the size of your pet’s meal.
If you’d like more feeding advice, call our helpful expert team on 0800 413 969. They’re available 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday.
Is your cat a Burgess cat? Join the Burgess Pet Club for exclusive offers and rewards.
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Sources: sciencedaily.com, icatcare.org, pfma.org.uk