If your cat has become too fat, you’ll need to learn how to get your cat in shape! The first step, as with humans, is to find a diet and exercise program that fits with your cat’s specific needs. I know, I know, you’re throwing your head back and wondering, “Are you kidding me? It’s a cat!” Well, an obese cat that gets diabetes can be a very expensive cat and also a high maintenance kitty, so it is extra important to get them in shape before there is no turning back (a.k.a. diabetes).
As far as the food thing is concerned, luckily, there are many different brands of low calorie food to choose from that will help you get your cat in shape. Canned food works better than dry. It is important to find a food that your cat enjoys (so he or she doesn’t know she or he is eating something low fat!), you’ll need to set specific guidelines for total daily caloric intake, and aim to take off the pounds in mini goals until your cat reaches his or her ultimate goal weight.
Your vet can help you in determining what your cat’s current weight is, what the ultimate goal weight is, the current mini goal as well as the recommended calories per day. And certainly your vet can help you with other ways of how to get your cat in shape.
Since cat food doesn’t require the nutrition facts table like all human foods, you can find out the calorie content of any food by calling the 800-number on the package or by going to the company’s website. The diet section on the felinediabetes.com website has a nice link to a table that has information on many brands and additional ideas of how to get your cat in shape.
When you change your cat’s food, it can be dramatic for them. So be slow about doing. Introduce the new low calorie food by mixing 1/3 of the low calorie with 2/3 of his or her regular food. Then in 5 days, make the mixture ½ of the low calorie and ½ of the regular food. Then 5 days after that, make the low calorie 2/3 of the mixture and finally 5 days after that, completely wean your cat to the new low calorie food, not offering the regular food anymore. You can always donate your leftover regular food to your local shelter, where there are starving kitties dying for some good food!
Be sure to measure the food (with a measuring cup) and keep track of what your cat eats. Daily exercise is also important—try using a laser pointer or another safe cat toy to get your cat moving. You should expect to start seeing weight loss in 1-2 months, and expect a weight loss of 1% per week. You might buy a small postal scale to check your cat’s weight monthly to see if you are on track to reaching your cat’s ideal weight. If your cat is not losing weight, then your vet can help you figure out why and change their recommendation of food until results are seen.