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Did you know that between 30-40% of all cats and dogs in the United States are obese?
Who is to blame?
Cats and dogs or carers? You guessed it, we are. We love our pets so much, that in order to keep them healthy and happy, we also cause many health and other problems.
Overeating, lack of exercise and overeating are the main causes. Being overweight is just as damaging to our pets’ health as obesity is to our health.
However, our pets do not know that they are overweight and therefore cannot do anything, we can, however, by changing our feeding methods, exercising and avoiding extra calories.
There are no fad diets here that are rational and very low in calories. Yes, although cats can benefit from more protein, some fat and less carbohydrate. Cats are carnivores, meaning they eat meat.
In short, an overweight cat is eating more than it needs.
Remember that just because you have had your pet spayed or neutered does not mean he is overweight. Just like people, high caloric intake, lack of exercise and good old age add on to the pounds.
I do not give you the right food for your cat to follow. This is up to you and your vet to decide.
As with starting a diet on your own, you should see your doctor. It’s a good idea to visit your vet and make sure your cat is healthy and ready to start a healthy weight loss regimen.
An overweight pet should have their heart and thyroid checked and some minor blood work done to check for any metabolic problems.
As you have already learned, cats are carnivores (meat eaters) and dogs are omnivores (meat and plant eaters). A cat’s body works differently than a dog’s and care must be taken to ensure that your cat is getting the proper nutrition it needs when trying to lose weight.
A cat needs to eat every day, don’t let your cat go hungry or think that you are helping Kitty lose weight by not feeding her.
First of all, due to the nature of the cat’s metabolism, do not start eating a diet without the supervision of a Veterinarian. If you do, you could end up with unplanned medical bills.
Obesity in cats can lead to diabetes, arthritis and hepatic lipidosis. Hepatic lipidosis, also known as fatty liver, is similar to anorexia in humans. It occurs in cats for a variety of reasons.
obese cats because they are prone to diabetes; Pancreatitis, cancer or other liver diseases are the main targets. However it can also be related to anxiety.
Cats do not take kindly to change and any kind of change can cause anxiety. In our case, we are talking about cat weight loss, which includes changes in diet. A new food, a new diet, a change in routine can all cause anxiety and cause a cat to stop eating.
Whatever you do, when you decide to start Kitty on a diet, do it slowly. Discuss with your vet what to expect regarding Kitty’s behavior and use your own discretion. No one knows your cat better than you do, sometimes outside advice, no matter how good it is, doesn’t match your cat’s behavior. Because the diagnosis is easy, your cat needs to eat, and the problem can occur when the cat is not eating enough calories or has gone without food for several days.
So if you plan to change your cat’s menu a lot (change to new food) while you are putting him on the diet, do it slowly. Allow enough time for your cat to accept the new food by mixing small pieces with the current food.
If you have a habit of leaving a bowl of dry food for the kitty to eat while you are at work (and who hasn’t), this is a “no no” if you are trying to get the kitty to eat less.
While I’m on the subject of dry food, let’s talk about what it’s made of. Dry food consists of nutritious food, with very little protein or fat. Carbs make sugar in the stomach, which causes weight gain. Cats do not metabolize carbs like dogs and humans.
Dry cat food like dry dog food is made mostly of corn or cereal. In order to keep it healthy, dry food is filled with all the wrong kinds of preservatives, preservatives that are not particularly good for your pets (cats or dogs).
Interestingly, nature did not make cats to eat carbohydrates. Most animals and humans have a protein called Amylase, which helps digest food. Cats have very few enzymes. This is the main reason dry food, even plain food, is not what Mr/Miss Kitty should be eating.
Nature designed cats to eat meat. Cats need a lot of protein. A high-fat diet can cause diabetes because a cat’s system cannot digest all the carbs.
Nature wants cats to eat mice and birds. Believe it or not it is the best food for our pets. A mouse or a bird is made mainly of protein and fat, a small amount of food that comes from everything that was in the intestines and stomach.
Since I am not recommending that you give your cat mice or birds, I suggest that you give meat. Beef, chicken or lean pork are my boys’ favorites. Boys love raw beef and Miss Tiger cooked chicken or pork (with garlic, of course).
Since I’m not recommending that you start trapping mice for your cat, what I want you to keep in mind is size. The size of the mouse is a good part. Food in ounces not pounds. Six tenths of an ounce to one ounce of food per meal is plenty for 7 – 8 lb. A cat, a bit of a big cat. This means that Mr/Miss Kitty needs to be fed several times a day. In our house (and we work every day) our cats eat about 5 – 6 meals a day, always in small batches. Our boys eat first thing in the morning. If by chance one of us is at home during the day, he can eat again (in the hot summer he won’t). They appear to be evening grazers, requiring a small portion several times in the evening. As I said before, our boys eat raw meat and Miss Tiger loves her home cooking. They also get commercial canned foods, too.
Cat food contains a lot of food (flour and sugar) not to mention all the added flavorings. If your cat is overweight and you believe he needs help, consider “meat.” A little raw or cooked meat is best. It may take time for your cat to get used to eating raw meat and if it seems difficult, lightly cooking it for a few minutes is the answer. It may seem like all of this takes a lot of hard work, trust me it will be worth it in the end.
When feeding canned food, buy what you can afford. Read the text; don’t remember animal products unless they are mentioned. No food is 100% complete and adequate (regardless of what the text says). Make sure your cat’s food contains taurine, an essential mineral for your cat’s health. Look for preservatives such as propylene glycol, sodium nitrate, BHA or BHT. Do not feed your cat, dog food, because it does not contain the vitamins and minerals that the cat needs to survive.
To lose weight, just like their human counterparts, cats need to exercise. I do not recommend taking your cat for a walk. I once tried to train one of our cats. It didn’t work. In fact, my patience ran out and I gave up, but I was laughing a lot.
The key to exercise is “time to play.” Find inexpensive fun cat toys with sticks and pull them down. In this way the cat can lean and jump. You have to be consistent for this to work and it doesn’t happen overnight. Non-food treats are the best gift you can give your overweight cat.
Right now you’re thinking “it’s scary for my cat to lose as much weight as it is for me.” Special diets, several meals a day, (at least 2 – maybe 4 – 6 small ones), exercise, never put a bowl of dry food on it. I thought having a cat would be easy.
Trust me, that is, to give you from the beginning and follow several steps. First, cats will change according to your schedule. Seriously, cats need and want a schedule or routine they can follow. Remember that even though dogs have masters and cats have sticks, you are the leader.
The main problem here is you. You need to change your mindset and you need to establish a routine for both of you to follow.
Once a week shopping will allow you to buy the cat food you need for the week. Read the labels on several canned cat foods. Find several that are compatible with “healthy foods” without harmful preservatives. Cats love variety (don’t they).
Buy a small piece of meat, by now you will have figured out whether your cat likes its meat raw or cooked. If the favorites are raw, cut them into small pieces (bites) and store in zip-top bags, keeping some in the freezer and the rest in the freezer, remembering to take some out when it’s gone. If baked goods are what you want, cook them quickly, let them cool and do the same, with smaller pieces, some in the freezer and some in the freezer.
When you choose a routine, kitty will follow. Just remember that cats need, need and must have protein foods.
A little high quality dry food once in a while is fine if you have to give it up. Dry food is high in carbohydrates and adds weight. Before starting Kitty’s weight loss program, have her checked out by the Vets or try it at home. With a cat you are not looking for pounds to lose (unless your cat is very large). Losing weight in ounces can be a habit, so unless you have a digital scale it can be difficult to monitor weight loss without a trip to the vet every month or so. Do not expect great results, this will take time and patience.
You as a caregiver must realize that success or failure lies with you. You must be committed to helping your cat lose weight. Here are some gentle reminders that will hopefully help the process;
- Feed your cat several small meals throughout the day.
- Feed all the food and treats in the cat’s bowl. Surprisingly, when our cats are hungry, they sit next to their bowls.
- Reduce snacks and snacks to give your cat pieces of raw or cooked with a little or a little cheese.
As the little train that wanted to climb the mountain said to itself, “I think I can, I think I can,” you cat lover, you can help your cat friend to a healthy and slim life.
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