Please Help My Overweight Cat. He's Too Young to Be So Fat.

A cat vet shares key info on helping overweight cats to lose weight.

By Arnold Plotnick, DVM | Updated: March 22, 2016, 3 a.m. EST

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Q: My year-and-a-half-old cat is overweight. I've cut is wet food in half (he gets about a teaspoon twice a day) and my cat eats about 1¼ cups of dry food per day. He always seems hungry but I don't give in and feed him. What is your advice on feeding my cat?

A: Your cat is very young, so we want to nip this weight problem early to avoid a lifetime of potential weight-related  problems. Dry food is much more caloric than canned food. Feed your cat more canned and less dry food. Without seeing your cat, I cannot tell what his current weight is, and what it really should be. Your vet can determine your cat’s ideal weight, and then determine how many calories your cat should get each day.

Your cat can lose weight in several ways. Say your cat should receive 200 calories a day. You can feed the same food you’ve been feeding, only less of it. Unfortunately, this rarely works, because cats often complain (often loudly at 3:00 a.m.). Your already acts hungry all the time, so cutting back his food probably wouldn’t work. You could feed a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet, or you could feed a low-fat, high-fiber diet.

The high-protein low-carb diet sounds like it makes more sense metabolically, as cats are true carnivores, but I have not had much success with this diet. I’ve had much greater success feeding cats a low-fat, high-fiber diet. The fiber in the diet causes cats to feel "full” and they often don’t complain about the amount they’re getting. If you feed your cat mostly canned food rather than dry, it tends to be even more successful. Every veterinarian stocks these low-fat high-fiber prescription diets. Talk to your cat’s veterinarian about your cat’s ideal weight and how much to feed. The goal is to achieve the target weight slowly, over the course of about six months. Good luck!
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Reader Comments

Allene    Manteno, IL

9/20/2013 7:44:42 AM

The vet said to cut out the can and only give dry. Boy was that the wrong advise. Nice to know what is the right thing to do. Thanks

leta    sierra madre, CA

1/20/2012 8:35:01 PM

PLEASE comment also: on content (corn protein NOT good) of food; a GOOD nutrition = few carbs, more animal protein. * danger of hepatic lipidosis/fatty liver disease from cats losing weight too fast. Most cat owners in my experience don't have any idea of liver physiology in cats. thanks for speaking for the cats.

Zenaven    McMinnville, TN

1/9/2012 8:00:54 AM

My cat's vet put her on a high fiber diet and she doesn't complain too much. She lost 1/2 pound in a month.They are suppose to lose it slow. So I'm happy.

gg    la, AR

1/8/2012 7:03:14 PM


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