My Fat Cat Needs to Lose Weight

CatChannel expert Jeanne Adlon, professional cat sitter, tells a reader how to help overweight cats lose weight.

By Jeanne Adlon | Posted: August 26, 2011, 3 a.m. EDT

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Q: How can I help my overweight cat lose weight?

A: I am so glad you asked that. An overweight cat is prone to all kinds of medical problems — many of them serious. One cat I cared for, Jeffrey, was so corpulent he could hardly walk, let alone run or jump. His owners loved him dearly but pampered the cat way too much with food and treats. I would always tell them it was unhealthy but to no avail, until Jeffrey inadvertently caused a wake-up call. He crawled into a dresser drawer and could not get out. No amount of squeezing could free him and one of the drawer sides had to be removed before poor Jeffrey could escape. Like it or not, he was put on a diet. Although today he is not slim and trim, he is lighter and happier.
Many excellent low calorie cat foods are available today, so I suggest you talk to your vet about one of them to start. Next is exercise, which is important for everyone including our wonderful feline friends. However, they say objects at rest tend to stay at rest, so an unmotivated overweight cat might need some real encouragement to get her paws moving.

Cats respond well to interactive play. I recommend a fishing pool toy or a set of balls with bells to toss across the floor. There is even a popular wire coil with some cardboard on the end that cats seem to love. I always say cat toys do not have to be expensive — a paper bag with a small noisy ball inside or a pipe cleaner can be loads of fun. Find something that will get her interest and set aside some time each day for interactive play.

Many of my clients who work long hours tell me they set up specially designed cat videos on a timer for their cats to watch while they are at work. These videos generally have fast moving birds, bees and other small animals and the perfect invitation for a cat to jump up and bat the TV screen. Catnip is also a great motivator. Keep in mind that cats are easily bored so rotate her toys and places where you play. In time, hopefully, your wonderful cat will have a sleeker form which will make her healthier and happier.
As always I welcome your comments and stories. Visit my website and please follow me on Twitter for my daily cat tip.

See more articles by Jeanne Adlon>>


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Reader Comments

CatChannel Editor    Irvine, CA

3/26/2013 10:30:56 AM

Jacqueline -- That sounds like a nice idea. Your cats must like spending time with you there.

Check with your vet to see if your cat's weight gain is medically related. You might need to address an illness that causes this. Likewise with your too-thin cat. Good luck

Jacqueline    Tollesboro, KY

3/25/2013 5:14:07 PM

I like what the article said. I have a cat that has gained quite a bit of weight. I am trying to get the other one to gain a little bit, but the other one is always eating. What can I do?
I live on a farm and am not inside a lot and when I am upstairs with both of them I try to pay attention and play with them so they know they are loved. I don't know what to do. I guess just put food up there when I am up there.. That way the other one can't eat any time she wants to. I don't know what else to do, actually.

MyKinKStar    North Central, FL

9/4/2011 8:02:22 PM

My poor Hemi is multi-toed (Hemingway) and was declawed by his former owner. Yes, that's right, all those little toes were BUTCHERED! He walks in great pain, with flat feet, so doesn't move more than he has too. Well, he moves pretty fast to come get his food!

I adopted Hemi after seeing him on PetFinder, available at my local shelter, because he had all odds against him: Older; Black; BIG; AND Declawed. He was doomed to be overlooked and eventually die. He was dumped in the shelter night box with his house brother - another Older; Black; Big Boy who was declawed, named Toby, who I was told about as I was signing the papers to being Hemi home . . . Well, I could not/would not leave Toby there alone! Yeah, it's a good thing there weren't more in that family! Both boys came HOME forever that day, with me!

Hemi lives to eat and no matter how much I feed him in my bathroom, away from my other 6 cats, he will come out and seek more. I measure out his daily food and dose it to him all day long, little by little. It's the only way to keep him active. When he's not eating, there is no doubt this boy is dreaming of food in his sleep! I'm hopeful though, that his weight will eventually go down, at least some, to help take some of the pressure off his sore feets. Please Don't Declaw Your Cats!

Marsha    Norfolk, VA

9/2/2011 8:25:47 AM

my cat Yuuki just can't seem to shed weight. 2 years ago, we had to put our cat Stitch on a diet, which eliminated free eating and gave them 2 meals a day. She was an indoor cat while our oldest Snuggles was an in/out. So with free eating, she got hers plus Snuggs'. She lost weight that way and Snuggs stayed healthy. Then we got Yuuki, and we still use the same meal plan, but Snuggs would try to be cleaver and leave food in his bowl to snack on for later, so Yuuki got extra. She became pear shaped and chubby. We've now changed food to a healthy weight formula and reduced Yuuki's portion to a little less than a quarter cup twice a day while the others get a full quarter scoop. We use a measuring cup. She still isn't losing any, and she's only active at night...sometimes. Yuuki refuses to play during the day and will lay in one spot all day if I don't put her outside and make her fight and fuss to get back in. She hates it outside, while the other 2 love it..which helped Stitch lose weight a little. I say a little because she's learned to hunt for her food since we feed them all less. i think she had behavior issues from her life with previous owners...skittish and won't interact and hides a lot too. We've had her for over a year now. Any advice?

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