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Is My Cat Obese?

Nearly one in three cats is overweight — help yours beats the odds

Overview

Chubby cats may look cute, but feline obesity is a serious health issue. Overweight cats can develop respiratory problems, diabetes, arthritis and heart disease. A high-quality nutritious diet and exercise can make all the difference.

How big is too big?

On a cat, even a little extra weight can be a big problem. An eight-pound kitty who gains two pounds is like a 125-pound person who gains 30 pounds. If you’re not sure how much your cat should weigh, check with your vet.

You should also consult a vet to help you develop a comprehensive weight-loss plan for your cat. That includes determining how much weight your cat needs to lose and scheduling follow-up appointments to monitor kitty’s progress.

How can I help my cat slim down?

Cats lose weight the same way people do: by exercising more and eating less. After a consultation with your veterinarian, start by encouraging your pet to move. Boost their exercise with toys, laser pointers and other fun things that make kitty want to run and pounce.

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Should I feed my cat less?

If you’ve amped up the exercise time and your cat is still not-so-sleek, it’s time to think about diet.

If you haven’t been overfeeding your cat, ask your vet whether switching to a weight-control cat food might be better than cutting kitty’s portions. A premium brand will balance the protein, fats, vitamins, minerals and fiber your cat needs to get to their goal weight without feeling hungry.

Always remember, cat treats have calories too! Go easy or cut out treats altogether. Sorry, Kitty.

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Decoding the label of weight-control cat food

Cat food labeled “light” or “lite” can contain no more than a certain number of calories per gram (the exact calorie count depends on whether the food is wet or dry). Cat food labeled “reduced calories,” “less fat” or with similar phrases have fewer calories and/or less fat than some other version of the food.

How to decide between the two? If a vet determines that your cat is overweight or obese, “light” might be the way to go. If your pet only has a tiny bit to lose, “reduced” could be a better choice.