Weight Management

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Filed in Cats, Nutrition

Don't you wish there were a 24-Hour Nautilus for kitties? A place where they could go to do little kitty pull-ups, have kitty-crowded step-classes and workout on row machines with Internet access?

Well thankfully there isn't anything like that - yet, but there are many options available to help your cat maintain it's ideal weight.

Cats can become overweight just as humans can. Like humans, too, this can lead to respiratory problems, diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease. An extra pound or two can make a difference in your cat's health. And while your cat probably doesn't get up each morning and weigh itself, he does depend on you to maintain his health.

An average, medium cat's typical weight should be between eight to ten pounds. Check with your Vet for specifics about your cat's weight. Your Vet should always weigh your cat on each visit.

The easiest way to check if your cat is overweight, besides seeing if her belly shakes when she runs, is by feeling for her ribs. Put the palm of your hand on the side of her rib cage and press gently. If you can feel her ribs with this gentle pressure, she probably weighs the correct amount. If you have to push a little harder to feel her ribs, then she's probably overweight.

Dieting

Many Lite or Senior diet food for cats are available today. If your cat is overweight or older than six years of age, these foods can help maintain their optimum weight as well as give them all the daily nutrients they need to stay healthy.

Stop the treats. If you regularly give your cat tuna, scraps of meat or other human food, it's time to stop or cut back on the amount. The food you buy should have all the ingredients necessary to maintain your cat's health. If you still want give her some treats, look for low fat healthy alternatives.

If you leave a full bowl out for your cat all day long, think about reducing that to maybe twice a day. If they don't eat their food in the morning, pick up and put it away. Then bring it out again at night. After awhile, they'll get used to eating on a schedule and on what's in their bowl, rather than having food available all day long.

After trying a new diet and cutting out the extra snacks, if your cat still hasn't lost some of the weight (even with added exercise) check with your neighbors or other members of your household. If your cat is an outdoor cat, chances are she's picking up food elsewhere, either from a friendly neighbor, the garbage or from a sneaky family member. Communicate with everyone that your cat is on a diet and although it's nice of them to give your cat treats, she needs to lose some weight to get healthy. Or if this isn't an option, you might want to think about keeping your cat inside until the weight goes down.

Jungle Gym

Cats need exercise too, especially if they're going to lose weight. Even if your cat is an indoor dweller, there are plenty of options to get his heart rate up and his weight down.

Set aside some interactive playtime with him, or purchase a kitty Busy Center. Toss a balled-up piece of paper on the ground or have him chase a piece of string. Check our Toy Story for other options. Try to play with your cat at least 15 minutes twice a day.

If you follow the above advice your cat will likely maintain his ideal weight and live a healthier, longer life. If your cat is still having trouble losing weight, have your Vet take a look. There could be some internal problem that is causing your cat to stay heavy.

Ian M. Stewart is the Senior Writer for Pet Food Express.com. He lives with his wife, two cats, and dog in Oakland, Ca.

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