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Obesity in Cats

By: Dr. Rebecca Remillard

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Treatment

Treatment of any concurrent or underlying disease that affects obesity is recommended.

  • Lower your cat's daily caloric intake by changing the cat food product (there are several diets formulated for weight loss) or the amount fed daily.

  • Increasing fiber or water intake may sometimes be necessary to satiate your cat.

  • Increase exercise activity. To enhance exercise, a variety of leashes and toys are available.

    Home Care

    Weight loss should be a family effort. All members of the family must admit the animal is overweight and commit to a weight loss program. It may be helpful to maintain a log of intake (food and treats) and weight to monitor progress. It might be most effective if one person takes charge of feeding your cat, but all members can help exercise her.

    To achieve significant weight loss, the diet must be changed to a therapeutic veterinary diet specifically designed for weight loss. Simply feeding less of your cat's regular food is rarely, if ever, successful. Owners must be willing to measure exactly the amount of food offered and minimize treats. If treats are necessary, offer low calorie snacks such as air popped popcorn or a piece of vegetable (such as a carrot).

    Re-check visits are essential every 4-6 weeks to monitor the weight loss since adjustments to the feeding plan are often needed. As your cat approaches ideal body weight, caloric intake must be reduced further to maintain weight loss.

    Most cats require an 8-12 month weight loss plan to reach their ideal weight. Most cats do achieve ideal or near ideal body weight when the owner and family members are committed to improving the pet's health. Most owners continue feeding the weight loss diet, only at a higher food dose, to maintain their pet's ideal weight.

    Specific recommendations depend upon the underlying disease. For obesity due to:

  • Excessive caloric consumption – Once an ideal weight has been achieved, a low calorie food should be continued, treats and snacks should be minimized, and the exercise program continued.

  • Diabetes mellitus – Regular recheck visits are necessary to monitor insulin dose and effectiveness. Body weight changes should also be checked regularly.

  • Blood thyroid levels should also be checked regularly particularly if the cat is losing weight rapidly.

    Diet Recommendations

    Prevention
  • Hill's Prescription diet w/d®

    Treatment
  • Eukanuba Restricted-Calorie®
  • Eukanuba Weight Loss Formula®
  • Hill's Prescription diet r/d®
  • Purina CNM OM-FORMULA®
  • Waltham Calorie Control®
  • IVD Weight® or IVD Hifactor®

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