Do you have any tips for fat lazy cats?

Our question this week was:

I just read your email about obesity in cats. I have a very overweight cat. I’ve tried to get her to exercise, but she won’t have it. She has about 3 places she likes to sit, and she goes back and forth between them and the food bowl. I’ve placed the food bowl and the litter box as far apart in the house as I can, so at least she has to walk up and down the stairs once a day. I’ve bought her toys, catnip, even a harness and tried to walk her (but she went limp and it was more like me dragging her while she growled). We have a younger cat in the house, but they don’t really like each other and so the highest her heart rate gets is when they cross paths and growl and then run in opposite directions. Do you have any tips for extremely lazy fat cats?

Wendy E.


Hi Wendy– thanks for your email. I had to smile when I ready your email. You wrote that you have an overweight cat that is “lazy”. You have a difficult situation. It sounds like you are trying to do the right things.

You have toys and try to encourage her to exercise. I’d recommend really trying to figure out her play preference. Make sure you have scratching posts, windows to look out, window perches, bird feeders outside to stimulate her interest and climbing trees. See if she likes feathery flyers, furry mice, balls or laser pointers. Try to engage her in play for at least 10 minutes every day.

You can also decrease her food intake by 10%. It is important NOT to put a cat on a diet too fat or too severe. A severe liver problem can results called “Fatty Liver Disease” if a diet is done improperly.

It is hard to motivate a cat that is content being…well…lazy.

Articles that might be helpful to you are Cat Toys – Selecting the Right Toys for Your Cats Play Preference and Selecting the Right Environmental Enrichment for Your Cat.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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