How can I feed my cats when one is fat and one is normal weight?

Our question this week was:

I have an obese 9 ½-year-old female cat and a healthy weight 2 1/2 yr old male cat…how do I feed them? I have always left dishes of dry out all day long and let them "graze" and they each get a teaspoon of soft food every morning. If I take the bowls of dry away during the day, my male cat freaks out and acts as though he is starving. My female does not seem to eat that much but is getting older and less and less active. If I buy special lower calorie dry food for my female I'm not sure my male cat will leave it alone. There is just no way to separate food. Any suggestions? Will a lower calorie food or a food for older cats harm a younger cat?


Kimberly Kaluf


Hi – thanks for your email. You wrote that your one female cat is obese and you other male cat is a healthy weight and you want advice on feeding them. You ask a great question!

This is a very common situation in many homes. The current way that you are feeding your cats is ideal. You are feeding dry out all day and allowing them to graze and supplementing that with small amounts of canned. This is ideal if your cats both maintain an ideal weight. I'll tell you know that there is no easy solution for feeding and satisfying both of them but I'll give you some different options that have worked.

For one, you can try a lower calorie food. This will not harm your younger cat. You may want to supplement him with a little more canned when you give them their wet food snack.

Another option is to give your younger and thinner cat access to food that your other cat doesn't have access to. Many obese cats can't reach certain areas. Some cat owners will feed their thinner and more agile cat on a high location – such as on the counter or on the top of a bookshelf.

You could also shut your younger cat in a room with more food once or twice a day while no longer allowing the free access to dry food.

An article that might be helpful to you is Obesity in Cats.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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