Weight gain is common in cats, especially for older cats with slower metabolism, or those that are kept indoors. Here are some signs that your cat may be overweight, and what you can do.
How can I tell if my cat is overweight?
The best way to determine if your cat is overweight is to bring them to the vet. The vet can give you a specific diagnosis, and provide advice for weight management.
However, there are a few ways you can tell if your cat is overweight. Try feeling along your cat's rib cage. In healthy cats, the padding will feel about as thick as that on the back of your hand. If you can't feel the ribs at all, or if you can only feel them when pressing firmly, then your kitty may be overweight or obese.
There are also some visual cues that can tell you about your cat's weight and condition. Start by looking down at your cat while they are standing. You should see a slight indentation above the hips that resembles a waist (keeping in mind that this might be difficult to see if your kitty has long hair). If you notice that the waist area bulges out instead, then your cat may be overweight.
How can I help my cat lose weight?
If your vet determines that your cat is overweight, they will prescribe a diet and exercise regimen to help get get their weight back down. Here are a few things you can do to help your cat lose weight.
Cats don't need a lot of exercise in order to stay healthy, although the ideal amount varies according to the cat's age and breed. In general, though, aim for two fifteen-minute sessions per day of interactive play, including activities like chasing and leaping after a toy.
You may also consider investing in an indoor cat tree to provide extra opportunities to jump and climb.
Diet & Feeding
You can help your pet lose weight gradually by feeding a nutritious weight control formula cat food. If your cat is very obese, your vet may recommend prescribe a special therapeutic weight loss food. Always transition gradually to get her used to a new kind of cat food.
Bring your cat to the vet to be weighed on a regular basis. This will let the vet know if further dietary adjustments or testing are needed.
If you think your cat may be over weight, contact Germantown Parkway Animal Hospital in Cordova for an assessment.
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