We previously wrote a post that presented some of the high costs of having an overweight or obese cat. Today we outline some steps to keep your cat lean and healthy.
The decisions that you make about your cat’s food are the most important factors that will determine if your cat is overweight or not. First and foremost is how much you feed your pet. Overfeeding, pouring too much food and neglecting to take into account treats, is the single biggest driver of the pet obesity problem. Secondly, feeding your cat appropriate and high quality food will ensure that your cat is provided a balanced diet, free of fillers and potentially harmful artificial additives.
The tips below will help you develop a food strategy that will keep your pet trim and healthy.
- Consult with your veterinarian to come up with a health assessment and target weight for your cat.
- Learn how many calories your cat needs each day. Your cat’s daily calorie requirement is primarily dependent on their size and level of activity.
- Learn how many calories are in your cat’s foods and treats. Portion accordingly. The feeding instructions on most food labels are too general and not always appropriate for a specific pet.
- Understand the ingredients in your cat’s food and how they might impact the protein to fat ratio in the food and avoid foods with unhealthy fillers or artificial additives. Most normal cats require a diet that is high in protein and fat. Unfortunately, many cat foods are high in carbohydrates. Also, many cat foods are laden with fillers or artificial additives that at best, provide little nutritional value and at worst, could be potentially harmful to your cat.
- Add moderate to high intensity exercise if possible each week. Although not directly related to the food decision, exercising your cat regularly is an important aspect of their overall health and body condition.
- Observe your cat’s body condition and tweak your plan over time.
For those who want the convenience of automation and the peace of mind that their pet will be fed properly (even when the pet owner is away from home), our SmartFeeder is built to provide pet owners with all of the above information and automatically create a customized and appropriate food strategy for their pet.
However you do it, make it a priority to keep your pet at the proper weight. Just think, a little discipline around your pet food and feeding regime can end up saving you lots of money in vet and medicine costs, while possibly extending your pet’s life by as much as 10-20%.