From Pet Health Learning Center
Obesity is a common condition among cats. Almost 40 percent of the felines in the United States alone are considered to be obese. Throughout the world, cats that are obese outnumber the cats that possess a normal weight. It is important that a weight loss plan be set up for these cats in order to lower their risk of other diseases, such as Cat Diabetes, Cat Arthritis, and Hepatic Lipidosis.
Causes of Obesity
The cause for obesity in cats is similar to that of weight problems in any mammal. Any human or animal that consumes more calories, carbohydrates, and fats than they burn off will gain weight. Cats are fed daily from their food bowl. Therefore, very little physical exertion is needed to ensure their next meal. Animals that remain lean tend to be those that must hunt and capture their food to be sure they will get to eat again. Humans have full control over what their pets are able to eat, so it is their duty to prevent obesity and problems attributed to it.
Avoid Choice Feeding
Many pet owners will set out a large bowl of food, allowing their cat to come and eat as they please. The main cause of obesity is over consumption of food. Having this bowl accessible all day can lead the pet to eating too much too quickly, especially if he/she knows that the owner will then refill the bowl. Instead of allowing free choice feeding, your pet should be fed 3-4 small portions of food daily. The food should be measured in ounces rather than cups. For example, a 7 pound cat should be given 1 ounce of food at each meal.
Cats lack the ability to break down and utilize carbohydrates found in their food. This can lead to them being stored as fat, causing the cat to gain weight. Prepackaged and processed cat foods typically contain a great deal of carbs, so these should be avoided to keep your cat's weight at a normal level. Dry foods are the worst, being made of elements that will keep them fresher longer, which allows the pet owner to make less, and larger, meals. Instead, purchase meat based food that contains a great deal of protein and fats. The digestive system of cats can handle this type of food much more effectively.
Choosing food that offers high amounts of protein and fat and low amounts of carbs is ideal. 40 percent of the cat's diet should be protein, 40 percent should be fat, and only a small percentage, if any, should be carbohydrates. This will help to ensure that the food is metabolized properly in order to prevent the storage of the fat.
Cat treats should not be given to an obese cat in large quantities. Ones purchased from the store are loaded with carbs, only promoting the act of weight gain in felines. If you wish to give your cat a treat, it should be small bits of meat. Avoid giving a cat a treat simply because they are being vocal. Treats only reinforce behavior, meaning it will cause your cat to continue to bet and whine.