An article by cat behaviour expert Anita Kelsey c (2014)
It’s hard to say no to your cat when it’s crying. I know. I get the same with mine. No cat guardian is free of the begging for food on certain, if not, all days.
It’s fine to give a treat every now and then but when your cats waistline starts to disappear then its time to question what you are actually giving your cat to eat and how often and the reasons why you are using treats so much.
How to cope with feline obesity. Some tips
- Is your cats’ food mainly dry? A cat’s natural diet is MEAT, not biscuits. Cats are obligate carnivores which means they need meat to survive. Their teeth, jaws and digestive system are all designed for meat. Therefore it is important you find a high quality meat product for your cat. Biscuits are merely a convenience for humans.
- Never free feed. If the food is there 24/7 your cat will eat it. With meat you would not leave out 24/7 and therefore another good reason to switch to a cats real diet. If you wish to give your cat a little high quality kibble then put into a food treat ball and let them work to get it. Never too much. Just a few bits to compliment their main diet. Your cats’ main food should be MEAT! It’s what it would eat in the wild.
- Talk to your vet about a diet plan. One way of working out how much you should be feeding is this:
How to cope with feline obesity. Guidance on food portions
- Find out what the aprox weight of your cat should be taking into account it’s age. You can add on slightly if your cat is a large breed of cat such as a Maine Coon. Most of this info is on line or you can ask your vet.
- From the ideal weight of your cat you can then find out how many calories it should be getting per day.
- Ring up the manufacture to find out how many calories per tin/sachet. As an example one Lilys Kitchen tray is 83 calories. You can then work out how many tins/sachets your cat should be getting per day.
I have two Norweigian Forest cats and they get half a tin of small Thrive wet food in the mornings each and half in the evenings. Their treats are frieze dried meat (thrive) and they are lead trained so get exercise. They also get exercise from tall climbers/cat trees.
Once you have worked out the correct amount of food to be feeding your cat you can plan a weight loss programme along with the help and advice from your vet.
Most of the cheap supermarket wet food is like feeding your cat McDonalds everyday so make sure you go for a good quality high meat brand such as Lily’s Kitchen, Thrive or one of the excellent raw meat companies.
Play with your cat, get them some climbers and start encouraging them to use their legs! Older cats can still have a play on the floor so cat toys are really important also.
For further advice on how to cope with feline obesity or any other cat behaviour issues please contact Anita Kelsey, Pet Behaviour Counsellor, on firstname.lastname@example.org. Understanding cat behaviour is what she does best!