FEEDING AND OBESITY PREVENTION
There are many feeding strategies for house cats. It is important to find one that works well for you and your cats. Obesity is very common in pet cats and comes with health risks such as diabetes, fatty liver disease, and joint pain. Below are some ways you can feed your cat for optimal health.
Free-feeding: some cats do well with a full bowl of food at all times. They graze throughout the day and don’t gain too much weight. Other cats will eat until they vomit or will chronically overeat until they are 18 pounds. This method is not for overweight cats.
Measured feedings: Put a set amount of food in the cat's bowl once or twice a day and leave it. Your cat will eat either all at once or throughout the day, but when the bowl is empty, it stays empty until the next scheduled meal is served. This works best in one-cat households.
Scheduled feedings, two or three times daily: provide measured amount of kibble +/- wet food for 15-30 minutes and then remove. Separate or supervise cats in multiple-cat households to prevent overeating or fighting over food.
Hunter/scavenger: put measured amounts of food (kibble and/or wet food) in different places in the home for cat to sniff out and discover, leave for 30 minutes and then remove.
Supplement meals with a food-dispensing toy, such as the SlimCat Food Dispenser.
Use an automated feeder with a timer.
Weigh your cat periodically to make sure he doesn’t gain or lose weight quickly. You can step on a bathroom scale with your cat in your arms, then weigh yourself and calculate the difference. If your cat stops eating, call us at 414-962-6662. It is dangerous for cats, especially overweight cats, to stop eating altogether.
What to feed: Kibble is convenient and nutritionally balanced. Wet food has much higher moisture content, which is good for kidney health, but must be rationed to prevent weight gain. Encourage good hydration with clean fresh water. Many cats love water fountains.
Weight Loss Tips
Part of every weight loss plan is to measure the amount of food consumed daily (including treats) and reducing it. Look at the side of the food container for daily guidelines and provide the amount recommended for your cat's ideal body weight.
You can probably expect your cat to protest for the first few days or weeks by meowing around meal times, waking you up when the bowl is empty, or scavenging food in the kitchen. NEVER feed your cat when he is meowing at you to do so, even if it is mealtime. Ignore him, wait for him to give up and be quiet, then serve him. Your cat will soon get used to the new routine.
Exercise is key to weight loss. Use toys to get your cat running, chasing, pouncing, and climbing. Daily play time will burn calories quickly and will be fun for you both!