In the United States, 28.1% of pet cats are obese, while 29.8% are overweight. This excess weight can contribute to health problems like arthritis, diabetes or high blood pressure, so helping your pet shed the excess pounds is very important for their health. Here are three ways to help your obese cat lose weight.
Play predator-prey games
Slim, athletic cats may have fun climbing on cat trees or other household objects, but your obese cat needs more motivation to get moving. An easy way to do this is to play predator-prey games with your cat. These games take advantage of your cat's natural instincts to chase and catch prey.
Purchase a toy that looks like a mouse, lizard or other prey animal and move it across your floor. Once your cat is interested, throw the prey toy to get them to chase it. Repeat this process until your cat gets bored of the game or gets tired. Laser pointers can also be used in prey games. Move the light from the pointer across your floor or wall—like a bug—and let your cat try to catch the light.
Take them for walks
If your cat isn't interested in their cat tree or other toys, take them for walks outdoors. The outdoors offers new sights and sounds for your indoor cat, so the exercise will be fun for them.
You'll need to train your cat to walk on a leash before you can head outdoors. Let your cat wear the harness around the house to get used to the new sensations. Next, attach the leash to the harness and let your cat get used to dragging it around. The next step is to hold the leash and walk around the house together.
After your obese cat has been leash trained, take them for walks around your neighborhood every day. Go for short walks at first, and as your cat becomes thinner and more athletic, you can go for longer walks. Some adventurous cats will also enjoy going for hikes.
Put them on a vet-approved diet
While exercise is important for obese cats, cutting back on their caloric intake is also key to weight loss. Your veterinarian will need to design this diet to ensure that it's safe for your cat. Simply cutting back on their food is dangerous because cats that don't eat enough can get hepatic lipidosis, a potentially-fatal liver disease.
To keep your cat from getting too hungry on their diet, your vet will have you feed them a few small meals a day. If your cat gets hungry in between meals, you can feed them a vet-approved healthy treat, like broccoli.