Choosineg a Diet
Unfortunately, obesity is a common and potentially dangerous condition in companion cats. Thankfully, high quality, well-balanced, calorie-restricted cat foods are becoming increasingly available, both from veterinarians and from large and small retail pet supply stores. Premium weight-loss diets have been rigorously studied by nutritionists and other researchers and have been specifically formulated to help cats lose weight actively yet gradually, while still maintaining a proper nutritional balance. Special weight-loss cat foods tend to be more expensive than ordinary cat foods, but they are certainly well worth the cost in the long run for overweight animals. Owners that decide to switch their overweight cats to a calorie-restricted diet should pay special attention to the label instructions and feed the recommended amount according to their cat’s current and desired weight.
Changing a Cat's Diet
Some cats are notoriously picky eaters and will turn their noses up at low-calorie kibble. Owners should switch their diet gradually over the course of a week, by adding the weight-loss kibble to the cat’s regular kibble in an increasingly greater ratio. Most authorities recommend feeding measured amounts several times a day. The food dish should be well away from the litter box, in a quiet location. Fresh water should always be available. If the cat still seems hungry or isn’t eating its meals reliably, its owner can add small amounts of tempting toppings to the low-calorie kibble. These supplements can stimulate the cat’s appetite and help it to feel full, without adding a significant extra calorie load. Some things that many cats find palatable include: water lightly flavored with chicken broth, small amounts of cooked fish or meat, cooked vegetables, cottage cheese, yogurt or the left-over water from canned fish such as tuna. Feeding crunchy dry kibble promotes good teeth and oral health. However, many cats prefer to eat canned food, at room temperature. Canned weight-loss diets are also available. They tend to be more palatable to cats, whose appetite is stimulated by strong-smelling foods. Of course, it is best to check with a veterinarian before putting a pet on a strict weight loss regimen.
Cats are natural carnivores, and it is difficult to prepare a homemade weight loss diet that satisfies their unique nutritional requirements. While some cats may eat vegetables in order to feel full, these foods should not be considered as part of their regular diet. A top-quality calorie-restricted food should be nutritionally complete and should not require additional vitamin or mineral supplementation. In fact, over-supplementing with vitamins A and D, or calcium and phosphorus can cause serious health problems in cats, such as sterility, kidney disease, metabolic bone disease and hair loss. Cats should not be fed dog food, nor should they be fed raw meats or fish. Many cats are lactose intolerant and shouldn’t be fed dairy products.