So how do you know if your cat is overweight? Besides weighing them, your veterinarian will determine their body condition score by examining their appearance from above, from the side, and by palpating their ribs, spine, and other bony prominences. The body condition score ranges from 1 to 9, with 1 being very thin, 9 obese, and 5 ideal. If your cat is overweight, your veterinarian will help you develop a diet plan.
The main treatment for obesity consists of decreasing caloric intake and increasing physical activity. Most commercial diets are formulated for the needs of active, intact cats. To help your overweight, indoor, neutered or spayed cat lose weight, most veterinarians recommend decreasing the amount of food by 30 percent and giving it in three to five separate meals, or they might recommend one of the many available low-calorie weight-loss diets. To help keep the weight off, increase your cat’s metabolic rate and activity level with lots of playtime. Laser pointers, cat toys and cat trees can help keep your cat active and trim.
The key to helping your cat lose weight safely is to have a plan. Before starting a weight-loss program, have your veterinarian determine your cat’s ideal weight and develop a diet. Check your cat’s weight regularly to ensure it’s losing weight at an appropriate rate (1-2% of their body weight per week). If you need more help or have more question about weight loss speak with your veterinarian.
Good luck and have a Happy and Healthy 2013.
- Dr. Ruth