Hi stranger! Signing up for MypetMD is easy, free and puts the most relevant content at your fingertips.
Are You Overfeeding Your Cat?
Your slideshow will start shortly.
Battling the Bulge
Obesity is a growing problem in our feline population. In fact, over 50% of cats seen by veterinarians are judged to be either overweight or obese. However, with the proper diet, feeding schedule and exercise regime, this does not have to be so for your cat. Here are a few ways to begin.
Choose the Best Cat Food
Many factors need to be taken into account when choosing the proper food for your cat. It is important that the diet you choose be balanced and complete. It is also best to choose a food that is designed for your cat’s life stage. For instance, kittens do better when fed a “kitten food” formulated for growth. Older cats may have slower metabolism and may do better on a senior food, which contains fewer calories but still supplies the right level of nutrients. When in doubt, consult your veterinarian for a recommendation.
Measure the Meals
Feeding your cat free choice can be problematic, especially if your cat has a tendency to overeat. Cats fed two to three smaller, measured meals daily tend to maintain their weight better than those fed free choice. Refer to the guidelines provided on the food level and measure your cat’s food accurately. One cup is 8 ounces and refers to a level cup of food (as opposed to a heaping cup.)
Adjust According to Your Cat's Needs
Remember that the guidelines provided on a pet food label are guidelines only and may need to be adjusted based on your individual cat’s body condition and activity level. Learn to evaluate your cat’s body condition. Doing so will allow you to determine whether your cat is overweight, underweight or at an ideal body weight, which in turn will help you determine the proper amount of food to be given daily.
Evaluate Your Cat's Body Condition
If at an ideal body weight, you should be able to feel the ribs but not see them. There should be a slight waist evident when you look at your cat from above, if at an ideal weight. There should be flank folds present that do not jiggle or sway when your cat walks.
In an obese cat, the ribs and backbone will be difficult to feel. If there is a fold hanging down under your cat on either side that jiggles or sways when he walks, your cat is likely overweight. There may be little or no waist visible when viewed from above.
In an underweight cat, the ribs and pelvic bones will be visible. The flank folds may be absent or at least free of fat. The neck will be thin and the waist will be more prominent than normal. This may be a cat that is suffering from a chronic illness or a cat that is malnourished.
Consider Other Factors
Other factors to consider include your cat’s exercise and energy level. If your cat is a “couch potato”, she will need fewer calories than an active, adventurous cat. Cats that have been spayed or neutered will have altered metabolisms as well and their diet may need to be modified after surgery to avoid excess weight gain.
Consult Your Veterinarian
If in doubt, your veterinarian is the best source of information about your cat’s diet. Your veterinarian is familiar with your individual cat and can help you determine not only which type of food is most appropriate but also at what quantity. If your cat needs to be on a weight control program, your veterinarian can help you manage your cat’s weight loss while making certain that your cat is still receiving all necessary nutrients. A starvation diet is never appropriate for a cat, even if weight loss is necessary.
Additional SlideshowsWhat's New Dog Cat
|5 Ways to Prevent Cat Food Recalls||10 Scary Diseases Your Pet May Be Exposing You To||5 Things Your Puppy Can't Live Without||5 Tips to Keep Your Pet Slim this Winter||5 Deadliest Outdoor Dangers for Pets this Winter|
|The Power of Protein||Five Common Methods of Pet ID||The Benefits of Proper Nutrition||10 Scary Diseases Your Pet May Be Exposing You To||Fats and Oils: Good for Your Dog’s Health?|
|3 Things You NEED To Know About Where Cat Food Ingredients Come From||How Your Cat's Behavior May Change with Age||Ten Tips for Keeping Your Cat in Shape||Top Ten Reasons to Hug your Cat||Top Ten Holiday Gifts for Cats|