5 Tips for a Slimmer, Healthier Cat


PetMD Editorial

Published Jun. 16, 2009

How to Help Your Fat Cat Battle the Bulge

Being a fat cat might seem cute, but it’s really not good for your feline’s health. If your kitty is a little chubby or beginning to look that way, we have some simple tips to guarantee a slender, healthier version in no time. And best of all, if you keep following these tips, you won't have to spend the big bucks it takes to feed a fat cat!

1. Diets Are Not All Equal

The cat is a strict carnivore. That means a diet mainly consisting of "fillers" (e.g., corn and rice), is just empty calories for kitty. Do a little light reading during your shopping expedition, and start paying attention to the cat food labels. Meat should always be one of the first ingredients. Better quality food means less filler and that means a more svelte cat.

2. Wet vs. Dry Debate 

Some people swear by dry food, while others won’t touch it. Ultimately the choice is up to you, but you’ll find more and more experts are leaning towards the wet food end of the argument. Less filler, more water content, and a happier, thinner cat can all be yours.

3. Portion Control 

Two words familiar to dieters everywhere. Try not to "free feed" the cat. If the food is left out all day for the kitty to help herself to, then she’ll snack whenever she feels like it -- even when she’s not hungry. Engage the hunter instinct. Leave the food for 15 minutes. If there’s still food in the bowl, put it away in the fridge for dinnertime. You’ll start seeing a difference in your cat’s silhouette in no time.

4. Exercise 

Play with your cat! Get her to run around and chase string, toy mice, laser lights (cats love them!), balls, and other fun toys. We don’t recommend taking kitty for walks unless she’s the type who enjoys it, though. But just 20 minutes of play a day can make up for it. Not only will this keep kitty from being bored and depressed, but it keeps her mind sharp and burn off any extra fat.

5. No Table Scraps 

People food is for people, not cats! Those little morsels are similar to us scarfing down a pizza or huge bag of potato chips (and we know what that does to our hips). So, curtail table scraps from your cat's diet, and those treats designed for cats down to a minimum. But if Princess absolutely cannot go without her treats, try to find healthy options in the natural or holistic section of your pet store.

So there you have it. Five simple tips to keep your cat in tip-top shape.

Image: Dan Perry / via Flickr

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