If you believe your domestic cat has become overweight and needs to slim down, help your feline friend lose weight with a sensible diet and exercise plan. There are several ways you can help your kitty shed the extra pounds and maintain a healthy weight. The first step should be to obtain a thorough feline examination by a veterinarian at a local clinic like Howard County Animal Hospital. The vet can rule out health issues that exist before recommending a sensible diet. Follow these guidelines to get your cat in purr-fect condition:
1. Have Your Cat Examined by a Qualified Veterinarian
If you prefer, locate an animal hospital in your area that specializes in cat care. As new developments in feline health is constantly evolving, feline specialists have become more prevalent. At the very least, choose a vet that has extensive experience in feline health.
An examination and subsequent testing may help determine your cat's overall health, ruling out possible health problems such as feline diabetes. The vet will also weigh your cat to determine if if weight loss is needed. If the vet feels your cat needs to lose weight, he or she will recommend a healthy weight to aim for and recommendations on how to achieve that goal. This may include adhering to a formulated diet designed for overweight cats, as well as encouraging your cat to get more physical exercise. Because a cat should not lose more than two percent of its total body weight within a seven day period, your vet may ask you to carefully monitor its weight. This brings up the following suggestion:
2. Invest in a Pet Scale
If you are attempting to help your cat shed a few extra pounds, it's convenient to monitor its weight at home between visits to the animal hospital. Choose a sturdy digital scale designed for cats that will weigh in pounds and ounces. It should have a removable tray for easy cleaning. Don't forget to check the weight capacity of the scale.
3. Say No to Table Scraps
When placing your cat on a vet-recommended diet, it's imperative not to allow your pet to "cheat" by sneaking high calorie table scraps. Instead, ask the vet to recommend healthy between-meal cat snacks intended for an occasional treat. Various types of wholesome cat treats are available on the market, often at your local pet supply store and veterinary hospital. In addition, never feed your pet any kind of foods containing the artificial sweetener xylitol, as this may cause serious health issues.
4. Don't Leave Your Cat's Food Out All Day
Instead of leaving your cat's food bowl full throughout the day, feed your cat at designated meal times only. Ideally, this should be twice a day, typically during the morning and evening. If you leave food out all day, your cat may be inclined to overeat simply out of boredom.
5. Encourage Your Cat to Exercise
Don't let your cat become lazy and do nothing but eat and sleep all day long. For optimal health and fitness, your cat needs to exercise regularly. To encourage daily movement, purchase a cat climbing tower with attached toys.
Play with your cat using a hand-held wand toy in which your cat will pounce upon. The wand toys typically have a fake mouse or feather attached to one end. You might also use a laser toy and allow your cat to "chase" after the moving light.
As a general rule, it's best to begin healthy habits early on. Don't wait until your cat grows older to maintain a healthy weight. Senior cats often have more difficulty losing weight and the extra pounds may lead to health issues in an aging cat.