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TheHaight's avatar

How can I get my cat to lose weight?

Asked by TheHaight (4399points) May 29th, 2008 from iPhone

my cat is about 8 years old, and I’m afraid she won’t live a long life unless she loses weight. I switched the way she eats from those self-feeders to a small bowl. I’d put a picture up of her on here, but I’m on my phone so can’t: basically, she’s so fat that when she runs, you can see her fat on the bottom of her stomach wiggle back and forth. Any other cat owners have (or had) the same problem? What can I do?

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40 Answers

TheHaight's avatar

Hah! That is so cute, Breefield. I love when the cat just uses his two front feet. Seriously, though… I don’t own a treadmill and I highly doubt my cat would do that!

Breefield's avatar

Do you have a lot of open land or are you confined to an apartment or something like that? Ultimately I find that house cats are always heavier than their outdoor partners. That hard part is getting an indoor cat to become an outdoor cat, and even harder if you don’t live somewhere with lots of land.

Maybe you could take her on walks! It might be nice to get out, but also for her. You could also get her some play toys for the house, something with batteries to she’s motivated rather than creating the entertainment herself (maybe one of those raccoon things tied to the lopsided moving ball thing?).

cheebdragon's avatar

Cut back how much food you give her, and buy a laser pointer so she can get more exercise.

TheHaight's avatar

I live in the country- on about 2 1/2 acres, so there is tons of room. I think I should buy more toys, although I feel like she’s too old for them.

@cheeb:
the laser pointer is a good idea! I should try that.

cheebdragon's avatar

my cats love laser pointers

Breefield's avatar

I’d say let her roam outdoors, but if she’s old she might not be a good candidate for free roam. The only cat I owned was an outdoor cat from the start, he knew where he could get her food and sleep at night and that kept him coming back.

gailcalled's avatar

You can take cats for walks? Cats play with their toys?

TheHaight's avatar

haha Gail: are you correcting grammar or something? Do you have any thoughts on my question, how I can get my cat to lose weight? And cats do play with toys. I don’t know about taking them for walks, seeing as usually you take a dog for walks, but I knew were breefield was coming from…

Breefield's avatar

They don’t have collars for nothing :p

Just kidding, taking a cat on a walk is a horrible idea.

judochop's avatar

personal trainer! Don’t you love in california? Animal personal trainers must be a hit somewhere down there?

TheHaight's avatar

personal animal trainer? That sounds ridiculous! Are you joking… Or being serious? And yes, I do live in Cali, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard of an animal trainer! Plus I’m broke, if I can’t afford to have a personal trainer for myself.. Why my pet? thanks for your input Judo.

And bree, its not a horrible idea! :)

judochop's avatar

well if your broke you could make your cat, eat less and move more! You will save money. And yes dear, it was a joke.
Aside from that, who does not love a fat cat?

Breefield's avatar

Make her work the corner of the litterbox, that way she might shed a few pounds, but you’ll also make a nice little return on that investment :D

marinelife's avatar

@TheHaight Do you have her on dry food? I suggest a high protein low carb food such as EVO. Cats were not made to eat grains! I know people who swear it made all the difference.

trogdor_87's avatar

Two words: Laser pointers! Its crack for cats!

TheHaight's avatar

haha, I love all your answers.Yes.. I do
admit she’s a lovely fat cat. I just need to quit buying the “cheap” cat food. @Marina; is that cat food called “EVO”?? I do have her on dry food… And I feel bad because I give her whatever is cheap. That’s my fault. So from now on, I vow here on Fluther to buy more healthier food.

marinelife's avatar

EVO, yes.Here it is.

TheHaight's avatar

Thanks, Marina!! That’s a great website because it will even tell you were I can find EVO in my city. :)

ebenezer's avatar

is your cat unhappy? My cat sounds like your cat, she jiggles underneath. I thought about stopping feeding her and letting a mouse loose in the apartment every day.

Randy's avatar

My parents have an older male cat and he jiggles under his stomach when he walks. He’s even an outdoor cat who catches birds, moles and other rodents on a regular basis. He’s an orange tabby Maybe its just the breed of cat. What kind of cat do you have?

ebenezer's avatar

randy- so it might be pointless to make them lose weight. It may just make a pet owner feel good about themselves to know that their cat is not fat when in actuality you have a bored starving cat. They don’t have much say in the matter. That just eat.

spendy's avatar

In addition to the dietary changes, you’ll want to get her moving. The laser pointer will be a hot item, but you could also do other things. If you can scrounge enough $ for a little remote control car and some catnip, you’re set.

Tie catnip to car, insert batteries, watch kitty pounce away the pounds. :)

ebenezer's avatar

spendywatson- I never thought of tying catnip to my car! I’ll give it a try!

Randy's avatar

@ebenezer- If I’m reading that correctly than you agree with me. =] and I agree with you about the starving bored cat.

@TheHaight- You did say that your cat was getting old. Maybe that’s just the body shoe for an older cat. You can’t really expect her to look trim like a kitten. I suggest that next time you take her to the vet, ask the vet about the weight. She may be puuurrrrr-fectly (haha!) healthy for her age. If not, I’m sure the vet will have some great tips on diet and excerise programs.

ebenezer's avatar

randy- I agree

spendy's avatar

@ebenezer, just make sure it’s a toy car…not a Range Rover or something. ;)

Randy's avatar

That is, unless your cat is a cheeta!

ebenezer's avatar

spendy- I am debating about which will be most affective.

spendy's avatar

I’m betting on the car…you could tie all sorts of wild stuff to it. Make a funny sock puppet with wiggly eyes…whatever works. Glue some furry hair to it. This could be fun!

cheebdragon's avatar

your going to put on a sock puppet show for your cat???

I want to watch too!!!

cheebdragon's avatar

my cats hide from toy cars, but my dog loves them! its really annoying because she always ends up rolling it over on accident!

DeezerQueue's avatar

I had read somewhere a long time ago that a switch to wet food leads to a caloric reduction because it contains more water. You might want to try that, but if you do be certain to use a good quality food. In addition, any dietary change should be made gradually, if you do it too quickly they may end up getting sick for a period of time, with symptoms of drinking a lot of water and very rapid weight loss, combined with lethargy.

I think also calls for some discipline on your part, to not give in to the incessant whining you’ll have to deal with when they beg for more food. They’re not starving, but you will be dealing with a cat that is being broken of a bad habit.

Exercise also will help, as already pointed out, the question is finding a form that your cat will like.

syz's avatar

Deezer is correct – if you make a diet change, make sure to do it gradually. Sudden diet changes can cause serious GI issues for some animals.

There is quite a bit of nutritional research going on now to determine if cereals used as a binder in dry kibble affects insulin regulation in cats (cats, unlike dogs, are obligate carnivores). Until a consensus is reached, I think you are safe in following the recommendations of your veterinarian.

Canned cat food contains more water and less cereal, but I stay away from it because of the increased stool volume and odor. It also tends to accelerate dental tartar and gum disease.

I would recommend that you have your cat checked out by your veterinarian. Obesity in animals has been proven to shorten life span and increase the incidence of disease (arthritic changes, diabetes, etc). Your vet will discuss weight loss options with you at that time. The most effective method will be a prescription diet designed for exactly that purpose.

Remember that weight loss should be gradual – cats have a unique physiology and a too rapid weight loss can cause a cat to go into hepatic lipidosis, a potentially fatal condition that causes liver failure.

TheHaight's avatar

Wow! I woke up this morning to some wonderful feedback. Thankyou, to everyone! From what I’ve read from you all, is that I should take her to the vet to get checked out and feed her more healthy food. And also- don’t give in to her whining! (thanks Deezer!) she does whine a lot, and sometimes I can’t help but spoil her with more food. Also I’ll try out the wet food- but if it makes her stool smelly and doesn’t help(thanks syz for that input) then I’ll stop. I see that you cat owners also have that fat that jiggles- it is cute, and maybe she just has it from old age…
thanks for all your input. You flutherer’s really do care about my cat. :)

TheHaight's avatar

oops, I meant to say that I see that you cat owners also have cats with fat that jiggles. I wasn’t saying that you guys have fat that jiggles. Ha.

Seesul's avatar

I went through this 2 cats ago and it turned into diabetes, which is no picnic. I was ignorant as to what to feed her and the foods available weren’t as balanced back then. For mine it was too late (much older than yours by the time I figured it out), but I took her to the vet, and they re-educated me and gave me tips on how to get the weight off and how to take care of future cats. My cat was nearly over 12 years old at that point and I wish I’d known about the problem at the point you are thinking about it.

Like others have said, you need a vet check up and some professional advice. What you need is a weight range that is healthy for your particular cat. Then, if the vet deems your cat overweight, they should give you feeding advice. Again, it should be gradual, if you have to change foods, as mentioned above. What they had me do, was to measure and observe what she ate for a week and then reduce that amount by a given amount.

Cats are either nibblers and know when to stop or gorgers and don’t. They suggested I feed twice daily a set amount, as to distribute it evenly. They said quality dry food was okay, but when a cat gets older, that can turn into a problem with chewing when the teeth start to go. Dry food is better for long term health of the teeth, but they need plenty of water.

With my new kitten, I use a blend of EVO, Science Diet and Solid Gold Katz-N-Flocken. They are carried at Bay Area “Biggie” pet stores, but I can’t buy all 3 of them at the same store. I buy the smallest bags of each, in case she pushes the reject button on one of them. They are pricer, but I figure worth it in contrast to later vet bills

The Katz-N-Floken makes her coat amazingly shiny. I want to warn you that you may have to put up with back talk until your kitty gets used to the idea of limiting her food.
The other tips you have gotten (same for humans) is to exercise her more. The lazer pointer is great, but keep it away from her eyes. We use those feather wands, but each cat likes something different. My other 2 could be leased and taken for a walk, but the new baby doesn’t seem to go for that idea, but, as I said in an earlier post, she flies and swims, so that more than makes up for it.

sks485's avatar

Our cat lived in 15 years and he was obese. My parents spoiled and overfeed him constantly. We did in the later years try some tactics. He had dried cat food and wet cat food. He preferred the wet cat food. This was given to him twice a day. The dried cat food was always available to eat but he would hardly touch it. Once, he was on this diet he would maintain his weight. I think he never did lose the weight because table scraps were sneaking into his diet. We tried diet cat food but the cat did not eat at first. After awhile the cat did start to eat. Again, the main problem was the table scraps that he would get. table scraps. I found the diet food does not work any better than regular food. I think a healthy diet without over eating will put your cat at a normal weight.

TheHaight's avatar

@seesul; thanks for the amazing tips- j reallly need to buy the food you recommended.
@sks- we have never given her scrap food- I just over feed her. You cat lived till a very long life! Wow, thats great. She lived a long life and a good one due to those table scraps!!! :)

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