We’ve talked about how to help dogs stay trim. Let’s focus on our feline friends and what can be done to help them stay slim, trim, and healthy.
Obese cats face health risks similar to people and dogs, arthritis, shorter life spans, and diabetes are among some of the many health concerns that a chubby kitty may have to deal with in her later years. Cats may not play fetch like a dog, follow you around, or have the desire to play with the other animals in the house the same way a dog does but they do like to play and need to exercise just the same. So what can you do?
Try the following 6 tips:
- Look for foods that are higher in protein and less carbs. Wet food typically has less carbs than dry, try substituting one meal a day with wet food instead of dry kibble at every feeding. Don’t leave the wet food in the bowl till it dries out.
- Instead of store bought cat treats, replace them with cooked fish or chicken bits. Also try to not “reward” your cat for meowing at you for a treat but rather when your cat has done something great like used the scratching post instead of the rug or after having her nails clipped.
- Spend a little time each day playing with your cat. There are plenty of toys you can buy but you can also make your own. Tie a few feathers that you can buy at an art store to a string on a stick and let your cat chase, jump, and try to catch them as you wave them back an forth. Get some carpet samples or use an old rug and wrap it around a few pieces of scrap wood to create a scratching post.
- Wad up some paper or a tin foil ball and let your cat chase that around. You can hide a few treats or some catnip inside to give your cat a mental work out as well.
- Fake looking mice or little puffy pompom balls allow your cat to chase something through the house. If the mice are catnip stuffed, even better. If not, you can put some catnip on them.
- Simple things like a paper bag or a cardboard box allow your cat to explore, hide, and stimulates their senses. A paper bag from the grocery store also has a lot of different new scents so they may run in it, sniff, and sit. Some other cats may jump in and out of the cardboard box over and over again. Regardless, talk about a cheap toy and easy way to keep your cat entertained!
Again, if you’re unsure about what changes are safe for your cat or what diet would be best for your cat, consult your vet. Providing exercise and enrichment typically will also change the behavior of you cat.
Your cat may seem more content, may stop chasing your toes under covers, and may purr and snuggle more when it’s not playtime. Also, a thinner cat means a cleaner cat since heavy cats sometimes can not clean their backs and butts. If your cat is big-boned, see if you can find those bones after a few weeks of a new diet and exercise.
Image from Bugsy’s Facebook