Helping a cat lose weight is a difficult task. But that task becomes doubly hard if you have other feline residents in your home. If your pet needs to shed off excess pounds, here is how to get a cat to lose weight with multiple cats living in the same home.
Whether you live with just one or more cats, the principles of feline weight loss remain essentially the same. If you want your cat to move down to a healthier weight, there are three important things that you need to do:
- Change your cat’s feeding habits.
- Lower your cat’s calorie intake.
- Make your cat move more.
Losing weight, whether you are human or a cat is not just a matter of moving more and eating less. With felines, there are a few important considerations that you need to bear in mind. And things can become more complicated if you own several cats.
For starters, you want to focus your attention on your fat cat. You want him to manage his weight and you want him to reach his ideal weight safely and consistently.
Second, you do not want to compromise the dietary habits of your other cats. You should restrict your chubby cat’s food consumption without denying your other pets of food.
How to Get a Cat to Lose Weight With Multiple Cats
In order to get one cat to lose weight the best way is to feed the cats separately. Make them eat in separate spaces and/or at separate times.
Here are some additional strategies that will help you achieve the weight loss goals.
Change your cat’s feeding habits
Your cat’s feeding habits can contribute to weight gain. And if you want to help him lose weight, you should implement a few changes in the way you feed your pets.
Stop free-feeding your cats
The ancestors of the modern dog hunted in packs and wolfed down any meal they came across. The ancestors of your cats, on the other hand, were solitary hunters who preferred to graze on their food, taking their sweet time.
Some feline experts advocate free-feeding because it mimics the way the ancestors of domestic cats ate. Furthermore, free-feeding offers a few benefits like ready access to food. That is particularly beneficial to owners who are out of the house for most of the day.
However, a substantial number of feline experts discourage free-feeding due to a variety of reasons. For one, making food available all the time means that a cat can eat more than he needs to. In turn, this increases the likelihood of obesity.
In homes with multiple cats, free-feeding is one of the leading causes of obesity. Most likely, you have one chubby cat in your home while the others have healthy weights. The fat cat might be the dominant one and he hogs the food bowl.
It is also possible that you adopted your fat cat. Before coming to your home, he might have been in a situation where he did not have access to enough food. And now that food is readily available to him, he wants to eat as much as he possibly can.
If you want to stop your fat cat from overeating, the first step that you need to do is to stop free-feeding and make the switch to scheduled meals, not just for your overweight cat, but for the others as well.
Your cats should eat at set times every day and your pets should have their own feeding bowls. To prevent your fat cat from stealing food from the others, you should feed him in a separate room. If that is not possible, you can use a barrier like a baby gate to isolate your pet that needs to lose weight.
Make your cat eat slowly
The easiest way to do that is to swap your cat’s food bowl with a puzzle feeder. With a puzzle feeder, your cat has to work so that he can get to his food.
Aside from slowing down your cat, a puzzle feeder engages and stimulates your cat’s mind and his hunting instincts. Think of it as another way to enrich his quality of life while at the same time improving his health.
Lower your cat’s calorie intake
Now that you have tackled your cat’s feeding habits, the next order of business is restricting his calories. Restricting calories is not just about reducing your pet’s food portions.
Of course, you need to reduce the number of treats you give him as those count toward his daily calorie intake.
To reduce your cat’s calorie intake, you will need the assistance of a veterinarian. Your bet will help you determine your cat’s ideal body weight as well as how many calories he needs to consume to reach his target weight.
Initially, the vet will set a specific weight that you and your cat should target. Think of this as the first step toward your cat achieving a desirable weight. Once your cat reaches this initial goal weight, the vet will set another goal weight until your pet has reached his ideal weight.
After the vet has set a target weight for your cat, the next thing that he needs to do is to calculate how many calories your pet needs daily. The actual quantity you will need to serve will depend on the calorie content of the cat food.
Usually, vets recommend canned food for their patients that need to lose weight. One reason behind that is that canned food is more appealing to most cats, including the finicky ones.
If your cat is slightly overweight, your vet may prescribe weight loss diet food readily available in pet stores. But if your cat is obese, the vet may recommend a prescription diet that is high in protein and fiber and low on fat.
When making the switch to a different type of cat food, you will need to allot at least three weeks for the transition between the old and new food. This will ensure that your cat continues eating. Unlike dogs, cats cannot go on for long without eating.
Make your cat move more
Unlike dogs that you can take out to go on a jog with you, you have to be creative with your cat in terms of making him more physically active.
In the wild, cats stalk their prey silently, waiting for the right opportunity. And when that opportunity arises, they pounce with a short burst. Dogs, on the other hand, tire out their prey.
This means that cats cannot do physical activities for a sustained period. That, however, does not mean that you should not make your cat exercise.
The simplest way to make your pet more physically active is to play with him. If your cat has been mostly sedentary, start gradually by playing with him for a few minutes each day. Gradually increase playtime for a few weeks until you can play with him for a total of 20 minutes a day. You can divide that time by two or more, depending on your schedule. The important thing is consistency.
Helping your cat lose weight
Helping a cat lose weight is challenging enough and even more so if you have other cats in your home. But with patience, perseverance, and a little creativity, your cat can attain his ideal weight and boost his health. The process may be long but the benefits for your pet are immense.
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