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Weight Loss in Cats Should be Slow and Steady

Slow and steady always wins when we’re talking about weight loss in pets, particularly cats. In this #CFAHWeightLossChallenge post we discuss the reasons why a healthy weight loss plan is so important to our feline friends.

Mr Jay at Falls Pointe in our Weight Loss ChallengeMany cats today are overweight due to lack of exercise and free-feeding at home (i.e., their food is not being measured out, they’re just being fed as much as they want)! Overweight cats need a veterinary approved weight loss plan with careful monitoring as they lose weight. If cats lose weight too quickly, especially if they are very obese to start with, they are at risk of a disease called hepatic lpidosis (also known as Fatty Liver Disease).

When a cat is not getting enough calories due to a sudden and drastic decrease in the amount of food being consumed, the liver converts body fat into usable energy. If this persists for too long the fat can build up in the liver cells, making the cat very sick. Because he feels sick, he will have a decreased appetite or no appetite at all, which will make the situation much worse. Hospitalization with a feeding tube can help resolve the problem, but it can taken many weeks, which is hard on the cat and costly for the owner.

To avoid problems such as fatty liver disease, cats should only lose 1 to 2% of their body weight per week. For example, an 18 pound cat should only lose 0.2 to 0.3 pounds per week, which means only 0.8 to 1.4 pounds per month! If the goal weight is 12 pounds, it may take five to six months of steady weight loss. Remember, one pound on a cat is like 15 pounds on a human! The initial amount of calories/ food that we instruct you to feed your pet is based on a formula, which is a good guideline to follow, however every cat’s metabolism is unique. That is why routine weigh-ins are essential every two to four weeks. This enables your veterinarian to monitor the weight loss and if needed, adjust the amount being fed. Together we can ensure your cat has a safe, healthy weight loss.

If you have any questions about a weight loss plan for an overweight kitty, please contact your Care First Animal Hospital veterinarian today!

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