Did winter take its toll on your cat’s weight? Has all the hiding under comfy duvets in front of the fireplace added some extra kilos? Don’t despair: there are ways to help your cat regain her natural physique. But before you place your cat on a special diet, you have to consult your vet to ensure there are no underlying medical conditions.
Just like humans, cats come in different shapes and sizes, and their breed dictates these. Due to these variations, it is difficult to determine what the ideal weight for cats is. What may be a healthy weight for
one breed is overweight for another.
That being said, the average shorthaired cat should weigh between 3.6 and 4.5kg, depending on her breed. However, it is necessary to maintain an eyeon your cat’s weight and take her for annual check-ups at the vet.
So what causes weight gain? There are many factors involved, but a cat gains weight when she eats more calories and becomes less active. Age also plays a role, as some senior cats pick up weight as they get older.
Overall, more than half of cats are overweight and a quarter of cats are obese.
Obesity is more common in older, less active or spayed females whose weight is not well managed.
Is she overweight?
If you are not sure whether your cat is overweight, these tips can give you an idea:
• Place your hands on either side of your cat and firmly stroke her sides – you must be you can to feel her ribs. If you can’t touch her bones, your cat is fat.
• Stand over your cat and look down at her. Your cat’s waistline ought to be detectable a a slight indentation directly behind her ribs.
• A swinging pouch among your cat’s hind legs is a signal that she is overweight.
• Your cat’s anal area ought to look clean. Some obese cats have problems grooming this area.
• A fatty patch, matting of fur or flaking of skin down the midline of a cat’s lower back can as well indicate weight problems.
What to do
If you have determined that your cat should lose some weight; it’s best to ask your vet to work out a plan specially formulated for her.
The most successful weight-loss programs involve feeding fewer calories and increasing activity.
There are various types of low-calorie foods available on the market that can also assist in losing some weight.
How much should your cat eat?
The greatest way to calculate your cat’s daily resting energy requirements (RER) is with this formula: 30 x your cat’s body weight in kilos + 70 = your cat’s RER
• Average cat who weighs 5kg: 30 x 5kg + 70 = 220
• Obese cat who weighs 6.5kg: 30 x 6.5kg + 70 = 265
To calculate your cat’s daily energy requirements (DER):
• A 5kg cat who is on a maintenance diet and doesn’t need to gain or lose weight: 220 RER x 1.2 = 264 calories per day
• A 6.5kg obese cat who needs to lose weight: 265 RER x 0.8 = 212 calories per day As your cat loses weight, her RER will drop and you should adjust this formula.
Increase her activity
It is up to you to find ways that suit your cat’s personality to encourage her to become more active. Any activity will help, from playing with a feather wand and toys that trigger her curiosity, to taking her for a walk in the garden.