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Hints on how to help your cat lose weight

As stated in the 2015 Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) Pet Obesity Survey, it might seem surprising, but 58.2% of U.S. cats seen by veterinarians were overweight or obese.

There are many reasons cats wind up putting on extra pounds, leading owners like you to wonder how to help your cat lose weight. For example, studies have shown that the Domestic Shorthair, Domestic Longhair, Domestic Medium Hair, Mixed and Manx breeds are more likely to be obese. Also, mixed-breed cats have a greater tendency toward obesity than many purebred cats.

Other factors, such as age and activity level, can play a role in a cat’s weight. Case in point: cats that live indoors, especially in smaller spaces such as apartments, are more likely to be overweight. In addition, male cats, especially if they are neutered, have a greater tendency to put on extra weight.

How to get your cat to lose weight begins in the bowl.
Cats can be very discriminating when it comes to food. So if your cat becomes overweight, helping her lose that weight can be difficult. Especially if switching foods is involved.

That’s why it’s best to begin by talking with your veterinarian about how to get your cat to lose weight. Together you can decide on a nutrition plan, including a food that combines flavor your cat wants with complete and balanced weight loss nutrition she needs.

It’s not just what you feed your cat, but how you feed her that counts.
Most traditional weight loss methods are based on an approach known as Continuous Calorie Restriction (CCR), which relies on reducing daily caloric input. This approach can leave cats feeling hungry and owners feeling guilty. However, this is not the only option. Another effective method for helping your cat lose weight, known as Intermittent Calorie Restriction (ICR), is the cornerstone of an innovative new diet from Purina® called Pro Plan® Simply FitTM.

Unlike the traditional CCR weight loss method, the Simply FitTM system works by changing the calorie intake, not the size of the portions you feed. Patented by Purina®, ICR uses an alternating feeding schedule that includes two foods—one with a base calorie amount and one with 25% fewer calories. This system helps metabolism stay continuously active, to help cats lose body fat, maintain lean muscle mass and reach an ideal body condition. All without changing the size of their meals.

The right approach.
Whatever method you and your veterinarian choose for your cat, make sure you follow the feeding guidelines. Remember, it’s not a weight loss plan if you feed twice as much of it! Also, be patient. No matter what weight loss approach you choose, healthy weight loss takes time.

Try to go easier on treating.
When it comes to treats, you cat can get too much of a good thing. If you’re looking to cut calories, cutting back on treats can help. If your cat looks forward to an occasional treat, talk to your veterinarian about including those calories in your cat’s daily weight loss plan. Or switch “food love” for real, hands-on affection, and treat your cat to some extra petting and snuggling instead.

A little activity can take your cat’s weight loss a long way.
Healthy activity is part of a healthy lifestyle—for you and your cat. In other words, learning how to help your cat lose weight could involve looking at your own activity level. If the only exercise you and your cat share involves settling in on the sofa, try getting up and grabbing a toy to engage and energize her. Spending time each day enticing your cat to play can help her shed extra weight and build lean muscle.

As you can see, the question of how to help your cat lose weight is one with many answers. And the right mixture of those answers can help your pet regain not only a healthy body, but also a healthy, long life.

Laflamme, Dottie. “Development and Validation of a Body Condition Score System for Dogs.” Canine Practice 22 No. 4 (1997): 10-15. Print.

“Intermittent Caloric Restriction (ICR) As An Effective Means To Manage Obesity.” Purina Institute Scientific Review.

“With overweight pets, there’s more to love.” PPVD Feline Brochure