Choosing a healthy cat food for weight loss
If you’re concerned about your cat’s weight, chances are you’re thinking about how to choose the best diet cat food.
Helping your cat maintain a healthy weight is important to helping her enjoy a long, healthy life. This can be a challenge, especially for spayed or neutered cats, who are more likely to become overweight.
The first step to starting your cat on a weight loss program should be to visit your veterinarian, who can help you determine your cat’s body condition score (BCS). BCS is the most widely accepted and practical way of assessing whether a cat food for weight loss would be recommended. A nine-point BCS system, developed by Purina®, features illustrations as well as descriptions to help veterinary professionals and pet owners determine feline body condition.
Using the Purina Pro Plan Simply Fit Body Condition Score Tool, you can score your cat’s body condition on a scale ranging from one (too thin) to nine (too heavy). Ideal body condition for a cat (number four or five on the scale) is described as: Ribs easily felt with minimal overlying fat layer. Clear waistline behind ribs and noticeable tummy tuck when viewed from side.
- To help your cat reach her ideal body condition, the best diet cat food options are ones that are formulated with a realistic weight loss goal of one to two percent of body weight every other week. It’s important to remember that simply reducing the amount of food you give your cat may not be the best way to help her lose weight. Therefore, for healthy weight reduction, a cat food for weight loss should contain:
Less fat, the most calorie dense of nutrients, than adult maintenance cat food
- Adequate protein, to help your cat maintain lean muscle mass as she loses weight
- Fiber, to help her lose weight and feel more satisfied
The approach you take to feeding your cat can also impact on her weight loss. For example, traditional weight loss method rely on a feeding method called Continuous Calorie Restriction (CCR), which involves cutting back the amount of calories your cat takes in each day. This method can leave cats feeling less than satisfied with their meals and owners wanting to feed them more. Now there’s a system from Purina® Pro Plan® that offers a more satisfying, yet still effective, approach to the dilemma of calorie reduction. Unlike the traditional CCR weight loss method, Pro Plan® Simply FitTM uses a system called Intermittent Calorie Restriction (ICR), which works by changing the number of calories a cat takes in, instead of her portion size. Patented by Purina®, this system uses an alternating feeding schedule involving two foods—one with a base calorie amount and one with 25% fewer calories— to vary calorie intake over time. It help keep a cat’s metabolism continuously active, to help promote body fast loss, maintain lean muscle mass and reach an ideal body condition. All without subtracting from the amount of food she eats each day.
Once you’ve found the best diet cat food for your cat, and have developed a plan to help her lose weight, be sure to commit to it. Regardless of the diet you choose, patience and consistency are key to realizing results. Remember, losing weight loss in a healthy way takes time. Follow the feeding guidelines of the diet you choose, cut back on treats and treat your cat to some extra brushing and petting instead. With the approval of your veterinarian, be sure to engage your cat in appropriate daily exercise. Remember, in addition to a cat food for weight loss, every step you take to improve your cat’s weight can also help promote her health, and a long, happy 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