Sadly, many people don't realise how overfeeding a cat may put their health at risk. Obesity can lead to all sorts of serious health issues which includes a cat developing hepatic lipidosis or diabetes. Once a cat is obese much as in humans, it can prove really hard for them to shed all those extra dangerous pounds.
With most animals and people, reducing calorie intake and making sure enough exercise is taken, is the best recipe to shed unwanted weight and get back in shape. However, with cats exercise and diet don't really go together that well, especially as our feline friends like nothing more than to spend much of the day fast asleep in a warm, sunny spot they treasure as their own.
Research recently carried out on the behavioural patterns of cats, indicates there is a way to promote weight loss in these little furry creatures by tying exercise and feeding times together. The result of the research showed that just the fact of knowing they were going to be fed meant a cat would be more awake, alert and moving around rather than snoozing the hours away which is after all, what our domestic cats are famous for doing best.
These studies showed that cats were more active around two hours prior to be fed when they were given food four times a day or when they were randomly fed at various times throughout the day. Researchers soon understood that just the thought of being fed encouraged cats to be a lot more active. The cats used in the research were fed food with a higher water content and even after having eaten were more active which researchers put down to the fact they need to go to the toilet a lot more.
However, the cats involved in the research were not overweight, but many animal nutritionists and vets agree that by increasing the amount of times an obese cat was fed every day and making sure the food had a high water content, would make the cats more active and therefore this type of feeding routine would go a long way in helping them shed all those extra pounds simply because they would be a lot more active.
For most owners, feeding their cat several times a day can be quite difficult to organise because many people are out at work and don't typically get back home until late in the afternoon. A great way around this problem is to invest in an automatic feeder, making sure you get one that is for wet food and not dried.
You would need to set the timer so your cat gets fed every six hours during the day which should encourage them to be more active especially when they get used to the routine and look forward to all their feed times with anticipation!
With this said, it's always very important to discuss things with your vet first before you put an overweight or obese cat on any sort of diet. They may recommend a specific diet and if they do, it's best to go along with their advice.
However, if your cat has just put on a little too much weight, you should ask the vet if they agree with feeding your cat more often during the day, making sure the food you give them boasts a higher water content and see what they say. It might be worth buying wet food that's been specifically formulated for overweight cats which is usually called a "light" variety.
Vets recommend that cats should lose around 1% of their bodyweight a week. This is the safest and healthiest ratio for a cat to lose in a specific period of time. The thing to remember is that just like in humans, cats need to lose any unwanted weight gradually and never too fast which could end up doing more damage than good.
Overweight cats run the risk of developing all sorts of health issues which includes diabetes and heart conditions. It's really important to keep an eye on a cat's weight, especially when they have just been spayed or neutered. Just like in humans, once a cat has put on the weight, it can be really hard for them to lose it and get back into shape again. New studies have suggested that feeding cat more often and making sure the food has a higher water content, encourages our feline friends to be more active. The result? Cats are more active when they know they're going to be fed and therefore get more exercise!