Three Tips for Helping Your Cat Lose Weight
Having an indoor cat can be a lot of fun but it can also create a lot of headaches, especially when it comes to feeding. A lot of cats are overweight because they are being fed too much food at once or being fed too many times per day. As an owner of two indoor cats, I can attest to the fact that one of my cats weighs about 20 pounds and I have begun a strict diet regime in order to help him lose weight and stay healthy. Although I was never really over feeding either cat, it seems they both gained weight after they were neutered and spayed. If you are trying to put your indoor cat on a diet then here are three tips to help you become successful, based on my own personal experiences.
1. The first thing you want to do if you plan on putting your indoor cat on a diet is to read the label on the cat food to figure out how much they should be getting each day. There are a lot of varieties of cat food on the market and they all have serving suggestions based on the ingredients and type of food it is such as wet or dry. There are also a lot of other variables you need to consider such as age of your cat, weight of your cat and breed which will go into serving suggestions and recommended calorie consumption. Usually you can find the food guides on the back of the cat food whether it is wet or dry and it will tell you how much you should be feeding your cat or give you a website to visit for further information. In my case, the back of the dry cat food said to give about one-quarter cup two times a day for each cat, so that would mean one-half cup twice a day for my indoor cats. You will need to know this information because it is essential you are giving your cat the right amount of food based on the variables you have to consider. I also found it useful that once I had that information to either write it down and clip it to the refrigerator or to find a measuring cup to use strictly for the cat food.
2. Once you know how much cat food you should be giving your indoor cat everyday per meal, now you have to put this plan into action. For most people this means you need to figure out a feeding schedule for your cat that works with your own such as feeding your cat in the morning before you go to work. Even if you do not have a job where you have to leave your house, you still need to make a schedule and stick to it for the most part so that your cat knows when feeding time is. My cat would always start whining about midnight for food and sometimes I used to give into his demands because he would not stop whining until I did. I finally said enough is enough and stopped feeding him at night when he whines because this was not helping me set a schedule and stick to it. I typically feed my cats when I wake up about 10 in the morning and then again about 4 in the evening, so they get fed just the two times each day. It took my cat a few weeks to adjust to this schedule and to realize that his whining in the middle of the night was going to get him nowhere and I would not feed him a snack late at night. It is also important to figure out a schedule because it can help you remember whether or not you fed your cat, which can help decrease the chance you overfeed. Sometimes I would put food in the bowl because I was unsure if I had fed my cats dinner already or not and other times someone else in the house would feed them in the mornings and I would not know this and end up feeding them when I woke up. Now that I had created a schedule, I know when I wake up that no one else has fed them already and I can better keep track of how much food is going into their bowl and I also do not forget that I already fed them.
3. You also will need to show your cat who the boss is in the house, which is easier said than done in a lot of situations. For me, the hardest part was letting my cat know that he did not dictate when he got fed and that his whining in the middle of the night would not work any longer. My cat would whine constantly until I opened the cat food bin and put food into his bowl, whether it was during the day or the middle of the night and yes I would give in because I wanted him to stop whining. After a while I figured out that he used his whining and meows to get me to cave into his request and therefore he thought he was the boss of the house. It took a lot of determination on my part to stop giving in every time he would meow at me and follow me around the house, but eventually I just told him no and would go on about my activities. You have to put your foot down in order to be successful at putting your cat on a diet or else they will think they can meow and get their way. Having a cat is a lot like having a child when it comes to them being able to know what to do to get their way, which is something you have to stop doing if you want your cat to lose weight. Your cat will give you the cute face and meow but they need to realize that you are the boss and you control when they get fed.
If you follow these three tips then you can help your indoor cat lose weight and hopefully keep it off. After a few weeks of setting up a schedule and stopping late night feedings, you will find that you are happier and your cat will also seem happier.