cat diets?????

GamerCatMom

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Hi! I have what's supposed to be a small kitty, but shes currently 16 pounds...
I've never had an overweight cat, so I'm a little scared of hurting her more than helping...
suggestions?
She currently gets fed a 1/4 cup of dry food three times a day, and she's active, but not as active as an average weight cat..

She's still pretty new to our home, so I want to learn as much as I can before the time comes to actually apply a diet/exercise routine.
 

jen

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That is a LOT of dry food for a cat. You should look at the amount you are giving, then look at the recommendation for her body weight and start to reduce. You need to do this very slowly or it could pose a danger to her.I would also get a check up from the vet with bloodwork to make sure she isn't pre-diabetic or anything else.

Ultimately she should be off dry food and incorporate more canned into her diet. This will fill her up more appropriately. Dry food is terrible for cats.
 
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GamerCatMom

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3/4 cup is the recommended amount for her current weight, according to the bag :/
I know dry food is bad for cats, what is good wet food?
So sad (and a little scared) that the only vet around here is a traveling one...
 

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Ignore the feeding amount on the label. Almost always the amount listed is eating more than a cat needs. Pet food companies overstate the amount so you use up the food faster and therefore have to buy food more often which means more $$ for them, IMO.

Dry foods are very calorie dense, as much as 600 calories in a cup. What dry food brand are you feeding?

The general rule of thumb is to feed roughly 20 to 25 calories per pound of ideal body weight daily. Some cats may need more or less.

Here are TCS articles on choosing food:

How To Choose The Right Food For Your Cat – Cat Articles
What Makes The Best Canned Cat Food? – Cat Articles
 
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GamerCatMom

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whiskas, its what my MIL was feeding her while she was taking care of her
 

molly92

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The package recommendations are a huge overestimation for most cats. Cats vary in metabolism widely, so you really need to base your cat's needs on their weight. For now, you can hold them on a bathroom scale and subtract your own weight to measure them, although you'll likely want to find a more precise scale for her weight loss journey in the long run.

You're right to be careful, but you can absolutely do this! Just get organized!

First of all, any wet food is going to be better than dry food. Fancy feast is often a good budget conscious brand (avoid fish if you can though), but there are lots of good high end brands as well, depending on what your cat likes. You want something as high in animal protein as possible, because not only is this healthier for your little carnivore, but it will also help her feel fuller than empty carbs. If you need help transitioning her to wet, we have tips for that too!

Next, I would set up a spreadsheet and record how many calories your cat is eating a day (it will say in tiny print on the can, usually somewhere around 100-200 calories in those 5.5 oz cans). Also record her weight weekly, and do the math. Cats are at high risk for developing fatty liver disease, which is very dangerous, if they lose too much weight too quickly. Fortunately, you can avoid it if you monitor weight loss closely:

Let's say you're on week 2 of the diet. Take the weight from week 1 and multiply it by .02. This number is 2% of your cat's weight, and you do not want to lose more than this per week. Ideally she should be losing about 1-1.5% of her weight a week. This number changes the skinnier she gets, so you have to recalculate it every week. If she's losing more than 2%, give her more calories/day. If she's not losing weight or is gaining weight, you'll have to cut back further. Usually, you have to keep cutting back a lot before you see weight loss. I would start at roughly 250 calories per day for your cat and go from there.
 

kittyluv387

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Catinfo.org will teach you what's good food. And yes 3/4 cup is too much. Ton of calories. I would reduce that to 1/2 cup plus a 3oz can of food. And then lower that down to 1/4 cup plus 3 oz can. And then a whole big can (5.5oz) for herself a day. The pates contain a lot of calories so the 5.5 oz can is enough for my averagely active male cat.
 
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GamerCatMom

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does her age play a part in her weight loss journey? shes 9, so will it change what i can and cant feed her?
 

kittyluv387

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does her age play a part in her weight loss journey? shes 9, so will it change what i can and cant feed her?
Not really. Just that she doesn't need as many calories as a kitten. If you're referring to senior diets don't buy into that. They usually contain more carbs to achieve the fewer calories and seniors really need quality protein since their muscles can start to degrade.

Edit: Ah one thing to consider is phosphorus because of her age. Cheap canned foods like fancy feast usually contain more phosphorus. As cats age their kidneys naturally lose function. The higher phosphorus will hurt compromised kidneys. Someone already did the work for you so here's a chart for that and more.

https://felinecrf.org/canned_food_usa.htm
 

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does her age play a part in her weight loss journey? shes 9, so will it change what i can and cant feed her?
Nope! Just don't feed her kitten food. I'd avoid foods labeled senior/indoor/weight loss foods too actually, because these use a lot of fiber, and with fiber comes more carbs, so they're actually worse for weight loss (more fiber keeps humans fuller but it makes cats hungrier-they need the protein to feel full). These foods have fewer calories per cup/ounce, but it's much better to feed less of higher calorie, higher protein food.
 
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GamerCatMom

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Good to know! Once summer comes will it be ok for her to be outside for exercise? or is it not a great idea to bring her for small walks around my apartment building? theres a lot of grass and forest around, so she wont be on pavement. (she would be harnessed and with me or my partner)
 

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will it change what i can and cant feed her?
Not really, repeating other comments although from what I've read you don't want to use deliberately low phosphorus foods with a healthy cat.

Will she follow you if you hold a favorite toy, or her food dish in your hand? That's a good way to get her more exercise, start gently though. Also if you have stairs you could place her food dish so she needs to climb one or two, then more, to get to it.

Which is to say, walking her outside is a great idea :)!

the only vet around here is a traveling one...
Is he able to draw blood (not all home visit vets do)? If so, you're ok.

Having an in-home visiting vet can be less stressful for your cat, so that's a positive :). Ask him (just for your peace of mind) what to do/who to call for vet emergencies, since more knowledge is good for that sort of situation.

I always have trouble attaching it when I'm on my phone but if you search, Purina has an adult cat body condition chart that is very helpful in knowing whether your cat is actually overweight or not.

 
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GamerCatMom

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i dont know if the vet does in home but i do know that he parks his trailer a 7 minute walk from my place, and she loves going for adventures on peoples shoulders...my partner has even been able to hitchhike with her lol
she currently super lovey and affectionate, will the diet change her attitude and such until shes used to it?
 

molly92

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Walks (on a leash) sound good to me! She might get upset when she's not getting as much food. It won't be the easiest on her in the beginning, but it will make her feel better in the long run. I don't think my cat got less cuddly on a diet, just more demanding about food. Keeping mealtimes routine and reliable will help, so she always knows when she's getting food.
 
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GamerCatMom

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are there optimal times to feed a cat or do i stick to her 9am/2pm/6pm schedule?
 

kittyluv387

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Not really, repeating other comments although from what I've read you don't want to use deliberately low phosphorus foods with a healthy cat.

Will she follow you if you hold a favorite toy, or her food dish in your hand? That's a good way to get her more exercise, start gently though. Also if you have stairs you could place her food dish so she needs to climb one or two, then more, to get to it.

Which is to say, walking her outside is a great idea :)!


Is he able to draw blood (not all home visit vets do)? If so, you're ok.

Having an in-home visiting vet can be less stressful for your cat, so that's a positive :). Ask him (just for your peace of mind) what to do/who to call for vet emergencies, since more knowledge is good for that sort of situation.

I always have trouble attaching it when I'm on my phone but if you search, Purina has an adult cat body condition chart that is very helpful in knowing whether your cat is actually overweight or not.

[/URL]
Well once kidney function decline shows up the damage has largely been done. But you're right there's no need to feed such low phosphorus foods that will match prescription diets (less than 1% DMB). But I do try to feed my cats lower phosphorus like 1.6% DMB and below. The AAFCO minimum is .5% for an adult.
 

molly92

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are there optimal times to feed a cat or do i stick to her 9am/2pm/6pm schedule?
Whatever schedule works for you is good! 3 meals is great, since cats tend to eat multiple small meals, but most cat owners can only feed 2 with their schedules.
 
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GamerCatMom

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what are problems i might encounter? i feel like i hear a lot about picky cats
 
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