General advice on STARTING cat weight loss?

saharahoshi

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So both of our kitties have gotten...fat. I'm not proud of it but I'll cop to it, our 9 year old senior female (spayed) is about 11.5 and our 1.5 (neutered male) year old is about 13.5ish, ideally she'd be about 9 lbs and he'd be about 12/12.5 We are also in the middle of a cat introduction process (working on visuals right now) but I really don't want them getting any fatter.

We have all the tools - foraging toys, etc. etc. but I'm wondering how people have gotten their cats started with weight loss? We've talked to our vet and she said follow the feeding directions on their dry food bag (she's allergic to cats and only owns dogs), also having been through a kitty that I adopted with hepatic lipidosis I really don't want to go through that nightmare scenario again.

Right now we are feeding Hill's Prescription Diet Metabolic Urinary (our female has a history of idiopathic cystitis), we measure it out but we do free feed and give a bit of wet food (think like a sliver). To get her down to the ideal weight, we'd be feeding her the amount on the bag recommended and same with him (according to our vet).

What I would like to know is what is a good way to start a kitty's weight loss journey in terms of the food aspect? For example, if you free fed cats and then switched them over to an all-wet diet because it's better for them, etc. what steps did you take? I'm just looking for some general advice on gradual ways to ease them into this, obviously enhanced playtime is also a MUST.
 

LTS3

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Ignore the feeding amount of pet food labels. They're usually overinflated numbers. And the vet, too. Many vets don't have a clue about nutrition. Feed a cat approximately 20 to 25 calories per pound of ideal body weight daily. Go very slow with calorie reduction to avoid fatty liver disease. If you can feed more canned food than dry, that would help with weight loss and the urinary issues. Dry foods are way too calorie dense per cup, even supposed weight loss foods. Increase the "sliver" of canned food to a whole can of food to start. Maybe give one whole 3 oz can for a meal for a week or so and then increase while slowly decreasing the dry food.

A 12 lb cat should eat roughly 240 to 300 calories daily. That might be a few 3 oz cans or one whole 5.5 oz can plus a little more. Canned food calories can be found on the label as kcal or it may be on this list https://catinfo.org/docs/CatFoodProteinFatCarbPhosphorusChart.pdf

Some people do feed a little dry but it's not much daily, maybe 1/4 cup or less. Others use a programmable timed feeder to give their cat(s) canned food a few times a day.

A good web site with info on safe cat weight loss:


Some TCS threads:

 

susanm9006

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My Willow also has a weight issue and I Kept reducing her dry food until she was being given only 1/4 of a cup a day and she was STILL overweight. She didn’t start losing and getting to a healthier weight until I moved her to wet food only. She is also more satisfied on it and has a better coat condition. There are wet foods for cats with specific health conditions. I would talk to your vet about making the switch and get recommends.
 

Willowy

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A 12 lb cat should eat roughly 240 to 300 calories daily.
That's a bit high-ish. 20 calories per pound is considered average for a spayed/neutered indoor cat. For weight loss you start with 20 calories per pound and work down, as low as 15 calories per pound is fine. Plus you go with the cat's ideal weight, not their current weight. So an older cat who should weigh 9 pounds should start at 180 calories per day and if they don't see results they can go all the way down to 135 calories per day.

I agree that weight loss is a lot easier with canned food. Sometimes you don't even have to measure it or count calories; they just lose weight naturally on wet food because the moisture makes them feel fuller, plus higher protein helps with weight loss. But if one of the cats is a piggie you'd still have to measure it, lol.
 

FeebysOwner

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Hi. All of the above, BUT, to start off with find out exactly how much you are currently feeding them BEFORE you start reducing their caloric intake. If you don't know where you are at to begin with, it is pretty hard to know how to proceed. It might be in some/all of the links above, but generally speaking you want to reduce their calories by no more than 10% a week. This does two things - 1.) gradually reduces their intake so they can acclimate to it (mentally), and 2.) allows their bodies to process the change. Just like humans, a slow food reduction and weight loss works so much better than a drastic one.

And, to help, you should also use a size/shape chart to gauge exactly where your cats are now, and where they go from here. This chart is not perfect, but is useful.
 

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