Your cat’s gaining weight. Her tummy sways when she walks and when she lies down, she spreads. It must be her metabolism, or that she sleeps more than she used to, or you should never have had her spayed… Sorry, but these are all excuses.
The truth is that when our pets gain weight it’s usually our fault. Whether we’re feeding them treats, or an inferior quality food, the fault most often lies at the pet owner’s door.
Here are 7 common errors to watch out for and how to correct them:
- YOU’RE BEING TOO GENEROUS WITH TABLE SNACKS. We know she’s impossible to resist when she makes those soft mewing sounds and stares up at you with her big eyes but those bacon rinds or meat fat offcuts won’t do her waistline (or her health) any favours. Instead, ask your EberVet Vetshop or veterinarian for healthy treats for your cat. There are a wide variety of yummy snacks available that won’t pack on the pounds and add essential vitamins and minerals to her diet.
- YOU’RE GUESSTIMATING HOW MUCH YOU ARE FEEDING. Tossing kibble into a bowl is what most of us do but if you’re concerned about your cat’s health, follow the manufacturer’s recommended cup measurements printed on the packaging or ask your vet for advice.
- YOU’RE FEEDING POOR QUALITY FOOD. Always feed the best food you can afford because cheap food is often packed with inferior ingredients like fat and sugar that can cause weight gain. It is also often a source of skin allergies.
- YOU’VE STOPPED PLAYING WITH HER. When she was a cute kitten, she had all your attention and you played tag with her. Now that she’s older and sleeps more, you’ve forgotten that she needs you to encourage her to exercise. Like humans, pets will run and jump and play when there is someone to do it with them. They need the stimulation and encouragement to exercise.
- YOU’RE NOT USING PRESCRIPTION FOOD (WHEN YOU NEED TO). Prescription food could be a good move if your cat is already overweight. To determine what she needs, take her to your vet for a free health check. Your vet will then recommend a low-calorie, high quality diet that will best suit all of her health needs.
- SHE’S BEEN ON THE SAME DIET SINCE SHE WAS 1; NOW SHE’S 10. The ageing process places different strains on your cat’s body and many of these are aided by the correct nutrition. From the age of 7, she will need to see your vet every six months for a checkup. Don’t forget to ask about her diet; chances are she’ll need a change.
- YOU’RE FREE FEEDING. Filling a cat’s bowl to the brim and leaving the food there for her to eat when she’s hungry only encourages her to eat more than she needs. Stick to meal times; in the morning and evening. And when she walks away from her bowl pick it up and put the food away until the next meal time. If you live in a multi-cat household, diets can be difficult to control but if you have a porky princess who steals from her sisters, feed her separately.
An obese cat is at risk of several life-threatening diseases and has a much shorter lifespan than a slim cat. Your cat’s health is in your hands; take proper care of her diet today and chances are you’ll share many more healthy, happy years together.