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HOW TO GET YOUR FAT CAT FIT AND HEALTHY

The obesity epidemic is not unique to humans. More and more cats are becoming overweight thanks to sedentary lifestyles and overfeeding. In the wild, cats had to chase down their prey and were exerting large amounts of physical energy. While it is normal for domestic cats to sleep 16 hours a day, cats don’t normally become overweight because they lack exercise, they become overweight because they are being fed too much of the wrong thing.

Healthier cats are a whole lot more affordable to own and overweight cats will eventually become sick, sooner rather than later.

FEED YOUR CAT THE RIGHT FOOD

To shed some of your cat’s excess weight you will need to keep a tight control on what they are eating. This is not as easy as you might think as pet food companies do their best to sell us images that distract us from what we should be really thinking about; what is in that food we are buying.

BALANCED FOOD PRODUCTS

The most important thing is to look for products that state they are ‘complete and balanced’. This is the best you can get in Australia when buying processed foods. For the product to state that it is ‘complete and balanced’, it must be formulated to contain all the nutrients required by a dog or cat. You will still need to check the product and look for the Australian Standard: Manufacturing and Marketing Pet Food AS 5812:2011.

HIGHER LEVELS OF PROTEIN

Cats generally need a lot of protein. This is a big issue when buying cat food as many products are filled with carbohydrates to bulk out the product. This filler is not providing the cat with much nutritional value and only making them overweight. A good cat food will have high levels of protein.

MIX UP THE CAT DIET

Processed foods are another invention of post-WW2 manufacturers that we have all been led to believe is perfect for our cats (and dogs). Well, all is not so well now on the planet nearly 70 years on. High-protein cat food is a food that you can leave down for them throughout the day and let them eat when they need (they are cats remember, not dogs), however, you can supplement their diet a couple times a week with raw meat or canned tuna in brine.

FORGET THE STUPID IDEA OF MEAL TIMES FOR CATS

As I have just mentioned, leaving cat food down so that they can eat when they need, is not as wrong as it may sound. A cat that eats smaller portions over the day is less likely to become overweight. Owners that enjoy control over their cats with feeding times only create anxiety and overconsumption by the animal. A cat that has food available is less likely to overeat because they feel safe in the knowledge they have food. Cats that don’t have food available throughout the day, for example, will often overeat when they are given food.

WHAT IS IN A TREAT

Keep treats to a minimum. Treats should be exactly that, a treat. Keep treats to a rarity. It should not be a snack given several times a day. That is the cat equivalent of eating chocolate bars between meals. You wouldn’t do it if you were trying to lose weight, so don’t let your cat. There are a variety of products available on the market, which are marketed as treats, and therefore should be carefully dispensed to your cat. We always have to keep in mind that manufacturers don’t have our best interests at heart and they are organisations designed to make money. Many treats contain chemicals that animals become extremely fond of. You can see that in they way animals behave over particular products. A decent piece of cooked steak or fish that has been left to cool is the best kind of treat you can give your cat.

REMEMBER THEY ARE NOT DOGS

Cats are not domesticated in the way that dogs are, and they need to be treated in such a way. Don’t play games with them that are associated with food and don’t develop relationships associated with food, as you may do with your dog. Using food in any way with cats will not end in good results. Cats need food available to them, it just needs to be the right kind. A cat that is overweight is one that is being fed the wrong food – there is nothing else to it. A cat does not need to be exercised to lose weight. They have higher metabolisms that humans for example, and will simply shed weight once on a proper diet.

Leave a locked in a room without food for a few days and you will find that it has not survived. Their bodies are pretty highly strung, so without water and food, they tend to go down very fast.

 


Is there anything you can add this contributor’s suggestions on keeping a cat in a more healthy lifestyle?

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Paul K
paulkkkk@dinga.com.au

Paul K has indirectly had a lot to do with different cat breeds and their behaviours. He loves them to death and is sharing his experience.