Q: How can I help my overweight cat lose weight?
A: I am so glad you asked that. An overweight cat is prone to all kinds of medical problems — many of them serious. One cat I cared for, Jeffrey, was so corpulent he could hardly walk, let alone run or jump. His owners loved him dearly but pampered the cat way too much with food and treats. I would always tell them it was unhealthy but to no avail, until Jeffrey inadvertently caused a wake-up call. He crawled into a dresser drawer and could not get out. No amount of squeezing could free him and one of the drawer sides had to be removed before poor Jeffrey could escape. Like it or not, he was put on a diet. Although today he is not slim and trim, he is lighter and happier.
Many excellent low calorie cat foods are available today, so I suggest you talk to your vet about one of them to start. Next is exercise, which is important for everyone including our wonderful feline friends. However, they say objects at rest tend to stay at rest, so an unmotivated overweight cat might need some real encouragement to get her paws moving.
Cats respond well to interactive play. I recommend a fishing pool toy or a set of balls with bells to toss across the floor. There is even a popular wire coil with some cardboard on the end that cats seem to love. I always say cat toys do not have to be expensive — a paper bag with a small noisy ball inside or a pipe cleaner can be loads of fun. Find something that will get her interest and set aside some time each day for interactive play.
Many of my clients who work long hours tell me they set up specially designed cat videos on a timer for their cats to watch while they are at work. These videos generally have fast moving birds, bees and other small animals and the perfect invitation for a cat to jump up and bat the TV screen. Catnip is also a great motivator. Keep in mind that cats are easily bored so rotate her toys and places where you play. In time, hopefully, your wonderful cat will have a sleeker form which will make her healthier and happier.
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