Did you know that 55% – or 47 million – of U.S. cats are overweight or obese?
The average domestic cat should weigh 8-10 pounds. Persian and Siamese cats can range between 6-12 pounds, and Maine Coon cats can be normal at up to 25 pounds. But these are the exceptions to the rule. The majority of cases of obesity are related to simple overfeeding coupled with lack of exercise.
When a vet recommends that a cat lose two or three pounds, pet owners usually don’t take action. But that is often thinking in human weight terms.
Here’s what a few extra pounds on a cat would equate to in a human:
- Two pounds is similar to 28 pounds on a 140-pound woman
- Three pounds is similar to 42 pounds on a 140-pound woman
- Five pounds is similar to 70 pounds on a 140-pound woman
- Eight pounds is similar to 112 pounds on a 140-pound woman
Obesity contributes to many medical conditions in cats including:
- Heart and lung disease
- High blood pressure
- Compromised immune function
- Predisposition to certain types of cancer
It has been well documented that cats maintaining an ideal body weight live longer, and with less disease, than overweight cats.
What Foods Help Cats Lose Weight?
As carnivores, it is often easiest and healthiest for cats to lose weight on high-protein, low-carbohydrate canned food. These foods allow cats to lose weight while still maintaining lean body mass and strength. Treats must also be chosen wisely, with no more than 10 percent of a cat’s daily calories.
A Few More Tips
- Remember: your cat needs exercise! Purchase a laser pointer for lots of activity
- Be sure to have your cat weigh in so you can track progress
- Avoid filling the bowl full just because it’s empty. Use a measuring cup and set specific feed times