Think your cat might be sporting some winter weight? She’s not alone. According to Purina, more than 40 per cent of Australia’s 2.3 million cats are overweight or obese. And that means many pets who are unnecessarily sick and will die prematurely.
Even if he doesn’t look fat, your cat might be overweight, so how can you tell?
When he is calm, place your thumbs on his backbone and run your fingers down his ribcage. If you can’t feel the bone easily, that’s a sign he’s fat. You can also tell by standing over him and looking down. Cats of a healthy weight have a waist. If your cat doesn’t curve in, it’s time to do something about it.
First up, look at your cat’s diet. You can reduce his calorie intake by cutting down on portion sizes, changing to a different type of pet food, and cutting back on treats. Avoid giving him table scraps while you are trying to reduce the calories, and be sure he can’t get into the kitchen bin. It’s a good idea to chat to your vet about any change in diet, and you can eliminate any medical problems that can cause weight gain.
Next stop, exercise!
If your cat is an indoor pet, he might not be used to exercise, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get active, and get him losing those extra grams or kilos. You can play plenty of games indoors that will not only get your cat active, but will help you bond with him. Grab some new toys that he can chase and pounce on, and rotate them so you can keep his interest. Cats love playing hide and seek with food and with you.
These games don’t have to take up lots of time. While you’re on the phone or watching TV, scrunch up some newspaper and let him swat at it, or find some string and run up and down the hall for two minutes while he chases it – all exercise helps.
If you think your cat will enjoy it, consider buying a lead and taking him for a walk – the fresh air will do you both good. You can practice indoors to get him comfortable before heading outside.