Wednesday, May 13, 2009 7:51 PM

The Skinny on Overweight Cats

Here's another installment on cat nutrition--felt like taking this back up today (I know everyone's been waiting with bated breath!).

So, what do you do if you have an overweight cat? Must you give up the convenience of leaving dry cat food around all day for your pal to snack on? Well, yes. At-will feeding is definitely out! This is not really the best way for cats to feed, anyway. Again, this seems to have been dreamed up by the makers of commercial cat food in order to increase the need for their product.

In the wild, cats will hunt just enough to feed themselves, usually at night. They eat, then rest up for the next hunting expedition. Cats are naturally nocturnal, but domestication has, literally, turned day into night for them. Ever notice how, just as you are settling down in the evening to watch some TV or read the paper, your cats start bouncing off the walls? You yell and threaten, but it doesn’t really make them stop, does it? This is normal activity for them. As I always say, “You can take the cat out of the wild, but you can’t take the wild out of the cat” (no, really, I do always say that)!

Now that we accept that cats really only need to eat a couple of times a day (well, OK, maybe three times) then the next step is to pick up that food bowl full of crunchies. Kitty will not like this, though, and will let you know LOUDLY. Don’t fall for this old trick, whereby cats try to convince you that they are STARVING even as they waddle around with their bellies nearly touching the floor. Be strong! They will nag and complain, but the good part of that is that they are now exercising! It’s true—any additional movement helps burn those excess calories.

Now, I wouldn’t be so mean as to suggest you cut your baby off from her dry food cold turkey (as it were). It’s best to wean her off gradually since digestive upset could occur if dietary changes happen too quickly. Next post I’ll give you some tips on converting your cat from chubby to chic.

Just So You Know: Do you ever get one of those headaches that just won’t go away? It’s not even that bad, but it’s enough to put a damper on your day. I had one of those yesterday. I think it’s the pollen, actually. I decided to get rid of it once and for all so I tried taking one aspirin with a strong cup of regular coffee. TA DA! Worked mint.
Chat later!

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Amanda has worked with animals for many years and has always had cats in her life. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two excellent cats.
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