Helping your cat maintain a healthy weight

by | Cat Care |

As we begin to resume more of our more pre-pandemic routines, our schedules are likely quite different than they used to be. The same thing holds true for our animals. They may be fed at new times, and they may be consuming more food and snacks. Their playtime and physical activity might also be different than before. This can result in unhealthy weight gain.

So what should you do if you have a cat who is getting a bit round? Keep reading to learn some key tips from Royal Canin in order to maintain your cat’s healthy weight.

Healthy activity

Cats are active and thrive on short bursts of activity to keep themselves engaged. Cats who spend most of their time indoors need to spend more time engaging with you and their toys to stay active. Playing and interacting with your cat several times a day is recommended by Royal Canin. You also need to think like a cat to ensure your cat’s environment is interesting to them, encouraging them to stay active and avoid unnecessary weight gain. Exercise is also essential to improve your cat’s motor skills, as well as their mental health and social behaviour.

Royal Canin’s ideas to enhance play indoors include a scratching post, interesting toys to keep them occupied, and lots of interaction with the people in your home. Again, several short bursts of playtime are best. To prevent boredom, a selection of different toys used in a weekly rotation is a good idea, but remember, cats get most of their mental stimulation from playing with their family.

Cats are clever and will enjoy activities like figuring out a puzzle feeder, or hunting for hidden dry food at mealtimes. These types of activities replicate the running, jumping, climbing or stalking cats would do in the wild.

Healthy portioning

Another important key to maintaining a healthy weight in cats is portion control. To start, Royal Canin suggests following the feeding recommendations of the food manufacturer. Consider the activity levels of your cat, how often they move, play and spend time outdoors. The more exercise they do, the more energy they will need throughout the day. Spay or neuter procedures can impact the food portion needed by your cat as well. Discuss your cat’s specific needs with your veterinarian.

Instead of two or three large meals, cats usually prefer to graze throughout the day – free access to food. It is important not to overfeed during these meals. Royal Canin recommends measuring out your cat’s correct portion for the day and either dividing this into smaller meals or leaving the bowl out during the day to allow your cat to revisit it whenever they like. Feeding puzzles are another interactive way to engage your cat’s hunting skills while promoting physical activity during meals.

If your cat is begging for pieces of your food, this might not mean they are hungry. This behaviour could be a habit, Royal Canin advises, or it could be boredom or an attempt to seek attention. Giving in to these behaviours reinforces the action and gives your cat more calories than they need.

Other tips for portion control

Royal Canin also suggests dividing their ration into small, frequent meals to help with portion control. If you feed your cat dry food, measure out each meal carefully using scales and leave it available until they come back for the next meal. If your cat eats all their food before their next mealtime, avoid topping up the bowl whenever it is empty. Also, if you give your cats treats, it is important to take those calories into consideration as well when calculating their daily ration.

Remember, maintaining a healthy weight for your cat is determined by the amount of physical activity and energy they exert combined with the amount of food and energy they consume. We recommend you discuss your animal’s specific needs with your veterinarian.

For more ideas and health advice for your cat, visit royalcanin.com

For every animal you save

For every animal you save, every animal who feels loved in their last moments, and for everything else you do; thank you and God Bless.

-Stephanie