Feline obesity is on the rise, especially among indoor cats. If your kitty tipped the scale at her last checkup, your veterinarian may have recommended a low fat, high fiber diet to help her shed a few pounds and reduce her risk for developing future health problems.
The Roles of a Low Fat, High Fiber Diet
There are a number of reasons that a cat may be placed on a low fat, high fiber diet. This food can offer relief to cats with chronic diarrhea as well as those with inflammatory bowel disease. Some older cats may benefit from the increased fiber content to aid in constipation. The most common use for these diets is to help chubby kitties lose weight. As with people, obesity increases a cat’s chances for developing diabetes, respiratory complications, arthritis and anesthetic risks. Dietary management is the first line of defense for overweight cats.
The Less Is More Approach
The premise of low fat, high fiber diets is weight loss through satiating your kitty with smaller portions. Cats who are fed smaller amounts of their regular food still feel hungry and taunt their families with incessant frantic demands for a super-size buffet. The increased fiber content of a low fat, high fiber diet fills cats up with smaller serving sizes. Diets sold on the retail market that are labeled as “light,” “less active” or “low calorie” are more effective at maintaining current weight than at losing weight. Prescription low fat, high fiber diets such as Hills r/d and Purina OM are formulated to promote weight loss.
Slow and Steady Wins the Race
It is important to monitor your cat’s progress with regular kitty weigh-ins. Weight loss should be gradual. Overweight cats who shed pounds too rapidly can develop a life-threatening liver disease called hepatic lipidosis. Most prescription low fat, high fiber diets display feeding guides on the labels. Measure the portion recommended for your cat’s target weight rather than her current girth. Your veterinarian will be able to recommend safe and effective feeding amounts also. Once her target weight has been achieved, a maintenance diet will help to preserve her healthy new figure.
Eat to Live, Live to Play
If your finicky full-figured feline protests her new diet, ask your veterinarian for options. Several companies produce low fat, high fiber diets in various flavors and he may be able to recommend a home cooked diet that your kitty will find more palatable. Exercise is helpful for weight loss, so coax your cat off the couch by engaging her in some play sessions with interactive toys. As her weight melts away, she will feel better and become more active and playful on her own as she revels in a dramatically improved quality of life.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
- CatChannel.com: Cat Obesity On the Rise
- Cornell University Shelter Medicine Program: Dietary Support for Diarrhea: Which Foods?
- Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine: Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Feline Health Center)
- VeterinaryPartner.com: Obesity
- CatChannel.com: How Can I Get My Cat to Lose Weight?
- CatChannel.com: Does My Cat Need Liposuction?