Feline obesity, generally caused by overeating and lack of exercise, is a major cause of disease and early death. Fat cats have increased risk for arthritis, diabetes, and heart and skin diseases. Preventing your cat from overeating may extend her life just by maintaining a healthy weight.
Set a schedule for feeding your cat rather than letting him free-feed. While kittens need more frequent feeding, healthy adult cats may only need one or two feedings per day. Limit the number of feedings per day and select specific times to refill your cat’s food bowl, rather than whenever it is low or empty.
Monitor the quantity of food you're feeding your cat. You may be busy and not realize just how much food you’re leaving out for your cat. Use measuring scoops and follow guidelines for serving sizes as listed on the packaging. If you allow free-feeding, place only half the amount of the daily food portion in the bowl at one time, no more than twice per day.
Watch your cats’ eating habits if you have more than one. One may dominate and take all the food while other cats may not get enough. To prevent this, feed the cats in different rooms. Though this method takes time, you will be sure that your cats are not over- or undereating.
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.
Francine Richards is a licensed multi-state insurance agent with years of human resources and insurance industry experience. Her work has appeared on Blue Cross Blue Shield websites and newsletters, the Houston Chronicle and The Nest. Richards holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from the University of Maryland.